23 of the best cat foods in 2021 for kittens, adult cats, and seniors

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • There are so many great cat food brands that finding the right recipe for your feline can be tough.
  • Veterinarians and an animal nutrition expert shared their insights into what makes a nutritious cat food.
  • Here are some of the best cat foods, including dry, wet, organic, LID, and fresh foods.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Karie Johnson, veterinarian and co-founder of VIP Vet Visit, a mobile vet service in the south suburbs of Chicago.
Best cat food brands in 2021

Finding a nutritious, high-quality cat food that satisfies your cat and fits your budget is an unenviable challenge. To help you choose the best food for your cat, we pored over literature on pet food standards, labels, and ingredients and consulted with animal nutrition experts.

We evaluated the food in this guide according to the standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which encompass nutritional adequacy, calorie content, guaranteed analysis, and ingredients. While the experts we spoke with declined to recommend specific foods, they helped us narrow down our selection criteria. The picks in this guide are only some of the excellent options available. If you’re interested in exploring other cat foods, this guide provides the tools needed to evaluate the quality and nutritional value of any food.

A cat can live a long healthy life whether they are fed dry food, wet food, or a combination of both, as long as the food is AAFCO complete and balanced. Just be careful not to overfeed. The average 8- to 10-pound adult cat should consume between 230 and 270 kcals/day to maintain a healthy weight, according to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA). An extremely active or sedentary feline may have different needs.

Anyone who is considering a change to their cat’s diet should consult their veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist first.

Here are the best cat foods you can buy in 2021

The best adult dry cat food

Cat Food_Adult dry cat food

Dry food is the most cost-effective way to keep a cat satiated. Like all cat food, a kibble must display an AAFCO complete and balanced statement on its label. This ensures the food has the appropriate balance of protein (at least 26%) and fat (at least 9%) as well as the other essential vitamins and minerals. 

Cats are obligate carnivores and cannot survive on plant-based nutrients alone. Some form of whole meat or meat meal should be listed among the first ingredients, but don’t worry too much about the order in which they appear or what is listed after. 

Many cat foods are prominently marketed as grain-free, but there’s no proven benefit to these diets. “Grains are a source of carbohydrates [and] while cats are obligate carnivores, some carbohydrates in their diets can be helpful if included at moderate levels,” said Kelly Swanson, PhD, professor of animal and nutritional sciences at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Fiber, for example, can help minimize hairballs, maintain healthy body weight, and aid in bowel movements.

It is easy to overfeed your cat with dry food since it is more calorie dense than wet food. Keep a close eye on your cat’s daily kibble intake to ensure they don’t gain weight, which can lead to other health problems. 

Our picks for adult dry cat food:

The best adult wet cat food

Cat Food_Adult wet cat food

Wet cat food tends to be costlier than dry food. In terms of nutrition, wet food stands out from kibble in a few ways. It contains significantly more moisture, typically 75% to 80% versus 10% to 12% found in dry food. Because of that moisture content, wet food is more filling and may be a good choice for cats who love to eat a little too zealously. 

However, Okada and Parker both agreed that feeding a typical adult cat wet food instead of, or in addition to, dry food offers no specific health benefits. It’s a decision that should be based on a cat’s preferences and a guardian’s budget.

Our picks for adult wet cat food:

The best fresh cat food

Cat Food_Fresh cat food

Fresh pet food is a relatively new trend in which whole meats, vegetables, essential vitamins, and minerals are combined, then frozen to maintain freshness. Some fresh pet foods are available via fuss-free subscription and delivery services and others are available in the freezer section of pet stores. 

While fresh cat food is pricier than dry or canned foods, the difference between them is clear. In fresh foods, the whole ingredients are visible with the naked eye and have a consistency that rivals a home-cooked meal. 

There are several fresh cat food companies that meet AAFCO standards, but only two have a full-time veterinary nutritionist on staff: Nom Nom and JustFoodForDogs. According to our experts, this is an essential quality to look for when choosing a food for your pet. 

Our picks for fresh cat food:

The best limited ingredient cat food

Cat Food_LID cat food

Limited ingredient diets (LIDs) may be recommended for cats with gastrointestinal or dermatological issues that are likely caused by an adverse reaction or allergy to ingredients commonly found in cat food. Veterinarians often use LID foods to perform food elimination trials in order to pinpoint the source of a cat’s food sensitivity. 

When it comes to healthy adult cats, Okada told us that there is no advantage to feeding an LID formula. These recipes were historically formulated with uncommon ingredients and novel proteins like wild game, but the inclusion of these ingredients in regular cat food has made it more challenging to identify appropriate foods for a cat in need of an LID. To make it more likely that an LID will work for a cat who develops allergies or food reactions later in life, Okada said that healthy adult cats should stick to regular cat food formulas that are complete and balanced. 

Our picks for LID cat food:

The best organic cat food

Cat Food_organic cat food

In order for a cat food to be certified organic, it must meet USDA guidelines for organic human-grade foods, which includes at least 95% organic ingredients. These organic foods tend to be more expensive than regular pet food because the ingredients are sourced from the competitive human food market.

While the idea of organic cat food may be appealing, Tufts University’s Cummings Veterinary Medical Center says there is no good evidence that an organic diet has more health benefits than one made with conventionally produced ingredients.

It is true that organic cat foods may contain fewer pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, and GMOs, but often the difference is negligible. Ultimately, feeding a cat an organic diet is a personal choice, not a nutritional one. 

Our picks for organic cat food:

The best budget adult dry cat food

Cat Food_budget adult dry food

Even if you have the money to spend, don’t write off budget cat foods altogether. There are a number of affordable AAFCO complete and balanced dry foods that are just as nutritious as more expensive kibble.

Not only do the budget dry cat foods we selected contain whole meats and protein-rich meat meals, they have ingredients like kelp and alfalfa that support gut health and antioxidant-rich blueberries and cranberries. The percentages of protein, fat, and fiber they contain are also on par with pricier brands.

Our picks for budget dry food:

The best budget adult wet cat food

Cat Food_Budget adult dry food

Wet cat food doesn’t have to cost a premium to be nutritionally complete and balanced. The budget wet cat foods we recommend are significantly higher in protein than the 26% AAFCO minimum recommendation for healthy adult cats without kidney problems. 

Both the percentage of protein a cat food contains and the sources of that protein are important, said Swanson. Animal-based proteins typically provide the 10 essential amino acids and levels of taurine a cat’s diet requires. Other animal- or plant-based proteins are sometimes added to meet nutritional needs.

Like pricier wet foods, these budget options also contain 78% to 82% moisture which helps to keep a cat feeling full for longer while providing them with an additional source of hydration. Whether your cat prefers to eat only wet food or you feed it as part of a diet mixed with kibble, these recipes are a reliable option.

Our picks for budget adult wet cat food:

The best kitten food

Cat Food_Kitten food

Kittens under a year of age need a somewhat different combination of nutrients to support their revving metabolism and growing bones. An AAFCO complete and balanced kitten food contains a minimum of 30% protein, 9% fat, and extra vitamin A, calcium, and phosphorus. These formulas also meet AAFCO’s standards for pregnant and lactating adult cats who require additional calories and nutrients.

Although it doesn’t matter whether a kitten is fed dry food, wet food, or a combination of the two, introducing young kittens to different types of food may prevent them from being picky eaters in adulthood. Regardless of the type of food you select, cats benefit from being fed out of a puzzle feeder instead of a regular bowl. The problem-solving and play required to extract the food provides a kitten important mental stimulation. The more energy they burn on puzzle toys, the less likely they’ll be to become bored and make trouble.

Our picks for kitten food:

The best senior cat food

Cat Food_Senior cat food

Once a cat hits 7 years of age, they are considered senior. Senior cats have the same minimum AAFCO nutritional requirements as younger adult cats, but decreased activity can cause them to pack on the pounds. And the more overweight a cat becomes, the more likely they are to develop conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, arthritis, and pancreatitis.

You can help your senior cat maintain a healthy body weight by closely controlling their portion sizes or by switching them to a senior diet that is lower in calories than typical adult formulas. Just be sure to check the calorie content because some senior foods actually have more calories and may still require portion control.

Senior formulas also have omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that aren’t required in regular adult cat foods. These ingredients help reduce inflammation, improve cognitive function, and support the immune system. As long as the senior food is labeled AAFCO complete and balanced, it will contain the vitamins and minerals an older cat requires without the need to provide additional supplements. 

Different cats have different needs as they age, so consult your veterinarian before switching your cat to a senior diet or determining whether additional supplements are required.

Our picks for senior cat food:

Our methodology

To select the cat foods for this guide, we consulted two veterinary nutritionists and a professor of animal and nutritional sciences. None of these experts recommended specific brands or endorsed any of the products in this, but they helped us understand what makes a high-quality cat food and what to avoid. 

We also consulted guidelines and recommendations from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Global Nutrition Guidelines, among other organizations. 

The cat foods chosen for this guide were selected based on the following criteria:

AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement: The most basic measure of a nutritionally complete cat food is the presence of an AAFCO statement on the label. AAFCO is a nonprofit organization that defines the standard nutritional requirements for pet food and animal feed. A cat food with an AAFCO statement is guaranteed to be complete and balanced for a cat at various life stages. Read more about AAFCO standards in the next slide.

Guaranteed analysis and nutrient profiles: The guaranteed analysis consists of the percentages of protein, fat, and other important nutrients in a food. Food for adult cats who are not pregnant should have a minimum of 26% protein, 9% fat, and the presence of essential nutrients, including amino acids like taurine, fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins. There is no minimum fiber or carbohydrate requirement for adult cats who are not pregnant and a complete and balanced food does not require added essential nutrients, said Okada. 

Swanson told us that cats without properly functioning kidneys require diets that are lower in protein. The less protein a cat with kidney problems has, the less likely it will be to build up waste products in the blood that make them sick.

If you’re looking to compare wet food to kibble, you’ll find the guaranteed analysis of wet food doesn’t give you the full picture of how much of these vital nutrients is actually present. Read more about how to decipher the guaranteed analysis for wet food in the section on How to read a cat food label.

Expert formulations: For this guide, we prioritized brands that have a dedicated nutrition expert on staff, which aligns with WSAVA guidelines. Both of the veterinary nutritionists we spoke to agree. 

Always look for pet food manufacturers that employ at least one full-time board-certified veterinary nutritionist or an animal nutrition expert with a master’s or doctorate degree. 

Brands that formulate their products with the guidance of a veterinary nutritionist who is not on staff may be unable to ensure the highest quality standards.

“Pet food production requires a thorough knowledge of pet nutrition, pet food ingredients, processing methods and their effect on nutrients, plus a good understanding of physiology, chemistry, mathematics, microbiology and biochemistry,” said Okada. “My greatest concerns are for very small companies that may have the best of intentions but very limited experience and technical knowledge.”

Ingredients list: The ingredients on a pet food label are listed in order of weight. Proteins in the form of whole meat or meat meal should come first on the ingredients list. Don’t get too hung up on the order of the ingredients that come next. 

Manufacturing standards: When selecting a cat food brand, it’s important to consider a manufacturer’s quality control measures and the types of facilities where they produce food. Parker said this information should be easily accessible on a pet food company’s website. If not, you should be able to call the company and get quick answers.

Some smaller pet food companies produce their food in facilities used by larger, more established manufacturers. According to Okada, this is a reliable way to ensure food quality and safety. When in doubt, select a larger manufacturer with a long history of making pet food. “If a problem arises, it will likely be discovered sooner if the product is widely distributed,” Okada said.

Calorie content: The calorie content of cat food is listed in kilocalories, or k/cals. According to WSAVA, the average cat weighing between 8 and 10 pounds should consume between 230 to 270 kcals/day. A cat food’s calorie content should be clearly listed on its packaging. 

What are AAFCO standards?

Since its establishment in 1906, the nonprofit Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has set nutritional guidelines for pet food in the United States. AAFCO is not a regulatory agency, but the regulatory FDA is an AAFCO member with a non-voting advisory role. AAFCO does not test, approve, or certify pet food brands. Instead, it defines the ingredient, labeling, and testing standards that establish whether a pet food is nutritionally complete for animals at different life stages.

A cat food that meets AAFCO’s minimum standards is considered complete and balanced at one of two life stages: growth and reproduction, which includes kittens and pregnant or lactating females, or adult maintenance, which is intended for cats over a year of age. 

To meet the minimum AAFCO standard, an adult cat food must contain at least 26% protein, 9% fat, and essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Food for kittens up to a year of age and pregnant or lactating adults must have a minimum of 30% protein, 9% fat, and higher levels of vitamin A, calcium, and phosphorus than adult maintenance foods. 

Parker said that almost all commercially made cat foods exceed the minimum standards set by the AAFCO. In order to determine whether a product meets the minimum standards, the manufacturer must conduct a third-party laboratory analysis or feeding trials using AAFCO protocols. A cat food without an AAFCO complete and balanced statement for an individual cat’s life stage should never be fed as the cat’s primary food.

How to read a cat food label

Cat Food_Read Pet Food Label

To really understand what is in your cat’s food and to compare one brand to another, you’ll need to navigate its nutritional content.

Guaranteed analysis: The guaranteed analysis on a cat food label is not at all straightforward, especially if you’re attempting to compare the nutrients in a wet food to those in a dry food. Because the two types of food have vastly different moisture contents (around 75% to 78% in wet food and 10% to 12% in dry food), the percentages of fat, protein, and fiber in wet food must be converted to “dry matter basis.” 

To convert the moisture-containing guaranteed analysis to dry matter basis, check out these directions from the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University. You can also call the food manufacturer or ask your veterinarian for help. 

AAFCO complete and balanced statement: To ensure that a cat food is nutritionally complete and balanced, it must contain one of three AAFCO statements on its label.

1. The first AAFCO statement confirms that the food’s minimum nutrient profile has been verified via a third-party laboratory analysis. It reads:

[Product] is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles.

2. Instead of submitting a food for laboratory analysis, a company may test the food through controlled feeding trials. These trials are not perfect — the AAFCO requires eight healthy cats to consume a food for six months. At the end of the trial, at least 75% of the cats in the trial must meet four blood test parameters and must not have lost more than 15% of their original body weight. This statement reads:

Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that [product] provides complete and balanced nutrition.

3. A cat food manufacturer whose family of products has already met AAFCO’s feeding trials criteria may carry an AAFCO statement for recipes that were not directly tested. That statement reads:

[Product] provides complete and balanced nutrition and is comparable in nutritional adequacy to a product which has been substantiated using AAFCO feeding tests.

Calorie content statement: The calorie content of cat food is listed in kilocalories, or k/cals. A cat food’s calorie content should be clearly listed on its packaging. 

Other keywords to look for: The AAFCO has rules around how products can be marketed. If a single ingredient makes up 25% to 94% of a food’s dry matter, it must be called a “dinner,” “entree,” “formula,” or “recipe.” If a single ingredient makes up 95% or more of the dry matter, it can be labeled as “Tuna Cat Food,” “Chicken Cat Food,” or another meat-first name.

If the word “flavor” appears on a cat food label, do not assume that it contains the actual ingredient associated with the flavor. A “tuna-flavored cat food,” for example, does not have to contain tuna. The flavor may come from a broth, byproduct, or meal. 

Some cat food labels include the phrase “No artificial flavors,” but don’t be concerned about labels that do not. According to the FDA, artificial flavors are rarely used in cat food.

“Premium” and “gourmet” are purely marketing terms. Foods labeled this way do not necessarily contain higher quality ingredients and they are not required to meet higher nutritional standards.

“Natural” refers to a cat food that does not contain artificial flavors or preservatives unless they come from AAFCO-approved sources.

Our sources

We spoke to the following experts in fall 2020 and winter 2021:

Valerie J. Parker, DVM, DACVIM, DACVN, associate professor, department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

Parker is a board certified veterinary nutritionist. She earned her veterinary degree at Tufts University and completed two residencies, one in small animal internal medicine at Iowa State University and the other in clinical nutrition at Tufts University. Her interests include nutrition management of chronic kidney disease, gastrointestinal disease, and endocrine and metabolic disease in pets. We spoke to Parker in a phone interview in September 2020.

Yuki Okada, DVM, CVA. PhD, ACVN Resident, Veterinary Nutrition Specialty Service, San Rafael, California

Okada received a veterinary degree from Michigan State University and has a PhD in veterinary biochemistry from Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University in Japan. Okada is completing a residency with the American College of Veterinary Nutrition to become a board-certified veterinary nutritionist. We consulted Okada via email in September 2020.

Kelly Swanson, PhD, professor of animal and nutritional sciences at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

Swanson earned his master’s and doctorate degrees at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Now a professor at the university, he runs an animal sciences laboratory that studies the effects of nutritional intervention on health with an emphasis on gastrointestinal health and obesity. We consulted Swanson via email in March 2021.

The pet nutrition websites below were accessed between January and February 2021:

Association of American Feed Control Officials

AAFCO Methods for Substantiating Nutritional Adequacy of Dog and Cat Foods, Association of American Feed Control Officials

Global Nutrition Guidelines, World Small Animal Veterinary Association 

Calorie Needs for an Average Healthy Adult Cat in Ideal Body Condition, World Small Animal Veterinary Association 

Raw or Undercooked Animal-Source Protein in Cat and Dog Diets, American Veterinary Medical Association

Pet Food Labels, Food and Drug Administration

Get the Facts! Raw Food Diets Can Be Dangerous to You and Your Pet, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Salmonella, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Organic Pet Foods: Optimal Health or Overhyped?, Tufts University Cummings Veterinary Medical Center

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 6 best cat bridges in 2021

  • Wall-mounted cat bridges can be installed in small spaces to give your cat plenty of room to climb.
  • Climbing and perching can relieve stress and entertain a cat.
  • We chose the best cat bridges, including those with added features like scratching posts.

Cats instinctively like to climb and perch. Up high where they have a bird’s eye view of their home, they are both safe from “predators” and less likely to be disturbed in the middle of a nap. In addition to providing stress relief, going vertical is also an outlet for entertainment. Standard cat trees can satisfy these needs, but wall-mounted cat bridges turn unused space into a feline playground and are ideal for small living spaces. Below, read more about our favorite cat bridges, from multilevel jungle gyms to minimalist walkways.

Here are the best cat bridges in 2021

The best cat bridge overall

Best cat bridges - Two cats on the CatastrophiCreations Play Place Hammock
A customizable bridge that supports multiple cats

CatastrophiCreations Play Place‘s ramps, bridges, and platforms can be configured in a variety ways to increase your cat’s interest.

What we like: Customizable design, machine-washable fabric, available in two colors

CatastrophiCreations Play Place is a sturdy modular bridge made from durable bamboo and cotton canvas. Designed with hidden brackets, the floating bridge can be set up as one level or several and includes a platform with an escape hatch and a ramp with wooden steps for stability. The Play Place can support multiple cats — up to 62 pounds on each hammock and up to 85 pounds on each platform. It’s sold in two colors to fit your decor: natural wood and onyx wood. The removable hammocks are machine washable. Mounting instructions and hardware are included.

The best budget cat bridge

Best cat bridges in 2021 - A cat climbing down the Fukumaru Cat Climbing Shelf
An easy-to-install, affordable cat bridge

The affordable Fukumaru Cat Climbing Shelf has four steps for climbing, perching, and playing.

What we like: Made from jute and wood, affordable, easy to install

Fukumaru’s Cat Climbing Shelf is an affordable way to liven up the walls in your home while giving your cat a place to climb and perch. The rubberwood bridge has four steps wrapped in jute fiber. They’re all fixed to a single board that can be anchored to the wall with the included mounting hardware. Each step is 8.7 inches wide and the shelf is 15.7 inches long. It’s sold in two orientations to fit a variety of setups and you can combine shelves to create a more complex playground. 

The best rope bridge

Best cat bridges - The Trixie Wall Mounted Cat Board against the wall, above a dresser
A rope cat bridge with three sturdy platforms

Trixie’s Wall-Mounted Cat Bridge has two hanging wooden bridges and three sturdy platforms from which a cat can observe their kingdom.

What we like: Two bridges, three platforms, can be mounted horizontally or diagonally

The Trixie Wall-Mounted Cat Bridge enhances your home’s vertical space with two hanging bridges mounted between wooden platforms. The three platforms can be arranged horizontally or diagonally. The bridge’s wooden-planks are held together with sisal rope and will give more adventurous cats a bit of a challenge as they steady themselves. Trixie’s bridge is available in espresso or white and comes with metal mounting hardware.

The best wooden cat bridge

Best cat bridges - A cat sitting on the My Zoo Floating Cat Walkway attached to a yellow wall
A cat bridge that can be combined with additional pieces to form an epic vertical playground

The minimalist design of My Zoo’s Floating Cat Walkway will complement any decor.

What we like: Two levels, additional walkways can be combined to form longer bridge, made from durable spruce

The sleek My Zoo Floating Cat Walkway is a chic way to add cat-approved vertical space to your home. The sturdy spruce wood bridge consists of two levels and a ramp spread across 29.5 inches. The bridge extends out about a foot from the wall. The Floating Cat Walkway can be purchased with a raised right-side or left-side orientation and multiple bridges can be put together to form a more extensive jungle gym. Each bridge can support up to 33 pounds and mounting hardware is included.

The best cat bridge-cat tree combo

Best cat bridges - Two cats playing on the CatastrophiCreations Climb Activity Center
A multi-level cat bridge with a scratching post

With multiple levels, an escape hatch, and a floating scratching post, CatastrophiCreations Climb Activity Center has plenty of features to keep your cat entertained.

What we like: Customizable design, includes a wall-mounted scratching post, comes in six color combinations

The ultimate in vertical cat entertainment, CatastrophiCreations Climb Activity Center has multiple levels, bridges, and a scratching post. The center is made from bamboo and cotton canvas and mounted on hidden brackets. In addition to a 4-foot-tall sisal scratching post for claw conditioning and stretching, it includes an escape hatch and a separate floating shelf that can be configured in a variety of ways to suit your cat and your home. The Climb Activity Center can support the weight of multiple cats and its removable canvas sections are machine washable. The wood comes in three different colors — onyx, English chestnut, and natural bamboo — and you can choose from charcoal gray or natural fabric. Mounting instructions and hardware are included.

The best cat condo with bridges

Best cat bridges  - Five cats on the Go Pet Club Cat Tree Condo
An enormous cat condo with a bridge, hammock, scratching posts, and more

Go Pet Club’s Cat Tree Condo is an all-inclusive freestanding playground with bridges, scratchers, and perches.

What we like: Two large cat trees in one, multiple perches and cubbies for snoozing, includes sisal scratching posts 

The king of the cat trees, the Go Pet Club Cat Tree Condo is a massive vertical play space that doesn’t require wall mounting. Measuring 70-inches wide and 18-inches deep, this faux-fur-lined cat condo has two triangular houses, two baskets, four hoops, and a hammock, plus bridges, ladders, and multiple sisal scratching posts. The whole thing is anchored by adjustable poles (from 92 to 106 inches), which can be attached to the ceiling if desired. With an interior made from durable compressed wood, the entire cat condo weighs 68 pounds. Assembly is required and hardware is included.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 6 best cat litter boxes in 2021, based on extensive testing

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A veterinary behaviorist and a cat behavior consultant told us what to look for in a litter box.
  • We then tested 23 litter boxes, including disposable, hooded, top-entry, and self-cleaning boxes.
  • Our top pick is the affordable Nature’s Miracle Oval Hooded Litter Box, which can be used three ways.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Karie Johnson, DVM, veterinarian and co-founder of VIP Vet Visit, a mobile vet service in the south suburbs of Chicago.

Cats have very specific preferences when it comes to toileting. Not only can placing a litter box in out-of-the-way corners or at high-traffic bottlenecks discourage a cat from using it, they may also refuse to go if their box is too small or too dirty, or if there are several cats all sharing the same one.

The number of litter boxes in a household can also be a major problem from a cat’s perspective. Wailani Sung, DVM, DACVB, veterinary behaviorist at the San Francisco SPCA Veterinary Hospital, typically recommends having the same number of litter boxes as they do cats, plus one extra. Those who are living in small spaces, though, may be able to get away with fewer, frequently cleaned larger boxes, she said.

Over the last year, my two cats and I have tested 23 different litter boxes. We also consulted two cat experts, Sung and cat behavior consultant Daniel “DQ” Quagliozzi, for advice on how to select the best litter boxes. Our favorite litter box overall is the versatile, affordable Nature’s Miracle Oval Hooded Litter Box, which can be used in three different ways according to a cat’s preference.

Here are the best litter boxes in 2021

The best litter box overall

natures miracle hooded litter box

The versatile Nature’s Miracle Oval Hooded Litter Box is spacious, affordable, and easy to modify for sensitive cats.

Pros: Can be used uncovered, covered, or partially covered; simple design; spacious pan; no swinging door; snaps and handle on cover make it easy to remove and attach; charcoal filter odor absorber; affordable

Cons: Basic design might not be appealing to some people

Often what a cat desires in a litter box is not the same thing that appeals to our human interests. Over the last several months, I saw this firsthand as my two cats tested the litter boxes for this guide. From observing them and speaking to Quagliozzi and Sung, what I’ve learned above all is that cats need choices in order to feel secure.

I selected Nature’s Miracle Hooded Flip-Top Litter Box precisely because it allows me to give my cats different options to best meet their toileting needs. The first option with this box is to use the base alone without adding the cover. With high, rounded sides, the 25.25-by-18.75-inch pan is spacious and sturdy.

The second option is to add the cover. It snaps into the base in four places and has a handle and a charcoal filter for absorbing odors. Unlike some covered litter boxes, there is no plastic door a cat will need to push through that may also swing disconcertingly once the cat is inside the box. 

The third option is to flip the front of the cover up so it opens up about a third of the box. This makes for easy cleaning and, if left in this position, also creates a hybrid covered-uncovered box that may better meet the requirements of both cat (easy entry and no over-confinement) and guardian (odor control and less visible waste). 

While the Nature’s Miracle Hooded Flip Top isn’t particularly stylish, the large, versatile box will satisfy the whole family — two-legged and four-legged, alike — for a very reasonable price.

The best litter pan

smart cat ultimate litter box

The spacious Smart Cat Ultimate Litter Box helps prevent litter scatter and is easy to clean.

Pros: Spacious size; high, ramped sides help decrease litter tracking; affordable

Cons: Only one color option

Simplicity and spaciousness are the first two factors Quagliozzi and Sung look for in a litter box. “Most of the traditional litter boxes offered are [too] small,” Sung said. A litter box should be at least 1.5 times the length of a cat. SmartCat’s Ultimate Litter Box  is among the largest of the litter boxes we tested at 25 inches y 18.5 inches.

At approximately 1.5 times the length of an 17-inch cat, there is plenty of room for them to comfortably stretch out and cover waste. Even better, this pan has relatively high, ramped sides to decrease litter scatter.

SmartCat’s litter box is made from durable plastic resin that is easy to clean and has an oversized rim for convenient lifting. At $20, this litter box is priced right, too, but it’s only available in one color: bright blue.

The best top-entry litter box

modkat litter box

The modern Modkat XL Litter Box has top and front entries and a unique folding lid for easy cleaning.

Pros: Modern design, front- and top-entry, perforated folding lid for capturing loose litter and easy cleaning, reusable rip-free plastic liner, scoop, three color options

Cons: Kittens and older or anxiety-prone cats may have trouble using this box, expensive

Most cats require athletic ability to enter a top-entry box, and, once inside, the cat can only go in a place that allows them to pop their head out of the hole. With a higher lid and entries at the top and front, Modkat’s XL Litter Box fits the needs of a wider variety of cats.

Good-looking and well-designed, the Modkat XL is 21-inches long, 16-inches wide, and 17-inches tall and is sold in three colors (white, gray or black). The lid entrance is a generous 10.25 inches in diameter and the front opening measures 8.5-inches wide by 9.75-inches tall. If you’d rather your cat not use that opening, just close the built-in sliding door.

The lid folds back for easy cleaning and litter tracked onto the roof returns to the pan through perforations. The box comes with two rip-resistant reusable plastic liners, which will last up to three months each, and a scoop. 

While the front-entry makes this litter box more accessible, aging cats and kittens may still struggle to access the door that hovers about 6 inches above the floor. My senior cat had no trouble, though, and used this box frequently. Although he didn’t use the top-entry, he tracked no more litter out of this box than the others we tested. 

The Modkat XL’s biggest flaw is its price tag. Nevertheless, for a well-designed litter box that actually looks somewhat stylish, the Modkat XL is a solid investment.

The best self-cleaning litter box

petsafe self cleaning litter box

Simply designed for cat comfort, the Petsafe Scoop Free Self-Cleaning Litter Box removes solid waste so you don’t have to.

Pros: Easy to set up and use, covered compartment holds solid waste, uses odor-absorbent and dust-free proprietary litter, tracks how often a cat uses the box, disposable trays can be easily thrown out

Cons: Proprietary litter is pricey; litter may be harmful to cat if ingested, waste compartment is small

Self-cleaning litter boxes are controversial among cat experts. Sung does not recommend them because they can frighten cats and guardians may miss the signs of intestinal or urinary problems.

Still, if you’re struggling to clean your cat’s litter box(es) at least once daily, a self-cleaning model can help. Of the four I tested, my cats preferred the one that most resembled a generously sized standard litter box: the Scoop Free Self-Cleaning Litter Box by Petsafe.

This easy-to-setup box is designed with a sensor rim and a built-in rake that sits on top of a 23-by-15.5-inch disposable litter tray. Sensors recognize when a cat enters the box. Twenty minutes after they have exited, the rake automatically pushes solid waste toward a covered compartment at the opposite end. A health counter keeps track of how often your pet does their business. 

The Scoop Free box must be used with Petsafe’s disposable or reusable litter tray and its proprietary blend of crystal cat litter. The litter is absorbent, drying, and 99% dust-free, but must be replaced every two to four weeks at a cost of $16.95 per disposable tray or about $17 per bag. Chemical-based litters may also be harmful to a cat if they accidentally ingest them.

Just because the box is self-cleaning doesn’t mean you’re completely off the hook. The small compartment that collects waste may need to be emptied several times before it’s time to change the litter tray. All things considered, this box works hard to keep the pan constantly clean and fresh, ensuring a pleasant toileting experience every time.

The best budget litter box

sterilite storage box used as litter box

Though not traditionally marketed as a litter box, the Sterilite 41-quart Storage Box offers expert-recommended size and simplicity at an affordable price.

Pros: Large size with plenty of room for natural toileting behaviors, made from durable plastic, snap-on lid for easy moving, low sides for easy entry by most cats, inexpensive

Cons: Shallow sides don’t prevent litter from being kicked or tracked out of box

Because many traditional litter boxes are too small for cat comfort, both Quagliozzi and Sung often recommend that their clients use a wide, flat plastic storage container instead. With their large size and simple design, they make excellent, affordable stand-ins for the real thing.

Sterilite’s 41-quart Storage Box is made from durable, clear plastic and measures approximately 35 inches by 17 inches, providing a cat with tons of room to perform natural toileting behaviors like digging and covering their waste. Because the box is waterproof, it won’t leak any excess urine that goes uncaptured by litter.

While the included white plastic lid will need to be stored away most of the time, it can be pulled out and snapped in place to easily move the box to a different location without spillage. With sides that are approximately 6 inches high, this box is shallow enough for most cats to easily enter and exit.

Guardians with cats who aggressively scratch and kick their litter, however, may need to do more floor cleanup than they would with a litter pan with higher sides. Sterilite’s 41-quart Storage Box performed just as well as our best litter pan pick (minus the built-in pockets for supplies) and just about half the price.

The best disposable litter box

natures miracle disposable litter box

Made from recycled paper and infused with baking soda, Nature’s Miracle Disposable Litter Box holds up against leaks and odors for 30 days.

Pros: Recycled materials, leakproof and tear-proof, infused with baking soda to keep smells at bay, comes in 2-pack, lasts 30 days, ideal for temporary use or travel

Cons: More challenging to scrape stuck-on clumps than in a plastic box, generates a lot of waste when used long-term

Whether you’re looking for a sturdy stand-alone litter box or a liner for a plastic box, Nature’s Miracle disposable boxes are an excellent worry-free option. Even after a full month of use by my two cats, the bottom of the pan was fully intact. Nowhere had urine even started to penetrate the recycled paper material.

Nature’s Miracle currently makes two versions of their disposable litter box: regular and jumbo. Unfortunately, the style we liked best, the 23-by-18-inch triangular corner box, has been discontinued. The next best option for comfortable toileting based on the recommendations of Sung and Quagliozzi is the 21-by-14.5-inch jumbo-size rectangular box, which is sold in packs of two

Nature’s Miracle Disposable Litter Box is made of dense, compacted recycled paper that the company advertises as leakproof and tear-proof. In our monthlong test, I found both claims to be true. The box is also made with baking soda to help keep bad odors in check. Nature’s Miracle disposable boxes can be used with any type of litter  — I chose a clumping clay version — and when it’s at the end of its 30-day life cycle, the landfill-safe pan can be easily thrown out.

Because the disposable litter box is made of paper instead of plastic, its biggest flaw is that clumps that get stuck to the bottom or sides are a little harder to remove than they are in a smooth plastic box. And although this is a great option for travel or temporary care, sending a pan to the landfill every month seems unnecessary when there are so many reusable options available.

Nevertheless, both guardians who are ultra-fastidious with regard to their litter boxes and those who need a reliable temporary box will find a great solution in the Nature’s Miracle Disposable Litter Box.

What else we considered

litter-robot 3 automatic self-cleaning litter box

Self-cleaning litter boxes

  • Litter-Robot 3 Connect: This box is an expensive lesson in how cat preferences and human preferences often don’t align. The technology is very impressive — it even comes with an app to help track your cat’s business — and it appears to work well. I say “appears” because after two months my cats still haven’t dared to enter the Litter-Robot. In my own tests, it had no trouble dealing with the various objects I tasked it with filtering out: pencils, erasers, and water to activate urine-like clumps. Unfortunately, the box’s tight interior prevents a cat from being able to toilet on even ground — a deal-breaker for my cats. Luckily, the machine comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee for cats who refuse to give it a try.
  • Omega Paw Roll’N Clean Cat Litter Box: This self-cleaning box has received plenty of good reviews, but it missed the mark for me. Rolling the box to filter waste often resulted in pouring litter onto the floor and I still had to regularly scrape clumps stuck to the bottom of the pan. At just 10 by 15 inches, the interior of the pan is also extremely small when the filter is in place. 
  • Littermaid 3rd Edition Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box: This self-cleaning litter box was riddled with problems. Clumps of urine-soaked litter frequently stuck to its rake or  the door of the waste disposal compartment and plenty of soiled litter was left behind on the base of the pan. The lifting waste compartment lid frequently got stuck and had to be manually lowered.

Litter pans

  • Petmate Giant Litter Pan: Formerly our top pick, this pan is no longer available for purchase. The spacious pan was made with antimicrobial material to fight odors and had built-in pockets for supplies, making it ideal for both cat and guardian.
  • Petmate Jumbo Litter Pan: Petmate’s jumbo-size litter pan is a solid 21.25-inches long, but that’s only 125% the length of my smaller cat and 115% the size of my larger one. Sung recommends litter pans be at least 150% the length of your largest cat.
  • Van Ness High Sides Cat Litter Pan, Giant: While this is a decent standard litter pan with a great price tag, it is significantly smaller, 19.25 inches-long, than the other pans we tested.

Budget litter boxes

Covered litter boxes

  • Catit Jumbo Hooded Pan: This litter box was a close second to our best overall pick. Like the Nature’s Miracle hooded box, it can be used uncovered, covered, or with the front section flipped up. It was only the cost — more than twice that of the Nature’s Miracle pan — that kept this box out of the top spot.
  • Frisco Hooded Cat Litter Box, Extra Large: This is a good all-around box that is spacious and easy to enter. The door flap is lightweight and removable, but the cover has to be completely lifted off of the base for cleaning.
  • Booda Dome Cleanstep Litter Box: While I like the look of this litter box, it devotes too much space to design and not enough to the litter (the pan is only 12 by 21 inches). The inclusion of the stairs also makes this box unnecessarily complicated for more sensitive cats who prefer simple access.

Disposable litter boxes

  • Nature’s Miracle Disposable Cat Box: The regular-size disposable litter pans by Nature’s Miracle are made of the same great stuff as the jumbo version I selected as the best disposable box. This one is significantly smaller with 25% less space.
  • Kitty’s Wonder Box Disposable Litter Box: This disposable litter box is well made, but it’s tiny, just 13.5 by 17 inches. The size makes the Wonder Box a decent option for travel, but it’s not appropriate for long-term daily use. 
  • So Phresh Disposable Cat Litter Box: This box made from sustainable bagasse fiber was on par with the Nature’s Miracle disposable box except that it’s almost 3 inches shorter and has lower sides.
  • Kitty Sift Disposable Sifting Litter Box: I really liked the concept of this box that filters out waste with three layers of perforated recycled cardboard. It remained leak-free throughout our testing period, but I found sifting the litter made a big mess and I had to remove clumps that stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Top-entry litter boxes

  • Modkat Top-Entry Litter Box: We previously named this the best top-entry litter box, thanks to its functional, appealing design. It is, however, much smaller than its cousin, the Modkat XL, and can only be entered from the top. It also comes with a hefty price tag, especially if your cat turns out to dislike entering the litter box from the top.
  • Petmate Top-Entry Litter Pan: The dimensions of this affordable box are similar to those of the Modkat, but style is lacking with this pan and it doesn’t come with a liner. I also found that every time I attempted to clean the Petmate, the lid slipped out of the hinges and pulled completely off of the top.

Our methodology

We identified the best litter boxes available at major retailers based on criteria established by our experts. Each box was put to use for a minimum of one month, undergoing the following tests during that period. Unless a litter box required a specific litter to operate effectively, all litter boxes were filled with our favorite budget litter, Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Multi-Strength Cat Litter.

Ease of entry test: Because not every cat is agile enough or motivated enough to jump up into a litter box, I considered ease of entry. I measured the sides of each box and the height of any openings and watched to see whether my cats appeared to have difficulty accessing the boxes. I also observed how my cats responded to each box, noting which they preferred to toilet in more frequently.

Tracking test: For each box, I collected the litter tracked onto the floor over a period of three days, then compared the quantity of litter between boxes. Surprisingly, I found that the litter tracked from every box we tested was roughly equivalent.

Cleaning test: I cleaned each litter box twice daily, noting how easy it was to access and remove the waste and how much litter stuck to the bottom and sides of the pan. After a month of use, I thoroughly cleaned each box, disposing of the litter and wiping it out completely. I noted how challenging the boxes were to clean and approximately how long it took to go from full and dirty to empty and clean.

Size test: Sung explained that cats need a space that is at least 1.5 times their length to scratch at the litter and bury their waste. For this test, I began by measuring the length of each of my two cats when standing in a relaxed position. I then measured the length of each of the litter box contenders and compared the numbers. Larger litter boxes were favored over their smaller counterparts.

FAQs about litter boxes and cat toileting

cat using litter box

How frequently does a cat use their litter box?

The typical cat uses the litter box as many as half-a-dozen times a day, urinating two to four times and defecating once or twice. Every cat, however, is an individual and some go more or less frequently on average. Cleaning your litter boxes daily will help you monitor for behavioral changes that may indicate a health problem such as feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD).

How many litter boxes do I need and what size should they be?

A good general rule of thumb for litter boxes is to have one per cat plus an extra, Sung told us. Each litter box should have enough space to comfortably dig and bury waste with dimensions that are at least 1.5 times the size of the cat.

How often should I clean the litter box?

To keep fastidious felines toileting happily, our experts recommend cleaning the litter box at least once, if not several times, each day.

Do cats like open or closed litter boxes?

Some cats may be intimidated by hooded or covered litter boxes, especially if they are low enough that the cat must crouch to do their business. An open-topped litter pan is the most universally accepted by cats of all types.

What if my cat stops urinating?

Cats are highly susceptible to FLUTD, a range of conditions that affect the bladder, urinary tract and/or urethra. Male cats, in particular, are commonly afflicted with urinary stones or crystals which block urine from being expelled from the body. And when a cat can’t urinate, the toxins that build up can be deadly. A vet has just 24 to 48 hours to remove a blockage and save their life. If a vet is unable to identify FLUTD or other medical problems, a cat who refuses to urinate is likely doing so out of anxiety. To get to the root of the problem, seek out a behaviorist who can help identify and overcome a cat’s triggers.

Why is my cat peeing outside the litter box?

There are a variety of reasons why a cat may urinate outside of their litter box. Inappropriate elimination can occur when a cat dislikes the size or design of their litter box or the style of litter in the pan and has found another location—a pile of laundry, a potted plant, a fluffy rug—that better satisfies their desire to scratch and dig. Inappropriate elimination can also be a sign that a cat dislikes the location of their litter box. A box placed next to a washing machine or too close to the dog’s bed, for example, may cause anxiety that induces them to look for an alternative place to urinate. Lastly, a cat who suddenly begins to urinate outside of their litter box may be attempting to communicate a health issue such as an oncoming FLUTD.

Why am I finding urine on vertical surfaces?

Urine left on vertical surfaces is called marking. Marking is not urination, per say, but the spraying of pheromones, a behavior which they accomplish by raising the tail and backing up to a wall, bookcase, sofa or other location. Most cats who mark do so out of anxiety or because they are experiencing conflict with another animal. Any cat can mark but it most commonly occurs in intact males.

Who we consulted

Prior to making the selections for this guide, we consulted two experts:

  • Daniel “DQ” Quagliozzi, cat behavior consultant and owner of Go Cat Go! in San Francisco, California. For two decades, Quagliozzi has worked with cats at the San Francisco SPCA, San Francisco Animal Care and Control, and through his private practice, Go Cat Go! Quagliozzi’s expertise has been featured on Animal Planet and in a variety of other media outlets. We spoke to Quagliozzi via phone in August 2020.
  • Wailani Sung, director of behavior and welfare programs and board-certified veterinary behaviorist at the San Francisco SPCA Veterinary Hospital in San Francisco, CA. Sung attended the University of Georgia for both a master’s degree and doctorate in psychology with a special interest in animal behavior. She went on to earn a second doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. Sung is one of fewer than 100 board-certified veterinary behaviorists in the United States. She currently directs the San Francisco SPCA’s Behavior Specialty Service and writes on animal behavior for Vetstreet, PetMD, and Healthy Pet magazine. We interviewed Sung via email on March 30, 2020.

We also accessed the following website in March 2020:

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

19 supplies that will help your new cat feel at home, according to cat rescuers and a veterinarian

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

bring home a new cat
  • Before bringing a new cat home, prepare for a smooth transition with these essential cat supplies.
  • We consulted cat rescuers and a veterinarian to come up with this new cat checklist.
  • You’ll need a litter box, food, and toys to keep them comfortable, stimulated, and healthy.
  • For more expert reviews and buying advice, check out the Insider Reviews homepage.

The day you bring home your new cat is full of joy. But while you may be ready for snuggles and play from the moment your kitty arrives, most felines aren’t as excited about moving day. Just when they were getting used to the shelter or foster home – bam – here comes another transition. And cats, they aren’t the best at dealing with change.

Preparing for the arrival of your new cat ahead of time will help smooth their transition to your home. While it’s a no-brainer that cats require a litter box and food, new cat owners may not realize that items like scratching posts, cat trees, calming pheromones, and toys can reduce stress and provide your pet with an enriching environment.

With the help of cat rescuers and a veterinarian, we compiled this new cat checklist to ensure you have the right supplies on hand.

Here are 19 cat supplies to stock up on when you adopt a new pet:

A cozy cat carrier for your cat’s freedom ride and beyond

mr peanuts platinum cat carrier

Mr. Peanut’s Gold Series Expandable Carrier, available at Chewy, $50.99

A cat carrier is mandatory for bringing your cat home from the shelter, said Franušić. We love Mr. Peanut’s refined, comfortable tote, which can unzip to expand to almost three times the size of a regular carrier, making it more comfortable for long travel days. 

A calming pheromone diffuser to decrease stress

FeliwayClassic

Feliway Classic Diffuser, available at Chewy, $29.99

You’ll want to decrease stress and unwanted behaviors like urine spraying during your cat’s first weeks at home. Veterinarian Andrea Moore, medical director at Pinnacle Animal Hospital in San Jose, California, and Danielle Carr, shelter manager at Town Cats in Morgan Hill, California, both recommend a calming pheromone like Feliway. Feliway mimics the F3 facial pheromones cats deposit when rubbing their cheeks against surfaces in order to mark them as safe.

A simple litter box for your cat to do their business

natures miracle hooded litter box

Nature’s Miracle Oval Hooded Litter Box, available at Chewy, $29.99

When it comes to a litter box, all of our experts agree that simple is best. You want a box your cat can use “without having to do any tricks,” said Moore. And even though self-cleaning litter boxes are convenient, Moore advises against them because the noises they make can frighten cats.

At the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, Libby Farel-Friedman, who is the supervisor of adoption programs, recommends using a simple uncovered litter box. If you prefer your box to be covered to reduce smells or prevent your dog from getting inside, buy one like Nature’s Miracle Oval Hooded Litter Box, which has a removable lid that can be added later on. 

Regular flea treatment to keep the itches away

Seresto

Seresto Flea and Tick Prevention Collar, available at Chewy, $59.98

Flea control is important regardless of whether a cat is indoor-only or goes outside. Most flea treatments are topical, but Seresto also makes a flea collar that many cat owners and veterinarians like. Not all cats will be comfortable wearing a flea collar, but for those that tolerate it, Moore said it’s a good option.

A March 2021 investigation by USA Today reported 1,700 animal deaths and other adverse reactions linked to Seresto flea collars. It’s unknown if the EPA-approved pesticides used in the collar caused these incidents and this story is still developing. Always speak to your veterinarian if you have concerns before using a product and only purchase Seresto collars from authorized retailers.

An unscented natural litter to make using the litter box appealing

worlds best multiple cat litter

World’s Best Multiple Cat Unscented Litter (14 lbs), available at Chewy, $15.44

Moore avoids dusty litters, which can cause respiratory issues, as well as perfumed litters with a strong scent. All three of our shelter experts like litters made of natural materials like corn or grass, and Carr’s favorite litters are made from pine wood. “I think they’re really efficient at neutralizing odors and are really easy to scoop,” she said. For more ideas, check out our guide to the best natural cat litter.

A flat, wide food dish to prevent whisker fatigue

CatFoodBowl

Dr. Catsby Cat Food Bowl, available at Amazon, $19.95

For cats with sensitive whiskers, brushing up against the side of a food or water bowl can cause pain and make eating stressful. To prevent “whisker fatigue,” Moore suggested using a flatter dish without steep sides. 

Nutritious dry and wet cat food that your pet will love

HillsScience

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food for Indoor Cats, available at Chewy, from $15.99

While many cats prefer dry foods, they are high in carbohydrates and calories. Feeding a diet that includes wet food can help to maintain weight and overall health, according to Moore. “Wet food is great for cats because it provides more moisture,” she said. “It’s especially important for males because you want them producing urine so they don’t have urinary issues.”

Franušić and Farel-Friedman recommended Hill’s Science Diet, which comes in several varieties for cats with different needs. There are plenty of other high-quality options, including Nom Nom, a human-grade monthly cat food delivery service. 

Irresistible treats for training and high-stress situations

Churu

Inaba Churu Lickable Puree Natural Cat Treat, available at Chewy, $17.96

“We use Churu for clicker training and it works wonders,” said Carr. Clicker training, a form of positive-reinforcement training that marks correct behaviors with a distinct clicking sound, is an excellent way to teach tricks and address behavior challenges in cats. Churu is great for stressful situations, too. “We have cats who are super stressed and we give them Churu, and it works so well to distract them from what’s going on,” said Carr. For more ideas, see our guide to the best cat treats.

Earthquake putty to keep knickknacks, vases, and picture frames from becoming playthings

QuakeHold

Quakehold! Museum Putty, available at Amazon, $3.97

Adhering your knickknacks to shelves and tables using earthquake putty ensures that your favorite picture frame or vase won’t end up in pieces on the floor. “When you actually get a cat into your home, you find that they love to explore and get on top of things,” said Lindsay Franušić, assistant manager of adoption programs, at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley in Milpitas, California. She told us that putty was a lifesaver for her.

 

Tasty dental treats to help promote a happy, healthy mouth

Feline

Feline Greenies Natural Dental Care Treats, available at Chewy, from $2.35

Keeping your cat’s mouth clean is essential to its overall health. “Ideally, you should try to teach your cat to have its teeth brushed,” said Moore. But if that proves too challenging, dental treats are the next best thing. She also recommended using a water additive for stress-free dental care. For more options, check out our guide to the best dental products for cats.

A reflective breakaway cat collar to hold your their ID tags

Rogz

ROGZ Reflective Cat Collar, available at Amazon, from $9.95

If your cat goes outdoors, they need a breakaway collar that will come undone if they get caught on a tree branch or fence, said Moore. We like this durable reflective collar by Rogz, which is the top pick in our guide to the best cat collars.

Stainless steel ID tags to make sure your cat gets home safely

GoTags

GoTags Stainless Steel Pet ID Tags, available at Chewy, $7.95

Even if your cat is microchipped, ID tags engraved with their name and phone number can help them make it home safe and sound. If your cat is indoor-only, Moore said they don’t need to wear a collar or ID tags. Instead, microchip your cat so that they can be easily identified if they escape.

A comfy harness and leash set for taking your cat on a walk

CatHarness

Rabbitgoo Cat Harness and Leash Set, available at Amazon, from $14.98

For indoor cats, the outdoors is a fantasy world of sights, sounds, and smells that many find delightful. According to Moore, leash training “is a safe way to have [a] cat outside and a good activity for the cat and owner to do together.” But because being on a leash is not a natural behavior for cats, guardians need to take the time to acclimate their cat to the leash.

A cat brush for removing excess hair and preventing hairballs

5eb032d0204ad3739e3594c7

Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush, available at Chewy, from $12.99

Cats are fastidious, and in the process of grooming, they consume a lot of hair. For long-haired cats, especially, “brushing is really helpful to remove the loose hair that is ready to shed that may get matted if not removed,” said Moore. A good cat brush like the Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush can help remove the excess hair and may reduce the frequency of hairballs. 

A scratching post for your cat to claw

On2Pets Skyline Scratching Post

On2Pets Skyline Sisal Cat Scratching Post, available at Chewy, $44.99

“Cats scratch as a scent marker, to help with their nails, and to relieve stress,” said Moore. Plus, your cat will be less likely to scratch your furniture if they have other options. This cat scratcher from Max & Marlow includes a 26-inch scratching post plus two attached toys. For more ideas, check out our guide to the best scratching posts.

A cat wand for chasing, pouncing, and play

DaBird

GoCat Da Bird Pull Apart Wand, available at Petco, $8.95

“The best toys are the ones where you can interact with your cat. Playing with them helps you to bond better,” said Farel-Friedman. Cat wands are a classic kitty favorite, and Carr recommended both Da Bird and Cat Catcher by GoCat. See our guide to the best cat toys for more options.

An interactive food puzzle toy to stimulate your cat’s hunting instincts

Petsafe Egg Cersizer toy

Petsafe Egg-Cersizer, available at Chewy, $5.99

“I think food puzzle toys are great,” said Carr. “They’re really good for cats who are overweight and for cats who are overstimulated. It’s more natural, too, because [it mimics the way] cats have to work for their food in the wild.” Moore suggested feeding kibble out of interactive food puzzle toys as well as — or instead of — treats.

A cardboard cat scratcher to promote independent play

TurboscratcherCatToy

Bergan Turboscratcher Cat Toy, available at Chewy, $17.98

All of our experts agreed that there is no such thing as too many scratchers. Carr likes the Bergan Turboscratcher which has a ball in the frame. “Cats get their scratch on while playing with the balls inside,” she said. “They can play and entertain themselves so even if you’re not home they have stimulation.”

A cat tree tower for climbing, scratching, and play

Armarkat

Armarkat Classic Cat Tree, available at Petco, $55.06

“We definitely recommend cat trees,” said Farel-Friedman. “They not only provide cats with the ability of choice, but they also provide them with exercise and stress relief.” Dr. Moore agreed: “You want to have vertical space, especially people who have a small living area.” The ideal tree has built-in scratching posts and plenty of spots to snuggle up. That’s why we like the classic cat tree from Armarkat, which is the budget pick in our guide to the best cat trees.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Veterinarians debunk some of the biggest myths about cats

Following is a transcript of the video.

Carly Fox: “Pregnant women can’t live with cats.” This is a huge myth. Please don’t get rid of your cat if you are pregnant. “When cats purr, it means they’re happy.” This is definitely a myth.

Ann Hohenhaus: “Cats think their owner is their mother.”

Fox: Obviously your cat doesn’t think that you’re its mother. I’m Dr. Carly Fox. I’m an emergency and critical-care veterinarian at the Animal Medical Center in New York City.

Hohenhaus: And I’m Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, also at the Animal Medical Center, but I’m an internal medicine and oncology specialist.

Fox: Today we’re going to debunk some cat myths.

Myth #1

Fox: “Cats love milk.” I mean, I think this is sort of an image that has been put forth throughout our childhood, like, in storybooks and in movies and on TV, but unfortunately, cats, as they get older, actually are lactose intolerant. So their bodies actually can’t even digest milk. As kittens, they have an enzyme called lactase, which helps them break down milk, because they are supposed to be drinking their mother’s milk.

But as they get older, that enzyme, which is usually very present, goes away. And then they’re unable to digest milk. So if you feed milk to an older cat, or really any cat after they’ve been weaned from their mother, they really can’t digest it. Even though they seem like they’re really enjoying themselves, it actually can cause gastrointestinal upset.

Hohenhaus: You can go to the pet store, though, and buy cat milk. [laughs] And the cat milk has two things that make it special for cats. One is it’s lactose-free, just like the lactose-free milk you can buy in the grocery store. But it also has extra taurine added to it. And cats require taurine in their diet. So it’s just an extra source of that amino acid special for cats.

Fox: I mean, who knew?

Myth #2

Hohenhaus: “Cats are nocturnal.” How can you be nocturnal when you sleep 23 hours a day? [laughs] The typical cat sleeps 23 hours a day. They wake up long enough to kill some prey, eat that prey, and then go back to sleep until the next time they’re hungry.

Fox: They’re actually crepuscular animals.

Hohenhaus: They’re what?

Fox: Crepuscular. That means that they’re active during dusk and dawn, which goes back to what you just said about them hunting. So, that’s how lions hunt. They hunt in the dusk or the dawn, where they can, you know, see prey better, hunt, and kill, and our domestic cats actually evolved from that. So they’re actually supposed to be most active in the morning and in the evening, but not necessarily in the middle of the night. Though some cats obviously are.

Hohenhaus: Well, and they are most active in the morning. Ask any cat owner. At 4 o’clock in the morning, that cat’s walking on your head and running over the bed, trying to get you up, because they don’t have to hunt for breakfast. They just have to get you up.

Myth #3

Fox: “Cats hate water.” Can’t say that every cat hates water, but, I mean, in my experience, most cats definitely dislike water, as in they don’t like being bathed in water. You’re definitely not gonna see most cats go for a swim. I’d say most cats don’t love water, but when cats are feeling unkempt, perhaps they do like water.

Myth #4

Hohenhaus: “Cats think their owner is their mother.” [laughs] I think that they just see you as a source of food and comfort and cleanliness and a safe place to live.

Fox: Yeah, obviously your cat doesn’t think that you’re its mother, but they definitely think that you’re its caretaker and they need you, but, you know, another person could probably fill in that job just as easily for your cat, honestly, so I don’t think that cats think that you’re their mother. But some people definitely think that.

Myth #5

Fox: “Pregnant women can’t live with cats.” This is a huge myth. Please don’t get rid of your cat if you are pregnant. Cats can sometimes be infected with a parasite called toxoplasmosis, which can be shed in your cat’s feces. If picked up by a pregnant woman, this parasite can sometimes cause birth defects or miscarriage, and that’s obviously something we would want to avoid.

Cleaning the litter box daily will help with this. You definitely don’t want to leave the litter box to go for more than one day because that can increase infection. If you do need to clean the litter box, you should just wear gloves. So the best thing that you can do is have someone clean the litter box for you, which is also just great. Who wants to clean their litter box? It’s a break for nine months.

Hohenhaus: So, if you’re concerned about your health or your cat’s health during your pregnancy, be sure to bring up the topic with both your veterinarian and your obstetrician.

Myth #6

Hohenhaus: “Cats can see in complete darkness.” Cats have great night vision. They have, like, a mirror in the back of their eye. And you know that from taking photos of your cat because you see that yellow-green reflection in the camera, and that’s this mirror that’s in the back of the cat’s eye that helps to reflect light around to improve their night vision. And that reflector area is called the tapetum.

Fox: Cats really can’t see in complete darkness. They still need a little bit of light in their eye for it to bounce back and forth within the eye off the tapetum, so complete darkness they cannot see in, but a lot of darkness with a little bit of light, they actually can see.

Myth #7

Hohenhaus: “Human food is bad for cats.” We don’t recommend feeding a human diet to cats, because it doesn’t meet their nutritional needs. Cats are obligate carnivores, and it means they need to eat meat. So your diet is not appropriate for cats.

Myth #8

Fox: “Black cats are bad luck.” I mean, this is obviously a huge myth.

Hohenhaus: I think that black cats are bad luck for themselves, because they don’t get adopted from a shelter as readily as a pretty gray cat or a flashy tricolor cat. So the bad luck is actually for the cat, not for you.

Myth #9

Hohenhaus: “Cats don’t love people or babies.” My mother was so worried about this when I was having a baby, because I had these cats. And she said, “Those cats are gonna climb in the crib and suffocate my grandson.” Nothing like that happened. Babies are unpredictable, and they smell different than people, and they make different movements than people, and they have stinky diapers. So I think this actually might partly be true. It’s not that they don’t like babies. It’s that they’re different than the people they’re used to.

Myth #10

Fox: “Cats always land on their feet.” Well, cats do have an excellent righting reflex, meaning that a lot of the times they actually do land on their feet, and that has to do with their anatomy and their vestibular system. However, unfortunately, I’m an emergency doctor, I live in New York City. I see many, many, many cats not land on their feet. Definitely don’t think that your cat will just be fine if it unfortunately falls out of your third-story window or even from your top of your refrigerator.

Hohenhaus: And when they fall, they’ll land on their chin, and they often fracture their wrists, and then if they belly flop, as opposed to land on their feet, they’ll also get air in their lungs or around their lungs because their lungs get a little tear in it and start leaking. So these injuries are severe and life-threatening for cats. So the answer is get screens or don’t open your windows.

Myth #11

Hohenhaus: “Cats and dogs don’t get along.” I don’t have any idea where this would have come from. There are plenty of houses and households in the United States where there are both dogs and cats and they’re perfectly fine. Just like some people don’t get along, sometimes a dog and cat don’t get along, but sometimes you have two dogs and they don’t get along or two cats and they don’t get along. So I think this is more about the personality of your dog and your cat than it is that they can’t get along.

Fox: They’re not gonna be the next YouTube sensation, but I guess they maintain a working relationship.

Hohenhaus: Yeah, yeah, that’s good. A working relationship. We have to work together to be good pets.

Fox: Yeah. Let’s do that.

Myth #12

Fox: “When cats purr, it means they’re happy.” This is definitely a myth, and I can tell you I’ve been scratched by many a purring cat. You know, I think purring is oftentimes associated with pleasure in cats; however, sometimes cats can purr for other reasons, like they’re very nervous, or it’s a warning actually, or they’re hungry, not necessarily that they’re happy.

Myth #13

Fox: “One human year equals seven cat years.” This is definitely, definitely a myth. I think this is something we more associate with dogs, but if you apply it to cats, I think it’s even more of a myth.

Hohenhaus: Well, and if you look at it on the reverse end of the lifespan, a cat can have kittens when it’s 6 months old. 6-month-old cat would be 3.5 years in human age, and clearly no 3.5-year-old children are having babies of their own.

Fox: I hope not.

Hohenhaus: So, it doesn’t work in cats, no.

Fox: Today we debunked some cat myths. There is a little bit of truth to some of these myths that we talked about today, and I think that’s very fitting, since cats are these very particular, special animals that are a bit of, like, a mixed bag, just like these myths.

Hohenhaus: My son’s first words were “meow.” [laughing]

Producer: That’s crazy.

Hohenhaus: He would look at the cat and go “meow.”

Fox: That’s cute, really? [laughing]

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in March 2020.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Cryptocurrency investors tend to be dog lovers, while gold bugs prefer cats, study shows

Screenshot 2021 03 26 at 12.01.49
  • Crypto holders are more likely to be dog lovers – and gold investors tend to be cat people, a study found.
  • Only about one-fourth of all crypto investors are women, highlighting a massive gender disparity.
  • More gold investors are likely to be married with children, while crypto holders tend to be single.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Cryptocurrency holders are more likely to be dog-friendly, while those who lean on gold tend to be fans of cats, according to research by crypto exchange Xcoins.

As many as 45% of gold investors were found more likely to own a cat, and about 44% of crypto investors had a tendency to have dogs, data showed.

Screenshot 2021 03 26 at 12.48.23

Another notable highlight of the research is that only 28% of people that hold crypto are women, confirming the wide belief that the industry is male-dominated – with 72% of them being men. Meanwhile, gold investors are almost evenly split between men and women.

Data published by eEtoro last month showed only 15% of bitcoin traders are women. Although that’s a slight increase from the beginning of 2020, it still highlights the massive gender imbalance in the cryptocurrency world.

Xcoins’ CEO said it was important to bridge the gap between gender groups to facilitate mainstream adoption. “If bitcoin is to succeed in the mainstream, then it needs support from all demographics,” CEO Rob Frye said. “No-one is stopping women from entering, or investing the crypto space, but little is being done to encourage them either.”

Xcoins’ study also found that younger people aged between 16 and 34 are more likely to invest in cryptocurrencies, while those inclined towards gold are older than 34. This highlighted differences in investors’ marital status, showing gold investors are more likely to be married with children, while crypto investors tend to be single with no children.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A popular flea collar is linked to nearly 1,700 pet deaths. Now Congress is pushing the company to recall the product.

seresto flea tick collar
A display of Seresto flea and tick collars at a pet store in Rochester, New York.

  • A Congressional subcommittee is calling for a temporary recall of Seresto flea and tick collars.
  • A USA Today investigation found that 1,700 pet deaths linked to the collars were reported to the EPA.
  • Elanco, the company that sells the collars, told Insider it doesn’t think a recall is warranted.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

After a damning USA Today investigation linked a popular flea and tick collar to nearly 1,700 pet deaths, a Congressional subcommittee is calling for the products to be temporarily recalled.

“I think that it’s only appropriate in this case that the manufacturer do a voluntary recall,” Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the House subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, told CBS News. “And I think that it’s appropriate, out of an abundance of caution, that we step back, we look at the situation, investigate and proceed from there.”

USA Today revealed earlier this month that more than 75,000 incidents involving Seresto collars had been reported to the EPA between 2012 and June 2020. These reports linked the collars to tens of thousands of animal injuries; 900 of the incidents involved people.

According to the EPA, which approved the collars in 2012, the Seresto collars “are made of plastic impregnated with insecticides,” which are released into an animal’s fur over a period of eight months. The agency does not consider those insecticides, flumethrin and imidacloprid, to be harmful to pets or humans. But a 2012 study by Bayer found that the two have a “synergistic effect” and are more toxic to fleas when paired together.

Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, told USA Today that “synergistic effect” likely applies to animals, too.

Krishnamoorthi sent a letter to pharmaceutical giant Bayer – which developed the collars – on Thursday requesting more information about the products’ toxicity. He sent another letter to Elanco, the company that sells the collars, asking it to recall the products and issue refunds.

‘I know these collars killed my dogs’

charlie and muffin
Karen Huffman’s dogs Charlie and Muffin.

When Karen Hufman read the USA Today report, her family was still grieving for their dog Charlie, who died in August.

“I was floored,” she told Insider. “I said, ‘Oh my god, now I know these collars killed my dogs.'”

Hufman said she bought Seresto collars for Charlie and her other dog, Muffin, in October 2018 and June 2019. After that second instance, Muffin, a 12-year-old Petit Basset Griffon Vendée, stopped eating. She died a month later.

Charlie, an English pointer-Beagle mix who was also about 12, got his third Seresto collar in February. Weeks later, he was diagnosed with a bladder infection, and then cancer. One study has linked dogs’ exposure to certain topical insecticides – though not the ones Seresto uses – to an increased risk of bladder cancer.

karen huffman
Karen Huffman on a paddleboard with her dog Charlie near Oak Ridge, Tennessee, September 2018.

“This month I finally put it together: It was the collars. It was just too much of a coincidence,” Hufman said.

She added that before their deaths, both of her dogs had been in excellent health – they got exercise and ate high-quality food. Still, she doesn’t have any evidence the collars were the cause of their deaths, and hasn’t filed any reports to the EPA.

According to Elanco, of the 25 million Seresto collars sold since 2012, less than 0.3% have been linked to incidents.

“The recent media reports were based on raw data and cannot be used to draw conclusions on what may have actually caused the issues,” Tony Rumschlag, senior director for technical consultants at Elanco, said in a statement to Insider, adding, “it is critically important to understand that a report is not an indication of cause.”

Keri McGrath, a spokeswoman for Elanco, told Insider that the company is cooperating with the House subcommittee’s request for information, but that “no market action, such as a recall, is warranted.”

“Elanco continues to stand behind the safety profile for Seresto,” she added.

The 1,700 deaths could be an undercount

Before the USA Today report, the House subcommittee members hadn’t heard about any issues with Seresto products. But now they’ve asked Elanco and Bayer to disclose any communications they’ve had regarding the collars’ toxicity with regulatory groups like the EPA.

small dog
A dog in a bar on February 19, 2019.

The subcommittee members think there are probably far more Seresto incidents than the number reported to the EPA, since those reports only represent pet owners who’ve realized there could be a link between the collar and their pet’s issue and then filled out a form or called the agency.

“We believe that the actual number of deaths and injuries is much greater, since the average consumer would not know to report pet harm to EPA, an agency seemingly unrelated to consumer pet products,” Krishnamoorthi wrote in his letters.

Hufman could be one such consumer.

“My two dogs aren’t included in that 1,700 number,” she said.

McGrath said the onus isn’t on pet owners to report incidents related to Seresto collars to the EPA: “That’s not the expectation,” she said.

Rather, Bayer or Elanco should pass information about incidents to the EPA after customers or veterinarians call the companies’ hotlines. Veterinarians can also reach out directly to the EPA, she said.

seresto flea tick collar
A flea and tick collar display at a pet store in Rochester, New York.

The EPA has not issued any warnings to consumers about the collars, but an agency spokesperson told Insider earlier this month that it takes “every incident reported seriously and review these data to see whether action is necessary.”

Seresto flea collars are still among the top products of their kind on Amazon and other sites like Chewy.com. Amazon spokeswoman Mary Kate McCarthy told USA Today, however, that the company will now be “looking into the product in question.”

Although the Seresto collars have 4.5 stars on Amazon, some customers have left reviews describing their pets’ adverse reactions. Many involved rashes on dogs’ backs and necks, or behavioral changes like loss of appetite.

“They’ve got to stop putting these collars on the dogs,” Hufman said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A popular flea collar was reportedly linked to nearly 1,700 animal deaths, but the EPA hasn’t issued any warnings about it

seresto flea tick collar
A display of flea and tick collars at a pet store in Rochester, New York.

  • Seresto flea and tick collars have been linked to 1,700 animal deaths, according to a USA Today investigation.
  • Despite 75,000 incident reports between 2012 and 2020, the EPA hasn’t issued any warnings about the collars.
  • Elanco, the company that sells the collars, told Insider “a report is not an indication of cause.”
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A popular flea and tick collar has been linked to nearly 1,700 pet deaths in the last seven years.

According to a USA Today investigation published Tuesday, these Seresto dog and cat collars have also injured tens of thousands of animals and harmed hundreds of people.

The report relied on documents acquired through a public-records request, which revealed that more than 75,000 Seresto collar-related incidents were reported to the Environmental Protection Agency between 2012 and June 2020. Many involved pets having allergic reactions in the spot the collar touched their fur. Some animals had seizures.

More than 900 incidents involved humans – one severe case involved a 12-year-old boy who was hospitalized with seizures and vomiting after sleeping with his collar-wearing dog.

The EPA regulates pesticide-containing products, but it has not issued any warnings to consumers about the potential risks associated with the collars. Karen McCormack, a retired EPA employee, told USA Today that Seresto collars have the most incidents of any pesticide pet product.

“The EPA appears to be turning a blind eye to this problem, and after seven years of an increasing number of incidents, they are telling the public that they are continuing to monitor the situation,” she said.

An EPA spokesperson told Insider that it takes “every incident reported seriously and review these data to see whether action is necessary.”

“The EPA encourages pet owners to read the entire label before using the pesticide product and follow all directions carefully, including monitoring your pet after application to see if side effects occur,” the spokesperson added. “If side effects develop, the label tells the consumer to consult the pet’s veterinarian immediately.”

‘Plastic impregnated with insecticides’

The Seresto collars were developed by pharmaceutical giant Bayer and sold by Elanco, a US pharma company.

small dog
A small dog in a bar on February 19, 2019.

Keri McGrath, a spokeswoman for Elanco, told Insider there is no established link between pet deaths and animals’ exposure to the active ingredients in the Seresto collars. The EPA first approved the product in March 2012, determining that the collars are safe for dogs older than seven weeks and cats older than 10 weeks.

“The article is misleading and misses several key pieces of information, leaving a skewed impression for readers,” she said of the USA Today investigation. “The numbers referenced in the original article represent the number of reports received and do not reflect causality.”

“A report is not an indication of cause,” McGrath added, noting that “if a dog were to be wearing a collar and experience any sort of adverse event, the collar would be mentioned in the report.”

According to the EPA, Seresto collars “are made of plastic impregnated with insecticides” that are released over a period of months and coat the animal’s fur. Those insecticides are flumethrin, which repels and kills ticks, and imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid that targets fleas.

A 2012 study by Bayer found the two insecticides have a “synergistic effect,” and are more toxic for fleas when paired together.

But Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, told USA Today that “synergistic effect” likely applies to animals, too. The center is the nonprofit that filed the public records request.

“For whatever reason, this combination is just really nasty,” Donley said. 

cat collar

The EPA does not consider either insecticide harmful for pets or people, though neonicotinoids are linked to bee die-offs around the globe, so some states have restricted their use.

McGrath said that more than 80 regulatory authorities around the world have “rigorously reviewed” the pet collar’s safety data, since Seresto is a globally marketed product.

‘He could barely walk without yelping in pain’

Seresto flea collars for dogs are among the top products of their kind on Amazon and other sites like Chewy.com. Bayer reported $300 million in revenue on Seresto products in 2019, according to USA Today.

The collars have 4.5 stars on Amazon, but some customers have left reviews describing their pets’ adverse reactions. Many involved rashes on dogs’ backs and necks.  

One reviewer said her toy poodle’s behavior changed after the dog wore the collar for two weeks.

“He could barely walk without yelping in pain and was extremely lethargic. Within 24 hours of removing the Seresto collar, the symptoms started to subside,” she wrote.

Another reviewer said their Boston Terrier had a reaction after having the collar on for a day: “Red and raw spot on her neck that she won’t stop scratching, trembling, lethargic, no appetite,” the customer said.

dog collar scratch
A dog scratching its neck in Tokyo, Japan, in December 2013.

According to McGrath, less than 1% of all collar users filed incident reports in 2020. 

“The significant majority of these incidents relate to non-serious effects such as application site issues – reddening of the skin or hair loss below the collar,” she said.

But Donley told USA Today the number of reported incidents for Seresto is likely an undercount, since any pet owner who has filed a report with the EPA has first realized there could be a link between the collar and their pet’s issue, then reported it over the phone or using an online form. 

“The fact that EPA has not done anything to alert the public that there might be an issue here, it strikes me as bordering on criminal,” Donley said. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

19 things that will help your new cat feel at home, according to cat rescuers and a veterinarian

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

bring home a new cat
  • Make your cat’s transition to their new home as seamless as possible by stocking up on the essentials before their arrival.
  • Cats need supplies like a litter box, food, toys, and scratchers to make them feel safe, encourage healthy habits, and provide them with stimulation.
  • We consulted with two cat rescue organizations and veterinarian Dr. Andrea Moore of Pinnacle Animal Hospital in California to determine the most important supplies to have when bringing a new cat home.

The day you bring home your new cat is full of joy. But while you may be ready for snuggles and play from the moment your kitty arrives, most felines aren’t as excited about moving day. Just when they were getting used to the shelter or foster home – bam – here comes another transition. And cats, they aren’t the best at dealing with change.

Preparing for the arrival of your new cat ahead of time will help smooth their transition to your home. While it’s a no-brainer that cats require a litter box and food, new cat owners may not realize that items like scratching posts, cat trees, calming pheromones, and toys can reduce stress and provide your pet with an enriching environment.

With the help of four experts, we’ve come up with a list of essentials to have when you bring a new cat home. For a veterinary perspective, we consulted Dr. Andrea Moore, owner and medical director at Pinnacle Animal Hospital in San Jose, California. Staff at two cat rescue organizations also lent their expertise on how to transition a cat to a new home: Danielle Carr, shelter manager at Town Cats in Morgan Hill, California, and Libby Farel-Friedman and Lindsay Franušić, supervisor and assistant manager of adoption programs, respectively, at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley (HSSV) in Milpitas, California.

Here are 19 pet supplies to have on hand when you bring your new cat home:

A cozy carrier for your cat’s freedom ride and beyond

MrPeanutsCarrier

Mr. Peanut’s Double Expandable Carrier, available at Amazon, $56

A cat carrier is mandatory for bringing your cat home from the shelter, said Franušić. We love Mr. Peanut’s refined, comfortable tote, which can unzip to expand to almost three times the size of a regular carrier, making it more comfortable for long travel days. 

A calming pheromone diffuser to decrease stress

FeliwayClassic

Feliway Classic Diffuser, available at Chewy, $35.99

To help decrease stress and unwanted behaviors like urine spraying that go with it, both Moore and Carr recommend using a calming pheromone like Feliway during your cat’s first weeks at home. Feliway mimics the F3 facial pheromones cats deposit when rubbing their cheeks against surfaces in order to mark them as safe.

Earthquake putty to keep knickknacks, vases, and picture frames from becoming playthings

QuakeHold

Quakehold! Museum Putty, available at Amazon, $3.66

Adhering your knickknacks to shelves and tables using earthquake putty ensures that your favorite picture frame or vase won’t end up in pieces on the floor. “When you actually get a cat into your home, you find that they love to explore and get on top of things,” said Franušić, adding that putty was a lifesaver for her.

A safe place for your cat to do their business

natures miracle hooded litter box

Nature’s Miracle Oval Hooded Litter Box, available at Chewy, $32.99

When it comes to a litter box, all of our experts agree that simple is best. You want a box your cat can use “without having to do any tricks,” said Moore. And even though self-cleaning litter boxes are convenient, Moore advises against them because the noises they make can frighten cats. At the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, Farel-Friedman said they recommend using a simple uncovered litter box. If you prefer your box to be covered to reduce smells or prevent your dog from getting inside, buy one like Nature’s Miracle Oval Hooded Litter Box, which has a removable lid that can be added later on. 

An unscented natural litter to make using the litter box appealing

worlds best multiple cat litter

World’s Best Multiple Cat Unscented Litter (14 lbs), available at Chewy, $14.45

Moore avoids dusty litters, which can cause respiratory issues, as well as perfumed litters with a strong scent. All three of our shelter experts like litters made of natural materials like corn or grass, and Carr’s favorite litters are made from pine wood. “I think they’re really efficient at neutralizing odors and are really easy to scoop,” she said. For more ideas, check out our guide to the best natural cat litter.

A flat, wide food dish to prevent whisker fatigue

CatFoodBowl

Dr. Catsby Cat Food Bowl, available at Chewy, $19.95

For cats with sensitive whiskers, brushing up against the side of a food or water bowl can cause pain and make eating stressful. To prevent “whisker fatigue,” Dr. Moore suggested using a flatter dish without steep sides. 

Nutritious dry and wet food that your cat will love to eat

HillsScience

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food for Indoor Cats, available at Chewy, from $15.99

While many cats prefer dry foods, they are high in carbohydrates and calories. Feeding a diet that includes wet food can help to maintain weight and overall health, according to Moore. “Wet food is great for cats because it provides more moisture,” she said. “It’s especially important for males because you want them producing urine so they don’t have urinary issues.”

Franušić and Farel-Friedman recommended Hill’s Science Diet, which comes in several varieties for cats with different needs. There are plenty of other high-quality options, including Nom Nom, a human-grade monthly cat food delivery service. 

Irresistible treats for training and high-stress situations

Churu

Inaba Churu Lickable Puree Natural Cat Treat, available at Chewy, $17.96

“We use Churu for clicker training and it works wonders,” said Carr. Clicker training, a form of positive-reinforcement training that marks correct behaviors with a distinct clicking sound, is an excellent way to teach tricks and address behavior challenges in cats. Churu is great for stressful situations, too. “We have cats who are super stressed and we give them Churu, and it works so well to distract them from what’s going on,” said Carr. For more ideas, see our guide to the best cat treats.

Tasty dental treats to help promote a happy, healthy mouth

Feline

Feline Greenies Natural Dental Care Treats, available at Chewy, from $2.35

Keeping your cat’s mouth clean is essential to its overall health. “Ideally, you should try to teach your cat to have its teeth brushed,” said Moore. But if that proves too challenging, dental treats are the next best thing. She also recommended using a water additive for stress-free dental care. For more options, check out our guide to the best dental products for cats.

A reflective breakaway collar to hold your cat’s ID tags

Rogz

ROGZ Reflective Cat Collar, available at Amazon, from $9.95

If your cat goes outdoors, they need a breakaway collar that will come undone if they get caught on a tree branch or fence, said Moore. We like this durable reflective collar by Rogz, which is the top pick in our guide to the best cat collars.

Stainless steel ID tags to make sure your cat gets home safely

GoTags

GoTags Stainless Steel Pet ID Tags, available at Chewy, $7.95

Even if your cat is microchipped, ID tags engraved with their name and phone number can help them make it home safe and sound. If your cat is indoor-only, Moore said they don’t need to wear a collar or ID tags. Instead, microchip your cat so that they can be easily identified if they escape.

A comfy harness and leash set for taking your cat on a walk

CatHarness

Rabbitgoo Cat Harness and Leash Set, available at Amazon, from $14.98

For indoor cats, the outdoors is a fantasy world of sights, sounds, and smells that many find delightful. According to Moore, leash training “is a safe way to have [a] cat outside and a good activity for the cat and owner to do together.” But because being on a leash is not a natural behavior for cats, guardians need to take the time to acclimate their cat to the leash.

A brush for removing excess hair and preventing hairballs

5eb032d0204ad3739e3594c7

Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush, available at Chewy, from $14.99

Cats are fastidious, and in the process of grooming, they consume a lot of hair. For long-haired cats, especially, “brushing is really helpful to remove the loose hair that is ready to shed that may get matted if not removed,” said Moore. A good cat brush like the Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush can help remove the excess hair and may reduce the frequency of hairballs. 

A scratching post for your cat to claw

On2Pets Skyline Scratching Post

On2Pets Skyline Sisal Cat Scratching Post, available at Chewy, $44.99

“Cats scratch as a scent marker, to help with their nails, and to relieve stress,” said Moore. Plus, your cat will be less likely to scratch your furniture if they have other options. This cat scratcher from Max & Marlow includes a 26-inch scratching post plus two attached toys. For more ideas, check out our guide to the best scratching posts.

A cat wand for chasing, pouncing, and play

DaBird

GoCat Da Bird Pull Apart Wand, available at Petco, $8.95

“The best toys are the ones where you can interact with your cat. Playing with them helps you to bond better,” said Farel-Friedman. Cat wands are a classic kitty favorite, and Carr recommended both Da Bird and Cat Catcher by GoCat. See our guide to the best cat toys for more options.

An interactive food puzzle toy to stimulate your cat’s hunting instincts

Petsafe Egg Cersizer toy

Petsafe Egg-Cersizer, available at Chewy, $5.99

“I think food puzzle toys are great,” said Carr. “They’re really good for cats who are overweight and for cats who are overstimulated. It’s more natural, too, because [it mimics the way] cats have to work for their food in the wild.” Moore suggested feeding kibble out of interactive food puzzle toys as well as — or instead of — treats.

Regular flea treatment to keep the itches away

Seresto

Seresto Flea and Tick Prevention Collar, available at Chewy, $57.98

Flea control is important regardless of whether a cat is indoor-only or goes outside. Most flea treatments are topical, but Seresto also makes a flea collar that many cat owners and veterinarians like. Not all cats will be comfortable wearing a flea collar, but for those that tolerate it, Moore said it’s a good option.

A cardboard floor scratcher with tracking balls to promote independent play

TurboscratcherCatToy

Bergan Turboscratcher Cat Toy, available at Petco, $14.99

All of our experts agreed that there is no such thing as too many scratchers. Carr likes the Bergan Turboscratcher which has a ball in the frame. “Cats get their scratch on while playing with the balls inside,” she said. “They can play and entertain themselves so even if you’re not home they have stimulation.”

A cat tree tower for climbing, scratching, and play

Armarkat

Armarkat Classic Cat Tree, available at Petco, $55.06

“We definitely recommend cat trees,” said Farel-Friedman. “They not only provide cats with the ability of choice, but they also provide them with exercise and stress relief.” Dr. Moore agreed: “You want to have vertical space, especially people who have a small living area.” The ideal tree has built-in scratching posts and plenty of spots to snuggle up. That’s why we like the classic cat tree from Armarkat, which is the budget pick in our guide to the best cat trees.

Read the original article on Business Insider