Cat Care 101: A List of Essentials for Owners

Prepping your home for a new kitten? Make sure you get all of the kitten supplies you need with our new kitten checklist

Twitter Facebook

Thinking of growing your family by four paws? We don’t blame you. Cats can make for endlessly entertaining companions—and, let’s be honest, few things are cuter than a kitten. While it’s exciting to raise a new kitten, we know there’s a lot of prep work to do. From stocking up on essential kitten toys to choosing the best food, there’s a lot to consider.

To help, we’ve compiled a new kitten checklist including all the kitten supplies you and your new fur baby need to make their new home life as cozy as possible. Make the adjustment more purr-fect by ordering the pet supplies you need from Gopuff!

Cat care infographic with list of everything a new cat parent needs to know and to get.

Basic Cat Supplies

Kitten-Proof Your Home

Before you pick up your new cat, kitten-proof your home to avoid accidents. Stow away items that you don’t want your kitten to chew, such as electrical cords, rubber bands, thread and poisonous products or plants. Also, since kittens like to hide away in small spaces, keep the washer and dryer closed, secure any screens and consider using baby gates and cabinet latches to mark off-limits areas.

Food & Water Bowls

Feeding a new cat seems simple enough—just place the food and water bowls down when it’s feeding time, right? Well, it’s not exactly that simple. Most cats typically have specific preferences regarding where and how they eat. To start, choose a set of bowls that are sturdy and won’t tip over during mealtime. Also, since some kittens are allergic to plastic, you should choose a safe material such as ceramic or stainless steel.

Think you’re done yet? Not quite. You need to choose the perfect spot in your house to feed your cat. If you have another cat or a dog, separate their food bowls so it does not cause stress for either pet. Set up your cat’s feeding spot away from the water bowl, too. It seems logical to place your cat’s water and food bowls in the same place. But research has shown that in the wild, cats search for food and water separately. Setting the food and water bowls right next to each other could prevent your cat from drinking enough water. 

Lastly, avoid switching the location of the feeding station. Cats are creatures of habit and can become stressed if their environment or daily routine suddenly changes.

Shop These Items:

Cat Food

Yes, all of the cat food commercials on TV are adorable, but that doesn’t mean just any brand or type is right for your kitten. Start off by consulting a guide about the best brands, and grab a bag of the same food the breeder or adoption center has been feeding your kitten since their tiny body is already used to that formula. 

When you bring in your kitten for their first check-up, ask the vet for high-quality brand and dry vs. wet cat food recommendations. They might tell you to switch the food to a kitten-friendly formula, but don’t forget to add the new food into your kitty’s diet a little bit at a time over a 7-day period

If you’re thinking about cooking homemade cat food recipes, then review what types of human foods are safe for your furry friend to consume.

Shop These Items:

Dry food:

Wet food:

Cat Treats

Not only are cat treats the easiest way to quickly become your cat’s favorite family member, they’re also a helpful tool you should use to train your kitten. Try breaking the treats into smaller bits before you distribute them to avoid overfeeding your kitten. 

Shop These Items:

ID Tag, Collar and Bell

To keep an eye on your feline friend, get them a safety collar with an ID tag and bell so you can easily find them when they’re up to their adorable mischief.

Cat Harness & Leash

If you enjoy going on adventures and being outdoors and you plan to bring your new kitten along too, get a harness. The idea of allowing your cat to roam freely alongside you may sound great, but it’s risky since they may get distracted and run away. Plus, the best cat harness will not only be comfortable, but it’ll also keep your feline adventurer safe. 

You should research the types and sizes of cat harnesses before making a purchase, since male cats tend to be bigger than female cats. The best choice for your furry friend depends on your cat’s age, shape and preferences. 

Cat Bed

Sleep is a really important part of your kitten’s healthy development. Believe it or not, kittens can sleep up to 18–20 hours per day—but that doesn’t mean their schedule will always match up with yours. The key to making sure your kitten gets quality sleep is to give them a comfortable space to sleep. To start, set up a warm and cozy space close to your bed so they feel safe. As your kitten grows up, you can decide whether or not you want to let them sleep in your bed with you.

Cat Scratchers and Cat Trees

Why get a cat scratching post or cat tree? For starters, your furniture and curtains will appreciate it. Getting a solid post should discourage your furry friend from destroying that stuff. Active cats need a scratch post for a variety of reasons such as stretching and exercise. If you’re not ready to commit to a post, you can get your kitten a small scratch toy.

Another great item for active cats is a cat tree—a small or large piece of cat furniture (depending on your space and budget) that allows your feline friend to climb, claw and sleep all over a tower designed especially for them. 

Shop This Item:

Cat Toys 

Cats need toys to keep them stimulated and entertained. Unfortunately, there isn’t one universal toy that every cat will love. Some cats will play with any toy you bring home and others will prefer strings that fall off your clothes. To help you and your cat decide, pick up a handful of different types to see what they like.

If you’re looking for a tool to help with training your cat or to provide your kitten with some indoor fun, then get catnip. Catnip is an herb that’s a member of the mint family. It contains nepetalactone, an oil found within the catnip plant’s leaves and the reason your cat may get the zoomies when they eat it or rub their face in it. You can also buy or make your own catnip toys to keep your kitten entertained.

Shop These Items:

Cat Carrier

Traveling with a feline friend, especially for the first time, is sometimes a stressful experience—for both cat parents and their furry friends. Even though you can’t hold your cat’s paw throughout the ride to help them stay calm, you can get them a carrier to ensure they’re safe and comfy. When choosing a carrier, consider the size, material and style that’ll fit both you and your cat’s needs. 

The general rule is to get a carrier that’s about 1.5 times bigger than your feline friend. If you’re traveling by air, select a carrier that’ll fit your cat comfortably and that adheres to plane guidelines. If your kitty is cool under pressure and is a calm traveler, then use a nylon or soft carrier. In the case that your cat freaks out at the sight of its carrier, choose a more durable plastic carrier instead. There are also carriers that have a removable top half to make it easier for cat parents to place their furry friend inside.

Kitten Grooming

Cat Brush 

Even though most cats are fantastic self-groomers, those with long or short hair can always use a good brushing once in a while. Grooming a cat several times a week can help cut down on shedding, matted fur and hairballs. But before you buy the first brush you see, think about the type of brush you’ll need since there are a variety of tools available. Grooming gloves help remove loose hair, dirt and debris while stimulating circulation. Deshedding tools are used to remove excess hair from the undercoats of cats with long hair. Dematting combs are effective for removing uncomfortable tangles and knots from the undercoat.

Shop These Items:

Nail Clippers for Cats

Do you get anxious about the idea of clipping your cat’s nails? If so, don’t worry—most cat owners do, since most cats don’t enjoy getting their nails cut. To help your new kitten get used to the process, start at a young age so they can get used to it. Additionally, get a pair of nail clippers that are specifically for cats to help the process go as smoothly as possible.

Cat Shampoo

Cats don’t need to be regularly bathed unless they get themselves into a sticky situation. If you end up needing to give them a bubble bath, use a kitten-friendly shampoo. 

Shop These Items:

Cat Toothbrush and Toothpaste

While it may sound crazy, you need to start a dental routine with your kitten early on to prevent dental disease and combat bad breath. You can use a feline-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste or dental treats.

H2: Kitten Potty Training

Litter Box, Litter, Liners, Litter Mat and Scooper 

Unlike their canine counterparts, cats take frequent bathroom breaks in a litter box. When it comes to litter boxes, the general rule of paw is to always have at least one per cat plus an extra. Why? It gives your cat choices, which will help prevent accidents and fights if there is more than one cat in the house. Stock up on litter and liners—and get a good scooper, too—in order to keep this crucial area clean and fresh.

Shop These Items:

Stain and Odor Remover

Just like children, kittens need to be taught some manners. And, as with any pet, teaching involves combining rewards for good behavior and consequences for bad behavior. Patience is key when training a kitten, but accidents happen—so it’s essential to stock up on cleaning supplies prior to bringing your kitten home.

Shop These Items:

Healthcare Essentials

Choose A Vet 

Selecting the right vet for your cat’s care is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make as a pet parent since they’ll be partnering with you to make sure your kitten lives a happy and healthy life. After you bring home your new kitten, make sure you schedule them for a wellness check-up at your preferred veterinary clinic to ensure your new family member is happy and healthy. While there, ask the vet any medical care questions you may have about vaccinations, spaying (or neutering), possible medical conditions, flea and tick prevention and microchipping.

Select An Insurance Plan

Cats are naturally curious, which can lead to accidents. Do your research and select an insurance plan that is right for you and your feline friend to make sure you’re covered in case of an emergency.

If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, stay paw-sitive and remember that Gopuff has your back. If you don’t have the Gopuff app yet, download it from the Apple Store or Google Play to make ordering your essential kitten supplies even easier. 

Make sure to follow Gopuff on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!

Essentialscats guides kittens pet care pets
Order in Seconds,
Delivered in Minutes.
Daily essentials straight to your door.
Start Shopping