What You Need Before You Bring a Cat Home

So you've got a cat. Now you need to prepare your home for his arrival. You go to the pet store and it's so overwhelming. There's so much stuff you can get. It's almost like bringing a baby home from the hospital the first time! You have to decide on what food to get, what toys to get, what bed to get (or carrying case, anyways), and what potty options you will go with.  So you want to make sure you get it right the first time.

Items for the New Cat in Your Home

What you need to get is going to depend on the cat you are bringing into your home. If you're getting a kitten, you will need different things than you would need if you were getting an adult cat. In addition, a mature cat might have some medical problems to contend with.

The Basics:

You will need to have

  • A litter box
  • Kitty litter - try to get the one he's currently using
  • A litter scooper and place to put the scooped litter
  • Food dish and separate water dish (not the all-in-one kind; cats won't drink their water if it shares the same bowl as its food because they will think the water is contaminated).
  • A sturdy cat carrier that's the right size for your cat (not too big and not too small) 
  • A scratching post 
  • Some basic toys like feather dusters on a stick for playtime and some cat toys he can play with on his own 
  • Food (get the same food he's currently on or you'll have pooping problems). If you would like to try to switch foods you'll have to do it gradually by mixing his current food with the new food
  • A cat brush (the kind you get will depend on the kind of cat you have) 


Kittens require different food than adult cats. So if you're bringing home a kitten, make sure you find a food suited towards kittens. This will be one with lots of fat, protein, and calories. They need all of this until they are at least a year old.

A kitten needs to feel secure and warm. Remember, this will likely be his first time away from his littermates and mom, so you want to provide someplace cozy to sleep. A cardboard box lined with a blanket is fine, or you can get a cat bed. It should be in a quiet place away from household noise.

Just like with children, you need to kitten proof your home. Kittens are very curious little animals and will get themselves tangled up in everything from electrical cords to blinds. To keep him from chewing on the cords, get a cord manager and fasten them out of the kitten's reach.  

Watch out for rubber bands, jewelry, Christmas decorations, balloons, and other small choking hazards around cats. Also remove poisonous plants and roach traps and make sure the toilet lid is down. Keep household cleaning products out of your kitten's reach as well. Be aware of the washer and dryer, too. A kitten can crawl into these machines if left open.

Avoid toys with buttons, bells, or other small parts that can come off and be swallowed. Be aware of yarn and string, too, which can be a choking hazard.

Older Cats

If you're bringing home an older cat for the first time, you don't need special kitten food, but mature cats might require different nutrition. It's best to keep them on the same food they were already on.

You probably do not need a specific bed for your mature cat, but he will like a soft place to lay. This could be your bed or your favorite shirt, maybe, so you might want to provide him with his own soft blanket.

The important thing you need to remember when you bring a new cat home is that you provide a safe environment for him to be in.  

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