PRE-ADOPTION KITTY SHOPPING LIST
Whether you adopt a cat or kitten from a
shelter, a rescue organization or another source, or you just happen
to find a stray and decide to make her part of your family, you're going to need
some supplies. We suggest you gather the following items before you
bring your new pet home.
We suggest an 8" collar that has an elastic section so your kitty won't
get strangled if her collar gets caught on something. The elastic
allows the collar to expand enough to allow your kitty to pull her head
out. DO NOT get a rigid flea collar. We have rescued strays
people had put flea collars on when they were kittens, then the cats grew
and grew and no one ever adjusted the size of the collar. One cat's
collar in particular was so tight that we were amazed he hadn't asphyxiated.
The collar was so tight, it left an indentation in his neck and fur that
lasted for months after we rescued him! PLEASE don't use rigid collars
on pets. Although we never adopt to homes where a kitty will be
allowed to go outside, some organizations do. Even inside cats can
dash out a door when you're looking away, when guests come over, when kids
don't shut a door all the way, etc., so ALL cats—even those who never go
outside—should have a collar unless they're microchipped (see below).
It's the law that your kitty has to have permanent identification, which the
law defines as an implanted microchip or an engraved tag. Due to the
possibility of a collar and tag coming off the pet, being removed and thrown
away by someone who might find a pet and not want to return it to its owner,
etc., we strongly urge that you have a microchip implanted in your
kitty. The procedure takes just seconds, is affordable and is the only
sure, long-term method for a pet's owner to be found. If for
some reason you decide not to have your kitty microchipped and opt instead
for a tag and collar, the tag should have engraved on it the pet's current
address and TWO phone numbers (including area code). One of the phone
numbers should be yours; the other should be a "permanent" number
for a friend, family member or veterinarian who's not likely to move.
It is not necessary to put the pet's name on the tag.
Secure Pet Carrier
Due to cats' skittish natures, cardboard boxes and holding your cat in your
arms for transport are NOT recommended. We suggest you purchase a
metal and plastic pet carrier large enough to hold your kitty when she's
full grown—not just when she's a kitten! We prefer the type that has
a door on the front as well as on the top. They're more expensive, but
are much more convenient. Not only that, you're much less likely to be
nipped at when removing your kitty through the top of the pet carrier than
when you reach into the carrier from the front. (We know this from
many personal experiences.)
Cat Food Appropriate For Your Kitty's Age And Type
Grocery-bought, "Sunday paper coupon" cat food has
historically not had the nutritional value that veterinary clinic-bought or
pet store-bought food has. Luckily for all of us, now at least one of
the brands that was for years only available at pet stores and veterinary
clinics is available at many supermarkets and discount clubs.
Better-quality food is not only inherently healthier for cats, thus meaning
less trips to the vet, it is more completely metabolized by cats, so they
get better nutrition and leave less waste in the litter box.
Additionally, due to the food's nutritional profile and higher degree of
metabolism, the waste that's left behind in the litter box is less
odorous. If you feed your cat cheap food, you're not providing the
nutrition your pet deserves and you're likely going to subject your cat to
potentially serious (and expensive) health issues in the future.
The time to buy a litter box is before you get your kitty home. You'd
be surprised at how many people are so tied up in the emotional part of
bringing a new cat home that they forget to get the kitty a litter
box. :-) There are many options when it comes to litter boxes
(covered, uncovered, automatic, etc.). If the kitty has been in another home and has been using a certain
style of litter box, it's best to get the same style for your place.
We don't recommend automated litter boxes because many cats are frightened
of them. Some cats are wary of using covered boxes, while others
prefer them. Luckily, litter boxes aren't expensive, so even if you
buy one your kitty ends up not liking, you won't have wasted a bunch of
money. We suggest that you donate the unused box to one of your local
rescue groups, shelters or humane societies.
Again, there are many options and we'll be glad to offer our advice, but in
general we recommend natural (unscented, non-chemically-treated), clumping
litter like our
Voodoo All-Natural Clumping Litter
(this links to a PDF file about our litter; the file is 332KB in size). This type, which allows you to scoop out the liquid and solid
waste, but not throw out all the litter every few days, is better for the
environment, preferred by cats and less expensive in the long run.
Don't forget to get a litter scoop. Metal litter scoops work best for
use with clumping litter. No matter how heavy-duty they seem, we've
never found a plastic scoop that (a) worked well with clumping litter or (b)
For scooping clumping litter and disposing of the waste in the least
odorous and messy manner possible, we recommend the use of Zip-Lock-style
reclosable bags. If you live near a Sam's Club store, we suggest you
purchase the multi-packs of the 1-gallon size, especially if you have more
than one cat. Another option is to use plastic grocery bags, but
because these aren't reclosable, they need to be sealed with twistees, which
are lethal to cats if swallowed. So, if you're going to use plastic
grocery bags with twistees, PLEASE be careful to keep the twistees away from
& Water Dishes Or Bowls
These need to be made of glass, ceramic or metal, but not plastic.
Why? Because the chemicals in the plastic leach into the food and
water, causing many pets to get ulcers on their mouths due to allergic
reactions. Plastic is also not as completely cleanable or fully
Brush & A Cat Comb
Cats seem to prefer these at different times, so we recommend you get a flea
comb with very tightly-spaced teeth (this also helps remove loose fur, even
on cats who never get fleas) AND a cat brush. Brushing and combing
your new pet will really help her bond to you, so do it often.
Of Contact & Emergency Phone Numbers
The time to get together any phone numbers you might need in an emergency is
BEFORE you need them in an emergency! Make a list of all the 24-hour
emergency clinics, vet clinics you frequent, your veterinarians' home &
cell numbers if you have 'em, secondary caretakers in case something were to
happen to you, pet sitters, poison control centers, animal cruelty hotlines,
etc. and be sure to carry the list with you in your car, purse, etc., as
well as posting the list at your home in a convenient, not-easily-forgotten place.
Carton Of Cat Treats
There's nothing like shaking a little milk carton-style box of cat treats to
make your cat come running when you need her to come to you. Many of
the cats we've rescued have preferred the crunchy-style treats we've brought
home. (These are better for their teeth, too.)
Cats need safe things to play with, otherwise they tend to get into mischief
that you don't want 'em to and that can be dangerous to them. We like
toys that can be thrown in the washing machine, as well as bizzy balls and
& Heartworm Preventative
It may seem to you that this should appear on another list instead of this
one, but we can't stress strongly enough how important it is to regularly
treat your kitty with these preventatives. Until you've had a flea
infestation in your pet and your home, or until you've seen what heartworm
can do to a cat (most often kill them in a most unpleasant way), you may not
understand and place enough emphasis on these preventatives. Flea and
heartworm preventatives can save you tons of money, tons of aggravation and,
most likely, the life of your pet. We recommend Revolution for cats.
Camera, Preferably A Digital One
Your kitty is going to do all sorts of cute and wonderful things that you'll
want to share with I-CAN or whatever other organization you adopt from, plus
all your friends and family members, so be sure you have a camera handy for
those special moments that only happen once. A digital camera is great
because there's no film to buy or pay to have developed, plus you can e-mail
the pictures instantly to as many people as you want...all without any
Hair "Tape Roller"
No matter how much of a pet lover you fancy yourself, if you're expecting
company or leaving for a business meeting and you find yourself or your
furnishings covered with fur, there's nothing like a "tape roller"
to make quick work of removing the undesired fur. Also, if your pet
sleeps with you, you might find it useful to "roll" your comforter
each morning to remove the pile of fur that always seems to remain where
kitty or doggie slept! (We do this and it takes just seconds to give
your comforter a quick cleaning.) These tape rollers are available at
most pet supply stores, discount stores & some veterinarians' offices
and are well worth the few bucks they cost!