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Home > Cats > 8 Essential Cat Supplies to Get You Started: 2024 Vet-Reviewed Guide

8 Essential Cat Supplies to Get You Started: 2024 Vet-Reviewed Guide

Essential Supplies For Cats

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Whether you’ve decided to add a kitten or adult cat to your home, it’s an exciting time! But before you can bring your new friend home, you need to make sure you have the essential supplies to help them feel more comfortable.

As you learn more about your new cat’s preferences, you can get things that they enjoy, like certain kinds of toys and treats. In the beginning, however, there are a few things that every cat owner should have to help a cat adjust and feel at home.

In this article, we look at eight essential supplies that you’ll need to make your cat’s transition to your home an easy one. Congratulations on your new furry family member!


The 8 Essential Cat Supplies

You don’t want to bring your new cat home only to realize that you don’t have cat food and all the stores are closed. Here are the essential supplies that you need to have before your cat arrives.

Food and Feeding

1. Cat Food

Iams Proactive Health Healthy Adult Dry Cat Food with Chicken

If you’re bringing home a kitten, you’ll need a food that is formulated for kitten growth and development. Adult cat food is not suitable for kittens because it doesn’t contain the essential nutrients that they need as they grow. Kitten food is also not suitable for adult cats because it tends to be higher in fat, which kittens need but adult cats don’t. It can cause adult cats to gain weight and quickly become obese.

Choose a food that is high in protein and suitable for the life stage of your specific cat. You’ll also have to decide if you want to feed them dry food, canned food, or a mix of both. The Iams ProActive Health Healthy Adult Original Chicken Cat Food is a good place to start. It gives your cat the nutrition that they need, along with prebiotics and fiber for digestive health. If you have a kitten, Iams makes a kitten version too.

The best thing to do is ask the breeder or shelter what your cat has been eating before you pick them up. Then, get that food, and slowly mix it with the new food that you want to transition them to. This will prevent any digestive upset.

2. Food & Water Bowls

Necoichi Ceramic Elevated Dog & Cat Food Bowl

You have the food, and now you need a place to put it! The right cat bowl will easily hold your cat’s food without making a mess. Ideally, it should be elevated and wide enough to prevent whisker fatigue, a condition that occurs when the whiskers brush against the sides of a bowl while a cat is eating. It can cause stress and anxiety in your cat. An elevated bowl can also take stress off of the neck.

The Necoichi Ceramic Elevated Cat Food Bowl is elevated and wide, keeping cats comfortable while they eat. The inner lip prevents spills. For convenience, the bowl is dishwasher and microwave safe. It’s also made with a cute design that matches any décor. These bowls can keep your cat comfortable while they eat their food and drink water. The food bowl should be in an area away from the water bowl and litter box.



3. Cat Toys

Frisco Plush, Teaser, Ball & Tri-Tunnel Variety Pack Cat Toy with Catnip, 20-count

Cats like to be entertained, and toys can easily keep them happy. As you get to know your kitty’s personality, you’ll see which toys they prefer. For example, some cats love toys with feathers on them. Others like toys that make noise. This will take time to get right, but a few toys scattered on the floor can be a welcoming sign for a cat.

The Frisco Plush, Teaser, Ball, & Tri-Tunnel Variety Pack With Catnip will give your cat options in one convenient purchase because you get 20 toys for an affordable price. This way, you can see what toys your cat favors and what they don’t care for. The toys in this set include fuzzy mice, crinkly toys, feathers, rolling balls, a dancer wand, and a tunnel for your cat to hide and play in. Some toys are even filled with catnip for extra fun for your cat. This is a great starter pack option to see what toys to invest in going forward.

4. Scratching Post

TRIXIE Parla 24.4-in Fleece Cat Scratching Post

Part of natural cat behavior is scratching. It’s best to give them their own item to scratch before they wind up choosing their own, like your couch or favorite armchair. Cats need to scratch and don’t think that they’re doing anything wrong when they scratch your carpet or cabinets. They’re simply exhibiting instinctual behavior. Cats scratch to express their emotions, to mark their territory, to keep their nails healthy, and to stretch their paws.

The Trixie Parla Fleece Cat Scratching Post is space-efficient, easily fitting into any room without taking up too much of it. The natural sisal material gives cats a good scratching material, and the fleece-covered base keeps cats comfortable while they scratch. Giving this post to your cat can prevent the rest of your home from becoming damaged.divider-cat


5. Cat Bed

Aspen Pet Self-Warming Bolster Cat & Dog Bed

Cats like to be comfortable and warm. Giving them their own bed isn’t essential, but it is highly recommended. Your cat should have a place to go that is all their own, where they can feel safe and secure. Having their own spot is a convenient way to let them catch a cat nap without taking up space on your couch or bed.

The Aspen Pet Self-Warming Bolster Cat Bed uses an interior layer to absorb your cat’s body heat and reflect it back to them. This is especially helpful if you live in a cold climate. It helps cats stay warm through the winter without using electricity.

6. Cat Carrier

Sherpa Airline-Approved Cat Carrier

Heading out to get your cat to bring them home is exciting, and in that excitement, you may forget the most important thing, to do this safely: a cat carrier. In order to ensure the safety of your cat, you should never try to transport a cat without a carrier. It will keep them securely enclosed but give them the ability to see the world around them.

The Sherpa Original Deluxe Airline-Approved Cat Carrier Bag is a great option, especially if you’re bringing your new feline friend home on an airplane. The mesh sides give your kitty a view of their surroundings while keeping them securely contained. There is a lambskin liner for your cat’s comfort and a padded shoulder strap for yours.

7. Litter Box

Frisco High Sided Cat Litter Box

The litter box is an essential item because your cat is going to need a bathroom. Not having this set up and ready for your cat can be a disaster. Cat urine is pungent and not easy to remove. Make sure your cat is not stuck with a full bladder and has nowhere to go. You also don’t want your cat to decide that your shoes make great places for poop!

The Frisco High Sided Litter Box will give your cat a comfortable place to relieve themselves. The high sides trap any sprayed urine or scattered litter, keeping your floors and walls clean. It comes in two colors and can be easily cleaned with soap and water. If you’re bringing home a kitten, the box may be too large for them at first. However, if you decide to use it, they will grow into it eventually, preventing you from having to buy another one. A general rule of thumb is one litter box per cat and one extra.

8. Litter

Tidy Cats Instant Clumping Cat Litter

Once the litter box is set up in a quiet, low traffic place that you want it to remain permanently, it’s time to make sure you have the right litter. You may need to switch brands depending on your cat’s preferences until you find one that works for them. Some cats prefer corn, wheat, or pine litter instead of clay. You may find that you also prefer a different litter.

The Tidy Cats Free & Clean Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter is a low-dust, fragrance-free option. It forms tight clumps that are easily scooped away, and you won’t be met with a cloud of dust every time you empty the litter box for a full refresh. If your cat does well with this litter, it’s an ideal option for continued use.

Don’t forget a litter scoop so you can keep the litter box tidy by scooping out the clumps.

9. Cat Food

Smalls is a fantastic cat food delivery service developed by veterinary nutritionists with your cat’s biology in mind. After you fill out a short survey about your cat’s health, breed, and age, the Smalls website provides a customized feeding plan and a suggested sampler pack option. Once you’ve received your sampler, you can adjust your plan if necessary or just let it roll into full box deliveries on a regular schedule.

Their recipes are chock full of protein to ensure your little obligate carnivore gets the nutrients they need to grow healthy muscles and bones. Each of Smalls’ formulas is free of preservatives and minimally processed, so your pet’s diet is as natural and wholesome as possible. Their recipes are packed with moisture to boost your kitty’s hydration levels. At the time of writing, Smalls’ flavor options include classic cat favorites like turkey, pork, and chicken/salmon. Their formulas are available in “ground” or “smooth” textures, so you can pick and choose the recipes and textures your kitty prefers.

10. Cat Scratcher

Tony and Cheetah playing on Hepper Hi Lo Cat Scratcher

Much to a new cat owner’s chagrin, scratching is a natural behavior for cats. It allows them to mark their territory, keep their nails trimmed, and express emotions. If you do not provide a designated area for your cat to scratch, they will find other places to do so, like on your furniture or carpet.

The Hepper Hi-Lo Scratcher offers multiple angles, a fantastic feature if you don’t know your cat’s scratching preference. Some cats prefer to scratch horizontally, while others prefer a vertical surface. The Hi-Lo actually offers three positions to keep your pet happy while extending the lifespan of the cardboard. When your cat eventually wears down the cardboard, you can order a new set from Hepper to replace it. The scratcher’s curved birch plywood frame is sturdy, durable, and visually appealing, unlike other options on the market.

At Pet Keen, 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!

11. Cat Bed

Our Pick: Hepper Nest Bed

owner with cat on Hepper nest bed

Cats love to sleep curled up in a ball as this position helps them retain body heat. It also offers protection for their vital abdominal organs and gives them a sense of security while they nap. The Hepper Nest Bed is the best bed for kitties as it allows them to sleep in that warm, cozy, and safe position they so love. This product comes in four color and design options to make finding a good match with your home’s décor easy.

The interior of the bed features cozy Sherpa fleece that’s also removable for washing on the gentle cycle with cold water in your washing machine. The molded EVA foam shell keeps its shape, and the microfiber lip makes a perfect chin rest. The bed has a wide base for added stability and is designed to hold most cats up to 20 pounds; however, in our experience, even bigger kitties can squeeze themselves into the nest for a nap.

At Pet Keen, 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!

12. Litter Deodorizer

Hepper Litter Additive

The worst part about being a cat owner is dealing with the smell of their litter. It’s a necessary evil, but there are things you can do to make it a bit more manageable. The Hepper Litter Additive is a bio-enzyme-containing formula that can break down bad and eliminate awful litter odors. It works with all kinds of litter, so you don’t need to worry if it’s compatible with your type. This additive is fragrance-free, so it won’t add any harsh chemical scents to your space, making it a great option for people with scent sensitivities. Finally, this product can be used elsewhere in your house, too. It works fantastic for cutting smells from diaper pails, trash compactors, or even garbage cans.

At Pet Keen, 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!

13. Stain & Odor Eliminator

Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray

Sometimes, even the best-behaved kitty will have an accident, and when this happens, you need the right product to eliminate the scent and stain. The chances of your cat urinating outside the box again are high if they can smell their previous accident, so you must remove the scent entirely and not just mask it.

The Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray is a powerful solution that will not only remove pet stains but also eliminate odors to reduce the risk of future accidents. This formula is safe to use on most carpets, floors, fabrics, and furniture. Its neutral scent is fantastic for scent-sensitive households as it won’t remove pet odors and replace them with harsh, chemical smells. This formula works wonders on all types of pet-related accidents, including urine, feces, drool, and vomit.

At Pet Keen, 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!


Top 4 Tips to Help Your Cat Adjust to Their New Home

Now that you have all your essential cat supplies, here are a few tips to help your new cat adjust to their home quickly and easily.

1. Be Patient

Your cat may be scared when you bring them home for the first time. You may have visions of curling up on the couch together, but instead, your new cat bolts under the bed and won’t come out. This is normal for cats that are afraid. Cats don’t like change, and they need a great deal of time to adjust. The amount of time depends on each cat’s individual personality. Some cats walk around like they own the place within minutes. Others don’t come out of hiding for days.

Be patient. Let your cat explore their new space on their terms. Don’t force them to come out before they’re ready. They will adjust in their own time.

2. Introduce Other Pets Properly

If you have other animals in the home, this can increase the cat’s fear. Keep your new cat in a separate room at first. Allow the cat and other animals to get used to each other’s smells and sounds before you have a face-to-face meeting.

two tonkinese cats on blue background
Image By: Georgy Dzyura, Shutterstock

3. Set Them Up Comfortably

Place your cat’s food, water, and litter box where you plan on keeping them permanently so your cat can get used to the setup. If your cat is in a separate room, place their food bowls and litter box in their permanent spots once your cat has free roam of the house.

Keep their space and environment calm and friendly. Activity should be kept to a minimum during the first week or so, to not overwhelm the cat.

4. Set Up Their Toys

Place your cat’s toys around your cat, and try to get them to interact with them. You may have luck with catnip and catnip-filled toys. Once your cat feels comfortable enough to play, they will adjust more easily.

Stocking up on the right supplies for your pet is important, but don’t forget about pet insurance! If you’re interested in a balanced plan personalized for your pet, you may want to consider Lemonade.



Having the right supplies at home waiting for your new cat to arrive will make their transition easy and comfortable. Once you have these essentials, you can start adding new things that your cat may like. Experiment with different toys, treats, and scratching posts to see which ones are your cat’s favorites. Your cat is sure to love their new things and their home for years to come.

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Featured Image Credit: winni-design, Shutterstock

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