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 rake comb - removes fur to keep shedding down - the Furminator looks good, but really do not need on rag dolls, it's for cats with matted coats or you want to cut away some of the fur. I have found that regular combing and brushing eliminates any need for this device, which actually has a blade inside to cut hair. 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 got ours from from Purrfect Post - get the clippers that have a curve cut, not the straight clippers. 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. 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 whitner brightner 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 claw 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. 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. In one place we think we want a cat tree on the laundry room counter, so we need steps to let the cat up there. 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 porus. 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: 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. Your kitten/cat eats wet can food. Blue Wildness-duck And pea, turkey, chicken or liver. We feed no beef or fish. Beef is hard on their digestive system. Fancy Feast, Friskies Pate are all good. 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. Wet food: Connie feeds canned wet food is fed twice a day. She leaves it for about 15-20 minutes, and picks up what is not eaten in that time. Most all "experts" agree that what is not eaten in 20 minutes gets thrown out. Also do not keep opened food in the fridge over 24 hours, even covered. Connie does not feed beef or fish. Beef can be hard on the digestive system, and she is concerned about bones in the fish. Connie also uses and recommends several: Blue Wilderness: DUck & Pea, Turkey, Chicken, or Liver. Friskies: she recommendes the "pate" versions, and chicken and rice or chicken and liver. Fancy Feast is good too, with the wellness version is preferred. I found there is also a kitten variety in small cans. According to Fancy Feast, feed 1 can per 3 to 3 ½ pounds of body weight daily, comes in tender ocean whitefish and tender turkey. Note that the pate varieties are also good for kittens. Dry Food: Connie says: "The reason we feed 2-3 different dry foods together is if one dry food is recalled than you will not have to change much of their diet." She feeds dry food all day. Connie uses a mixture of 2-3 different dry foods in one container: Life's Abundance Web Site Can only be ordered online. (877) 387-4564. Orijen Cat and Kitten Web Site Can be found in local feed stores, but not the big chains. I found the 15 lb for $60 in stores, and the 5 lb for $27, forget buying the .88 pound Kirkland Signature Super Premium Maintenance cat. Comes in a purple bag. 20lbs $27 at Costco. Royal Canin Kitten, available from Petco/Petsmart, in a pink bag places to buy food for me Pet Nutrition center, 6949 El Camino Real, #104, Carlsbad What we feed Hudson: We started with dry food, and mixed it, but we found that Hudson was not getting enough moisture, and he tended to eat more than he needed. We now have him on wet food only, Fancy Feast in 3 oz cans: Chicken Feast in gravy - grilled (small chunks of meat in gravy)Turkey Feast in gravy - grilledTurkey & Giblets feast in gravy - grilledTurkey & cheddar cheese feast in gravy - grilledChicken & cheddar cheese feast in gravy - grilledLiver and Chicken Feast in gravy - grilled (a bit larger chunks of meat in gravy) Chicken hearts and liver feast in chicken flavored gravy Fancy Feast - Tender Liver & Chicken Feast (pate style), one of their classicsFancy Feast - Gravy Lovers - Chicken Feast in grilled chicken flavor gravy Upset stomachs / diahreea For upset stomachs, Connie uses Iams Digestives (in a pink bag) We found that kitty's tummy was grumbling a lot when we first had him. We think it was the antibiotics we were giving him. We bought the Purina Fortiflora and put in his food once a day, solved that. Since then, we give him probiotics twice a day, I found a great brand that has 23 different strains and is called Nexabiotic. One bottle of 60 capsules (I give 1/2 capsule twice a day) is $26 so it's less than 50 cents a day. The Fortiflora is $1 per pack, usually a pack a day. 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. 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: 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. once the basic box is done, fold the insert and test place it to see where stuff lines up. 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. 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). Now, again holding the middle red part up in the air, lower the left hand green part and get it right into left side. 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. 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 on catnip Cat grass - we are going to try to grow our own, seems this might help with hairballs also. Houseplants: Connie says: "We do not recommend any houseplants and we do not have any in our home. So many plants are toxic. Holiday plants are really toxic and can kill your kitty. We keep our plants on the back porch or front porch for neighbors to enjoy." My wife and I have lots of houseplants, but most are way out of kitty's reach, and we have researched them carefully so no toxic ones are in the house. Note that the biggest danger seems to be from plant pollen and flowering. The pollen will get in the air..