Prinny: Ok, I was just about to send my message to you when it closed, so I will type this all again!
I hope you enjoy your new cat, I spent most of my life in Maine, and I'm kinda amazed at the price increase to the local Bangor Humane Society, I don't know if the others have started to do that same.
On average a cat will never need to be bathed. A normal healthy cat will not stink, it will have a nice pleasent scent of its own just like a human. I have found that most dogs naturally seem to be a bit more robust in that area. But a cat shouldn't be quiet that bad.
You can bath a cat if you have allergies to them, of if they get something toxic or otherwise un removable on her skin/fur.
I would not recommend bathing your cat more then once every 2 or 3 months (which is what we do her, re allergies.)
There are also dry baths, and pet wipes which serve the same purpose. We use Natures Miracle pet wipes inbetween bathing.
As far a shampoo's go, if you have a kitten, use one formulated for a kittne, or other wise buy an adult. Generally it's better to use a shampoo that is only for cats, and not cats & DOGS.
I like to use a shedding shampoo, as it helps the shedding process speed up, and leaves less fur and dander all around your house.
I've learned the hard way that you shouldn't use metal slicker brushes on most cats, only dogs with a lot of very thick fur seem to be able to fair these brushes.
I say get a good metal flea comb, and a plastic slick brush, this is what we have here. (Well we have a metal slicker brush). There are many kind of brushes and some of them will just be trial and error.
Are you looking for something to style your cats hair, or just reduce shedding and matting? You should comb her every day, or at least once a week.
Not every litter will work the same for every cat..
If she's a kitten or a very small cat, stay away from CLAY based clumping litters.
Otherwise all other litters that are clay and non clumping or other substance based which are or are not clumping are ok.
I prefer scoopable, and you should scoop the box about 2 times per day, and have at least one box per cat per floor of your home. Try to get the biggest box you can, as if you have a big cat you want her to feel comfortable in a BIG box. I like covered litter boxes, which is great IF your cat will use them, as it reduces smell and litter tracking.
The 2 brands I like the most are
Scoop Away + Cyrstals
Nails should be trimmed one a week with sharp cat nail trimmers.
You can also try SoftPaws, which I believe last about a month.
And some people have great sucess with them.
About the food, this is the tricky part, every type of food, wet/dry/freeze dried and BARF have their goods points and bad points. You have to research each of them and find out which one works best for you and your cat.
I say to feed the highest quality you can afford, and that your cat will actually eat.
Not all cats who eat dry food will fall ill, and this can be said for any food. In some tests wet food as been shown to cause more dental problems then other diets. But like I said, it just goes 'round and round. So you'll just have to research for yourself, and of course feel free to ask further questions here.
I personally for my 3 current cats feed mostly dry food (high quality) and every 3 days I will give them a bit of canned food, more so for a treat then anything.
Make sure your cat has a constant supply of fresh clean water. You can even buy one of those filtered cat water foutains if you want, and those only need to be refilled once in a while, adn they promote more water intake by the cat, which is good for them.