Common Cat Essentials – Do’s and Don’ts – Part 1

When adopting an animal, you look through hundreds of items online to decide what you’re going to have for them. When it comes to a cat, there are thousands of items listed as essentials that are do’s, and some are definite don’ts.

I’m going to walk you through a list of items that I bought for Harley, how they’ve gone down, and whether you should try them with your kitty!

Before we get into it, I want to state that Harley’s demeanour has changed a lot over the month that we’ve had her. So, at first, a lot of these items were useless. But, if you persevere they’ll get there!

When Harley first arrived, she was 1.6kg. She was skin and bone, but with a full body of fur, which meant that for the first couple of days while I was trying to get her to trust me, I didn’t know the full extent of her weight issues. Thankfully, she enjoyed eating little and often at the beginning before starting having two full meals a day with snacks available throughout the day.

She didn’t know how to play, so although we had mountains of toys, she didn’t have a clue. She also didn’t know that she was allowed to use the litter tray more than once a day, as she kept asking for permission to use it. Which is completely fixed now! She goes as often as she needs to.

So, let’s get on with this list!

Cat Treats!

I’ve genuinely never seen an animal reject a meaty treat so quickly.
Hi Life is marketed as being all-natural but nothing feels natural about it. It feels like flakey, feathery rubber, and Harley was entirely unimpressed by it. She had a total of three chunks before she decided no more please. So, she did give them a good try!

Dreamies, on the other hand, was a different story. She scoffed them down quicker than we could put them in a bowl for her. Thankfully, she eats everything in moderation and knows when she needs to stop. However, don’t buy the multipack box (£10 for 12 pouches) until they’ve tried every flavour – Cheese, Fish, and Chicken. Otherwise, you might be left with four pouches of Dreamies that your cat won’t eat. Which is Harley in a nutshell as she hates the Cheese treats.

Pickles was another one that was hit and miss at first but has quickly become a favourite. It’s a much more expensive brand but you can get vouchers regularly if you’re a Pets at Home VIP by grabbing the magazine in-store.
Harley got to try the catnip treats first, which of course she adored. But the cat milk was a different story. She enjoyed the cranberry milk and the honey milk, but it was a solid no for the standard flavour milk and the coconut milk.
Then there are the Pickles Duo Treats which are either chicken and cheese or duck and cheese. I thought she’d hate them, and only really got them for her to try considering I had a coupon. But she’s really enjoying them! For the price, the pack is really small. But she enjoys them and they’re just an occasional treat considering the calories of them, so I have no complaints and neither does she.

Litter Trays

Trying to find a good litter tray is a nightmare. I bought three, two basic rectangle ones and this – Felight – litter tray. I realised very quickly that she hated both, the standard and this one because they were just so flimsy and the sides were so short that litter went everywhere. So, I bought a large enclosed litter tray from Argos. Which she also hated and due to such, she started having accidents outside the tray. It was at that moment that I realised she didn’t like the enclosed litter tray due to her past of being held in a cage for hours at a time. So, I took the lid off and issue was resolved. She now has three large litter trays, taking 5ltr of litter at a time, and three lids in storage. But honestly, it cuts down on how much litter gets scattered and she’s much happier.
If you’re going to use the Felight tray, just make sure it’s for a kitten or cat under 1 year old. Anything past that will hate it and only use it out of desperation.

Cat Litter

It’s so important that your cat likes the litter that you’re using. The first major don’t – scented litters. Stop using floral-scented litter, your cat can smell it a lot stronger than you and it will probably disorientate them for a few minutes after leaving the tray. They’re only using it because they have to.
Stop using crystals – would you rather walk on crystals or something soft or sand-like? I know I wouldn’t want to stand on them, so I won’t be forcing Harley to just because they deal with odour control a bit better.
Catsan was my initial choice of litter, which is fine but I noticed that she was having issues digging in it to move it around. She was having to use a lot more force to make a well for her to poop into. So, I ordered her Cats Best wood fibre instead. I knew she’d used wood pellet previously, so I knew she’d be okay with it. It’s a much lighter-smelling litter, not completely overpowering. It’s also quite good for odour control. And it has a slight clumping factor but nothing too strong.
I hate clumping cat litter for the reason that if they eat it, it can cause some serious blockages. But the wood fibre doesn’t clump in the same way as clay does so if worst comes to worst, she should be able to pass it.
Make sure to ask the previous owner, shelter, etc, which litter they used for your cat. Otherwise, you’re going to have to deal with messes. And you can’t really blame the cat for a mess they made due to your ignorance, now can you? Don’t worry, I also made this mistake as I forgot to ask and it was a bit late by the time I finally did. Thankfully, I was prepared!

This is just part one, there are so many more things that I need to say. But for now, this is it.



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