New Cat Kid Checklist

If you’re adopting a new cat kid, you may be buying the necessities and prepping your place for your pet. But how do you know what’s essential and what isn’t, especially if this is your first wild child? We’ve compiled a cat adoption checklist so you can make sure your incoming family member is all set when you bring them home from the animal shelter.

Vet clinic

If you don’t already have a vet, it’s a good idea to choose one before you bring your cat kid home — that way you have a professional resource for questions, last-minute appointments, and emergencies. Ask for recommendations from other pet parents in the area, read reviews of the clinic and the doctors, and then call the clinic to make sure they’re taking on new patients.

Cat carrier

Whether you’re heading home from the animal shelter or on your way to the vet, you’ll need a sturdy cat carrier for your cat kid. Cat Health recommends choosing a cat carrier that has adequate ventilation, opens from the top as well as the front, and is sized for your cat kid. Soft carriers can be ideal for longer trips, particularly plane rides, though they’re only recommended for calm cats since they could be easily torn. Hard shell carriers aren’t as flexible, but they’re sturdier and could keep anxious cat kids safer.

Food and water dishes

Ever heard of whisker fatigue? Pet MD identifies the theory as “an information overload that stresses out your cat.” It happens when whiskers come into contact with objects, transmitting a slew of messages from the sensitive whiskers to the brain that cause stress. You can avoid this potential stressor by buying cat food bowls and cat water dishes that are either flat or wide so that the whiskers stay unbothered during mealtimes.

Nutritious food

Wet food? Dry food? DIY food? When it comes to feeding your cat kid, you have a lot of options. Check with the animal shelter or rescue to see what they were eating there, then phase that food out gradually if you want to switch to another type or even make your own. Wondering about healthy human food for cats? Check out our guidelines and tips.

Cat scratching post

Cats scratch to file their nails, stretch their legs, release pent-up energy, and leave their scent on objects. To avoid this behavior happening to your favorite chair, purchase a scratching post or two. These can range from pillars to flat scratchers you can top off with catnip for extra entertainment for all!

Cat tree or cat window perch

Cats are wired to watch out for predators and search for prey, which is why you may find your cat kid chilling on the top of the refrigerator. Cater to that instinct to climb high by setting up a cat tree or a cat window perch where they can survey their new surroundings, lounge, and clack at the neighborhood birds.

Interactive cat toys

Whether it’s a laser pointer or a catnip-filled mouse, cat toys are a must-have for your new wild child. Cats are wired to play — it satisfies their hunting instincts, boosts their mood, and helps them develop their problem-solving skills. If you want to stock up on eco-friendly cat toys, search for items made from organic or recycled materials. You can also make your own toys out of cardboard boxes or repurposed clothes, like sweatshirt strings your new family member can bat around the living room floor in between cuddles with you.

Litter box

A common interspecies family house rule: have one cat litter box for every cat in the house, plus one extra. Make sure the litter box is the right size, and opt for one with low sides for accessibility if you’re adopting a senior cat. A variety of litter boxes are easy to find at grocery stores, big box stores, and pet retailers. Want to make your own natural litter box? The Honest Kitchen has a DIY tutorial for repurposing cardboard boxes.

Cat litter

You’ll want to fill your litter boxes with 1–2 inches of cat litter, then scoop at least once a day (more if you have multiple cat kids). The majority of pet parents say odor control is the #1 priority in a cat litter, which makes Naturally Fresh the ideal choice. Our walnut shell cat litter organically neutralizes odors better than clay litter, corn litter, wheat litter, and pine litter, making it the best litter for odor control. Plus, it’s a low-tracking litter and the best low-dust cat litter since it’s free of harmful silica dust. Want to know which formula fits your interspecies household the best? Take our quiz!

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