What You Need to be a Cat Owner You're preparing for a new family member, I see. A kitten, you say? And I also see you have a checklist of everything you think you need prior to the cat even stepping foot in the house. Good for you. Well, let's see what's on your list now, think of this as a "cat owner manual": 1. Cat food. Good. There's nothing worse than bringing any pet home and realizing you don't have anything for him to eat. And while it sounds silly and very basic, we've all found ourselves in that position at one time or another. 2. Cat litter and a litter box. Excellent. I also see you bought the scoopable litter. Absolutely a great choice. Without a doubt, it's one of the best inventions mankind ever devised. Get the "pooper scooper" and scoop about any litter that's dirty. This way you don't have to change an entire litter box every other day or so. 3. Toys. My, perhaps you went a little overboard. But you did well. You're trying very hard not to let your new friend get bored. Now, you know, sometimes cats are like kids. With children, you buy them a toy and they end up playing with the box. Don't be surprised if you cat finds an empty box and starts playing. He may even prefer to play with an empty paper bag. You new friend will be absolutely delighted with just about anything if he's in a playful mood. I've had a few cats that not only played with my ink pens, but take them apart. Now if I can only teach him to put it back together again. You'll find he'll discover a whole host of toys in the house that you've never even thought could be used in the ways your cat will use them. Also, remember that cat toys make a great gift for cat owners. 4. A good reliable veterinarian. Your cat may not appreciate this right now. But if you find a good veterinarian before you bring your cat home, then there won't be any interruption or problems with your new pet receiving good medical care. If you've never had to choose a veterinarian before, ask your friends with pets what doctor they use. If they're happy, they'll let you know. And if they're not happy, they'll probably really let your know. Call local animal shelters as well. They will steer you if you ask, not only to the best, but to the least expensive ones. You may also be able to find reliable veterinarian services from the Human Society in your area. Check either on line or in your local phone book. You'll receive a good service at a reasonable price and you'll know that absolutely everyone involved in the organization has a love of animals. 5. A brush. Buy a brush with which to groom your cat. This helps the two of you bond. But more than that, this also helps control shedding. You'll appreciate the fact that less of his fur is on your clothes and furniture. And he'll appreciate that there's less fur for him to groom himself. That reduces his chances of getting hairballs. (Actually, you'll both appreciate that!) 6. Patience. Don't forget to be patient with your new friend. You'll be bringing him into unknown terrain when he comes home with you. Give him a chance to investigate his environment as well as to "sniff out" strange new smells – that's how he learns about his world. Be patient with him as he tries to learn the rules. The rules of discipline for a dog and cat are completely different. On one hand, cats are great. You just have to admire a cat's determination. You tell him no; you gently take him off the kitchen counter. You turn around and he's back on the kitchen counter. Smiling at you, no less! 7. Love. And the most essential of all ingredients of all to make you the ultimate cat owner? Why love, of course! As long as you love your new pet (Look into his eyes! How could you not love that cute little feline?) If you have enough love and patience, then everything else about cat ownership will work itself out. Now, go out and retrieve your new pet. She's been expecting you.