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Cat Adoption Checklist: What You Need to Know and Buy

Genevieve Dugal

By Genevieve Dugal

hepper pod bed nom nom bowl himalayan cat eatingThe arrival of a new kitten or adult cat in your home is an exciting and important event. But the joy you feel should not make you forget your future responsibilities: to offer your little one a safe and enriching environment. For that, you must buy a few things to make his arrival go smoothly. So, to help you with your preparation, we’ve put together a cat adoption checklist, along with a few extras to help you gather all the cat essentials that will make your life easier.

Let’s get started!

Things To Consider Before Adopting a Cat

Adopting a cat involves a long-term commitment of energy, time, and money. It is better to think about it before passing the pet store or shelter because it is very difficult to resist the imploring gaze and plaintive meow of a kitten! However, you should never adopt or buy an animal on a whim or give one as a gift. Here are the main questions to ask yourself:

Image Credit: RJ22, Shutterstock

Are you ready to make a long-term commitment?

Indoor cats can expect to live 16, 17, or even 20 years. As your pet gets older, it is also possible that your pet will become ill, so you will need to provide the necessary care, which means you will have to devote time and money to it.

Do you have the financial means to take care of a cat?

Adoption or purchase, sterilization, vaccines, visits to the vet, food, bedding, basic equipment, toys, grooming, hiring a pet sitter during your vacation…it all comes back expensive in the long run!

There are many important pet supplies to stock up on, but one that many people forget is pet insurance. Companies like Lemonade offer balanced, personalized plans that can help you keep vet costs under control.

Will you have time to take care of your feline?

A cat is more independent than a dog and is often more content with limited space. However, be aware that he enjoys company and needs a minimum of two 20-to-30-minute play sessions each day to thrive. Also, a cat demands attention, hugs, playtime; in short, he needs your warm presence by his side! Taking time with him is important because the more he is stimulated, the more balanced he will be and the more you will enjoy living with him.

Image Credit: Jumpstory

What will you do with your pet during the holidays?

If you don’t take your cat with you and don’t have someone to look after him while you will be away, you will need to budget for a pet sitter who will come to your house every day.

Are you ready to change your lifestyle?

Every room in the house contains a thousand traps for a curious little feline: tilting windows, balcony, hot plates, electrical outlets, chemicals, and many others. The arrival of a kitten will require you to rearrange your entire interior. And if you do decide to let your cat outside, you’ll need to make sure their vaccines are up to date, in case of any unexpected encounters with wild animals that may have rabies.

What if your kitty stains or damages your furniture, rugs, and clothes?

A cat often claws in the “wrong” place and leaves hair all over the place, not to mention its “hunting trophies” or the risk of urine marking if disturbed.

hairless cat curious hepper nest bed liner sphynx

Do you suffer from allergies?

Before adopting a little furry companion, make sure that no one in your family suffers from allergies. To find out if you are allergic, you could spend a few hours with a loved one who already has a cat, babysit the animal while they are away, or offer to care for cats from your neighborhood shelter temporarily.

Things To Buy Before Getting a Cat

Now that you have weighed the pros and cons, you need to know what to buy before adopting a cat. Here are all the basic cat supplies you will need to welcome your new kitty home:

chartreux cat lying on carpet
Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

1. Cat Food

Obviously, you will need to get some food for kittens or adult cats. Iams ProActive Health Kitten and Purina Cat Chow Complete are both high-quality, veterinarian recommended, dry food options at an affordable price. However, if possible, do not give your cat new food right away. Instead, feed him for a few days with the same diet he had before arriving home, which will minimize the risk of diarrhea or vomiting.

2. Cat Bowl

fluffly white cat being fed eating hepper nom nom bowl

It may sound simple, but buying a food bowl is not that easy. Indeed, the bowls usually sold on the market do not in any way allow the physical and intellectual stimulation of cats.

Indeed, hunting is supposed to be their main activity of the day. However, having their food falling in their mouths without having to make any effort is against the cat’s nature. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you purchase dispensers or playful bowls that reproduce the natural feeding behavior of felines.

For example, some feed dispensers, such as the PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Cat Feeder, work like this: just pop the food inside and for it to come out, cats have to roll the object over the ground. Likewise, it is possible to hide their food in various places in the house to encourage them to look for it.

On the other hand, also consider buying a food bowl with a design respecting the morphology of the cat, like the Hepper NomNom Bowl. This stylish bowl has a wide tray that helps keep your floors clean while preventing your kitty from getting his whiskers dirty! You might have guessed, this product is our own, but we love it, and so we bring it up in the hope that you get to own one too.

3. Cat Water Fountain

To encourage your cat to drink, consider investing in a water fountain, like the Catit Flower Plastic Cat Fountain, which combines a pretty design with a powerful filter! Indeed, our feline friends prefer to drink moving water because it appears cleaner to them. This is because it is less likely to be contaminated with nasty bacteria, unlike standing water. However, don’t hesitate to offer him a bowl of water, but place it away from where he eats and away from his litter box.

Image Credit: Daria Kulkova, Shutterstock

4. Brush

Even if your future cat has short hair, he will still need to be brushed regularly, especially during the molting season. So, opt for a brush or a grooming glove.

Ideally, all cats should be brushed once a day. This will let his coat breathe, prevent tangles, and strengthen his bond with his favorite human!

Woman brushing a gray cat
Image Credit: Sergey Gerashchenko, Shutterstock

5. Cat Nail Clippers

When making a list of things to buy before adopting a cat, we sometimes forget small essentials. This is the case with the nail clipper, which can come in handy.

Indeed, even if cats are supposed to maintain their claws on their own – thanks to the scratching posts – this is not always enough. When necessary, their nails should be trimmed. Have your vet or favorite groomer show you how to trim your cat’s nails if you’re feeling nervous, so you don’t unintentionally injure them. JW Pet Gripsoft Cat Nail Clipper is an affordable product that will allow you to cut your kitty’s nails safely.

6. Cat Bed

yawning sphynx cat hepper nest bedroom

As you may know, a cat tree can quickly become your cat’s favorite nap spot. But just in case, it is better to provide another sleeping place, such as a cozy basket or a small cat house. The goal is for your feline to feel like he is in a cocoon and he can curl up inside. The Hepper Pod and the Cat Nest (also our own products) are two original and snuggly options that will make your cat feel safe and super comfy!

Besides, the bed should be placed in a quiet place, or even a little hidden, such as the back of a closet, for example. And don’t hesitate to put items in it that carry the scent of his old home to reassure him.

7. Cat Tree

A central element of a feline’s territory, a cat tree can serve as a sleeping place, a place for games, but also a place of observation. And for a cat, being able to observe its environment from a high place is particularly important!

A quick hint: the taller the cat tree, the happier your cat will be!

cat scratching on scratching post
Image Credit: Jumpstory

8. Scratcher

Even though cat trees can act as scratching posts, don’t hesitate to buy a simple one that you place near so-called “sensitive” places in the house, such as the sofa.

Yep, your cat is going to need some scratching, so they’d better find an alternative to your furniture right away! Try the Hepper Hi-Lo Cat Scratcher, which we sell, and our kitty testers absolutely love. It allows your cat to adopt up to five playful positions for trimming your cat’s panther claws!

9. Litter Box

Whether or not you decide to let your feline out, he will always need a litter box. At least at the beginning. Once he gets used to pooping outside, you may be able to do without it.

In fact, whether you adopt your feline from a shelter or from a breeder, he will have already been conditioned to use a litter box. Therefore, he will need to find in his new home this essential element in his life.

Place the litter box in a quiet location away from noise and bustle. And above all, away from your cat’s food and water bowls!

Nature’s Miracle Just For Cats is a great option that takes up little space, thanks to its convenient corner design. Plus, the high sides keep your cat from wreaking havoc by spreading litter all over the place!

10. Cat Litter

At first, it is advisable to use the same litter that your cat had before to avoid unnecessary disturbance. Then, once your furball has got used to its new surroundings, you can try a change. If you’re looking for an all-natural, dust-free litter box (which is perfect for cats with allergies), try the CatSpot Litter. This option is quite expensive but highly effective in terms of odor control.

kitten on cat litter box
Image Credit: Sharaf Maksumov, Shutterstock

11. Litter Scoop

Indispensable, the litter scoop allows you to pick up your cat’s soiled litter every day. Not only does this have the advantage of delaying the complete change of the litter box (once a week on average is sufficient), it is also much more hygienic for your feline. However, the annoying thing about the litter scoop is that you never know where to put it after use. This is where the Frisco Plastic Litter Scooper comes into play: this inexpensive litter scoop comes with its own little caddy, which you can attach to the litter box. So, it’s always handy when you need it the most!

12. Cat Carrier

Without the carrier, you will not be able to pick up your cat. Yes, the cat carrier is the only way to transport your cat safely. You will also need it when taking your cat to the vet, for example. The Morpilot Pet Carrier is an advantageous option if you plan to travel often with your feline: it is airline-approved, in addition to being comfortable and space-saving.

13. Toys

Whether you buy them or make them yourself, toys are essential in a cat’s life. They should come in all shapes and colors. Indeed, cats appreciate diversity.

So that your cat never gets tired of her toys, a little trick is to hide them in a drawer and only take out one or two different ones each day.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have the cat adoption checklist in hand, you can go shopping for the cat essentials that will make your home welcoming for your little love ball. But don’t forget that beyond accessories and other supplies, what your cat will need most is your attention, care, and love for many years to come!

Featured Image Credit: Uschi_Du, Pixabay

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