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Ultimate Cat Adoption Checklist: 8 Essentials & Pro Tips

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on February 9, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

woman adopting a cat

Ultimate Cat Adoption Checklist: 8 Essentials & Pro Tips

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 face divider 2

Essential Supplies for Your Cat Adoption

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

a cat lying on its bed
Image Credit: VGstockstudio, Shutterstock

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.

Having a fur baby means showering them with cuddles, even if you aren’t around throughout the day. While you’re out running errands, the Hepper Nest Bed will keep your cats cuddled up and cozy.

Hepper Cat Nest - Washable Cat Bed with Removable...
  • HAPPY COZY CATS - Your kitty will bask in luxurious sherpa-lined comfort while feeling warm, safe,...
  • MODERN DESIGN - Contemporary styling with upholstered fabric construction; just like your human...
  • WARM FLEECE LINER - Self warming, thick sherpa fleece with microfiber trim.

This product is too good to keep a secret! Made from flexible molded foam and a sherpa fleece insert, your cat will be wrapped in cozy goodness every time they take a nap. Click here to get yours today!

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

2. Food and water bowls

cats eating
Image Credit: bollection, Pixabay

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.

Hepper 360 Cat Feeder, Stainless Steel, Anti-Chew...
  • NO MESS - The 360° tray on this cat food and water bowl set has a raised design to catch and...
  • WHISKER FRIENDLY - Shallow and wide metal containers with flat bottoms ensure your kitty can enjoy...
  • CHEW-SAFE MATERIALS - Kittens and cats love chewing on silicone and soft rubber - but it's a choking...

Choosing the right food and water bowls for our feline companions can pose certain challenges for pet owners. The Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl provides a chic and innovative solution that supports cat specific needs, such as shallow bowls and a subtle elevation that fosters whisker relief, posture comfort, and improves digestion. It features an elegant contemporary design with a wide wrap-around tray aimed at minimizing any messes from ending up on your floor! Furthermore, this bowl is entirely dishwasher safe, so pet owners are able to spend more time with their cats instead of cleaning up after them. Discover why the Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is right for both you and your kitty by clicking here.

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!


3. Litter tray

gray kitten sitting in litter box_Andrey Khusnutdinov_shutterstock
Image Credit: Andrey Khusnutdinov, Shutterstock

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

cat scratching post
Image Credit: EbneRol, Shutterstock

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.

Alternatively, if you want to surprise your cat with something cool, check out the Hepper Hi-Lo Cat Scratcher. It's not just a scratcher; it's a piece of modern furniture that your cat can play on. It's got a curvy design that's perfect for stretching and moving, and it's built tough with strong birch plywood and thick B-flute cardboard. You can adjust it to three different heights, which keeps cats entertained. Plus, it won't break the bank! Our cats love it, and we do too.

Hepper Hi-Lo Cardboard Cat Scratcher with Real...
  • Premium Materials - Hepper's cardboard scratcher is made with dense, B-flute cardboard, and a metal...
  • High, Low and Lower - A single cat scratch pad won't keep your cat engaged. 3 unique positions keeps...
  • Activates Muscles - The Hi Lo isn't just a cat nail file to stop the chief cat couch scratcher. The...

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest, so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

5. Toys

Cat Toys
Image Credit: IRCat, Pixabay

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.

6. Microchip

cat microchip getting scanned at vet
Image Credit: Lucky Business, Shutterstock

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

cat getting teeth brushed
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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

cat in cat carrier
Image Credit: zossia, Shutterstock

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.

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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.

woman smiling by cage
Image Credit: Susan Schmitz, Shutterstock

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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.

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Final Thoughts

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

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