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New Kitten Checklist: Essential Items For First Time Kitten Owners

In preparation for getting a new cat, there are a lot of things that you’ll need to get. Here’s the ultimate checklist of everything you need for your new kitten.

Bridget Reed

Updated November 03, 2022 • Published August 30, 2021

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New Kitten Checklist: Essential Items For First Time Kitten Owners

Deciding to bring a new addition into your family is thrilling, but it's also a lot of work! One of the best things you can do for your new kitten is ensuring that you have all of the essentials for their care before they arrive. In addition, it’s recommended that you prepare your home correctly for the arrival of your new kitten.

Regardless if you are a first-time kitten owner or if you’ve owned several in the past, you probably have questions about what you need to get. You may even be fearful that you’re forgetting something important. There are a lot of things to take into consideration. And that’s exactly why Pawp put together a list of items that you absolutely must have before you bring your new kitten home.

Today, Pawp is going to share the ultimate checklist for new kitten owners. In other words, the team is going to set you up for a successful transition for your new cat. The article will begin by sharing a list of must-haves. As you might have guessed, it is of paramount importance that you have these when you bring your new kitten home for the first time.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s rewarding. But now, it’s time to get shopping for all those essentials! The upfront cost of getting these supplies can be expensive, but it will be worth it for your new kitten. 

New kitten checklist: the essential items

The day that you bring your new kitten home is a whirlwind, and that’s why it’s so important that you get everything that you need to keep your kitten happy and healthy before they arrive. These are the items that you absolutely must have on hand when your new pet gets home.

Of course, some items will pop up as you learn more about your kitten and their individualized needs. That being said, having these things all set and ready for your pet is an excellent idea. That way, you will be prepared for whatever your kitten throws at you. 

Cat litter and a litter box

The first item you should be sure to purchase is a litter box (and cat litter to go inside, too). Your cat takes their bathroom breaks inside of your home in this box. Ideally, it will be accessible for your pet. It shouldn’t be put somewhere that’s too noisy, but it also shouldn’t be out of the way.

There’s a bit of trial and error that comes with finding the right litter and box, so don’t worry if it takes you a while. You should also invest in a good litter scooper; this will make your life a lot easier. 

Water and food bowls

You need to give your cat food and water somehow, and what better way to do it than using a bowl? You should look for bowls that are small in size, as your kitten is going to be tiny when they arrive at home. As your kitten gets older, you can increase the size of the bowl to something that will suit them in adulthood.

Keep a distance between the food and water bowl, as cats don’t enjoy drinking near their source of food. A water fountain for cats also might be something worth looking into.

Cat Food

Stick with what they’ve been getting fed at the shelter or breeder for a while and slowly integrate the food that you want them to eat into their preexisting food. 

It’s also an excellent idea to get a vet’s opinion on what would be a good type of food for your cat. Sometimes vets will recommend that you give your new pet a kitten formula to help boost their growth. Just remember: the transition from one cat food to another should be slow, so it’s more seamless. Ideally, it will take somewhere between seven to 10 days. 

Cat treats

You need something to reward your new kitten with when they do something right! This can help your cat bond with you, and it can also encourage them to be trained. Cat treats are an excellent way to do this. Keep in mind that you don’t want to give your cat too many, or they can rapidly gain weight.

Instead, think of them as what they are: a reward, not part of their normal food. You can also look for a low-calorie option if you’re worried about your cat gaining weight from treats. Cat treats should only constitute about 10% of the cat’s entire diet, so be mindful of that. 

Cat scratchers

Your baby kitten will instinctively want to scratch, and if you don’t want your furniture to become your cat’s scratching post, it’s important that you provide something for your pet.

Pawp veterinarian Dr. Laura Robinson says this problem is more commonly seen in indoor cats who “have more limited options so usually the furniture is the thing that gets scratched.” Dr. Robinson says to note where your cat tends to scratch as the “best location for a scratcher may be where the cat has already scratched.”

This natural behavior allows your cat to relieve some of their stress. In addition, your cat likes to do this because they enjoy marketing their territory. It also helps your cat keep their nails a reasonable length.

You can get a variety of scratching posts and place them throughout your house. This will help ensure that your cat uses these instead of your furniture. When you catch your kitten in the act of using one, you can give them attention — and even a treat — as a reward. 

A cat tree or a perch

You will notice that your cat enjoys watching the world from a higher angle. This is due to the fact that they naturally like to climb and jump, too. Therefore, providing your cat with either a cat tree or perch is a safe way for your cat to satisfy this urge. It gives your cat a space of their own and a place to hang out. 

A cat bed

Your cat will also need a bed. Kittens are sleepy little animals, and they’ll be exceedingly happy if you give them a comfortable cat bed where they can get all the rest they need. 

While your kitty might decide to do so on your bed or couch, you should get them a cat bed. There are several ways that you can encourage your cat to use this. It will provide them with yet another space of their own. 

You want to ensure that you are choosing a bed that is washable. Another option is to find one that will give your kitten a spot to hide or burrow. Whatever the case may be, be sure that you choose something cuddly and comfortable and suited for your particular kitten. 

A cat carrier

The next essential is a cat carrier. Even if you don’t plan on toting your cat around from city to city, this is still an absolute necessity for a few reasons. First of all, you’ll use it whenever you take your cat to the vet. Second, it can prove extremely helpful in the event that there is an emergency. 

Some cats are a bit afraid of carriers, and that’s why it’s important that you introduce them to your kitten gradually. You can encourage your cat to explore this space before you place them in it by using some treats and the principles of positive reinforcement. 

A variety of cat toys

A kitten has a load of energy, and the best way to help them get that out is by providing them with a variety of toys they will enjoy. These keep your new cat enriched, engaged, and entertained. Mental stimulation is as important as physical, so be sure to choose toys that will be good for that.

You’ll likely want to get interactive cat toys, such as wands. Therefore, you can play together and make playtime a bonding experience. Catnip is also always a great idea for a new kitten (but not until 6 months to 1 year old). 

ID tags and a collar

It’s important that your cat has an ID tag and collar and that it has your contact information on it — and your kitten’s name, too. In the event that your kitten accidentally escapes from your home, your best chance of getting them back is if you have an ID tag and collar. 

You can get these made on the spot at a variety of pet stores, or you can order one online. A microchip is also a necessity, especially if your cat is prone to roaming. 

It’s important to make sure that your cat’s collar fits them properly. You don’t want it to be too loose — and you also don’t want it to be too tight. If you have questions, ask a store associate for assistance. 

Cleaning supplies

Cats are usually able to pick up on how to use a litter box relatively fast. Nevertheless, you should have odor eliminators and urine cleaners nearby. These will ensure that if there is an accident, you have the resources to clean it up correctly. 

The best thing to do is pick up a type of cleaner that was specially formulated for use on pet stains. You should also ensure that it is nontoxic in the event that your pet accidentally gets a hold of some. 

Welcome your new kitten home

That is everything you will need to successfully transition your new kitten into life at home. Now that you have that figured out, it’s time for the fun part: bringing your new addition home. 


Destructive Scratching | ASPCA

What Is Catnip and What Does It Do to Cats? | Pet MD

Preventing litter box problems | Humane Society

Why Are Cats So Quirky About Drinking? | Treehugger 

Recipes For Homemade Kitten Formula | Kitten Rescue 

Training Cats with Positive Reinforcement | HSHV

Microchipping of Animals FAQ | AVMA 

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