This page is under construction. It will provide information about products that are essential whether you adopt a new cat, or have a household full of cats.  These articles will include:

  • What to look for in a commercial cat food
  • Dry food v. canned food v. raw food
  • Cat litter wisdom, or how to ensure your cat will use the cat box and not your carpet
  • Your new cat's essentials 
  • Keep her claws! but get a good claw clipper and other tips
  • Bach Flower Remedies: myth or reality?
  • Removing pet stains and odors
  • Keep your cat inside, but build an enclosure for her in your backyard
  • Pet sitter v. boarding
  • Websites and books you may want to check out
You can  contact us at any time if you would like to see information about a topic not listed here, or provide a comment on one that is listed.

Note: All information and recommendations provided about products for cats are based on our experience as a cat rescue and shelter.  There may be excellent products we do not mention because we are not aware of them.  We are open to suggestions and are willing to test any product our viewers recommend (within reasonable limits.) 

What to look for in a commercial cat food

Is 'grain free' the way to go?

First thing you need to know: cats are true carnivores, and their digestive system is not made to process carbohydrates.  Too much carbs in a cat's diet could lead to pesky yeast infections, especially in the ears; diarrhea, especially in kittens; obesity; diabetes; inflammatory bowel disease; and more.

So, is 'grain free' the solution? Maybe, maybe not.  If the grain is replaced with potato starch or tapioca, you haven't eliminated the carb problem. Bottom line: you have to read the list of ingredients to find out what's in the food you're about to buy for your cat. Here are a few tips:
  • Better if the first two or three ingredients are meat sources such as chicken, or chicken meal. 'Poultry' would indicate an indistinguishable mix of fowls, and you'll find that in cheaper foods. 'Meat byproducts' indicates by-products from an indistinguishable meat source.  
  • Check the protein content: the higher, the better. A lower protein content  means a higher carb content, but you'll have to pay more for the high protein food. In dry food, you will find any percentages between 28% and 50%. In canned food, the protein percentage is between 9% and 12%. (Water in canned food is around 75%)
  • Beware of non-animal protein sources: they are generally not recommended for cats. Gluten, in particular, is to be avoided, as most of it comes from China and you may not get the protein you think you are buying.

Dry Food v. Canned Food v. Raw Food

Raw food is best, if you can afford it.  It is the closest to what your cat would eat in the wild and the best adapted to your cat digestive track.  However, unless you start feeding it to your cat when she is a kitten, it may be difficult to get her to eat it.
Canned food comes second.  It has the moisture your cat needs, and a higher protein content than dry food.
Dry food is the most processed, has the highest carb content, and has very little moisture which makes it the least healthy for your cat.  A problem often encountered with dry food is Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).  Unfortunately, once a cat is used to dry food, it is hard to switch him to canned food and therefore the UTI will return.  You will then have to put your cat on a special UR diet that you can only get from your vet at a very high price.  Another problem, especially if you free feed, is obesity and over time, diabetes may also develop.
If you have to use dry food, be sure to get your cat used to also eat canned food. In any case, DO NOT FREE FEED!

For more information on cat nutrition, you may visit Dr. Lisa Pierson's blog.

Cat Litter Wisdom, or how to Ensure your Cat will use the Cat Box and not your Carpet

A few tips when choosing a cat litter:

  • Clay clumping litter is best. It's also more convenient.
  • Unscented or Fragrance Free, because a cat's sense of smell is many times more powerful than ours and they may avoid the scented litter.
  • There are biodegradable litters made of, among other things, wheat husk, corn husk, walnut husk. These are environmentally better choices, but your cat may not like them as well as the clay litter. If you want to experiment, make sure to introduce the new litter progressively, offering both the new and old litters until the cat adjusts.
  • If you cat has "accidents", try Dr. Elsey's "Cat Attract" litter.  If is very effective.
  • The worst cat litter is the one your cat won't use, so be flexible and try different ones to get your cat back in the cat box.
How often should you clean the cat box?
Let me just say this: you like your toilet flushed before you use it. Your cat is the same way. You'll notice she uses the cat box right after you've cleaned it. So the moral of the story is, clean the cat litter box each time your cat uses it (that's what I do,) or at least twice a day.

What cat litter box should you pick?

Unless you have a very small cat, choose a medium to large cat box. You may pay a bit more for it, but you won't regret it. 
Cover or no cover? That depends on where the cat box is located, and whether you cat likes privacy or prefers an open box.  If you choose a cover, make sure it can be removed easily with one hand: it will be easier to clean.
You have a dog who loves to eat cat poop? No problem, there are special cat boxes for that. They are covered and the cat enters from the top. 


You New Cat's Essentials

Food/water bowls:  Do not use plastic; ceramic or stainless steel dishes are healthier options.  Get a flat dish for food (a saucer will do), or one with low sides.  Get a large and deep bowl for water. 

Scratch pads and scratch posts:  cardboard scratch pads are available at all pet stores, get a large one that the cat can sit on while he scratches.  The scratch post should be tall and very sturdy, and should have sisal rope rather than carpet, or both.  A cat tree with lots of scratching surfaces is highly recommended.  Check the selection at Petsmart, or check out cozycatfurniture on line for a large choice of very reasonably priced cat trees.  You will also need to get a claw clipper to trim his/her claws every two weeks.

Toys:  All cats like the feather wand.  Small toy mice are good, too.  The laser beam is great to exercise your cat and a lot of fun.  A circular track with a ball he can push around with a scratching area in the middle is a big favorite.  A simple cardboard box is also at the top of his list of toys, as is a paper sack (handle removed, of course!)

Cat carrier:  you will need a cat carrier, preferably one that opens from the top, for when you take your cat to the vet or whenever you take your cat in your car with you (this could be in case of an emergency like a fire.)  You should NEVER carry your cat in your arms outside the home or have him/her loose in the car.

Cat treats:  should be natural, without preservative or artificial color or flavor.  I recommend the Bonito Tuna Flakes.  The best ones are available at Wholefoods in the dried seaweed section (not in the pet section.)  Petco sells it but it is not always as fresh.  There are other natural treats without preservatives or artificial flavor/color also available if you want to experiment with them.

Brushing tips and tools: A good time to brush your cat is when you watch TV and she is on your lap or sitting on the couch next to you. A long hair cat will need brushing at least twice a week.  Choose a brush with long wire bristles that penetrate her thick fur. The 'Furminator' is the best brush to remove hair, but know when to stop or it will remove too much hair! 
Your cat sheds a lot and you're tired of picking up hair?  Try to get into the habit of brushing her when you pet her. 

Water Fountain:  This is not a priority, but cats need to be encouraged to drink a lot, especially if they eat dry food.  Anything that encourages drinking will be good for their kidneys and their general health.  The ceramic water fountain is recommended over a plastic one. You can find them at Petsmart, Petco, or  Check on line for prices.