What to Buy Before You Adopt A Cat

Use our list to make sure you have everything you need BEFORE your cat arrives at its forever home.
 

First things first
 

Cat bowls

Some cats develop a rash from eating out of plastic dishes. So use ceramic or metal bowls for your cat’s food and water.
 

Cat food

Cats have different nutritional needs at different ages. If you’re bringing home a kitten, choose a formula created especially for cats less than a year old. If you’re bringing home an older  cat, be sure to choose a food that provides complete nutrition for adult cats. Your vet may even suggest a specific diet for your new cat based on health and nutritional needs.
 

A litterbox, litter & scoop

Cats typically prefer a large, uncovered litterbox. For adult cats, bigger is better so they can turn around and dig. Kittens require a lower-sided litterbox that’s easy for them to enter and exit.

Cats can be very selective about the texture and scent of their litter, so you may have to try a couple different kinds before you find the right one. Begin with an unscented, fine-grained and clay-based clumping litter—it’s what most cats prefer. Plan to scoop the box daily and wash it weekly.
 

Scratching post

Consider providing both a horizontal or slightly inclined scratching post as well as a vertical scratching post. And try posts of various materials, such as sisal, rope, cardboard or bark. Place scratching posts in prominent locations in your home so your cat can access them easily.
 

Cat carrier

Although some shelters provide a disposable cardboard carrier when you adopt your cat, they aren’t a permanent solution and won’t protect your cat in the event of a car accident. So you’ll need to purchase a hard-sided, plastic cat carrier.
 

Cat bed

Cats are creatures of comfort, so provide it in the form of a warm and cozy bed. Plus, having a space of his or her own space will help your cat feel at home.
 

Don’t forget the fun!

Toys provide both stimulation and exercise for your cat and are a great way for the two of you to connect. Plus, playing with your cat daily can help prevent unwanted behaviors such as play aggression, especially in young cats and kittens. Try using different types of cat toys to engage your cat—sometimes homemade toys such as crumpled paper balls or cardboard boxes work best.

 

Buy now, use later
 

Brush

For long-haired cats, a slicker brush is an essential tool to help keep them looking and feeling their best. Plan to brush your long-haired cat daily to help keep mats from forming and to eliminate excess hair, which can cause hairballs when ingested. Brushing also helps keep short-haired cats from ingesting excess hair and developing hairballs.
 

Nail clipper

Introducing your cat to nail trimming at an early age is the easiest way to help them become accustomed to the process. If you are bringing home an adult cat, introduce nail clipping slowly and with great patience.
 

Cat tree or perch

Elevated surfaces provide both a source of entertainment and security for cats. If possible, install a cat tree close to a window to allow your cat to see the outside world and nap in the sun.

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