Cats - Accessories
Domestic cats are primarily kept as indoor pets, so it is important to make sure that your cat has everything that it needs available to it indoors. Your cat will require food, water, a washroom area, a bed, and entertainment. There are a wide variety of cat accessories that you can purchase to help make your cat feel right at home, including litter boxes, dishes, toys, grooming accessories, collars and scratching posts.
Many pet owners may think that they have to go to a specific pet store to purchase these items, but pet supplies are widely available at many department stores, grocery stores, and even bargain stores. One of the best places to go for inexpensive pet items is the dollar store. You can get anything from litter to toys for your cat all for very little money.
One of the first things you will buy for your new cat is a litter box. It may seem overwhelming because there are many different types of litter boxes to choose from. When you go to purchase a litter box, think about the amount of space the box will require and the amount of money you are willing to spend. The most common inexpensive litter box is the cake pan type. Cake pan litter boxes are quite shallow which make them great for litter box training kittens because they can easily get in and out. Cake pan litter boxes may be too small for larger cats or cats that like to “move around”, which can cause unwanted messes around the litter box area. Keep in mind that some cats like to dig deep to the bottom of the box which can create messes that stick to the bottom. Cake pan litter boxes are a good entry level box, but make sure that you clean them regularly with soap and water to ensure that there will not be a lingering odor.
Another option is a covered litter box, which is typically a plastic cake pan box with a cover. If you do not want such an eyesore in your home, there are more expensive versions that can be disguised as furniture or plants. This type of litter box is the best for one to two cats, but no more than that. Covered litter boxes have a small opening that allows the cat in and out, but is otherwise completely covered. Covered litter boxes can become quite pungent because the smell is trapped so scheduled cleaning is required. You can also purchase air fresheners or odor-absorbing charcoal to help to alleviate this issue.
There are also lift and sift boxes which are similar in shape and size to cake pan boxes. This type of litter box includes a middle grate that allows you to sift out the clumps which allows the clean litter to fall back in the box. The grate can tend to get dirty quickly so this type of litter box requires a lot of cleaning.
Self-cleaning boxes are fairly expensive and do not function that well. They require a special litter which is more costly. The wet and solid litter can become stuck in the mechanical part of the litter box which defeats the self-cleaning aspect. If you have a nervous cat, this is not the best option, because the noise that the litter box makes can scare the cat from using it.
The cat genie is the newest type of litter box on the market. It hooks up to the household toilet and then flushes itself. This premium litter box can cost upward of $350 and for hygienic reasons you would need a specific toilet that you would want just the cat to use.
Choosing a litter box depends on what you feel your cat’s needs are and your budget. You will also have to purchase cat litter for your cat’s litter box. For many, it will be a process of trial and error to find out which one your cat likes the best and is the most comfortable using. A common type of litter is pellet litter; it absorbs well and is virtually dust free. There are also non-clumping litters that are very absorbent and inexpensive, but extremely dusty. Clumping litter is the most popular and preferred by cat owners and cats alike. This type of litter clumps easily making cleaning a breeze because the waste is visible and easy to remove. There are also scented types of litter which are great for odor control.
Grooming is also an important aspect to consider when you purchase your cat. There are many different combs and brushes out there that can help keep your cat’s fur sleek and shiny. Cats go through periods of shedding during certain seasons of the year, so extra grooming will be required. It is important to brush your cat regularly or get your cat groomed to prevent hairballs and tangles. To find out what brush is best for your specific cat, talk to your local pet store staff or vet.
There are many toys that can be purchased for your cat in order to prevent scratching and keep them entertained. These toys can be anything from balls, feathers, cat-nip, and scratching posts. Toys can be purchased at specialty pet shops or even the dollar store. Buy a variety of toys at first and you will quickly learn what toys your cat likes the best.
Many cats like to have a perch that they can sit high up on and look out the window. Cat perches can be purchased or made at home. These perches can also act as a bed or quiet area for your cat. Many of these structures include carpet that will act as a scratching post so that your furniture does not become victim to your cat’s claws.
Another issue that many people want to resolve with their cat is scratching. Cats that still have their claws will want to scratch furniture and carpet in order to remove old layers of the claws. In order to preserve your carpet or furniture you need to purchase or build a scratching post. Do not try to force your cat to use the post by holding it down or it will fear it. Instead get your cat interested the scratching post and not the rest of the furniture by dousing it with catnip. Make sure that you reinforce the cats good behavior if its scratches its post with treats, verbal cues, and petting. If you do notice your cat scratching in areas that are not desirable, squirt it with water or startle it with a loud noise so that it will associate negative things with scratching there.
Cats also require collars for identification purposes. Make sure that the cat collar is not too tight – you should be able to comfortably slip two fingers between the collar and your cat’s neck. Many people also find a flea collar works great if their cat goes outdoors. This collar should carry information including your cat’s name, your address, and up-to-date vaccinations.
Once you have all of these things in order your cat will be comfortable in its new home. Other than having to replace a few toys now and then, your cat’s surroundings will be all set. From this point on your cat will be fairly low maintenance and make a wonderful companion for years to come.