When adopting a cat for the first time, most people know the essentials such as food and water, but often overlook how much a cat actually needs. Quite a lot of times I hear people talk about how cats are easier to care for and more independent, but that is often not the case, especially for indoor cats. You can experience a lot of stressors from having a new indoor cat if you expected a bundle of love and got something more akin to living with an alien being.
Is it worth it? Absolutely. But keep in mind that you have only a little control over the personality of the cat you get and often cats personalities can change as they grow, especially if they are a kitten when you get them. Cat’s who’ve been abused can also develop particular quirks, so make sure you’re well researched before you bring you darling home with you.
So to ease off some of the planning burden at least, I’m going to list you five must have items for Indoor cats. Your mileage may vary in terms of cost and you certainly don’t need to buy the best of everything right away, but these items will make your life a lot easier and your cat a lot happier.
This is the number one item I find that most people forget. They don’t train their cats to use scratching posts and then are surprised when their furniture gets destroyed. Look, even if you don’t care about your furniture, what if something happens to you and you must give your cat up? By not training it to scratch in a convenient place you’re increasing the likelihood it will be brought back and unable to find a new, loving home.
There’s always going to be accidents. I’m currently training an adorable, monster of a kitten who is way slower to pick up scratching than any cat I’ve ever had, but in the long run it’s definitely worth it.
Some cats prefer to scratch on a flat, horizontal model. Some prefer cardboard or carpet bases, but I’ve found most success with an upright sisal rope model.
Average Price Range – $30 – $100
$11.99 – BUDGET BUY!
I’d settle for a basic upright scratching post at first (for one cat), but for a large house you might need more than one depending on how eager kitty is to use their claws. Cat posts often come integrated into trees or furniture like this one below.
Unless you’re looking for a horizontal scratcher, this post will fall down when your cat scratches it if leaned, scaring kitty and making you feel bad.
Collar / ID Tag
I know a lot of people who don’t like to put collars on their cat. It’s true, at first the cat will find it uncomfortable, shaking it’s head if it’s not used to one. You may think that your new pet doesn’t need one as it’s not going outdoors (they are especially essential for cats that go out, due to killing of birds and other at threat species).
However, I learned that hard way that when your kitty escapes (while a friend is watching them it’s even more nervewracking) they don’t always check the microchip, depending on where you live. If you don’t have a microchip or a collar with ID tag…they have no way of getting your cat back to you. Losing a cat like that is absolutely heartbreaking and if it’s your first cat, you’ll take the pain even harder.
Collars have another benefit in that they often come attached with a bell, allowing you to locate your cat and avoiding the inevitable ‘stepping on accidentally’ situation.
Average Price Range – $3 – $15
Aspen Blue Damask Collar (Breakaway even though it doesn’t mention it)
I’m currently in love with these collars from my local pet store, which might only be available in Quebec ^_^ I have the blue fishes, the orange stripes and the pink Zig Zag pattern
Cloe & Cluzo Cat Collar (Beware website has autoplaying music)
The number one advice for cat collars I can give is incredibly important. DO NOT buy a cat collar that has a non-breakaway buckle. Breakaway or ‘safe’ cat collars are designed for the buckle to break open if your cat pulls hard enough, which will prevent your cat from choking itself if it falls and gets stuck while jumping.
Cat Water Fountain
Yes it sounds fancy and expensive and totally unnecessary, but believe it or not there are huge health benefits to a water fountain for your cat, especially if your cat is male. Due to the narrow urinary tract they are really susceptible to crystals in the urine causing a blockage which requires treatment and can lead to death if not noticed in time. (If you notice your cat going to the bathroom multiple times and not peeing or barely peeing please consult a vet). One of the main ways to avoid this is to provide a water fountain.
It’s been proven that cats drink much more and are much better hydrated when you have one of these in their home., they just prefer fresh, running water. Thisd is a must have for male or elderly cats to prevent future renal failure. There are even some great budget options available so you don’t have to break the bank and you can always make your own.
Average Price Range – $30 – $150
$57.47 BUDGET OPTION – Shop around I got on sale at local pet store for $35
This top of the range pet fountain has glowing reviews and stainless steel parts are less likely to have damaging chemicals and are easier to clean.
My current model of pet fountain, the Pioneer Raindrop was an attempt to go cheaper than the Drinkwell, which at the time was not available in Quebec due to language issues. After barely six months of use this is covered in gunk which will not clean off (despite being stainless steel), but also barely trickled even on the fullest settings. My Cats much preferred the globe style Catit model at the start of the section and I was left full of regret.
Even grown-up cats like to play. From my experience there are two types of cat when it comes to playing and I have both. The type of cat who will play, but you will be leaping all over the room and wiggling things and they will barely move. This patient hunter is calm and lazy until you find that perfect toy that they just can’t resist. We’ll call this group the ‘Cornelius’ group
Then there’s the other type. If your cat races around the whole house and plays with non-toy items all day, they’re probably in this section. Kittens are almost always in this category, but can grow up and get quite lazy. These cats are easy to please and even a rolled up ball of aluminum foil works for them! We’ll call this group, the ‘Bonnie’ group.
Playing is very important for bonding with your cat and running off it’s energy and it’s especially important for indoor cats who have a tendency to get fat. (One of my little chunkers is already there.)
Both cat groups like this, but the ‘Bonnie’ group will go absolutely nuts for it. Just watch as your cat flies majestically towards the toy, misses and lands on your leg with all four sets of claws out. Have fun!
Average Price Range – $1 – $15
The Da Bird Cat Feather Toy (Famed amongst cat lovers)
Da Bird ‘Da mouse’ cat rod toy – This one gets the vote of my ‘Cornelius’ group cats.
This toy unites both groups in a frantic, flailing tug of war. They will chase you around rooms for hours for what seems like a flimsy piece of fabric on the end of a rod. Make no mistake, though, this toy is sturdy and cats go crazy for it.
Note: One of the reviews mentions cats choking on this toy. As a first time cat owner you should know that rod or string toys NEVER should be left out with a cat, always put this toy and other rods away in a cupboard when playtime is over or you are not supervising.
Otherwise they become a choking hazard, both from eating and from wrapping round kitty’s beck. Better safe than sorry.
When it comes to rod toys, I avoid the dollar store and cheaper versions. They tend to fall apart quickly, but also in a dangerous way. I’ve had it happen that the plastic wand has shattered (as cats can pull quite hard when playing) and flown at my eye. It’s also worth noting that any elasticated string (such as the one on this) will cause the toy to fly back at your face when released by the claws of your loving pet. WHAM. It is not a fun experience.
This is one place it’s ok to go budget and your local cat store or dollar store comes in really handy. They often have buckets of different shaped balls, mice and throwables from ten cents to one dollar. Try a different one each time and you’ll soon learn which type your kitty prefers without spending a fortune.
Average Price Range – $0.25 – $6
These springs are the only thing I’ve consistently found that will keep the ‘Bonnie’ group busy for those times when you need peace and quiet.
Kong really knows their stuff! Cats love to hold this in their paws and kick at the fluffy tail, still a favourite of my cats after all this time.
There’s really not much to mention here as most throwable cat toys are safe. If you are making your own cat toys using homemade items, just make sure there are no breakable unsafe part or staples that can catch kitty’s claws.
We don’t need to say much about this, do we? The red dot of doom will summon cats from far and wide and provide much hilarity and joy (at least for you). This is one case where the local dollar store option is the best one. Don’t pay twelve dollars for one in the shape of a mouse.
And NEVER, EVER shine this in your pet or other human’s eyes. Do be careful.
While it’s always tempting to spend a lot of money on cute stuff for your cats (and I do) to begin with there’s not really that much you need. One Basic bed is enough (and if you don’t have one they will just lie on your furniture) and a climbing tree is a necessity within the first month of ownership. Without a climbing tree (or Climbing shelves along the wall) your cat will not only get unfit, but become quickly bored with the lack of activity. I personally love intricate climbing systems that have a lot of scratching posts integrated, but those can be pricey.
Average Price Range – $10 – $250
$19.13 BUDGET BUY
$69.00 BUDGET BUY
I’m not gonna deny that this cat sofa is cool (I don’t think I could), but you’re just not there yet. This is the cat furniture of someone with three cats who turns them upside down and croons while rubbing their tummy. You’ll know when you get there, trust me. It’s not too late for you.
Overpriced and for people who care about their interior design. When you own a cat, the sooner you stop caring about your furniture, the better.
Don’t forget the most important thing to give your cat (other than the boxes this stuff comes in). LOVE.
Please consider adopting a pet from your local shelter and if you have the means, consider an elderly or special needs pet.
As always, opinions are my own, sponsored in no way shape or form, no monetary compensation given etc, etc.
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