All the essentials you need for your pet

If you’ve adopted a cat during lockdown, ensure you have everything you need to keep

If you've adopted a cat during lockdown, ensure you have everything you need to keep them happy, healthy and entertained: iStock/The Independent
If you’ve adopted a cat during lockdown, ensure you have everything you need to keep them happy, healthy and entertained: iStock/The Independent

The 8 August marks International Cat Day, an annual event that has been celebrated since 2002.

It was originally created by the International Fund for Animal Welfare which works to raise awareness for felines, from big cats to domestic pets, and educate people on how to look after and protect them.

As of 2020, Wiltshire based charity, International Cat Care, are now custodians of the event and it’s a day to unite cat lovers and learn more about the varied species.

If you’ve long been a cat-owner, you’ll have all the essentials you need to keep them happy at home.

However, if spending more time at home during the pandemic has inspired you to adopt or buy a new furry friend, then you’ll need to get kitted out to prepare for your new arrival. There’s a handful of essential products worth buying to make your life easier, while others will keep your cat happy and entertained.

From toys to collars, here are the must-have products to stock up on.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Collars

While collars make it easy to identify your cat if they ever go missing, they can also be useful for maintaining your cat’s health. Plus, your furry friend will look incredibly cute while wearing one.

This Beaphar velour soft cat flea collar (Pets at Home, £4) is more than just a simple collar.

With infanticide built-in, this collar will stop you worrying about the risk of fleas (Pets At Home)
With infanticide built-in, this collar will stop you worrying about the risk of fleas (Pets At Home)

It contains an insecticide that kills fleas and prevents them returning for up to four months, which makes it a great multitasking product for your pet. It’s also adjustable for a comfortabe fit.

Designed for cats and kittens over 12-weeks-old, it also comes with a silver bell, which is ideal if your cat likes to curl away in enclosed spaces you might miss around your home.

We also love this red tartan cat collar (Cool Cat Collars, £7.99) that has a safety breakaway quick release buckle and a removable bell.

This easy-open buckle is ideal if your pet ever gets stuck in a tree (Collar)
This easy-open buckle is ideal if your pet ever gets stuck in a tree (Collar)

When tugged, it will snap open without causing any damage to either your cat or the buckle, perfect if your pet get ever gets stuck up a tree.

Handmade in the UK, the McGregor Scottish tartan design is approved by the Scottish Tartan Society, and it’s fully adjustable too. Your furry friend would look dashing in it.

Litter trays

While most domestic cats can do their business outside, a litter tray is also useful to prevent accidents and reduce bladder and bowel problems, if for any reason they can’t get outside.

This Trixie vico easy clean cat litter tray with dome (Amazon, £19.99) will do the job.

The dome roof will keep the smell in, while the carbon filter will ensure it doesn't spread throughout the house (Amazon)
The dome roof will keep the smell in, while the carbon filter will ensure it doesn’t spread throughout the house (Amazon)

It has a hood and filter to keep any odours contained, door flap and scoop for easy cleaning and is made with a double rim which will keep any – ahem – fluids, being splashed outside of the tray.

A bigger cat will require a larger litter tray, so make sure this is in your basket (Amazon)
A bigger cat will require a larger litter tray, so make sure this is in your basket (Amazon)

If you have a bigger cat, try this large cat litter tray (Argos, £9.99), that comes without a hood but still has a litter shield.

Beds

For a cosy night’s sleep and endless naps throughout the day (we wish we had the luxury), make sure your cat has its own space to doze off in.

This Purrshire felt cat stool house (Pet Planet, £14.99) is ideal as it will keep pet hair off your carpet or hardwood floors, but is a plush and comfortable resting spot. We love the minimalist style of the design too.

Minimise the cat hair on your carpet with this bed that's held on wooden legs (Pet Planet)
Minimise the cat hair on your carpet with this bed that’s held on wooden legs (Pet Planet)

Covered in durable felt with wooden legs, it’s both sturdy and stylish, and the design means your furry friend can nestle into the pod or sit on top if they are feeling more adventurous.

For a style that’s more open, try this Chisdock cat bed (Wayfair, £24.99) that has a removable and reversible cushion for easy cleaning. It’s lined with faux sheep shearling for extra comfort.

Easy to clean and lined with shearling, this will keep your cat cosy for all its naps (Wayfair)
Easy to clean and lined with shearling, this will keep your cat cosy for all its naps (Wayfair)

Inside, there’s a hanging ball for your cat to play with before they drift off.

Bowls and biscuits

If you feel like splashing out, treat your cat to this Gibraltar single wall pet bowl (Lords and Labradors, £10.99) that will also make a stylish addition to your kitchen floor.

This colourful bowl will make dinnertime feel like a luxury (Lords and Labradors)
This colourful bowl will make dinnertime feel like a luxury (Lords and Labradors)

Shatter-resistant and dishwasher safe, it’s an easy to clean design and is deep enough so your cat (hopefully) won’t spill any water onto the surrounding floor.

For the days when you’re out of the house, or perhaps staying overnight on a much-needed staycation, this Trixie automatic pet food dispenser (Pets at Home, £58) will come in handy.

Create a food schedule for your pet with this automatic feeder that can prepare up to six meals in advance (Pets At Home)
Create a food schedule for your pet with this automatic feeder that can prepare up to six meals in advance (Pets At Home)

It’s also useful for managing their diet as you can programme six servings in advance which hold a portion size of 240ml, including wet food.

There’s a cover over the top of the control panel too, which will stop your cat accidentally changing the settings with a curious paw.

To clean, simply pop in the dishwasher.

Brushes

If you have a medium to long-haired cat, regular brushing will help keep their coat in good condition and reduce matting.

It’s also a useful way to regularly check for fleas and ticks.

This Pecute double sided pet grooming brush (Amazon, £11.04) is perfect for all coats.

Pet hair can matte and make a mess of your floor, so use this double-sided brush to stay on top of it (Amazon)
Pet hair can matte and make a mess of your floor, so use this double-sided brush to stay on top of it (Amazon)

Use the rounded pins on one side for de-tangling dead undercoat hair and the bristle side to get rid of dandruff and dust.

Designed to pick up excess hair without hurting your cat, it’s soft to touch and gentle on delicate skin.

Scratchers

This sweet cat scratch and rest station (Argos, £39.99) will keep your cat entertained for hours.

This multi-purpose scratcher allows them to rest and keep their claws trim (Argos)
This multi-purpose scratcher allows them to rest and keep their claws trim (Argos)

Cats have a natural urge to scratch as it helps them remove unwanted materials from their claws, so if you want to avoid them ruining your furniture, this is a good buy.

It has a carpeted base, scratching post, hanging toys and seating platform so they can relax, keep their claws trim and stretch their muscles.

Should you be shopping on a budget, Wilko has a large pet section, and in it includes this cat scratcher post (Wilko, £8).

If you're on a budget, pick up this affordable scratching post (Wilko)
If you’re on a budget, pick up this affordable scratching post (Wilko)

A simple pole design with feather attachments, it won’t take up much room if you’re limited on space and will help naturally shorten their claws.

Carriers

For trips to the vet, moving house, or if you’re bringing your cat on your staycation, make sure you have a carrier for safe, secure and easy transportation.

In our guide to the best cat carriers, we loved this Catit Cabrio turquoise pet carrier, (Catit, £35.96).

For cats that need coaxing into their carrier, this unfolds to help them in gently (The Independent)
For cats that need coaxing into their carrier, this unfolds to help them in gently (The Independent)

It’s ideal if you struggle to get your cat into its carrier, as it has a transparent front door and a roof comprising of two hinged halves so you can place them down inside it rather than trying to persuade them through the door.

According to our reviewer, it’s very solidly built, and it provides a nice, wide viewing window for the cat to look out of and the owner into.

Managing fleas

Fleas are a nuisance that can seriously damage your pet’s health if not taken care of properly, as they can transmit bacteria and parasites, cause hair loss and leave your cat with irritated and reddened skin.

This Frontline spot-on flea treatment for cats (Pet Drugs Online, £13.33) is a monthly solution for treating and preventing flea and tick infestations as well as lice.

Fleas can wreak havoc on a cat's wellbeing, so apply this monthly treatment to prevent and reduce any outbreaks (Pet Drugs Online)
Fleas can wreak havoc on a cat’s wellbeing, so apply this monthly treatment to prevent and reduce any outbreaks (Pet Drugs Online)

Available in packs of three or six, the treatment comes in pipette form, each of which is skilled with 0.5ml of fipronil, an insecticide that causes fleas to die.

The brand suggests applying the treatment by parting the fur between the shoulder blades until the skin is visible, then placing the tip of the pipette on the skin and squeezing gently to empty the contents onto the skin on two spots; one at the base of the skull and one two to three centimetres further back.

Just ensure it’s in a spot where your cat won’t lick it off, and avoid bathing your pet for two days after the treatment.

If you’re looking for other products for your furry friend, visit our pet section for more reviews

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