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October 09, 2019 5 min read

Are you getting ready to bring home a new feline member of your family for the first time? Congratulations!

Whether you’ll be picking up your kitty from a shelter, the pet store, or a breeder, you most likely want to help them feel as happy and comfortable as possible as they get used to life in your home. This first-time cat owner checklist will help you make sure you’re prepared and ready to hit the ground running with everything your pet will need!

Cat supplies list

Let’s start with the cat essentials. These are the basics that any cat will need in order to be healthy and comfortable.

Dishes for food and water

You’ll want to get two separate dishes: one for food and one for water. Or you can choose a double feeder that holds the dishes a good distance apart (like this one ⬇️). The safest materials for cat dishes are stainless steel and lead-free ceramic. It’s important to keep your pet’s dishes clean, so have a few spare dishes on hand for when the first set is in the dishwasher.

You may also want to buy a mat to limit mess on the floor and also keep food and water dishes from sliding around while your cat is using them. These non-slip food bowl placemats are durable, easy to clean, and great for all floor surfaces.


Black and White Kitten


Cat food

The variety of cat food options can be a little overwhelming, even for seasoned cat owners. When it comes to your furry buddy’s first few days at home, you may want to buy the same food that the breeder or shelter has been using to help make the transition easier.

You’ll also probably want to make a vet appointment as soon as possible to talk about what type of food is best going forward based on your cat’s age and any other specific health needs.

Cat litter, box, and scooper

Other than food and water, a litter box is the number one item your cat needs. It’s generally recommended to set up one litter box per cat, plus one extra. So if you’re bringing home one cat, set up two boxes. Make sure you get a big enough litter box too since cats need space to dig and move around.


New Cat staring out Window of Home


Collar with tags

Just like with any furry pet, you’ll want to get your new family member a collar with tags. A collar with a breakaway buckle is a great choice because it allows pets to safely pull free if their collar gets caught on something.

It’s also a good idea to make sure your cat is microchipped and that your contact information is on the chip. A microchip is the surest way to prove that you are your cat’s owner if they ever get lost.

Cat bed

Most cats love to nap on the furniture any chance they get, but it’s also nice to get your furry friend a designated bed that they’ll know is their own special space.


Orange Cat Sleeping in White Cat Bed


Consider buying a cat carrier

Not all cat owners choose to invest in cat carriers, but there will almost certainly be times when you want to have one on hand—not only for convenience but also to keep your kitty safe. For example, if you’ll be driving your cat to the vet with no one else in the car, a carrier will keep your cat safe and comfortable for the trip.

How to take care of a cat for the first time

Taking care of a new pet always involves a lot of learning on the job, but there’s a lot you can do to make it easier and help yourself feel more prepared. One of the absolute best things you can do is talk to someone who has experience with cats, whether it’s a friend or cat breeder.

Here are some other important ways to prepare:

Cat proofing your home 

Move anything that could be hazardous for your new furry friend (as well as anything a cat could damage) to a safe place. Here are some examples:

  • Cords and tassels for curtains or drapes
  • Electronics cords
  • Anything your cat could reach that could be poisonous
  • Anything precious or breakable that your cat could knock over
  • Small items that could be dangerous for your cat to chew on or swallow


Kitty Litter Box with New Cat Owner Changing Kitty Litter


Day-to-day care

  • Adult cats need to be fed 1-2 times a day (kittens more often). Also make sure there is always clean water in their dish.
  • Scoop the litter box at least once a day and clean the whole thing weekly.
  • Spend some quality time (at least an hour) with your cat every day, either playing, training, or just sitting together.
  • Decide how much training you want to do, and make sure you get really tasty treats that your cat loves (since cats aren’t as motivated by praise as dogs).
  • Find out from a breeder or vet if your cat needs regular grooming.

Long-haired cats usually need daily brushing to prevent their hair from matting, while short-haired breeds typically need only minimal brushing or none at all.


Cat Playing with First Time Cat Owner


What do cats need to be happy?

Aside from basic essentials and daily care, there’s no shortage of toys and other fun things to buy for a cat to help keep them happy and entertained.

Cat tree

Cats love to climb and be up high, so consider getting a cat tree that’s at least six feet tall and place it near a window. Another fun idea is a cat window lounger. Your little buddy will love watching the outside from up there!


You might also want to invest in some scratching surfaces, not only to keep your cat happy but also to spare your furniture! Consider investing in a sturdy scratching post and buying a few other scratchers made of cardboard and/or sandpaper for other areas in your home.


Cat with Scratcher Playing with Toy



Toys are definitely some of the most fun pet items to shop for! You may want to get a variety of different types of toys at first so you can wait and see what your cat enjoys the most. Here are a few of our favorite kinds of toys:

Let us help you find everything you need to welcome your new family member

As pet owners ourselves, we are familiar with the feeling of anticipation in the days leading up to the moment when you introduce a new pet to your home. We can help you find all the food, toys, and other supplies you need to give your new cat all the love and care they deserve! 

Shop online or visit us at our store in Beaverton, Oregon.

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