“Congratulations on bringing home the most loyal and lifelong friend!”
Being a first-time cat owner involves a lot of uncertainties, often wondering how you will raise the cute little furball you’ve brought home.
Many questions linger in your mind, like what will they eat? Where will they sleep? What cat supplies are the most important? All these questions are normal, and the earlier you find answers the better.
We prepared this new kitten checklist to provide first-time cat owners with a list of items that they need when bringing home a new kitten.
These supplies will help you provide your new friend with the best possible care and avoid common mistakes that us cat owners make when sourcing supplies for our new friends.
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1. Kitten Food
The first item in your new kitten checklist should be food. You can choose from canned, freeze-dried, dry or homemade recipes.
If you got your kitten from a rescue center or breeder, ask if the kitten has been weaned and the type of food they like. Most cat owners prefer giving canned kitten food for a start since it is nutritious and has a high moisture content.
If you are unsure the type of food to give your cat, ask your vet to recommend a formula based on her age and nutritional requirements.
Find out about: Best Canned Kitten Food
2. Food dishes
Now that we have the kitten food ready, you need to have clean food dishes where your cat will eat from.
There are various types of food dishes in the market, from metallic dishes, plastic dishes, ceramics, etc.
Most cat owners prefer metallic and ceramic materials since they are easy to clean, durable and they don’t harbor bacteria as the plastic dishes do.
Most food dishes are generally inexpensive, and you can get lots of options from the market. Make sure the dishes you get are easy to clean, non-toxic and easy for your kitten to eat from.
- If you are a busy family that spends most of the time away from home, you can consider getting an automatic cat food dispenser that can be programmed to dispense food at different time intervals.
3. Water fountain
Cats do not have a natural urge for water, and you have to entice them to drink water. Even though feeding your kitten canned food provides some moisture, you should provide an additional water source.
While you have the option of using bowls, some cats will not drink from stagnant water since it’s less inviting.
The best option is to use ceramic or stainless steel water fountain for cats that allow the continuous flow of water. Some sneaky cats prefer drinking from the kitten faucets, and the water fountain mimics the water taps.
4. Litter box
Cats are shy creatures who prefer doing their business away from the human eye. And the best way to make that happen is to get the right litter box and put in one of the corners of the house where there is more privacy.
Litter boxes come in various designs, such as covered, open boxes, high-walled, large and small. You should choose a cat litter box that fits your kitten’s needs and that has an innovative design that prevents litter tracking.
Initially, you can buy normal litter boxes for your kitten and transition to self-cleaning litter boxes when the kitten comes of age. The most popular litter boxes are the Scoopfree Original Litter Box and Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box.
Self-cleaning litter boxes are designed to clean away the waste automatically and deposit them in a waste compartment. For manual litter boxes, you have to scoop and clean the litter box often, sometimes daily to maintain “toilet” hygiene.
5. Cat litter
Getting a litter box is not enough, and you should get a cat litter that the cat is used to. Try and find out the litter that the kitten is familiar with, and buy a similar brand.
Since kittens may be tempted to eat the litter, go for a friendly litter that is non-poisonous, has a high urine absorption rate, and keeps the litter box dry.
Sometimes, you may need to get a special litter for certain conditions. For example, hypoallergenic cat litter is recommended for cats that are allergic to cat litter while litter for declawed cats is ideal if you recently declawed your cats.
Also, if you or your kitten are allergic to dust, you should go for a cat litter brand with minimal dust.
Some kittens may be sensitive to scents, and will most likely pee somewhere else other than the litter box if the litter is scented.
Most first-time cat owners prefer unscented cat litter, this may be a good choice if you don’t have an idea of the litter you are going to buy.
6. Cat harness
When taking a nature walk with your kitten, she will most likely get nervous about the outdoors when she had spent most of her time indoors.
Things can get out of hand if she feels threatened by the new environment and escapes to the nearest bush or tree. This not only increases the chances of getting lost in the thicket but also exposes her to the risk of predators.
- When going outdoors with your kitten, it advisable to use a no escape cat harness to restrain your cat from running away, and keep her from danger.
A cat harness is safe for use in cats, and it is made with comfortable material that prevents putting unnecessary pressure on delicate areas of your cat’s body.
7. Cat carrier
A cat carrier is an absolute necessity for every cat owner. Whether you are going to the vet, traveling by car, traveling by air or just visiting the park, a cat carrier will come in handy.
Cat carriers are ideal when traveling for long distances or when dealing with nervous cats who are likely to expose themselves to danger when going outdoors.
Cat carriers come in different forms such as plastic, metal, and foldable nylon carriers. A good cat carrier for nervous or difficult cats should be comfortable, sturdy and strong enough to secure your cat.
When traveling by car with a nervous cat, you can ensure her safety by securing her in a cat carrier.
The same applies to air travel, where airports require pet owners to restrain their pets while traveling, you can get some good airline-approved cat carriers for use when traveling by air.
8. Interactive toys
When your kitten is not playing with you or hunting, she is most probably sleeping. While it is normal for cats to sleep most of the time, this may show that they are idle or bored.
This makes interactive toys an essential item in your new kitten checklist.
Kitten and adult toys come in different designs. Some of the most popular toys include laser toys, mice balls, and catnip toys.
- These toys allow kittens to display their hunting instincts while maintaining a healthy body. Lack of regular exercises exposes cats to common illnesses such as diabetes.
When buying interactive toys for kittens, go for toys that are safe like the Pet Toy Automatic Rotating Entertainment Exercise that uses laser beams to keep the kitten playful.
Buying pet supplies can be expensive, read this informative article to learn how to save on pet supplies.
9. Cat ID Tag
You should have your cat wear an ID tag to help in easy identification in case she gets lost.
In the initial days when you bring her home, your cat may be tempted to venture outside the house while familiarizing with the environment and end up getting lost.
Putting an ID tag on your cat can help your neighbors and the nearest cat rescue center to identify the lost kitten and help her find her parents.
- Collars should be safe for cats and should fit comfortably in a way that it doesn’t become too tight or too loose to wiggle it out.
- The ID tag should indicate the name of the kitten, your residence and your contacts through which the finder can locate you.
10. Cat Fence
Like dogs, cats are curious creatures who may easily get into trouble without your knowledge. This applies to both indoor and outdoor cats who may try getting sneaky and end up getting hurt.
For example, an outdoor cat will often want to explore the surrounding, and this exposes them to danger. The danger may emanate from other animals like dogs, passing cars, pedestrians and even getting lost in the neighborhood.
The best way to protect such cats from unforeseen danger is to use a wireless cat fence. Our favorite cat fence is the PetSafe Deluxe Indoor Pet Barrier Containment System.
Although they are pricey compared to cat collars, cat fences can help secure multiple pets at no extra cost. Simply install your fence and train your pets to observe the beeping sounds that warn them when they are getting too close to the barrier.
Read more: Wireless Fences For Cats
11. Scratching posts
Cats have claws for a reason, and scratching is normal for cats. If you can’t provide your cat with a scratching surface, then your furniture stand the risk of being defaced.
Getting a good cat tree with a scratching post can keep your cat off your furniture while saving you and your furry friend from constant disagreements.
Scratching posts are usually built with materials like cardboard, chipboard, and carpet. Cats like these materials since they produce a certain sound when scratched, which keeps the cat entertained.
- Test various materials to see what your cat likes and stick to that. Also, you should go for large and sturdy scratching posts that will not fall over and injure your cat.
12. First Aid Kit
With their curiosity, kittens and cats may get themselves into trouble and inflict injuries on themselves. These injuries may be in the form of minor cuts, strains, tears, sprains, and swellings.
This means that you need to have a first-aid kit for pets ready so that you can perform first aid on your cat anytime she inflicts injuries on herself.
You should also keep the vet’s contacts at a strategic place in the house, which you can access during emergencies.
Usually, the vet may direct you to administer first aid on your pet before taking her to the vet, and the kit will come in handy in such circumstances.
Becoming a new kitten owner is a happy but confusing experience especially when you do not know when to start.
With our new kitten checklist, you get an idea of what is required from you to make the kitten as comfortable as she has been in her previous owner’s home.
Make the home kitten-friendly, and your kitten will be showering you with endless love every day.