MVPs: My Top 10 Must-Have Cat Things


There’s untold thousands of cat things out in the world, available for your browsing and purchasing pleasure.

In the interest of trimming some fat, here is my lean, mean, no-bullshit core team of Most Valuable Players Cat Things, that over the years have proved their mettle and continue to be invaluable in my daily cat wrangling adventures.

I’ll be continually updating this list as more rookies make the cut, or if a star player somehow fails me (cue ominous music).



1. ABO Cat fun tunnel 

abo cat fun tunnelThis cat tunnel is quite possibly the only cat toy I’ve ever owned that my cats have shown a consistent and unwavering interest in. Could it be the soft crinkly noises? The velvety texture? The endless opportunities for ambushing other cats and passers-by’s legs (and motes of dust, and imaginary enemy forces) from within it’s shadowy recesses?

Whatever the reason, this thing is an olympic heavy-lifter of cat amusement in my home, and is still going strong after 3 years of incessant abuse. Here it is out in the wild:


sita in the kitty canon

There’s a blockage in the kitty canon



2. Indestructible (and mighty ergonomic) cat litter scoop

duranimals scoopI know, there’s nothing sexy about a poop scooper. But if there ever was a sexy poop scooper, it’d be this one.

There’s something so enticingly grippy about the contoured handle, and so empowering-ly scoop-y (I’m a writer!) about the angled head. It’s also super easy to clean, sturdy as hell, and damn if it isn’t kinda nice looking..right?? Maybe it’s just me.



duranimals scoop




3. PetFusion cat scratcher/lounger combo

pet fusion cat scratcher


You’ll see this baby on a lot of must-have cat product lists, and for good reason. Cats go absolutely nuts for it. I was initially reluctant to splurge on what seemed to be a fancy hunk of cardboard, but my cats are obsessed with this thing—for scratching, bird-watching, dreaming little kitty dreams, what have you.


Plus, it looks pretty darned spiffy on my windowsill:


The perfect spot to contemplate life's mysteries

The perfect spot to contemplate life’s mysteries



4. Industrial bar service mat

New star foodservice mat

Don’t worry, I’m not an insane person who serves margaritas to my kitties (that’s only when they’re extra good). This bar mat is probably one of the most effective litter-catching mats I’ve ever used (and I’ve road-tested plenty in my crusade to eradicate litter-scatter from my life).




5. Armarkat cat tree

cat tree kitten

Armarkat cat tree

I am a huge advocate of providing cats with adequate vertical space. To that end, Armarkat has the widest variety of cat trees that I’ve found, depending on how many monkeys kitties you share your life with and your preferred degree of cat fanaticism. They’re also very sturdily built and in the low end of the price spectrum.

But if a carpeted cat tree screams “I HAVE CATS AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT!” a little too loudly for your taste, there are plenty of subtler options out there.




6. Cat Catcher mouse wand

go go cat catcher

The “Go Go Cat Catcher” is one of the best selling cat toys on Amazon, probably because of its extra-whippy woven wire and mouse attachment that goes realistically skittering across the floor (which, come to think of it, might be a bad thing if you have a rodent phobia).

Whenever my husband or I bust this thing out, it’s instant full-on kitty chaos in our house. We call it “cat-fishing,” only without the regret and hangovers.




7. K&H heated cat bed

kh cat bed

Cats love heat. Have you noticed?? I don’t know if you’ve noticed.

Partially due to the interminable, soul-crushing winters we get in New York City, and partially to get the cats off of my laptop, I sprung for this heated cat bed. It’s especially awesome because of its cozy size and the fact that the heating pad is well insulated from inevitable kitty-kneading. I’ve also put it through tons of washes (whenever I can manage to dig the cats out of it) and it’s held up beautifully.




8. Kitty Cot window perch

kitty cot window perch


kitty cot

Ok, this little contraption isn’t so much a “must-have” as it is a “super-cool-to-have.” Do my cats need a hammock suspended in the sky, granting them 360 degree views of the world outside? Perhaps not. But if you leave your cats home alone when you’re at work like I do, anything that brings them a little extra amusement and delight is fantastic in my book. My cats clock hours of people-watching time lounging in this thing.


My mom’s cats Flower & Audrey chillin’ the day away in theirs:


I wish my cats loved each other this much.




9. Non-toxic cat litter

swheat scoopI’ve used practically every type of litter imaginable, short of manufacturing my own. From walnut shells, to crystals, to “Precious Cat,” “Feline Pine,” “Blue Buffalo”- the list goes on. They all have their pros and cons, but I always come back to Swheat Scoop. It’s the only litter I’ve found that’s chemical & clay-free (clay builds up in your cat’s system when they groom themselves), controls odors well, clumps, doesn’t scatter excessively, is edible (you know…just in case) and is flushable. Flushable!

Also, it doesn’t assault me with the force of 10,000 legos when I step on the inevitable stray crumbs.




10. Pioneer Pet Ultimate scratching post

pioneer cat post

Last (but not least) in my kitty-wrangling arsenal is the Pioneer Pet scratching post.

This is no ordinary scratching post—this is the only thing my cats have wanted to dig their pointy little claws into ever since it arrived on my doorstep. Sure, in the meantime they’ve already destroyed 2 couch cushions and a chair, but who’s counting??

Ok, I am. I’m counting, you goddamn velociraptors.






*New updates!


11. Sweet ass cat bed

modern cat bed

Loookkkkk at this awesome friggin’ cat lounge!!

From Etsy shop likekittysville. I took one look at it and thought to myself, “This is going on my must-have list.”

And here it is.






Bonus item: Bonito flakes for cats. It’s like cat crack. I’m fairly convinced this is how they get cats to do all those crazy tricks in the circus.


3 comments on “MVPs: My Top 10 Must-Have Cat Things”

  1. Dana Blumenthal says:

    Got any helpful ideas to get my 19 year- old to pee in the box? He will use the box to poop but lately he pees near the box but not IN the box! If it was a litter problem, I don’t think he’d use the box at all, I keep it clean (sometimes twice a day cleaning!). Can you help?

    1. Why Cat Why says:

      Oh no! Poor thing. Running a quick search brings up a few possibilities: Your senior kitty may have a UTI, which makes urinating painful (and makes him associate his litter box with painful peeing experiences). He may also be having a more difficult time getting in and out of the box, so only makes the trek when absolutely necessary (for number 2’s).

      I’d take him to the vet first to rule out medical issues. Then, try switching to a lower-profile litter box designed for senior cats. Some more helpful info here:

      Best of luck, let me know if it works out for you!

  2. Myrto Tzortzou says:

    Dana Blumenthal, you should go to the doctor. I had the same problem with my 17 years old cat. I believed that it was from the age but it was not. We made many many medical tests. At first they told me urinary infection, then kidney deficiency. But it was cancer, bladder cancer. He died one month later. Please, go to the vet and I hope it wont be something bad.

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