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The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Getting Ready for a New Cat

July 30, 2019

little gray kitten playing with a ball

Are you getting ready to bring home a new cat? You’ll not only need supplies, but you'll also need to tour your house with the mindset of a curious cat so you can be extra sure your furry family member stays safe and comfortable. With the help of this guide, you can prepare for your new cat’s arrival, and look forward to cozy evenings filled with kitty snuggles and purring.

How to make your home safe for cats

Some call this cat-proofing, but another way to look at it is making your home safe for kitty. However you view it, now’s the time to consider all horizontal surfaces as a potential landing spot for four paws. Luckily, you can prevent a catastrophic end to your favorite vintage lamp with a few simple adjustments.

  • For easily broken items, poster putty brings the muscle to keep fragile collectibles firmly fixed to shelves. Or, until you can invest in a secure display (such as a glass cabinet), it may be a good idea to pack these away for now.
  • Be mindful of cabinets other small spaces that need to stay shut or locked. Go through your home, and see that everything latches and closes, and can’t easily be pawed open, including:
    • Bins for pet supplies (food, kitty litter, treats)
    • Garbage and recycling bins
    • Drawers
    • Closets
    • Toilet seats
  • Decide if individual rooms should be off-limits to the cat. Keeping your guest room cat-free, for example, lets you provide a dander-free sleeping environment for friends and family members who suffer from allergies.

Anticipating every area your cat wants to explore isn’t always possible. Remember, cats are curious and full of surprising antics!

Essential supplies for your new cat

Before it’s time to bring home your new four-legged friend, you’ll want to stop at your local, independent pet supplier. There, you’ll find everything you need, along with friendly, helpful advice whenever you get stuck on a feline issue. This starter list has some useful recommendations.

  • Food and water bowl: If you’re planning on having multiple cats, separate bowls for feeding and water are a must. Some cat enthusiasts recommend having one additional water bowl to the total number of cats in the house. For example, if you have two cats in the house, there should be three water bowls. That's because hydration is critical when you live with a kitty.
  • Litter boxes: How many boxes you get will depend on the size of your home and the number of cats in your household. The rule of thumb is one box per cat, plus an extra. If your house has multiple levels, a minimum of one box per floor will accommodate your pet. Boxes with covers can help contain unpleasant odors. Finally, if you also have a dog at home, you may want to keep those boxes up on a high shelf. That's because, yes, the gross reality of living with dogs is that some think of cat poop as a handy snack.
  • Litter: The kind you use will depend on your lifestyle and needs. Clumping makes for easy daily cleanup. Non-clumping does a better job of absorbing pungent odors but requires more frequent box cleanings. Flushable cat litter has been met with applause from some pet parents because it makes cleanup so convenient. Before you stock up, keep in mind that cats can be fussy about the contents of their bathroom box. If you find that your cat is avoiding the litter box, it might dislike the smell or feel of the litter. Try another kind. To hear more about this, download and listen to Raising Your Paws Podcast, episode 11. Whatever litter you choose, feeding your cat a diet that helps reduce litter box odors makes the cleanup chore easier to take.
  • Cat toys: Play lets you bond with kitty while helping them get the exercise they need to help maintain a healthy weight. Start with a couple and add more as you get to know kitty’s playtime preferences.
  • Cat shelf or cat condo: Just about every cat likes to claim a space where they can catch a break … and survey their domain. Installing a shelf they can call their offers an alternative to countertops, bookshelves, closets and other inviting up-high surfaces. Be sure and offer treats whenever they make the right choice!
  • Scratching post: Don’t take it personally when your new cat sinks their claws into the good sofa or your handwoven throw rug. Scratching is natural cat behavior. It removes the dead outer layer of their nails and lets them leave a scent and visual marking. While you can’t stop the behavior, many pet parents work with their pet to redirect it. Using treats and toys, work with your cat to coax them to use the high-quality scratching post or corrugated cardboard scratching pads.
  • Crate: In addition to using this to bring your cat home, crates come in handy for vet visits and travel. Tip: Instead of storing it away, keep it available to your cat as a relaxation space. It will be that much easier to coax them inside when you need to transport them.
  • Food: At first, stick to the diet they’re used to. It’s also normal for cats to eat very little or nothing at first while they’re getting acclimated in their new digs. For that reason, you’ll want to add a couple of cans to your basket. The savory aromas from a spoonful of wet food may be just the thing to appeal to their appetite. Then after a few days of successful mealtimes, you can start the transition to a high-quality diet. Start small, with a ratio of 20% new food with 80% of the old, and gradually increase the portion every day.
  • Treats: Cats are renowned for having a mind of their own, but felines can be enticed by treats! To reinforce behaviors you want, keep treats handy for perfect positive reinforcement.
  • Lint roller: Shedding comes with the territory. So you'll want to keep a lint roller handy for quick furniture cleanup, or eliminating those white cat hairs from your favorite black T-shirt.

After your cat comes home, give them space and the time they need to feel comfortable and safe. Eventually, even a shy cat will come around!

A long, healthy life with your cat starts with a high-quality diet

All NutriSource cat diets come with Good 4 Life, a unique blend of supplements created just for NutriSource that offers your cat all the minerals and nutrients they need to build a healthy body from the inside out. Here’s how Good 4 Life nourishes your cat.

  • Probiotics build a healthy gut microbiome, creating the ideal environment that lets your cat absorb nutrients and pass hairballs without vomiting. Prebiotics are the essential companion to probiotics, providing a food source for the “good bacteria.”
  • Nucleo-Sacc contains our proprietary blend of glutamic acids, nucleotides and inositol, which makes us stand out from other cat foods.
    • Glutamic acid is an amino acid that increases palatability, builds muscles and promotes brain function.
    • Nucleotides are the building blocks needed for making new DNA and RNA and are essential for creating and replacing cells.
    • Inositol is a micronutrient that protects cells from oxidation, helps nerve cells function and is essential to maintaining a cat’s skin and coat.
  • Highly digestible Proteinated minerals, like zinc, copper, manganese, cobalt and iron, aid with effective digestion, support the immune system and build healthy skin and coat for less shedding.
  • Yucca extract is shown to reduce ammonia in urine and the gases released from feces in cats by 30-50%, leaving fewer unpleasant odors at the litter box.

Pet parents find NutriSource is an excellent value because they love the results: a soft coat, fewer odors, fewer stools, and more energy. Discover more benefits Good 4 Life offers your pet, and look for NutriSource at your local, independent pet supply retailer.