This post will be about “layette” for a cat. Layette for a newborn is something all future parents think and worry about. We, future pet owners, should also spend some time planning it, as well-thought purchases will help us avoid many problems in the future.
If you are planning to get a new furry friend you should get these few items to help him feel at home.
First of all, buy good quality food, as a well-fed cat is a healthy cat. Well-balanced diet makes your cat happy, prevents excessive fur shedding and ensures fit body all other cats will be jealous of.
For info about best cat food please read my post regarding this subject.
Don’t forget about the right bowl. Shape and size are not extremely important but don’t buy a very deep bowl for small cats or they will have to get into it to reach the food. What is extremely important however is that the bowls are placed far from the litter box. Cats are very clean and if you place food too close to the litter they might start urinating somewhere else or stop eating their own food and start hunting for your food on tables and countertops.
Important is also storing of the food. In my opinion cats should be given both dry and wet food and the best feeding method is BARF…but this is a very wide subject requiring lots of knowledge and time so I will focus on it some other time. So wet foods usually come in small boxes or sachets so they get used up quickly. Dry foods on the other hand come in bigger bags, especially if we buy big economic packs. Dry foods undergo oxidation so they lose their taste and qualities hence it is very important to place them in airtight containers to preserve them.
According to my calculation in “Duo pack” post daily food cost with good quality food will cost about 4.1 PLN.
Buying a litter box might seem like a piece of cake kind of task but it is not. There are many different kinds of litter boxes – open and closed, shallow, small, big, square, oval and round. What kind of box you choose will most likely affect the condition of your floor/carpet and furniture.
It is very important to choose the right box. If you have small cats or cats with joint problems you need a shallow box. They will not be able to jump into a tall box and will start urinating somewhere else. When my cats were small I bought them small and shallow boxes, which I later changed into bigger ones they still use.
If the box is too shallow cats might kick half of the litter out every time they use the box, which will make your apartment a mess.
Closed box is a convenient solution for us; however, it might not be acceptable for your cats. Many people appreciate the cleanliness but I think that cats shouldn’t be forced to enter through a door into a tight box where they cannot stretch properly when naturally they would pee/poop outside while enjoying fresh air.
Quite a few times I was asked to help with a cat that was urinating all over the apartment and most of the times the problem went away when the closed litter box was replaced with an open one.
But of course there are different situations and some cats will never use the closed box while others stop liking the idea after few years of using it. You can read more about litter box issues in my post “
As I mentioned earlier, litter box needs to be located in a rather secluded location far away from food bowls. Also, you need few litter boxes if you have few cats. The perfect ratio is one litter box per cat plus one extra. Unfortunately, due to limited space we cannot always have this many boxes but as long as there is one box per cat it is ok.
One time expense: maximum 15 PLN
There are three kinds of litter: bentonite – clamping clay (it is grey and the cheapest, for example Benek), wooden (for example Cat’s Best) and silica gel crystals. They all have their advantages and disadvantages: bentonite and wooden will clamp while the silica gel crystals absorb moisture but could have sharp edges, which might hurt soft pads of your cat. Clumping clay is cheap but messy. The wooden one is fragrance free and quite natural. Unfortunately the choice is not ours but our cat’s – if your cat does not mind digging in anything then you are lucky. Sometimes cats will accept only one kind of litter and if you insist on providing a different kind you will end up with wet floor/carpets. So when you bring a new cat to your home choose the litter that you like but observe closely if your cat likes it to and if not you have to try a different one. Do not think that if your previous cat liked the silica crystal gels this cat will also like it. Like us, each cat is different and has different likes, which we need to observe and react to.
Monthly cost is about 15 PLN
If you want to save your furniture and your walls you need to buy a scratching post.
First you need to answer one question: does your cat like to scratch in a horizontal or vertical fashion? Most prefer vertical posts as they can stretch while scratching. But there are a lot of cats that love to sharpen their claws horizontally on carpets and doormats. There are many various scratching posts available on the market – small, big and with variety of additions but I suggest starting with the smallest and cheapest and then after observing your cat plying with it deciding on a better and fancier one. There is no point in spending a lot of money on a toy your cat might never use.
Where the scratching post will be placed is not up to us. If you put it in a dark corner your cat might never use it and instead sharpen its claws on your furniture. Make sure you set it up in a place attractive for your cat. In my post about obsessive-compulsive behaviors of Frania I write more about inappropriately placed scratching post.
One time expense: 150 PLN
Cat carrier is one of the basic items you need from the very first day. The biggest mistake you can make is to take your cats in the car without securing them. Firstly, cat can walk under the car pedals or get scared and jump on your back or head and cause an accident. Secondly, cats are very agile and have sharp claws and just because they sit quietly looking out the window during the ride it does not mean that they will not twist themselves out of your arms once taken out of a car. They might scratch you and run away never to be seen again. You might think that you know your cat well and he will not jump out of your arms but do you really want to risk his homelessness to avoid putting him in a cage for a few minutes. I think carrier is a really good solution.
One time expense: 50 PLN
I have used many kinds but I would recommend only one.
Most split nails or they are not sharp enough so instead of clipping nails it feels like I crush them. I recommend the clippers from the picture and I have to say that clipping nails is not as difficult as it seems and it is necessary if you want to preserve your furniture.
One time expense: 15 PLN
Hairbrush – the importance of combing
I have two cats and they are mostly white, which is a problem because most of my clothes are black. I love my cats and I love to stroke their soft long fur but I don’t like to have my clothes full of cats’ hairs. Although the most popular items in my home are lint rollers anybody I meet can see that I have white cats because their hairs are everywhere. The shedding can be controlled a little bit if cats are combed regularly. I have tried many brushes, combs and furminators and there is only one method for my cats: first furminator (check the picture) and then rubber glove (see picture). Furminator takes care of the undercoat and the rubber slightly moist glove gathers all the hairs that are about to fall out.
One time expense: 90 PLN
Do not buy too many toys at the beginning. Some cats enjoy playing with mice with catnip, others with feathers hanging from “fishing rods” and for some a usual bottle cap provides hours of entertainment.
My cats love chasing feathers, laser and mice. Laser is a very convenient toy but can lead to frustration because cat never manages to catch it. After a long chase wild animals should be rewarded with catching the prey or they will feel disappointed and might lose faith in their own skills hence laser itself is not the best solution.
It is good to get to know your cats and their needs first before buying them toys.
Cost depends on a cat
For example cat couch, blankets, towels, shelves, boxes…pretty much anything … mine love anything round and too small for them to fit in comfortably.
As the song goes, everybody has his own crazy so get to know your cat before you go out and buy something fancy and expensive. Very often cats choose their own spot and usually it is not the one you bought but some blanket, couch corner or even a baby changing table.
One-time expenses came to about 320 PLN and the monthly ones to 138 PLN.
Every cat owner should have the items mentioned above. It is important to think the first purchases through, as they will probably determine what you will be buying for many years to come. Is it expensive to have a cat? Well that depends on your income. Just make sure to think over any shopping and before you take animals home get ready for them like you would for a baby.