What to Do Before You Adopt a New Cat

August 2020. Happy Girl Adopting A New Cat From Shelter

You’ve scoured pet listings, visited shelters, talked to friends, consulted the internet… and now, you’re ready to adopt a new cat into your home.

Whether you chose your new family member from a litter, or they caught your eye during a visit to your local shelter, adopting a new cat is a big deal and should be taken seriously.

Cats require basic levels of TLC but are much more independent and self-sufficient than dogs. However, kittens have comparable energy to puppies but will mellow out as they get older.

If you are bringing home a kitten, make sure you are prepared with the necessities, and the previous owners or shelter have taken the necessary steps to ensure it is healthy and ready to go to its new home.

From your research, you are probably quite familiar with all the different items on the market for pets, but there are a few must-have items every first-time cat owner should have before bringing their new cat home.

Things to Buy Before Adopting a New Cat

Cat Carrier

First things first, you need to have a way to transport your new family member! Cats aren’t as keen on car riding as dogs are, so make sure they have a place to feel safe and comfortable for the ride home.

Most shelters will provide a temporary cardboard carrier when you adopt a new cat, but this isn’t the safest long-term solution. A hard-sided, plastic carrier is best for keeping your cat safe and secure when traveling.

Collar and ID Tags

Cats are experts in exploring. Whether you decided to keep the cat indoors or outdoors, make sure you have a collar and ID tag with your contact information in the event he decides to explore his new neighborhood.

Litter Box, Litter, & Scoop

To maintain a neat and sanitary environment, a litter box with the proper accessories is a must!

Typically, larger litter boxes are best for adult cats, so they can move around and find the perfect spot for their business. Litter boxes with lower sides are best for kittens, so they can easily enter and exit.

Cats can be very selective about… everything, and their litter is no exception. Texture and scent vary across the different types of litter, so you may have to try a few kinds before you, and your cat find the one that suits you both.

Unscented, fine-grained, and clay-based clumping litter is best to start with—plan on scooping daily and washing the litter box weekly.


Cats have different nutritional needs at different stages of their lives. For a smoother transition into your home, find out what type of food the previous owners or shelter used. Your veterinarian may have a suggested diet based on the cat’s age and health.

Don’t forget food and water bowls!

Cat Bed

A cozy place for lounging is an essential part of a cat’s life. When they aren’t on adventures, cats tend to be lazy and enjoy their “perch” to rest and watch what’s going on around them.

Having a comfortable place that’s their own will make them feel right at home!


Don’t forget the fun! Much like dogs, cats enjoy playtime, too. Toys are a great way to connect with your cat while providing stimulation and entertainment.

Playing with your cat daily will prevent unwanted behaviors, like playful aggression or other attention-seeking behaviors.

Toys like small balls with bells are great for burning energy in younger cats. Simple toys like crumpled paper balls or cardboard boxes, are just as enjoyable.

Scratching Post

A scratching post is essential for any healthy, well-adjusted cat. And if you value your furniture or window treatments, you will invest in a sturdy, durable post.

Cats must relieve their urge to scratch, and a good scratching post is your cat’s designated place to stretch, remove debris from underneath their claws, and mark their territory.


Cats instinctively gravitate to high perches to keep an eye on their “predators”… or the family members they watch over!

Additionally, cats love to have their personal space to contemplate life, and high spaces like trees, bookshelves, and perches give them a sense of security.

There are a variety of heights to choose from – some more elaborate than others. Many come with a hammock-like place to lie around with small “apartments” for quiet time. Some models even include a scratching post!

If you consider adopting a new cat and have questions about diet, health, or anything pet-related, please reach out to our office and schedule an appointment.

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