Tips for buying a new cat or kitten
Is it almost time to bring home your new and long-awaited family member? How do you need to prepare? Here we share our best tips for planning for your new cat's arrival.
This article was written by a FirstVet vet
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Cat-proof your home
There are lots of things to think about to ensure that your home is safe for your cat. Cats and kittens are naturally inquisitive, so you can be sure that they will find their way into all sorts of places and hunt out new things to play with. Here is a list of some things that you should check:
- Windows and balconies: keep them closed or set up protective nets
- Plants: cats enjoy eating plants. Make sure that you don't have poisonous plants in the house. Some common toxic plants can be found in our article.
- Unsuitable items: often seen as toys by cats, these can be very dangerous. For example, electric cords, hair bands, string, balls, needles, cords and beads
- Toxic chemicals: examples include detergents, glycol, rat poisons, disinfectants and antifungal agents
- Medications: make sure all medicines are carefully locked away so that cats cannot access them. Common tablets, such as aspirin can be fatal for a cat, and leads to blood clotting disorders, gastrointestinal and kidney damage.
- Robotic lawnmower: if your cat goes outdoors, robotic lawnmowers must be kept under close supervision. A curious cat could get severe injuries by getting too close to the machine
Things you may need for your new cat
Of course, the most important thing for a cat is you, but there are some other things that you will need. Here are some things that are good to prepare in advance for their arrival:
- Food and water bowl (avoid plastic if possible): read our article for tips about encouraging your cat to drink
- Cat food: check with the breeder what your kitten is used to
- Litter tray and cat litter
- Cat basket or bag
- Harness and lead (if you want to harness train your kitten)
- Scratching post
- Nail clippers
- Toothbrush and cat-specific toothpaste
- Accessories for grooming such as brush and shampoo (cats often prefer dry shampoo)
Sign a purchase agreement
Ask the breeder for a written purchase agreement, whether you are buying a domestic shorthair cat (DSH or ‘moggy’) or a purebred cat. Further information can be found at the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, the UK’s largest feline registration body.
Make sure your cat is insured
An insurance policy for your new cat should be taken on the day you collect it. Check with the breeder if they have already insured their kittens prior to purchase. If your cat is ill, or has an accident, insurance is important to cover medical fees. A lifetime policy is recommended. You can read more about insurance, feeding and worming in our article about caring for your kitten, as well as everything you need to know about vaccinating cats.
After Covid-19 lockdown
Once lockdown has ended, it will be important to help our pets understand that they may be left at home, or on their own, for increasing periods of time, to avoid separation anxiety and behavioural problems. We have put together some suggestions for teaching your pet how to be home alone.
Good luck with your new feline friend!
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