Indoor Tabby Cat Requirements

Thinking about getting an indoor tabby cat?  My advice is to drop by the pet store  or visit Amazon for easy online shopping and buy some basics before going to the animal shelter, even if you think you’ll just look at the cats.

Why? Because odds are good that you will fall in love with at least one of those cute little faces and voila! You will have a cat, but no gear.

Take it from me, I know from experience! I thought I was mostly prepared when I adopted my cat, Oliver, but I wasn’t even close.

Before going to the shelter in my hometown, I had quickly picked up a travel crate, which really wasn’t big enough, and a gimmicky litter box that I returned as soon as I’d had a chance to read some reviews. So there I was, scurrying to purchase cat food and a plain litter box while someone else took care of my new kitty.

My goal is to save you – and your new cat – from that headache! Following is a list of recommended starter items to make this process go much more smoothly!


I’d advise buying a mix of foods and flavors, including both canned and dry varieties. Cats can be finicky in general but never is this more true than during the first few stressful days of adjusting to a new environment.

When shopping, keep in mind that grain-free canned food is advised for optimal feline health. This stems from its balance of nutrients which is more similar to a cat’s natural diet. This will help provide your cat with the protein and water he needs. Cats are meat eaters, they don’t require dry foods as this really isn’t part of their natural diet and it can also cause health problems in the future.

It’s best to stick with good quality cat food with high levels of protein. You’ll want to look for 30-40 percent protein in dry food and 10 percent in canned.Oliver prefers pate meats. I have tried many varieties and the “shredded” cat foods don’t appeal to him or his sister Gracie, so I only get pate ones now.

Tabby Cat Requirements

Stay away from foods which contain corn (sometimes listed as “maize”), wheat, soy, and rice, particularly if these are indicated as the first ingredients. Cats do not need to eat grains!

As to flavors, lean more toward poultry-based foods like chicken and turkey instead of fish or seafood-based foods. The latter should be given on a limited basis, at most once or twice per week. Too much fish can cause health problems.. I know, we see so many cats enjoying some fish but really too much can be harmful.

It’s best to give some tinned sardines, mackerel or herring once a week. This will meet all the nutrition cats need from fish.

Suggested Canned Food:

Freshpet Select
Nature’s Variety Instinct
Simply Nourish by PetSmart*
Wellness (grain free), especially the chicken formula
Suggested Hard Food:
Nature’s Balance Ultra Premium Dry
Nature’s Variety Instinct

Let’s talk pricing. Too many people opt for the “cheapest” cat foods. These are full of fillers, normally corn or other grains which are detrimental to your tabby cat’s health. Your cat will need to eat more cat food to get the nutrition it needs.

Although the above-mentioned varieties can be more expensive than grocery store brands, your cat won’t eat as much due to the lack of fillers and grains. I happened to have some cat food that had rice in it; my cat easily consumed double the amount of that food as compared to a Wellness grain-free product. A high protein cat food will help satiate your cat sooner, he will feel full longer as it’s the protein a cat requires not fillers.

Cat Dishes

You could wait on these and begin using your own, however if you opt to purchase them now, go for bowls which are heavy or rubber-edged to protect against slipping. Stainless-steel is preferred. Plastic and porcelain dishes can scratch, causing crevices where germs can accumulate. I always buy stainless steel for my cats, easy to clean and they don’t rust.

Bowls with a slight contour or slope on the inside are best for canned food, which tends to get stuck in the edges of the dish as a cat eats.

Cat Litter Box

A traditional, large, uncovered litter box with high sides is encouraged, compared to a hooded cat litter box which will trap odors. These litter boxes are inexpensive, widely available, and are a good place to start.

If you’re looking to get a kitten, check that one of the edges is low enough for a kitten to step across. If you plan on getting a full-grown cat, ensure that the box is large enough for the cat to maneuver without stepping in his business. Think “clean paws.”

Rubbermaid carries a fantastic cat litter box with high sides along with a ‘scooped out’ entryway which even older kittens would be able to use.

If you are considering getting multiple indoor cats, purchase no less than one box per cat to start out. Understand that the rule of thumb is one box for each cat plus one.

And don’t forget a litter scoop to clean out the box! The narrower the slats, the better. Keeping the box spic and span is one of the best things you can do to make sure your cat develops and keeps good litter box habits! Clean out the cat litter box at least once or twice daily!

Cat Litter

Cats prefer litter that is unscented, and clumping litter is best. The finest cat litter I’ve tried is Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat. This brand clumps extremely well, and that helps to keep the litter box clean. ScoopAway’s unscented clumping litter is also a good choice.

Cat Toys

It’s recommended that you spend some time everyday playing with your cat. This will not only help you bond with your cat, but it’s also pretty entertaining! I’ve never come across a cat who didn’t like batting at a feathery thing on a string, so that’s a good place to start.

You could also grab a laser pointer toy for about five dollars. My cat goes insane chasing that little light around the living room. This is also really good exercise for your cat.

And catnip is a great way to break the ice and help your cat relax!


Scratching Post

Cats love and need to scratch! It’s important that indoor cats are provided with a scratching post or pad as an appropriate outlet for this behavior.
There are many choices to pick from. To start out, just be certain that what you buy is stable and won’t tip over when a cat puts his or her weight on it. If all else fails, a bit of firewood or carpet sample will do the trick.

Ollie just loves his cat house and likes to perch himself on top so he can quietly observe what we mere humans are getting up to!

Crate & Travel Accessories

You need a cat carrier before picking your cat up to come home. Buy a travel crate that’s big enough to permit an adult cat to comfortably turn around. We made the mistake of buying a small one that is now obsolete, so save money and get a good sized cat carrier from the start.

Your carrier should always be kept handy in the event of any emergency so you can get your cat medical attention quickly.

If you will be driving greater than an hour to bring your cat home, it’s suggested that you grab a bottle of Feliway to make the ride home go more smoothly. This item mimics the cat’s pheromones and has a calming effect. Simply spray it into the crate before you put your cat in. This may also help calm your cat as he adjusts to his new environment.