Congratulations on bringing home a new family member! With all the fun and excitement a new cat brings, it is easy to fall short in being fully prepared. Here is a list of basic items that will help make your cat’s transition period as smooth as possible.

Food and Water Dish:
In general, stainless steel dishes are the best option. Stainless steel bowls are easy to clean and cannot be chewed up by a teething kitten. Ceramic bowls with a lead-free glaze coating are another option. Avoid plastic bowls, as they can become porous and hold germs.

In the beginning, we recommend to feed your new feline friend the food she has been eating before she came to you. If you wish to feed your cat another kind of food, you can begin to transition to the new food by slowly introducing it to your cat. Without a transition period, your cat is more likely to suffer from digestive upset.

There are a variety of cat foods out there and it is important to be careful with what you choose. When choosing your cat’s food, it’s important to remember that cats are carnivores and therefore require meat in their diet. Lower quality foods do not typically contain the necessary amount of nutrients your cat requires and therefore cause pet owners to spend more money at the vet. Higher quality cat foods can generally be found at pet stores rather than big box stores. Pet stores also carry a wider selection of cat food, allowing you to tailor your cat’s food to her specific needs.

Brush and Nail Trimmer: 
Maintaining your cat’s grooming is a good way to develop a lifelong bond. Along with keeping your cat looking as chic as ever, regular grooming promotes healthy blood circulation and prevents matts from forming. Regularly clipping your cat’s nails will help them stay blunt and less likely to harm your skin or furniture.

Cat Toys: 
Many cats are a bit standoffish when they first enter a new home. Providing your cat with lots of fun toys to play with will help her come out of her shell and feel more at ease in her new surroundings. Cat toys don’t have to be expensive, in fact you can even make your own with our DIY cat toy guide. 

Litter Box and Scoop: 
We recommend that you should own one litter box per cat, plus one. Make sure that the litter box is set up beforehand so that your cat will have a place to relieve herself once she gets home. Generally, cats prefer open litter boxes to hooded ones. Make sure to scoop your litter box daily to ensure a clean and tidy space for your cat to relieve herself. 

We recommend using unscented clumping litter, as this is what most cats prefer. Scented litter can sometimes cause cats to stray from using the litter box due to the overpowering smell. Clumping litter is softer than non-clumping and closer to the soil that the domesticated cat’s ancestors would use for elimination.

Scratching Post:
Scratching is a normal behavior for all cats, even declawed cats. Provide your cat with a scratching post that allows her to stretch out completely when scratching. You may need to try out a few different types of posts (textures and shapes) to find the perfect post for your cat.

Visit the Pet Shoppe at Anti-Cruelty to stock up on some supplies. Your purchase supports our work. 

If you would like information from an Anti-Cruelty Behavior Specialist regarding this behavior topic, please call 312-645-8253 or email

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