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post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My friend is getting a cat in the not too distant future, they will probably just go by whatever the rescue center or pet shop tells them - I know that this is usually completely rubbish misinformation (or at least it is with rodents).

So, I'm gathering information myself on the net. Firstly, what are the main essential products they will need to buy for their kitty? Are there any to avoid? Which brands are best?

Thank you.
(hope this post isn't in the wrong place)
post #2 of 13
Whatever you do - do NOT let them buy any kitten/cat from a pet shop! If they want a specific breed, encourage them to look on the net for a reputable breeder of quality cats or check the local shelters.

Equipment needed:

Litter pan and litter (scoopable is easier and less smelly then clay)

Food/water bowls - separate so you can clean them better

Quality dry food and canned food - not the cheap store bought - I recommend Chicken Soup or Royal Canin right now - its a recall with some on the wheat gluten (go to the health/nutrition forum)

Nail clippers, comb (flea comb and regular size comb)

Scratching post - a good sturdy minimum of 4 feet high - the treehouses are the best investment. You can get the cardboard ones to put on the floor, but a good scratching post is a must.

Lots of different kitty toys

Carrier to transport the cat at all times (vet, show, etc.)
post #3 of 13
GK we don't have that 'Chicken Soup...' cat food in the UK, it could easily be misunderstood as cans of actual chicken soup

In answer to Meowmies, The best dry foods available here are James Wellbeloved (from Pets At Home) and Royal Canin (again Pets at Home, but the kitten one is only available through vet surgeries), but it's best to feed at least one meal of wet food a day as it's better for urinary and kidney health, and doesn't have the same tendency to lead to obesity as an all dry diet.

Good wet foods available in Pets at Home or large Tescos are Nature's Menu and Hi-Life (although Hi-Life adult isn't a complete food so shouldn't be the only food available to him/her). If your friend can order online then does a wide range of good quality foods as well as other pet products, I like Almo Nature at the premium end of the scale, but Bozita is a good quality cheap food. Avoid Whiskas/Go-Cat/Felix/Gourmet/supermarket own brand food as most of them are only 4% meat which is no good at all!

I think GoldenKitty covered everything else and gave great advice about pet shops, try to dissuade them from buying from a pet shop if you possibly can, they are breeding grounds for disease and the kittens are often taken from their mums way too young (they should be with mum for 10-12 weeks at least), are not bred for good health, and aren't given the best care.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the replies!

Sounds a lot more simple than I thought it would be.

Are there any combs in particular that are better than others? I will look into the foods you suggested, food is so important! Our local pet shops here are really bad and they only sell Go-Cat. So I will see if I can persuade them to buy their food supplies from the internet or travel to Pets at Home for them (which isn't that close).

I am thinking of buying the new kitten a few supplies as a welcome present myself, maybe a few toys and a comb.

Also, what kinds of collars are recommended, flea collars?
Do they need a kitty bed?

I will try my hardest to stop them from getting one from a pet shop, I hate pet shops myself. The only problem is, they don't want to spend £300 on a pedigree cat, in fact, they don't really know much about cat breeds. No one here does, they are all just "cats" of different colours, mongrels. When I myself get a cat in the future though, I would want a pure bred British shorthair.
So, how could I persuade them not to get one from a horrible pet shop?

My fear is, they will end up getting one from either a pet shop or some random stupid person who breeds their sickly, ill bred cats for profit (I have known a family who does this in our area).

EDIT: I forgot to ask about pet insurance, good idea? Any particular kind?

Thanks again for all the help!
post #5 of 13
Do you have a website like America's Or go with them to a shelter and adopt - shelters have kittens too.

BTW they will pay far more then $300 in the pet shop! And it will not be a healthy kitten - so tell them that. It will cost more in vet bills - the kittens in there are taken from mum way too soon - and kittens should be a miniumo of 10-12 weeks old before they are adopted. Also tell them they could have social and behavior problems with pet shop kittens because of taking them too soon.

The combs should be a flea comb (very narrow, fine teeth) and a medium comb - if longhair. If shorthair you can get a Zoom Groom brush or smaller toothed comb.

Flea collars - NO NO NO! That's the worse thing to get and its a waste of money - we use flea collars to put in the vaccumn cleaners Talk with the vet for any flea treatment recommendations. Unless the cat has fleas you don't have to treat them for that.

Kitty beds are fine, but they usually like the couch, chair, and your bed better
post #6 of 13
Go to and search for "Cats". The author of the Cats section has various articles about cats nutrition, health, play, why not to declaw, what new owners need and can expect. The site really helped me to prepare for my cats and gave me good recommendations on litter and food. I still check it out for updates on the recalls and reviews of premium/raw food mixes.
post #7 of 13
Originally Posted by Epona View Post
GK we don't have that 'Chicken Soup...' cat food in the UK, it could easily be misunderstood as cans of actual chicken soup
I remember when i first heard that here and i thought exactly that
post #8 of 13
Sorry about that on the Chicken Soup - I need to pay more attention to where y'all are from
post #9 of 13
In answer to where they should get a cat from if not from a pet shop: Celia Hammond Animal Trust have adoption centres in Lewisham and Canning Town, and Cats' Protection have one in North London (Islington I think). Ask around vet surgeries to see if they know of any accidental pregnancies or kittens or abandoned adults that need rehoming.

Also do a google search for 'viva street', as plenty of people advertise their accidental kittens there, it's the main UK web classified ads service. Tell them though that some of the adverts are for very expensive kittens and to steer clear of them - I have seen ads on there offering crossbred kittens for as much as £300. I got my Oriental Shorthair kitten from a reputable breeder for £400 which is not that much more and includes health guarantee, so paying that much for a crossbreed or accidental kitten is purely daft. (My other cat Radar cost me £50 as a kitten from a woman advertising on viva street, I think paying anything too much more than that for a non-pedigree is just someone trying to empty your pockets!)
post #10 of 13
Just out of curiousity I pulled up the Viva Street you mentioned. What concerns me the most on the kitten ads, is many of them are letting these kittens go at less then 10 weeks old - some at 6 WEEKS old!

You do not want to get that young of a kitten - you may wind up with a lot more behavioral and social problems. They are cute (the pics) but far too young to be leaving mum and siblings.

Be careful on those ads!
post #11 of 13
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
Just out of curiousity I pulled up the Viva Street you mentioned. What concerns me the most on the kitten ads, is many of them are letting these kittens go at less then 10 weeks old - some at 6 WEEKS old!

You do not want to get that young of a kitten - you may wind up with a lot more behavioral and social problems. They are cute (the pics) but far too young to be leaving mum and siblings.

Be careful on those ads!
You're absolutely right, I was going to mention that but forgot

Unfortunately here it is considered by most people who have 'oops' kittens that 6 weeks is the right age to let them go to new homes. So if the OP sees a young kitten that he/she is interested in I would advise to phone and have a chat with the owners about the appropriate age to let them go and hopefully convince them to keep them with mum until 10 weeks. I wouldn't disregard an ad because of the sellers ignorance, but try to gently educate them

I found Radar from a viva street ad and unfortunately at the time didn't know any better and took him at 8.5 weeks. I really think this accounts for some of his behavioural problems, but I'm glad I have him because despite those problems he is a great cat, I just wish I'd known better and reserved him to take 2 weeks later, rather than taking him there and then. Still, you live and learn.
post #12 of 13
Your friend can find a list of local rescue centres near her here

If she's looking for an indoor/outdoor cat a rescue is her best bet. If she gets a cat from somewhere like cats protection or a reputable local rescue then she can be assured that the cat will be in good health, neutered and up to date with flea and worm treatment. Rescues usually ask for between £20 - £60 per cat, depending on whether it's been neutered, microchipped etc. Some rescues aren't keen on rehoming to indoor homes although most do have some cats that need an indoor home and policies do vary from rescue to rescue. Most rescues do homechecks which help to match the right cat to the right person.

If your friend gets a cat from a private ad I'd advise her to be very careful. Gumtree is full of backyard breeders and people asking several hundred pounds for non pedigree kittens. There was actually someone on there asking for £900 for a non pedigree cat recently! It's reasonable to pay something for a kitten or cat (I'd always advise someone looking to rehome a kitten or cat to charge a small fee to avoid those looking for free kittens for dog fighting etc.) but it shouldn't be a large amount. A kitten bought through an ad is much less likely to have seen a vet so your friend will have to spend a lot more initially in getting flea and worm treatment etc.

8 weeks is the minimum age a kitten should go to a new home, imo, and older is best. Pedigree cats usually go to their new homes at 13 weeks old.

I think everyone else has pretty much covered what your friend needs to get. A bed isn't essential straight away - a cardboard box with a blanket in will do although the sofa will probably be preferred!

re the collar - make sure any collar is a break away collar - they have a snap release so that it snaps apart if the cat gets it caught on anything. The ones with a piece of elastic on them aren't safe, despite the fact that they tend to be called safety collars.

re food - again that's been pretty much covered but I would recommend primarily wet food (if the cat will eat it) especially for a male as it really is better for them. I feed natures menu, hi life, bozita and applaws plus a random selection of other brands from zooplus. To begin with however, your friend should feed the cat the same as s/he has been fed in the previous home and then gradually transition onto the food she would like the cat to eat. The same goes with cat litter - best start off with what the cat is used to.

The final thing I'd recommend to begin with is a feliway diffuser. This is a synthetic pheromone (pheromones are what cats deposit when they rub their heads against furniture) and it helps relax and de-stress cats so it might help a new cat settle in. You can get these from vets but also online. I think the cheapest place is vetuk.

re insurance - pet insurance over here is very good and I would recommend it as vet bills can easily run into hundreds of pounds or even thousands. M&S is pretty good but your friend should try getting quotes from a few different companies and compare policies (not all policies are the same so don't necessarily go with the cheapest premium - your friend should read the exclusions to see what is and isn't covered). Just bear in mind that any pre existing conditions will be excluded. When you get a new cat it's a good idea to take out a policy straight away then wait the required 14 days before you take the cat to the vet for a check up in case anything needing treatment is found.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
You have all been so helpful!

I'm not sure when they will be ready to get a cat just yet, they hope soon though so I will look for rescues and ads myself to try and steer them away from the bad ones you guys described.

Thank you all for the advice on food, collars, insurance and buying a kitten. I've learnt so much from just reading this one topic.

*hugs for everyone!*
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