New owner checklist:

Overview:

This is a great checklist derived mainly from the wonderful people at Sweet Heaven Ragdolls. This is a list of things for your kitten/cat before it comes home.

I'm listing the items and, and identifying some of the brands here too. After having Hudson for a year, I've added some comments.

Grooming items:

Grooming the coat

There is the grooming to get rid of things in the coat, to remove tangles and matting, and for appearance. You will use different things for each. On metal combs, the closer the teeth on the comb, the better. Do not get the colored metal combs as the color wears off on the cat.

  • slicker brush - smooths and arranges the top hairs, only use when dry
  • comb to remove mats

the English made (but stamped Belgium) Greyhound is famous, we have the 187 http://greyhoundcomb.com/about.html

greyhound comb

I also found a very similar comb for much less on Amazon, and the tines are larger and more rounded, and this works even better

Teeth

Tooth brush and paste - From what I have found out, the most common ailment is bad teeth. Regular brushing or inspection is good, so far we are having the vet do it, but will see if kitty will go along with it.

We are now brushing Hudson's teeth, and the tooth paste is chicken flavored, that helps a lot.

Nails

Cat nail clippers - we found ones in "sizes" with a small hole you put the nail into, much easier than regular clippers where the nail can slide out. Also picking the right size makes it much harder to cut too short.

 

There are some motorized nail "files" that might be nice, the advantage is no sharp edges, and it should be easier on the cat. I have an older small Dremel tool that has a low speed, will try that.

A year later we trim his nails no less often than 2 weeks, and have not tried the sanding drum to smooth the nails, they sharpen up fast enough by kitty scratching.

Bathing

Bathing your car: This depends on how well the cat cleans itself. When bathing, be sure to get all the shampoo/soap out.

Connie uses use Dawn dish washing Liquid, but she's probably better than us at keeping the soap out of the cat's eyes. Johnsons baby shampoo is ok for cats, but there are some tear free ones that are better in my opinion.

We have used one I found at a cat show, by Quadruped: www.quadrupedpetcare.com . After talking to the owner and seeing what was in it, we bought it and are very happy with it. We are using the whitnner brightener color enhancing tearless formula. Truthfully, besides doing a great job of cleaning, and not irritating kitty, he actually looks whiter and brighter, no kidding!.

Also, get a non slip mat for the sink or tub where you wash kitty, I found a good "solid" one at Bed Bath & Beyond, many are an open grid, where kitty's claws might get caught.

Use a faucet with separate spray head - we are using the laundry sink, nice and deep, and small so you are not chasing kitty, or bending over on your knees

Other grooming

Be sure to inspect around the eyes for infections, be careful when wiping near them. We use nice soft cosmetic sponges wetted with warm water. Q-Tips might poke kitty's eyes if he moves.

Cleaning ears. Be careful to not go inside deep in the ears as you can damage the ears if you use Q-Tips. A better idea is some of the foaming cleaners for ears that can wash out.

Kitty's butt: Use unscented baby wipes - for near eyes and butt. On ragdolls, you might trim the fur a bit shorter.

Furniture

Posts: Connie recommends 1-2 cat posts to keep the cat busy and use their claws on. We do not want them to use the furniture.

I have a page dedicated to cat furniture: Cat furniture, scratching posts, etc.

Scratching posts

We've decided mostly on the Purrfect Post product line, very nice selection and look much more finished than other cat furniture.

 

 

We started out with 3 different types from Purrfect Post, see the link above.

 

Other scratching things

I like the Purrfect Post "the purrfect angle", a small angled scratcher with replacement sisal or cardboard pads

Petfusion makes cardboard based scratchers, we got the petfusion scratcher/lounge, and kitty loves it.

petfusion

Cat trees

Wow, there are a ton of these.

Right now, we prefer to keep kitty more at our level, so we don't really want one in our living areas.

Beds:

Found a nice one from urban paw: http://www.urbanpawpet.com/ many different types, the cool one is a "hut" which can also be collapsed to a bed.

We also - we bought one from www.hugsnpurrs.com

Bought several of these from Petco:

And one of these:

 

 We have plenty now!!!

Litter box

Connie is a breeder, so she just uses storage boxes as they are so much cheaper but you can buy what you like. We use Swheat Scoop litter. Please do not use any clay litter as this can block the intestines.

It is recommended to have 2 if you have a two story house, one upstairs one downstairs.

Even though the wife assured me she would take complete care of the cat, I decided to get an automated litter box. ;-)

We bought 2 of the nicest automated litter boxes, See the page on the Cat Genie They work great!

Diet / Feeding:

Milk:

This is NOT recommend for your cat. Milk can cause digestive problems.

Water:

Cool clean water is essential for cats. There are nice ceramic bowls for this. Researching this, the ceramic bowls seem to keep the water cooler. Stainless is nice, does not keep the water as cool,and they are light and move around unless weighted.

We will have several water dishes around the house, but a good water fountain seems to be a good idea, the moving water seems to encourage the cat to drink.

We purchased a Drinkwell "Avalon" fountain by Petsafe, all ceramic. The stainless steel and the ceramic ones are preferred in that they can be cleaned better than plastic. This particular model is round, no corners, ceramic, and should be easiest to clean, fine in dishwasher. It is a nice design, easy to assemble, a minimum of parts. It has a coarse foam filter for hair and stuff and a carbon filter for filtration/smells.

Feeding Bowls:

Connie says: "Please use crock bowls, ceramic bowls or stainless steel but please do not use plastic bowls. Some cats are allergic to plastic." I have also found in my research that the plastic cannot always be gotten completely clean, and some plastic is a bit porous.

We found these very nice bowls via Connie, http://www.charliescritters.com/ very nice, heavy, with a non-skid backing. Charlie is great! Look at the beehive water bowls, which keep the cat's face clean and dry, nice concept!

The wet food bowls have an "indented lip" which helps contain the food, and allows a nice low profile bowl so that there's no "whisker stress" that is found in deep dish bowls:

prod indented lip

 

They have so many sizes and types, you are bound to find something perfect for your cat!

 

http://www.catfooddispensersreviews.com/

 

Food:

Many people feed different diets of food. The first thing is at least continue what your breeder recommends, or what your cat has been eating.

Our breeder only feeds wet can food, she used Blue Wilderness duck and pea, turkey, chicken or liver. She fed no beef or fish. She states that beef is hard on their digestive system. She was ok with Fancy Feast, Friskies Pate too.

An important note: all dry food has a lot less moisture, so if you feed all or mostly dry food, make sure kitty drinks a lot of water.

See the section: Food for your cat

 

Treats:

Connie uses Halo dry chicken treats. She warns against "Greenies"

I found that the Halo treats come in small crunchy pieces in a bag, or freeze-dried in a square plastic jar. The freeze dried chicken is also available in a larger bag.

I bought the chicken and a liver one, kitty loves them. I tried some cheaper brands, even ones that stated "pure chicken, nothing else" and kitty got the runs.

Health concerns/tips

Supplements

Viralys or L-Lysine. Connie recommends this for new kittens or when a cat is stressed. This is a supplement that helps builds a stronger immunity system. Viralys you can get at the vet. office and L-Lysine you can get at a health store (250 milligrams twice a day=500 per day) This is not required to do. This is something that I always do.

I did a lot of research, and recent studies seem to show that L-Lysine has no effect on protecting your cat from Feline Herpesvirus: Check this article and Check this study

I'm going to hold off and research some more before trying this.

Fleas:

Advantage or Revolution. Please do not use Bio Spot, Frontline or any Hartz products.

cheristin

 

Cat-proofing the house:

There are various ways you can keep kitty safe and also keep your house from being destroyed.

Clearly encouraging kitty with lots of places to scratch, and leaving temptations out of their reach should be done.

You can also put up barriers, and there are items that discourage kitty from touching or climbing on furniture.

See the separate page on: Cat Proofing Your house 

 

Toys:

Connie says: "I am VERY Picky on the toys. I do not buy any toys with moveable eyes, pom-poms ribbons or feathers. String toys are bonding toys and should never be left lying around. These items can seriously harm your cat. I like handmade stuffed toys. I really love baby toys. Teaser toys are another bonding toy that I put away in a drawer when I am not playing with the cat."

 CatAmazing:

A cardboard box with shapes inside, you drop treats inside and the cat has to figure out how to get them out, there are 3 levels of difficulty.  Very nice and inexpensive

I bought ours directly from their site with paypal, no tax no shipping, $13

 

Suggestions on assembling:

  1. pre fold all parts, especially the left and right box sides, where there are 2 folds 1/4" from each other, the box will fold nice and square if you do this.
  2. once the basic box is done, fold the insert and test place it to see where stuff lines up.
  3. Now put 3 pieces of double stick tape on the bottom of the insert, the 3 flat places that sit on the bottom of the box, left to right is green, red, and yellow.
  4. Now, holding the red and green up away from the box, seat the yellow end in the box, getting it nicely in the corner (there is a yellow flap that goes up, I'm talking the yellow part that goes flat on the bottom).
  5. Now, again holding the middle red part up in the air, lower the left hand green part and get it right into left side.
  6. Now you can "center" the middle red part, centering the two "peaks" with the 2 holes on the side facing you, slowly lowering it home.
  7. You can also bend the vertical yellow part away from the side and add another bit of double stick to hold it tightly to the right side

Doing this keeps the center insert from moving or coming loose.

 

We also bought the Catit Senses, a series of interlocking tunnels that can be arranged various ways, and a ball trapped inside. I've seen a number of videos and the cats seem to have fun batting the ball around. Some tunnels are flat, some have hills and valleys. I believe there is also a motion sensitive ball with a flashing LED, looking for that. Bought from Drs Foster and Smith, a good site.

 

Laser pointer

There are a lot of these, if you expect to use it a lot, look for the ones that use 2 AAA batteries, not the "hearing aid" batteries.

I got a nice one for $10, and kitty loves to chase the beam.

Carriers / strollers

You need something to transport kitty in a car, like to the vet. We read that getting a carrier that has not only an end door, but can open from the top. Since you are normally only using this when going to the vet, your cat may be a bit panicked so the top opening allows you to reach in gently rather that open the door at the end an a gigantic hand attacks your kitty to yank him out.

We have this Doskocil Two-door top loading carrier, the medium size... just right and got it at Drs Foster and Smith.

I also bought a mat for the inside - for carrier above, we needed an 11" x 18" mat, I got this one from Petsmart, made by Top Paw, called the "Tuff Kennel Pad"

 

If you travel, you need an approved style carrier, I would recommend Sherpa, there's even a site tot print up the approval certificate for your airline:

 

 

 

We still might want a stroller that has a soft carrier built into it:

 

 

 

Misc

Catnip - although I have heard not all cats react to catnip, and usually kittens under 3 months do not react. They can appreciate honeysuckle though. Reactions to catnip can vary, from mild to wild. Nice article here