New Cat Checklist – What You Need To Get Before Bringing Kitty Home

Bringing a new cat home? You must be excited! But have you stocked up on all the necessary items for your new pet? Cats may seem like independent creatures, but they do require certain essentials. In this guide, we'll walk you through a new cat checklist, from cat carriers to feeding necessities, grooming tools, and even cat-proofing materials.

Our checklist, honed by the experiences of many cat owners, will have you well-prepared for your adorable new companion. So, sit tight, take notes, and get ready to create a perfect home for your new feline friend. We promise you, it's going to be quite an adventure!

Setting The Stage For Your New Pet

You might be under the impression that cats are low-maintenance, free-spirited creatures that need little human intervention. Let's debunk that myth right away. Just like a newborn baby, a new cat requires its own set of supplies and careful preparation from its caretaker - that's you!

Whether you're a first-timer or an unexpected cat parent, having a comprehensive list of cat essentials is key. Getting everything sorted before you welcome your furball home not only eases the transition for the cat but also puts you at ease.

Feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all? That's completely normal. Remember, even the most seasoned cat parents had to start somewhere. Lucky for you, we've got just the thing to help.

With our new cat checklist, meticulously curated based on inputs from experienced cat parents, you'll be on top of your preparation game. So breathe easy, follow along, and gear up for an exciting journey with your new companion.

Essential Supplies For Your New Kitten

1. Cat Carrier

You can't leave the hospital with a newborn unless you have a car seat, and you can't leave a shelter or breeder with a kitten or cat unless you have a cat carrier.

Click here to see this cat carrier on Amazon.

Safety first should be your motto, and cats can only be transferred safely when in a secured cat carrier. There are many kinds of cat carriers out there.

Feel free to choose any color you want, as long as the carrier is safe and large enough for your cat.

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2. Litterbox & Scoop

Most cats are not too fussy about their litterbox, but some definitely can be, so pay attention to getting the right box.

Click here to see this litter box on Amazon.

It's best to have two litterboxes, especially if you live in a big home and Kitty will have to "travel the distance" to get to his litterbox.

Make sure the litterbox is large. The larger the better. Choose a large litterbox even if you're adopting a kitten. It won't take him too long to grow and need a large litterbox.

Before buying a litterbox, make sure you read our article on automatic litter boxes and see if any of them is a good match for your needs.

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3. Cat Litter

The right litterbox isn't enough. You need to get the right type of cat litter too. There are many to choose from. If you're adopting an older cat try to find out which litter the cat is already used to.

It's best to continue with the same type of litter. If you wish to change the type down the road that can be done once Kitty has adjusted to his/her new home.

If you have no information regarding the cat's preferences, a good choice is unscented clumping litter. Most cats seem to like that type of litter, as do most human caregivers.

Click Here To See This Clumping Litter On Amazon

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4. Cat Food Dishes

When choosing a food dish, opt for ceramics or metal as the material of choice. Plastic dishes may be pretty but they can harbor bacteria and cause feline acne.

Click here to see this cat food bowl on Amazon.

Other than that, go wild with your design preferences as long as it's a designated pet dish, non-toxic, and easy for your cat to eat from and for you to clean.

If you think you may be away from home often and would like to still maintain a feeding routine, consider getting an automatic feeder for your cat.

Water can be offered in a bowl (again, not plastic) or you could invest in a water fountain to encourage your cat to drink more.

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5. Cat Food

Now that you have your food dish, how about some food?

Dry, canned, freeze-dried raw, or homemade? The possibilities are nearly endless and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

As with litter, try to find out what the cat is already used to and get that kind of food for the first few weeks. You can switch her over to a different kind down the road, once she's settled in.

Take your time reading the articles recommended below and visit our Feline Nutrition forum for more advice. If Kitty is a senior or has any specific health problems, consult your vet about her diet as well.

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6. Scratching Posts

Your cat will scratch things. It's a natural part of being a cat. Unless you want that "thing" to be your couch, you should offer her a good scratching post, preferably more than one.

Click here to see this scratching post on Amazon.

Buy large and sturdy scratching posts that won't wobble when Kitty leans against them to stretch and scratch. Try two types of materials to start with, such as cardboard and sisal.

Some posts offer several types of textures on the same post. You want to discover your cat's personal preferences, so offering variety with your first scratching posts is a good idea.

Please do not ever declaw your cat to protect your furniture (or for any other reason).

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7. Cat Toys

Play is a crucial part of your cat's life. It provides exercise for both body and soul, stimulating feline hunting skills and mental abilities. Without such stimulation, your cat could get bored, stressed, and sick.

Click here to see these assorted cat toys on Amazon.

There are two types of cat toys you need to get. The first is used for interactive playtime, where you operate the toy for your cat to chase around.

Fishing rod toys and laser pointers are common choices. The second type is anything your cat can bat around and play with.

Click here to see this cat toy rod on Amazon.

Again, consider investing in the more expensive automated cat toys if you're going to be away for several hours a day or more.

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8. Cat Furniture

Cat furniture can offer your cat a great opportunity to exercise and stretch. Tall cat trees, sometimes called "cat condos" or towers, take on the role of a tree would outside.

Click here to see this cat tree on Amazon.

Not only does Kitty get to practice his climbing skills, but having access to a "higher plane" can also be a source of comfort.

It provides a place where your cat can relax, away from kids, dogs, or other disturbances, real or imaginary. Invest in a quality cat tree that will last a long while.

If floor space is limited, consider adding several shelves to provide your cat with a trail of climbing steps across the wall.

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9. Cat-proofing Materials & Items

Cats are inquisitive and the old adage about curiosity killing the cat is well-founded. This is especially true if you're bringing home a kitten. Let your cat explore safely by making sure the house is cat-proofed.

Make sure toxic materials are stored away safely. Secure the trash can and get electric cords out of Kitty's way.

Stash away your craft materials and make sure your cat is never left unsupervised around yarn, string, etc. Secure windows and any other potential existing from your house or apartment.

If you wish to provide your cat with access to some fresh air, create a firmly secured enclosure attached to your home.

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10. Grooming Tools

Cats are known for their self-grooming and a healthy domestic shorthair cat can get along just fine without any grooming assistance from its humans.

That said, regular grooming can help decrease the amount of cat hair around your home as well as provide quality bonding time between humans and felines.

A good quality pet brush or comb is good to have around, and essential if you have a longhaired cat. The exact type of brush depends on the cat's coat.

Click here to see this brush for cats on Amazon.

Ask around our care and grooming forum if you're not sure which would be best for your cat, or check out Which brushes does everyone prefer?

A pet nail trimmer is necessary for the claw care routine. It's important to get kittens used to having their claws trimmed from a young age.

Click here to see this cat nail trimmer on Amazon.

If trimming the claws isn't enough, consider using claw covers. Whatever you do, please do not ever have your cat declawed.

Click here to see these claw covers on Amazon.

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11. Cat Treats

Everyone loves treats, and cats are no exception to that rule. Choose healthy treats and provide them sparingly.

Your cat will gladly accept more but unfortunately, even the healthiest of treats do not provide Kitty with the balanced diet she needs.

Click here to see this pack of cat treats on Amazon.

For a young healthy cat, a good rule of thumb is to make sure at least 95% of your cat's nutritional intake comes from a complete and balanced diet that's specifically formulated and approved for cats.

The other 5% can consist of homemade or commercial treats. You may need to test and see which treats your cat prefers. Don't worry, it's the kind of testing on animals most cats volunteer to take part in!

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12. Collar, ID Tag & Harness

Consider micro-chipping your cat and in addition to that, having your cat wear a collar and an ID tag.

A collar will clearly mark your cat as a lost pet should he ever wander outside, and the ID tag will help the finder bring the cat back to you.

Click here to see this cat collar on Amazon.

Choose a safety collar that's made especially for cats. These collars allow cats to wriggle out of them, should they get snagged in a tree branch or a similar obstacle.

Some owners train their cats to walk on a leash and harnesses and take them out for walks. It certainly is a good option for some cats. Just make sure you attach the leash to a harness, and not to a collar.

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13. First Aid Kit & Emergency Information Folder

A first aid kit is always good to have around the house. You can buy one especially made for pets, or rely on supplies you have in a regular first aid kit.

Click here to see this pet first aid kit on Amazon.

Educate yourself about how to provide first aid for your cat so that you'll know what to do in case of an emergency.

More importantly, choose a veterinarian and have an accessible information folder, or a note on the fridge (or both!) with the vet's contact details.

Make sure you know how to reach the clinic in case of an emergency, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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14. Dental Care Items

Brushing your cat's teeth can be a challenge. It's best to get a kitten used to the procedure from a young age.

Old or young, getting your cat used to regular tooth brushing should be a gradual and gentle process, so be patient.

Use only toothpaste and brushes which are designed and formulated for cats. Some of our members avoid toothbrushes and opt for using a clean gauze pad, wrapped around their fingers.

Click here to see this dental care kit for cats on Amazon.

Don't rely on kibble (dry cat food) to clean your cat's teeth. Research shows this to be ineffective.

Some of our members who feed a raw diet give their cats chicken wings or necks. The constant friction of chicken bone and cartilage is said to keep teeth clean.

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15. A Cat Bed

Cats are creatures of comfort, and investing in a plush pet bed may seem like a good idea. Don't get your hopes too high though.

Some cats take to their cat bed right away while others may prefer sleeping anywhere but in their bed, usually preferring their owner's sleeping area.

Cat beds come in many shapes, textures, sizes, and colors. Choose whatever works best for your home decor but make sure the bed is large enough and has removable covers that can be easily washed.

Click Here To See This Pet Bed On Amazon

If your cat isn't using the bed, try moving it to a different location. Try a place that's higher than the floor level, preferably in a warm sunny spot.

Some owners invest in a heating pad. That's a good way to make the cat bed more attractive and can really help older cats or those that have arthritis.

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16. Catnip

Last, but not least, catnip!

Catnip is the common name for the plant Nepeta Cataria, which contains a compound called nepetalactone. This compound makes catnip virtually irresistible to some cats.

Click here to see this catnip on Amazon.

Not all cats respond to catnip but if your cat does, you will know as soon as you sprinkle some on the floor.

Your cat will likely rub herself in the catnip, roll on the ground, and generally try to get into it as much as possible. Effects usually wear off after 10-15 minutes.

Get some naturally dried catnip and see how your cat reacts. If you have a catnip fan, make sure you keep the container out of reach when not in use.

You can also get catnip-laced toys and use catnip to attract your cat to the scratching post.

Additional Reading:

cat is in pet booth with its own cat food and water on the side

Over To You! Are You Ready To Complete Your New Cat Checklist?

What did you think about our new cat checklist? Would you add anything? Leave us a comment to let us and other readers know.


We hope you find this list helpful! Our members have put a lot of effort into creating this so please take a moment to share and help other cat owners. Here's an image you can use to share on Pinterest -

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One comment on “New Cat Checklist – What You Need To Get Before Bringing Kitty Home

sara April 13, 2024
thank you for making this checklist for the items every cat owner needs, because I am considering getting a Persian cat and I didn't realize that I needed dental care items before thank you again!

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