Keeping a few simple things in mind when choosing a cat can not only insure that you bring home a healthy pet, but may also help you to avoid future cat behavior problems.
Often, our cat chooses us, and sometimes that works out great, but these basic tips will help you evaluate your potential new cats health, personality and trainability.
Yes, there are clues you can look for that will help you in choosing a cat whose behavior indicates that they might adapt more smoothly to a busy house with many family members, would be more content in your one cat, quiet home, or which kitten would adjust best to being alone for long periods while you are out earning the catnip. Read on...
Enjoy the journey and always remember.......Cats Rule!
Ideally you should think about how your adult cat will fit in your life and understand not just what you want, but what you need in your new cat. If you have a working household where the cat will be alone for long periods, you need a cat who will be satisfied with lots of solitude. But when you get home do you want her to be ready to play, or would you prefer she join you on the sofa for some TIVO time?
If you are a one person house, do you want a dog-like companion who will follow you around, or do you need your space?
If you have multiple human family members but no other pets, you probably want an out-going cat who will love everybody equally.
And if you have pets as well as people, you need a cat who will go with the flow- not too pushy, but not too timid.
1- Indoor Cat or Outdoor Cat: This can be a sticky and sometimes emotional subject. If you aren't sure yet, you can check out our indoor cat or outdoor cat page devoted to this controversial question. Hopefully you will find it slightly less fanatical and judgmental than some other sources.
2- Long, short, or none at all: The one physical trait that most drastically impacts upkeep requirements from cat to cat is coat quality. Long haired cats, even the more natural types, will automatically require additional attention. In the case of Persians this can add up to a considerable amount of time - these cats do not keep themselves well without your help.
Try very hard not to enter a relationship with a long haired cat before understanding the maintenance involved. Some of the non shedding cat breeds-particularly the very trendy hairless cat breeds- actually require lots of grooming in the form of skin care. Comparatively, while most short haired cats benefit from a weekly brushing, many house cats live happily their entire lives without being groomed by anything but their own pink tongue.
3- Litter Box Location: Even if you want your cat to ultimately use the great outdoors as their restroom, you should establish a convenient litter box location indoors the very first day. The first few weeks you will want to provide it for adjustment, and thereafter your cat will know the location of the box if weather conditions or health issues should require they stay indoors at some later time. Even if you don't keep the box set-up, you will be confident if you put it out in an emergency that there won't be any confusion. If you think you might want to toilet train your cat, -and this option has become more doable, more practical and more appealing with products like the amazing citi kitty training system - you can get tips on starting early right here at Toilet train your cat or kitten!
4- Sleeping Arrangements: This is something you should try to decide as early as possible. If you think you want to share your bed forever, than you can cuddle up with your kitten immediately, but if you don't want fur on your pillow or somebody 1/12th your size hogging the sheets, it's best to set your new kitten or new cat up with their own sleeping space on the very very first night. The best cat beds can offer your new cat comfort and security, and establish a safe zone and a sense of personal territory on the very first night home.
5- Know Your Peeps and Keep the Peace: If you have multiple family members, your kitten checklist should include making sure everyone is on board. Bringing a new cat home will disrupt some of the flow, but if everyone is welcoming and knows what the plan is, it will certainly ease the stress.kittenchecklist If you have other pets it might be wise not to leave them together unsupervised for the first week or so, no matter how well the initial meeting goes. The interpersonal dynamics will be defined not just over a few minutes, but over a few days or weeks. Boundaries will be tested even among the mildest of personalities, it's just natural, but the established animals in the house may change their tune when the newcomer tries out a favorite chair or snatches the wrong toy. If you aren't around to keep the peace someone might get hurt, or you might come home to find someone hiding under a bed and have no clue what happened.
6- Adoption Option: Lastly, adopting a kitten these days is usually a very simple and happy process. Many local shelters offer discount or complementary health care and vaccinations with an adoption, and your new cat or kitten will undoubtedly already be neutered or spayed. If you adopt an adult allot of the questions you have will already be answered like size, temperament, even the amount of shedding, although the last two will have some environmental factors. If you feel strongly about getting a specific breed, make sure the breeds requirements fit in with the first few questions on the new kitten checklist. Grooming is a factor with some stylish pure-breds, and the outdoor cat scenario can be a dangerous option for some highly domesticated breeds like the Burmese, whose survival skills are limited to none. Finding a local breeder is naturally ideal because traveling far to pick out a kitten is not a great idea.
You may end up choosing a cat that you wouldn't otherwise, just because you took the trip. And the road trip may be stressfull for everyone. Lastly, although we try never to get dramatic here, don't have a kitten shipped to you. We don't really feel the need to explain that one, and having raised litters, we would never ship a kitten. Yikes! So let's move on to a kitten checklist of specific items...
These are the absolute essentials for your new cat, and they should all be in place or at hand by the time your kitten comes home. You may not use all of them that first day, but these are the items you may end up rushing out the door for if your new cat is hiding under the bed (#9), or shredding Grandma's ottoman (#7)....
1- Food and water bowls - Maybe a yawn-worthy start to our kitten checklist, but you should take a moment to think about them. The vast majority of cat owners have purchased the wrong food bowl for their needs at some point in time. check these out and discover the options and differences...Best Cat Bowls
2- Cat Food - Can't tell you how complicated this can be. Feeding kittens is simple with a little knowledge, so a quick discussion of the different cat foods available and the long term impact they may have on your cat's health is right here- Cat feeding
3-Litter Box- The litter box location should be picked out, and the box filled and set-up before your cat comes through the door. A nervous cat may need to relieve itself right away when entering a new environment and you can clarify right off the bat where the accepted area is. Now, the box itself can be as simple or as chic as you want. -Check out these super cool cat boxes- But the location should be chosen with some specific thought in mind. Go to cat litter boxes for tips on choosing the best location. Of course, if you want to toilet train your cat, you need to have the CitiKitty tray in place right away, and would have to add a CitiKitty kit to your new kitten checklist.
4- Properly Fitted Harness and Leash: It is an excellent idea to introduce your new cat while on a leash - especially if you have never had a cat in the house. Nervous cats or curious kittens may find nooks and crannies you never knew existed. We have known cats in a new place to disappear under the toe-kicks of kitchen cabinets, or find themselves lost in crawlspaces or even walls. Furthermore, there is just no better way to control a cat than with a well-fitted harness.
This is one of those items on your kitten checklist you will need to replace once or twice as your kitten grows. A few months may go by and that cute little harness won't even get over his ears! Check out Cat accessories
5- Cat Carrier- You might carry your kitten home in a cardboard box or wrapped in a towel, but a safe and well designed cat carrier really is a true must-have. You can use it to safely and temporarily confine your cat if there is construction or some other disruption in the house. You can transport your cat to the vet or the groomer with less stress and no risk. And you can house your cat in case of emergency like a fire or flood. When our house caught fire decades ago my dad shoved our two cats in a pillowcase and tied a knot on top. We were all safe in the end but changing the sheets was nerve-wracking from that day on! Dad didn't have a kitten checklist back then, but you do, and you can see the best cat carriers right here: Top 5 Cat Carriers
6- Toys- Bonding with your new cat or kitten can take place instantly with the right cat toys and your kitten checklist must include two or three different interactive toys for you and your new cat. The best cat toys inspire fun, excersise and quality one-on-one time. Here are some top-rated toys broken down into different categories that will keep your cats interest - Top 10 Most Recommended Cat toys.
7- Scratching Post- Like the litter box, the scratching post, tree, or tower should be in place before your cat arrives and is a key element of your kitten checklist. In all the excitement of a new place, some cats will try out the textures of the environment with their nails right off the bat. You can guide them in the right direction with a suitable scratching surface. All cats require a designated place to exercise that natural urge to work their claws and this is your chance to head them off at the pass before any damage is done. A little cat nip scent is helpful to encourage use. Check out all these inviting scratching posts and convenient dual-purpose cat furniture which can provide scratching fun and a sleeping space too.
8- A Designated Bed- You may want to place more than one cat bed or piece of cat furniture in different rooms throughout the house so your cat always feels welcome, comfortable and safe. Sometimes a soft sided carrier can serve this purpose as well. Even if you will all be sleeping in the bed at night, providing specific perches in the living areas and even the kitchen will make for a very happy cat. Perfect placement requires some considerations, and the choices of beds can be overwhelming. Here are our top-rated cat beds, some with multiple or specific purposes, clearly explained - Cat beds.
9- Treats- You might not think treats should be on the essential kitten checklist but during your cats first hours or days it might be very handy to have some special, irresistible morsels available. New cats and kittens may be shy or stubborn or frightened. You haven't established a dialog yet, and the right treats will help you to coax, convince, possibly bribe, and definitely reward the behaviors you desire out of your cat. Here are the most persuasive cat and kitten treats we have ever found - Best Cat treats.
10- A Vet- Yes it sounds obvious, but you should know who you will be using, the office hours, emergency numbers etc. Some vets have their own 24 hour emergency staff, most will recommend you call a hospital they have some affiliation with. Get all that info and have it handy in case you should need it in a hurry.
Close to 2 million deserving cats and kittens are adopted from state and local animal shelters every single year in the U.S.A. Hopefully the new owners use a New kitten checklist to help things run smooth!