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Top Things a Cat Needs for Survival

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In order to survive with some degree of comfort, there are certain absolutely minimal things a cat needs, such as good food, water, a litter box, scratching post, and a place to sleep. Oh yes, and don't forget toys. These are my top choices for the things a well-kept cat needs for survival.

Cat Food: Natural Balance Ultra Premium Canned Indoor Formula

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Cats must eat to survive. Although raw food would be the optimum, canned food is a good second choice. I'm giving the nod here to a popular premium food, with a relatively low price. The indoor variety of Natural Balance was previously called the Hairball Formula, since indoor cats don't always have ready access to grass for helping to bring up swallowed hair.
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Automatic Water Dispenser: Drinkwell

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Water is indeed the stuff of life, and cats, particularly those on a dry food diet, need plenty of fresh, cool water for tissues, and for a healthy urinary tract system. Most cats love the action and taste of flowing, filtered water, and the Drinkwell is a favorite with my cats. Drinkwell now also has an accessory available that is a small tray planted with wheat grass. It fits in a "corner" of the bowl and the grass grows quite tall as long as it gets sun part of the day. My cats LOVE this extra feature

Because my house water is from a municipal well, it is very hard, so I usually use a good bottled water to serve my cats.

Litter Box and Litter: World's Best

Picture of cats using a recently cleaned litter box
Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy
World's Best Cat Litter seems to live up to its name, in my household. Made of whole kernel corn, this litter is virtually dust-free, safe for kittens, and clumps, so it can be safely used in automatic litter boxes. It also is remarkably free of odor. The choice of litter box doesn't matter as much, as long as it's sized right, and you keep it scrupulously clean. This video will give you some guidance in cleaning a litter box.
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Scratching Post: Purrfect Post

Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy
The Purrfect Post stands almost 32" tall, and is covered with strong, long-lasting sisal fabric which cats seem to prefer over the typical carpet-covered posts. Noted anti-declaw advocate, Dr. Christine Schelling, D.M.V., recommends this post. She notes that the shredding ability of sisal fabric helps make it popular with cats.

Also, its height allows cats plenty of stretching and pulling activity, which helps keep the muscles of the shoulders and upper body toned, as well as giving them the satisfaction of a vigorous, stress-relieving scratching exercise. All I can say is that my cats simply love their Purrfect Post, as exemplified by Jaspurr, who is staking his claim on the post in the accompanying photo. My review is pending.

Comfy Bed: Slumber Bed for Cats

Many cats will sleep right with their owners on the big bed (do we really have a choice?) but cats do need their own private sleeping place where they can get away when desired. I like this bed because it is covered in soft fleece, deep and comfortable, and comes in a variety of colors. The best value however, is that the entire bed can be tossed into the washer for cleaning.

Topical Flea Protection: Advantage

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Advantage uses imidacloprid as the active ingredient, and is generally regarded as safe for cats and kittens over six weeks of age. We have personally used this product for both adult cats and kittens, and have not seen a flea in our house for several years, nor any side effects from its use. In the "off season," application every two or three months does the job. Advantage comes in an orange package for cats under 9 pounds and a purple package for cats 9 pounds and over. Consult with your veterinarian for the proper dosage for kittens. She may recommend just using a few drops from the orange package.

Note: I do NOT recommend flea collars for cats.

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Dental Care: C.E.T. Kit or Chews

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C.E.T. are tasty, chewy treats with dual enzymes added that helps stop plaque from forming. They come in fish or poultry flavor, and in bags of 30 or cannisters of 96. The C.E.T. Dental Kit includes a soft finger brush and toothpaste. Your cat's dental health is instrumental in his overall health. Dental care is definitely critical to the survival of his teeth.
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Grooming Tools: Zoom Groom for Cats

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The Zoom Groom is a gentle grooming device with a comfortable feel in the hand and tapped rubber "bristles" which not only seek out loose hairs, but provide a gently massaging effect. Cats love to be brushed with zoom groom and a daily brushing session provides a superb bonding experience.
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Pawbreakers, Catnip "Candy" for Cats

Photo Credit: © Brett Buchanan - Edible Animal Treats
Pawbreakers is such a simple and logical concept for combining a catnip treat with play that one wonders why it wasn't discovered long ago!They are made of quality catnip bound tightly into a ball shape with a food binding agent, and cats simply cannot resist playing with them, then eating them.

Toys! THE toy: Da Bird

Da Bird is da toy with da most! It is by far the most mentioned commercial toy among About Cats Forum members and their cats, and is enthusiastically endorsed by my trio of cat toy testers. The twirling feather action is so realistic, cats will go ballistic over Da Bird. Da Bird has also come out recently with an Insect Wand that shows distinct possibilities.

You'll find that it's a good idea to put Da Bird away after play, or your cats will seek it out, and could injure themselves with the string if they try to play with it unsupervised. Also, caution is suggested in limiting any one play session with da Bird, as cats will literally wear themselves out with it, if you let them.

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