» Shelter Overview

Must haves – cat supplies

Once you’ve made the decision to provide a home for a feline family member, it’s time to get everything ready by the time the newcomer arrives. So, the question is: what does a cat need?

Here’s our Top 10:

The litter box

Litter boxes can be open or hooded with or without doors or filters. Whether the litter box will be accepted however primarily depends on your cat. Filters are unnecessary because they are largely ineffective while doors drastically reduce acceptance and enormously increase dust inhalation when your cat is using the litter box, so we don’t recommend flip doors. The only decision here to make: an open or a hooded litter box.

We’d like to note here that a number of reasons for litter box problems can be attributed to inappropriately selected litter boxes.

If you observe a cat eliminating in nature you’ll find that the cat needs quite some space for it. Litter boxes available in most pet stores are much too small.

Litter boxes with edges curved inward are also unsuitable because on the one hand, the edges only make the usable surface smaller; on the other hand, it is unpleasant for the cat when he or she bumps against them..

Many cats would still tolerate unsuitable litter boxes. It doesn’t mean however that your cat feels fine when using one. Nearly every large litter box without protective edges and without a hood is fine (The base of large rabbit cages or plastic bed storage boxes available at a particular Swedish furniture store are also just fine.)

The Litter

The litter

There are non-clumping and clumping types of litter available. Most users prefer clumping litter because it is easier and more hygienic to use. Types of litter are:

Mineral litter (bentonite) clumps very well but it’s heavy and not biodegradable. In fact, bentonite should be disposed of on special waste disposal sites because it doesn’t decompose. In addition, its transport routes are absurdly long and a catastrophe for the CO2 balance. Plus, reports have been published describing its health risks to cats.
Silica gel litter does not clump but it’s dust-free. This litter is also non-degradable; in fact, it’s specifically processed sand. Silica gel litter is relatively expensive and requires intensive care. Yet, as it is dust-free, it is suitable for some extremely sensitive cats.
Wood-based pellets are basically “non-clumping litter reversed”. When cleaning the litter box, you actually remove intact pellets while fine saw dust falls through the scoop holes. As with all wood-based pellets, its odour-control is good but cleaning the litter box is definitely more time-consuming.
Owing to its health and ecological aspects, wood-based litter is the best choice. Wood-based litter is biodegradable, often even compostable, it is extremely absorbent and lightweight. Some leave more dust behind than others. Its odour control is very good and its economy is second to none.   

When selecting the type of litter, please bear in mind that cats tend to eat litter sometimes – just like in nature where they eat soil every now and then.

This habit can have fatal consequences if bentonite or silica gel litter is used because these substances build a heavy clump in the stomach, which will then have to be removed in emergency surgery.

Litter Scoop 

The litter scoop

A scoop requires no scientific specifications – it needs to be suitable for the litter, it should be neither too rough nor too fine. And of course, the more it fits the colour of the litter box, the better.



Your cat needs a food bowl and at least one drinking bowl. The bowls should be flat and sufficiently wide because cats don’t like their whiskers being constantly nudged.

The bowls need to be easy-to-clean, meaning glass, ceramics or earthenware. Please wash up the bowls after each meal.

In nature, cats don’t drink where they eat, so double-bowls or dual feeding stations are unsuitable for this purpose.

Place the water bowl at least 2-3 metres away from the food bowl or at a completely different spot. If you feed premium quality wet food, your cat may not drink at all but you’ll still need to offer water.

Fluid supply is crucially important for your cat anyhow. You may just as well enrich the food with a bit of water.

Wet or Dry Food

Wet or dry food

Please click here to read about “Food”.

Beds and Dens

Beds and dens

Make cosy retreat spaces available for your cat away from busy areas where there’s no draft. Whether it’s baskets, dens, blankets or pillows; your cat will show you his or her preferences after a few trials. Tastes differ. Make sure you offer diversity but don’t remove your kitty’s favourite pieces and places.

Cat Trees and Scratching Posts 

Cat trees and scratching posts

A cat tree for play and sharpening claws is a must. You can choose small, medium and large ones with dens, condos, ladders, you can even get ones made of solid wood or with water repellent ‘grass cover’ for use on the balcony.

When it comes to a cat tree, make sure it stands stable and no nails or other sharp objects that could injure your cat stick out of it. The sisal should by no means be fixed with a solvent-based glue to the post. Check for an overall nice production.

When selecting the cat tree, make sure at least one of the posts reaches a minimum of 60 cm unobstructed from the floor and is easy to access. Some cat trees have a basket or condo right at its base – which is wrong. Cats need the readily available post to be able to stretch from the floor upwards and sharpen the claws on their front paws. A scratching post with a single unobstructed pole of a metre or higher for larger cats are even better.

An additional scratching board may spare your furniture from getting scratched. You can also build a genuine climbing paradise from scratching boards.




Play is very important for cats, especially indoor ones. It is a substitute for hunting, a need present in all cats that has to be met. Cats prefer interactive games, meaning playing with a cat lover or their guardians. Danglers for example are suitable for this purpose. Furry mice, balls, feather teasers and other toys appropriate for cats are also available.

Toys filled with catnip or valerian are also favourites. By all means avoid toys your cat can tear to pieces. Soft balls, furry mice with loose feathers or plastic buttons (the eyes of the mouse), rubber bands, wool threads are exciting but should never be used unattended. These are all things your cat may swallow.


In the worst-case scenario, they get stuck in the stomach or the bowels causing obstructions or internal injuries.

Cats also like catching the light of a laser pointer. You need to make sure however that the laser ray does not hit the eyes of your cat because it causes retina injuries. Green laser pointers have a higher light output and offer gut visibility also by daylight even outdoors. Play sessions with a laser pointer should always be wound up with a treat because constantly fruitless hunting may lead to frustration.

Cat Combs and Brushes 

Cat combs and brushes

This is a question of the cat’s coat type and needs. Domestic shorthairs do not need it. Many cats are happy though to receive a chest massage. But if your cat dislikes it, there’s no need to force it. It’s a different matter for cats with longer coat. Care is essential if your cat has longer fur. Brush bristles shouldn’t be too hard. A comb with rotating (loosely set) teeth causes less discomfort. Once again, it’s the cat to decide what he or she prefers.

We are happy to advise you.

Cat Carriers

Cat carriers

We can give you a set of very clear recommendations here, especially because there are so many models available and some of them are cleary insufficient:

  1. The carrier should be made of easy-to-clean plastic. Owing to fear, your cat may urinate in it or soil it with gland secretions, which will have to be cleaned off without a trace.
  2. The door needs to close securely: press the base and the top from the inside apart (as if the cat were humping its back in the carrier. The door should not release at the hinges. This is a major and frequent issue even with expensive carriers!
  3. The carrier should be large enough. It should be sufficiently large for your (adult!) cat to lie in comfortably.
  4. The carrier must open through a door and also from above.

It’s helpful to keep the carrier freely accessible in your home and have it used by your cat. If the carrier is associated exclusively with a visit to the vet, your kitty will make it very clear that she won’t even go near it when you get ready for the next appointment.