Every new cat parents get overwhelmed with the choices, colors, shapes, and sizes of the pet furniture market. But what is actually necessary and what is not? What will actually be used, what’s a waste of money?
As a girl that’s had cats her entire life, I can relate and bring some experience to the table as well.
The basics for any cat are simple. Litter box, litter, food, maybe a bowl, a cat tree so they don’t scratch the furniture, maybe even one of those cute beds for 20 bucks.
BUT – which ones are suitable for whom? That depends entirely on what you want, what you can afford, and of course your personal kitties needs. Special needs need special stuff, bigger cats need bigger stuff, older cats need lower stuff, and so on.
After years of trying out different things for different cats, these are my thoughts (and recommendations) on what actually makes sense to buy and what not.
Cat food bowls – you don’t necessarily need special bowls in my opinion, but many are just perfect for the job. What I prefer are small to medium sized stainless steel bowls for wet or dry food, with some rubber on the bottom so it wont’ move when the cats try to eat. Stainless steel is healthier, easy to wash even in the dishwasher, and won’t look ugly in any kitchen.
Cat water bowls – as many owned by a cat people will find out out, cats like running water. It’s in their nature. Some drink from the bathroom faucets, some go in the toilet bowl after it’s freshly flushed, some longingly watch fountains or waterfalls somewhere outside or by a fish tank. So as manny experts agree, a little waterfall/fountain water bowl will make your cat drink more, hydrate her better, and make her think the water is fresher, like from a spring. Your best bet is to go with a fountain made of ceramic or stainless steel. Here it is especially important to stick with either one of them, because the microbes that will attach to the plastic can make your kitty sick, short and long term! Stick to a fountain that you can take almost completely apart and stick in the dishwasher to make it healthier and easier for everyone.
Cat trees – in my opinion, always a good idea. Some cats are more interested in them than others, but you can get them interested in just about anything if you just know how. What kind? Well that depends. We don’t want eyesores in our homes, but most of us don’t want to dish out a thousand bucks or more for a fancy designer piece. Lucky for you, I frequently check what good new stuff there is and post it here on my site. Because I believe in a Big Bang for your buck! If you just want cheap, find a used one somewhere. But if you want something you’ll actually LIKE, check them out here. Good quality for an ok price, and most cats actually like sitting perched higher than the rest of the stuff in the room, so it’s a nice piece of furniture with an actual use.
Cat beds – yes and no. A cheap cute one might be hop or top. I’ve tried them, mostly when I was younger. And they all ended up in the trash one day. Of course cats like comfort and warmth and the smell of you. But that little pink or striped piece of china stuffed mystery thing might not be very appealing for your kitties. Mine often loved that mystery filling smell so much, they preferred to use it as a soft litter box instead of a bed. Frustrating, I know! That’s why i would only recommend something that’s washable and ergonomic. Your kitty wants to be comfortable, especially when it’s heavier or older. And if it’s misused anyways, at least you can properly wash it and try again. Cute, cheap, Chinese mystery filled bed? You can certainly try to wash it, i wish you good luck with that. For better options that won’t go straight in the trash – check out some better one here.
Litter box – not technically furniture I guess, but important to talk about nonetheless. On a budget, a cheap simple litter box, with or without cover and lid will usually suffice. But if you can afford it, I highly recommend an automated litter box. and not just any, but the Litter Robot. It’s a bit pricey for a toilet, but if any litter box is actually worth the price, it’s this one. We’ve tried “normal” automated litter boxes and it gets expensive and messy. Think special stuff to clean and maintain every week (and no, you cant substitute) kind of expensive. And cat poop spread throughout the whole box messy. To spare you the details, just go with the better one. The one that actually gets rid of the waste, not just gets it stuck in its cleaning comb. Saves you time, saves your back, and your home won’t smell like cat toilet. Win, win, win! The less you scoop, the more you’ll love you kitty. Especially true if you’re sharing your home with someone less entusiastic about having an animal in the house!