Cat Equipment

There are various items of equipment that will be needed for a cat as well as many optional items that can be considered.

Cat Bed

There are a variety of cat beds available at pet shops and it is important to provide a cat with a bed that it can consider its own territory and place of refuge in order to give the kitten or cat a sense of security.

A cardboard box with one side cut down provides an ideal cat bed for a growing kitten still in the chewing stages and is easily replaced as it becomes damaged, soiled and as the kitten grows and requires a larger bed. Newspaper with a old blanket on top will provide the kitten with comfort and warmth.

Any cat bed should allow a little space around cat once lined with soft bedding. Many pet shops sell a variety of soft beddings for use with cat beds such as padded blankets, fabric and fleece cushions, etc and many have removable covers making them easy to wash. Old blankets and towels can also be used as coverings for cat beds.

Whicker baskets are traditional cat beds although they are hard to clean and easily chewed (which can lead to swallowing) whilst plastic cat beds are more robust, less easily chewed and are easily cleaned. Both these types of cat bed will require some cushioning bedding to be placed inside to provide comfort and warmth for the cat.

Padded fabric cat beds are available in a traditional basket design and also as "igloo" style cat beds. These types of cat beds often come complete with removable and washable padded cushion and so may not require additional bedding.

Many pet shops also sell bean bag style cat beds. These provide a cozy bed which the cat can sink into and often have removable covers making them easy to clean.

Cat Collar

There are a wide variety of cat collars available.

Breakaway Or Safety Cat Collars

Breakaway cat collars are designed to snap open when pressure is applied such as if the cat gets its collar gets caught on a tree branch, fence or other object whilst the cat is outside, allowing the cat to free itself and prevent it from choking. Other safety cat collars are designed to stretch allowing the cat to slip out of its collar and free itself if its collar becomes caught on an object.

Reflective Cat Collars

Reflective or high visibility cat collars reflect light in the dark, helping to ensure that the cat is seen by motorists when out at night, in order to prevent the cat being involved in a road accident.

Flea Cat Collars

Flea cat collars are not only a collar but also kill fleas and prevent re-infestation. The effectiveness of the flea control on a flea cat collar is limited, usually around 4 months, so flea cat collars need to be replaced on a regular basis.

Standard Buckle Cat Collars

There are standard cat collars often made from nylon or leather that don't include any safety features, and these cat collars are only suitable for cats that mostly stay indoors.

Using Cat Collars

Even though a kitten should not be allowed out until its course of vaccinations are complete it is a good idea to get a kitten used to a cat collar whilst in the house. However, be sure not to fasten any cat collar too tightly and check that the collar does not become tight as the kitten grows.

Some form of identity tag should be fixed to any cat collar which can help should the cat become lost or involved in an accident, and even if a cat is to be kept indoors it is wise to still fit a cat collar and identity tag in case the cat should escape through an open door.

Some form of bell fixed to the cat collar can also be useful as it will hinder the cat when out hunting and avoid the cat bringing home its catches.

Cat Bowls

A cat will require separate bowls for food and water with water available at all times.

Ceramic, earthenware, glass or metal bowls are best used as these are not as easily knocked over or chewed as plastic bowls.

As well as standard food bowls there are automatic cat feeder bowls which allow food to be stored in compartments, with each compartment opening at a time selected on a timer, over a period of time and so automatically serving the cat with several meals as and when required.

In the same way automatic waterers or water fountains hold a large volume of water in a plastic bottle, ensuring that the bowl is refilled with water as the cat drinks from it.

Automatic cat feeders and waterers are ideal for those owners who have to leave their cats for a day or two.

Cat Scratching Posts

A scratching post is a sturdy post covered with rough material that will help to deter the cat from scratching furniture. In addition to simple scratching posts there are also items of "cat furniture" that may include platforms for the cat to climb onto, sleeping boxes, playthings, etc and many of these incorporate a scratching post.

Any scratching post should be at least 3 foot high as this allows the cat to stretch completely whilst scratching.

To train a cat to use the scratching post, sprinkle some catnip over it and then take the kitten's or cat's paw and rub this on the scratching post and praise it. If at any time the cat scratches furniture or anything else that it shouldn't gently take it over or lure it to the scratching post and then praise it when it uses it.

It may be necessary to sprinkle catnip on the scratching post every 2-4 weeks to keep the cat interested in it.

Travel Equipment

There will be times when it is necessary travel with the cat, such as for vet visits, and the cat will need to become accustomed to this.

In the interests of safety it is best to restrain the cat whilst travelling to avoid the cat moving and being a distraction, and also to prevent the cat becoming injured in the event of an accident or sudden stop.

Cats are best restrained by placing them within a Travel Box, Carrier or Crate.

Any travel box, carrier or crate should be large enough for the cat to stand, lie down and turn around in but should not be so large that the cat could be flung around the cage should the car stop suddenly or turn sharply.

Grooming Equipment

Whatever the breed of cat it will require some grooming. Whilst short haired cats will require only occasional grooming, long haired cats will require daily grooming.

A brush or grooming mitt will be needed to prevent the hair from becoming matted and to remove loose hairs. The type of brush required will depend on the breed of cat and type of coat it has. Long Haired cats will require a stiff brush, whereas short haired cats will require a soft brush.

Rubber Grooming Mitts fit over the hand allowing the cat to be groomed whilst firmly stroked.

Claws may require trimming from time to time with a pair of nail clippers.

Cat Door/Flap

Cat doors or cat flaps are small doors that can be fitted into most doors, walls or windows allowing the cat to enter and leave the house as it pleases without the aid of its owner and will prevent the cat scratching at doors to be let in or out of the house.

Any cat door should be fitted on the opposite side of the door to the door handle to prevent burglars putting their arm up through the cat flap and reaching the door handle to open the door from the inside.

When choosing a cat door it is important to ensure that it is the right size for the cat. The cat will duck its head down and lift its feet up as it climbs through so the door need only be a little larger than the cat's body but it is better to get a cat door which is too large than one that is too small if unsure of the correct size.

Some cat doors have 4-way locking (allowing the door to be set to allow the cat to leave only, come in only, leave and come in or to have the door fully locked).

In addition there are a number of cat doors which are operated magnetically or electronically allowing only the cat wearing the correct collar to use the cat door to leave or enter the house. These type of cat doors prevent other cats in the neighbourhood using the cat door to enter the house.

Once the cat door is fitted the cat can be trained to use it by propping the flap open and enticing the cat to go through the open door with some food or a treat. Once the cat is happy going through the fully open flap, it can be propped so that it is only open a little way and enticing the cat through again, gradually lowering the flap a little at a time until the cat realises that it can push the door open and climb through when it is closed.

Litter Box/Tray

Indoor cats and cats left in the house for long periods will require a litter box to use as a toilet.

There are many types of litter boxes available - some are simply a tray in which cat litter is placed, whilst others have top cover providing an enclosed private toilet for the cat and these help to prevent any accidental spread of waste and urine, as well as help to control odour.

There are also automatic self cleaning litter boxes that scrape the waste from the top of the litter and store it in container for easy removal later on, thus minimising handling of waste by the owners and saving them from having to scoop the waste from the litter themselves.

Any litter box or tray is best placed in a quiet location of the house.

All solid waste should be removed from the litter box daily as a cat will not use a messy or smelly litter box and the litter box should be completely emptied and washed every week.

More About Cats