As exciting as it is to bring home a new cat to join your family, the experience can also be somewhat stressful, and you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need to ensure your feline (and you) are as comfortable as possible. There are essential items to have at the ready, beyond the basics like bedding and food, and there are other important factors to consider too.
By preparing thoroughly in advance, you can make your new cat’s transition into their new home as smooth as possible. Making sure your new cat has all the essentials and a proper introduction to your family and other pets will help make sure everything is in order before the big day.
If you are adopting a new feline, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve created this adoption checklist with all the essentials that you need to purchase, tips on preparing your home, and pointers on how to introduce your cat to your family and pets to make the process as smooth as possible for all involved.
As with any pet, there are a few supplies to purchase to make sure your new cat is comfortable. The following are the basics to have before bringing home your new cat.
1. Bed and Bedding
Your cat will need somewhere comfortable to sleep and feel safe, especially during their first few days in a new home. Your cat’s bed is more than just a place to sleep; it can also be a safe sanctuary for them to have alone time and can become a place associated with comfort and safety. Cat beds come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from basic sleeping mats to safe and luxurious cat caves and elevated beds.
2. Food and water bowls
Your cat will need separate food and water bowls, preferably made from ceramic or stainless steel. Cat bowls can be as simple as you like, but there are unique options available too. We love the CatMate water fountain with its different drinking levels and the flowing mechanism that will keep the water oxygenated. There are also great automated feeders that will help you schedule your cat’s meal in advance and prevent overfeeding. Of course, make sure you have good-quality food on hand too.
3. Litter tray
A litter tray is an important item for any cat, but new cats, in particular, will not be going outside and need a place to safely do their personal business. There are a ton of different types of both trays and litter available, from the most simple trays to automated self-cleaning versions. We recommend a large tray, as cats like to turn around and dig in them, and even if you only have one cat, we recommend having at least two trays.
4. Scratching post
Cats love to scratch to sharpen their claws, and you don’t want them doing so on your antique furniture! A simple scratching post will solve this problem. It should have a nice sturdy base so it doesn’t fall over. It is typically surfaced with tough rope or carpeting. Cat trees are a fun way to keep your cat busy and mentally stimulated and are ideal for smaller homes and apartments. They can be combined with a bed and scratching post too.
Toys are an essential item when bringing home a new cat. They will keep your cat physically and mentally stimulated and provide a fun way to bond with your feline. There are an infinite amount of toys available, from the basic ball toys to complex electronic chasing toys and of course, the classic laser pointer.
Most cats that are adopted from shelters should be microchipped, and if your cat has not yet been microchipped, we highly recommend getting the procedure done. This will help you find your cat should they get lost and will hold all their important information. Cat collars with tags are also a great idea and are a quick and simple way to identify your feline.
7. Grooming equipment
It’s important to give your cat regular brushing, especially breeds like Persians that have long coats, to prevent knotting and matting. The brush that you buy will largely depend on the breed of cat that you adopt and their coat type.
8. Travel crate
A crate or carrier is an important item to bring home your new cat in from the shelter or breeder and will be essential for vet visits too.
Preparing your home
Now that you’ve got all the essential supplies, it’s time to prepare your home for the new arrival! The first thing to do is to make sure your cat has a safe, quiet, and comfortable place where they can be all alone. When you bring your cat home, introduce them to this area first, and try and keep them there for a day or two. Keeping them in one confined space will help keep them from getting overwhelmed by their new environment, and they can slowly get to know you too.
Make sure they have food, water, and their litter box close by, along with their bed or travel crate and toys. Cats are curious animals, so you’ll need to make sure there are no breakables, like glass vases around, and be sure that the area is free from electrical cords and wires.
Once you feel like your cat is comfortable, you can start to introduce them to the rest of your home. We recommend just leaving the door open and letting your cat explore in their own time and at their own pace; you should never rush this process.
Introduce their new family
If you have any other cats or dogs in your home, you can now begin to slowly make introductions. This process can be slow and may take time, especially with dogs so you’ll need to exercise patience. Your new cat will likely be timid and afraid of the new faces, and your existing felines may be overly curious and even jealous of the newcomer. Keep the process slow, and introduce one member of your pet family at a time to reduce any stress and anxiety.
Bringing home a new cat is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful if you are a first-time cat owner. By making sure that you have all the necessary items and that your home is ready, you can reduce this stress enormously and focus on the excitement and fun of getting to know your new feline friend.
Featured image credit: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock