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Cat Adoption Checklist: Everything New Parents Need To Know and Buy

Oliver Jones

Bringing a new feline into your home is an exciting experience. Cats provide love, entertainment, and vital stress relief. Whether you’re adopting an adult cat or a kitten, you should expect your new feline to be apprehensive when it’s taken to an unfamiliar environment. Your cat will grow to love the new home, but it takes a little while before it feels comfortable enough to relax. To make the transition as smooth as possible, you’ll need to determine what to buy before getting a cat. Don’t worry. Our guide can help you decide which things you’ll need for a cat and which cat essentials are available from trusted online merchants.

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Purchasing Essential Items for Your New Cat

The pet products industry seems to grow every year, and with so many producers, the number of choices can be overwhelming. Differentiating between basic cat supplies and unnecessary gimmicks is challenging, but our list of essential items can get you started.

Food

Cute kitten eating dry cat food
Featured Image Credit: AlexanderDubrovsky, Shutterstock

Cats are famous for their finicky behavior towards food, and it may take some time for the animal to finish an entire bowl of kibble. If you use the same brand that the adoption agency or breeder used, your feline can adapt to its new surroundings much easier. There are countless cat food varieties available, but try to purchase brands formulated for your cat’s age. Kittens require meals with a higher caloric content because their bodies are still developing, and adult cats benefit from a higher protein diet.

For a new kitten, you can try Purina Pro Plan Savor Classic Salmon & Tuna Grain-Free Kitten Entree Canned Cat Food. It’s a wet food with salmon, tuna, and other essential nutrients to keep your kitty’s immune system strong and support growing bones. Although wet food and dry food both have advantages, it’s best to try a combination of both to broaden your cat’s palate.

One of the best dry brands for kittens to use is Iams ProActive Health Kitten Dry Cat Food. Its real chicken formula is packed with essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E to support a healthy, growing feline. Serving a new meal to an adult cat can be a bit more difficult, but we suggest trying Snappy Tom Lites Tuna with Pumpkin Canned Cat Food for wet food. Its all-natural formula does not use corn or soy as fillers, and it’s free of artificial colors.

For dry adult cat food, you can purchase Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend with Real Salmon. Purina One is loaded with lean protein, vitamins, minerals, and taurine to support a healthy adult feline. The kibble has chewy, meaty pieces and crunchy morsels that help remove tarter from the cat’s teeth.


Food Bowls

cat eating dry and wet cat food
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, shutterstock

Although some cats do not bother their food bowls when they’re not eating, others like to bat them around the kitchen when they’re empty. You can keep your cat from playing with its bowls by purchasing a durable unit like the Hepper NomNom – Spill Proof Elevated Cat Bowls. It has removable stainless-steel trays that rest in a hard-plastic base, and it’s designed for messy cats. Both the trays and base are dishwasher safe.


Litter Box

tabby cat in a litter box
Image Credit: Davynia, Shutterstock

Next to food, a litter box is one of the most crucial products to purchase for your new kitty. There are smaller litter boxes designed specifically for kittens, but it’s better to buy a box for adult cats that the kitten can grow into.

A simple box like Frisco Open Top Cat Litter Box With Rim is suitable for babies and adult cats. It has a raised rim to contain the litter, but the sides are low enough for a young kitten to climb over. It’s inexpensive, so you can switch over to another model, such as the Frisco Flip Top Hooded Cat Litter Box, if you discover your cat prefers more privacy for its bathroom breaks.


Grooming Supplies

Cat in grooming salon
Image Credit: Studio Peace, Shutterstock

New cat owners often disregard grooming brushes and other supplies because they seem unnecessary. Although grooming is not as important as the cat’s diet or litter box, it benefits the animal’s physical appearance and overall health. If you begin grooming your pet early in life, the animal can grow to accept the practice quicker and actually learn to enjoy the experience.

Removing loose hair and distributing the cat’s natural oils around its coat keeps the fur shiny and soft. Using a brush like the Li’l Pals Coated Tips Cat Slicker Brush can gently remove excess hair without irritating the skin. It works best on short-haired felines and kittens, but be sure to follow the company’s instructions to avoid any discomfort.

For long-haired cats, you can try our favorite premium brush, the FURminator Long Hair Cat Deshedding Tool. It’s an excellent tool for reducing shedding, removing the undercoat, and reducing hairballs. Cats and kittens often struggle with hairballs, but you can decrease the occurrence of choking and vomiting if you brush your long-haired cat one or two times a week.

In addition to maintaining your cat’s coat, you should regularly clip the animal’s claws to keep them healthy and protect your furniture. You may need assistance when you clip the kitty’s claws for the first few times, but many cats grow to enjoy the clipping. Give your pet a treat after every clipping session, and soon, the cat may start purring when you pick up the clippers.

You can try the Necoichi Purrcision Cat Nail Clippers to clip the cat’s nails safely. The clippers are 30% thinner than the competitor’s clippers, and they produce clean cuts without clipping the nails too short.


Furniture

Felines are curious creatures who enjoy exploring your home thoroughly and climbing around your furniture and belongings. Like most house pets, cats like to claim an area to call their own. Your expensive new chair may be a tempting spot to take afternoon kitty naps, but you can persuade your kitty to leave your furniture alone by purchasing cat furniture.

Cat Beds

Hepper Pod - Cat Tower and Enclosed Cat Bed

You have several choices for cat beds, but one of our favorite high-quality beds is the Hepper Cat Nest. Its attractive design blends in well with your furnishings and features a self-warming liner composed of microfiber that’s machine washable.

If your new cat prefers a bed that’s elevated from the floor, you can use the Hepper Pod. This futuristic-looking cat bed has an upholstered interior fabric similar to the look and feel of human upholstered furniture. It’s ideal for felines who love an elevated, secure space for napping.

Cat Trees

funny cats playing on tree
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Cat beds are great for most cats, but some would rather perch up high near the ceiling for their daily snoozing. When you’re researching beds, look for models that have durable bases and stability straps to prevent tipping. One of the simplest designs that also conserves space is the Cat Craft Floor-to-Ceiling Carpet Cat Tree. It has an adjustable tension bar that secures the tree against the ceiling. It’s best for single cat families with limited space.

If you’ve adopted more than one pet, you can use the Yaheetech 79-in Plush Cat Tree & Condo. It has a spacious condo for full-grown cats, a smaller condo for kittens, and several platforms and scratching posts for a multi-cat household.


Scratching Posts

cat scratching post
Image Credit: EbneRol, Shutterstock

Placing a scratching post in your home can keep your furniture scratch-free and give your feline a safe, chemical-free surface to hone its claws. The Frisco 35-in Heavy Duty Sisal Cat Scratching Post with Toy gives your cat plenty of room to stretch out while scratching, and it includes a pom-pom toy near the top of the post.

If you’re interested in a wider board rather than a post, you can use the Hepper Hi-lo Cat Scratcher. You can adjust the unit in five different positions, and the scratcher’s base has an anti-slip grip to prevent sliding.

Disclaimer: At PetKeen, we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest, so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!


Toys

cat playing with owner
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

A brand-new home for your feline isn’t the same without cat toys. Cats need mental stimulation, and as you probably know, they love to play with strings and other soft objects. The Marvel’s Spider-Man Teaser Cat Toy with Catnip entertains your kitty with a catnip-stuffed Spider-Man, and its wand design lets you play with a wild cat from a safe distance from its claws.

Although dogs are more gifted at retrieving objects, some breeds of cats also enjoy playing catch. You can toss a Frisco Geometric Plush Mice Cat Toy with Catnip for a game of retrieve the mouse. The toy comes with five different mice that are filled with catnip.

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Preparing Your Home for a Cat

Cats and kittens aren’t usually fond of change or new surroundings, and you may have to wait a few weeks before the feline accepts its new home. Before your furball enters your home, you can make a few modifications to ensure the animal stays safe.

Securing Electrical Cords and Cables

Electric cords and cabling are appealing targets for a cat’s claws and sharp teeth. Any material that resembles a string or a tail is fair game for a cat, and you can use zip ties, electric tape, or plastic fasteners to secure the cords, so they aren’t dangling in mid-air.

Childproofing the Cabinet Doors

A curious cat enjoys exploring your home and getting into trouble, and some are capable of opening cabinets and doors. You can protect your belongings and restrict access to hazardous substances by childproofing your cabinets. You can attach small plastic tabs, available online and at hardware stores, that curtail the door’s movement.

a tabby maine coon cat at home
Image Credit: Daniel Zopf, Unsplash

Storing Shoes in the Closet

Young cats love playing with string, and unfortunately, some will tear your shoelaces to shreds. Store your shoes and other sensitive items in a closet to keep your cat from destroying your property.

Installing a Microchip

Microchips are valuable tools when your cat escapes outside and wanders around the neighborhood. Breeders and animal shelters offer microchip procedures at a reduced rate, but you’ll pay a little more when you visit a vet for the chip.

Vaccinating Your Feline

Most animal shelters and reputable breeders will provide the first round of shots for their kittens, but you’ll need to take your new kitty to the doctor to finish the inoculations. Vaccines protect your cat against rabies, FCV, FPV, and FVRCP.

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Final Thoughts

As a new cat owner, you’re in for several years of feline antics, entertainment, affection, and companionship. Although they’re considered domesticated animals, cats have a wild streak that makes them incredibly amusing to care for. Our suggestions for supplies and home preparation techniques can help your kitty adjust to its new home and enjoy a safe and stimulating environment.


Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.