What Do I Need for My New Kitten?

Here are some essential products you'll need before bringing kitten home.

When you're getting a new kitten, there is a lot to think about. Most of the time, your thoughts are occupied with which kitten to choose and when to bring her home. But there are some things you'll need to gather and have ready and waiting when your new kitten arrives. Look at this list to make sure you'll have what you need.


When you first bring a kitten home, it's probably best to have the same type of food available as they were being fed at their previous home. The reason for that is because a quick diet change can cause intestinal upset, including vomiting and diarrhea. Kittens moving to new homes can already feel some stress that might irritate their G.I. tract, so they don't need the added stress of a diet change.

Of course, you should visit your veterinarian right away and find out what type of food is recommended for your new kitten. You can change foods gradually, over about two weeks, to decrease the chances of G.I. upset.


You'll need food and water bowls for your kitty right away, and though that might not seem like a big decision, there are some things to consider as you choose them.

Cats that are forced to eat and drink from bowls that are too narrow and deep can develop whisker fatigue, which is an extremely uncomfortable or even painful condition caused by the whiskers constantly being pushed backward. Whisker fatigue can cause cats to avoid eating or drinking well, make messes around their food and water bowls, and act aggressively toward people and other pets in the home surrounding mealtimes. You can avoid triggering whisker fatigue in your new cat by choosing wide, shallow bowls like Dr. Catsby's Whisker Relief Food Bowl and Dr. Catsby's Whisker Relief Water Bowl.

Additionally, many cats prefer to drink running water over stagnant, still water so you might consider a pet water fountain right from the beginning. These fountains have charcoal filters which remove objectionable tastes and orders and improve the amount of water taken in by a cat. That's important because many cats run chronically dehydrated, not getting as much moisture in their dry kibble as they would from their prey in the wild.

Harness, Leash, and I.D. Tags

Even if you intend for your cat to stay inside (which is safest), you will need to have a leash, harness, and visible I.D. tags available. The reason is that you will sometimes need to take your cat out of the house, even if it is just to the veterinarian's office. When you do so, it is safest to have a harness on your kitty, outfitted with I.D. tags, just in case she escapes. Of course, she should also be in a cat carrier while you're in the car, and for safety reasons, you don't want to attach the leash to the harness while she's in the carrier, but if you need to take her out for some reason, such as at the veterinarian's office, the leash can help keep her safe.

Cat Beds

Cats spend a lot of time sleeping and cat napping, so having nice cozy beds available is a great idea. You can use the beds to protect other surfaces in your home from cat hair too.

Another thing to consider getting is a Cat Cave or two. These cozy enclosed spaces are beloved by many cats because felines like to hide and watch what's going on around them.

Cat Toys

Kittens need toys. They have a lot of energy, and they will take it out in inappropriate ways if they aren't directed to use it in play. Not only that, but play helps kittens relieve stress, and you'll need to carve out interactive playtime daily throughout your cat's entire life.

You should get a large variety of toys and keep some in a box out of reach of your cat, so you can rotate them often. Otherwise, your kitty can get bored with the toys.

Here are some of the types of toys you should have ready when your kitten gets home:

  • Wand toys. These are essential for allowing your kitten to practice hunting skills. You make the wand act like prey and let the kitty chase, pounce, and grab at it. This type of play should be done daily, but the wand toys should be put away unless you're there to supervise your kitten directly. Otherwise, they can be a strangulation risk.
  • Ball toys. Kittens love to bat around little ball toys, especially those that jingle or make other funny noises.
  • Stuffed toys. These are great for allowing a cat to "catch" prey, biting and bunny kicking it like they would during a hunt.
  • Note: Kittens under six months old don't respond to catnip, so you won't need to worry about catnip toys until then. But some kittens do respond to honeysuckle, so you could try that.

Scratching Posts

Kittens absolutely must have good scratching posts. Scratching keeps a cat's muscles and ligaments healthy, relieves stress, reduces pent-up energy, and helps a cat mark territory.

Get your kitten scratching posts that she will still enjoy as an adult cat. Make sure they are tall and stable and covered with sisal fabric, which is an ideal scratching surface for cats. Get a variety of different sizes and shapes of scratching posts and put them in various areas of your home, especially high-traffic spots.

As soon as you bring your new kitten home, show her all the scratching posts, so she knows where they are and that they are for her use. You can use a wand toy to get her excited and then drape it over the scratching posts to trick her into digging her claws in and discovering how great the scratching post feels.

Litter Boxes and Litter

You should have as many litter boxes as you have cats plus one, and there should be litter boxes in every significant area of your home. Most cats prefer unscented clumping litter, such as World's Best Cat Litter.

Grooming Supplies

Get some different fur brushes and a nice set of small claw clippers before you get your kitten. Most cats need to be brushed at least weekly, and some long-haired cats need brushing more often. You will also want to get your kitten used to having her paws handled and her claws clipped, so you can do so easily throughout her lifetime.

If you think you want your cat to wear Soft Paws, get some kitten-size ones so you can start to get her used to them right away as well. Remember, anything you want your cat to accept you doing to her when she's older, you must get her used to when she's young.

Additionally, you will need a toothbrush and some cat-safe toothpaste for your kitten. Get her used to having her teeth brushed routinely because dental care is critically important in cats.

Additional Considerations for Kittens

In addition to the above items which you will need for your new kitten, you should also consider a couple of other things before bringing a new cat home. First, figure out which veterinarian you're going to use. You can do that by asking friends and family who they like and why, looking at the various services and pricing at nearby clinics, and even asking for a chance to go in and tour some places and meet the veterinarians.

Once you've chosen a veterinarian, find out what your new kitten is going to need and when. It's crucial that you stay up to date on wellness visits, vaccinations, fecal checks, and any preventatives that are necessary for cats in your area. Find out precisely what your kitten is going to need and get it on your schedule before you even bring the kitty home.

You may also wish to look into pet insurance before adopting your kitten. That's the best time to procure insurance because once your kitty is diagnosed with something, it becomes a pre-existing condition which is no longer covered. Pet insurance can sometimes help pay routine veterinary costs, but they also help provide peace of mind in case your cat ever has an accident or illness because they can help you cover the bills, so you can get your cat the best possible care.

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance and Foundation.
Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at declawing.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.