Updated: Apr 4, 2020
Hello my fellow cat lovers or should I say prospective cat parents because if you are reading this there is a high possibility that you are going to adopt a furry kid very soon. When I was adopting Rya I knew nothing about cats so I searched all over the internet, read books , spoke to the breeder who I was getting Rya from, spoke to some cat owners online and dropped my questions in a lot of cat groups in facebook.
So here I am giving you the absolute checklist of all the things required before bringing your furry kid home. This is based on my experience of Rya and Koen and suggestions from some of the books I read. I am listing the things in descending order as in the most important ones are listed first and there are some things which you can buy after your kitty/cat is home.
1) Cat Litter - This is one of the most essential things to have before bringing your cat home. Please check with the breeder/shelter which litter the cat is currently using and get the same one in the beginning. After a week or so you can change the litter if you are willing but do it slowly for example start mixing the new litter with old one and eventually replacing the old one completely. There are many different kinds of litters in the market like crystals, corn, sand etc. I have tried few litters but I loved "Applaws Nature's calling" the most however you can check more of them depending on your need or budget.
2) Litter box and scoop - You need this to keep your litter in it so that your new cat can happily poop/pee on it. Scoop is required while cleaning the litter box. I use "Applaws Nature's calling" litter and it creates a chunk of litter after cats do their job. I use my scoop to find the chunks, filter it from the rest of the litter and dump it directly in the garbage bin.
I have bought a small garbage bin as well so that I can keep it near the litter box and dump the chunks in it easily. Alot of people has have complained that their cats do not use the covered litter box hence buying it beforehand is a big risk of money. This is the picture of litter box and scoop I am using and have no complaints.
3) Cat water fountain and bowl - This is another must have things you need before the arrival of your fur baby. I was reluctant to buy a water fountain before but its then my partner convinced me and it made my life so much easier. I have seen Rya drinking so much more water after we bought the fountain. Also I am not worried while at work if her bowl of water is empty because fountain is continuously running and that too on a very low electricity.
For starter just buy a simple cat food bowl and that will be enough. Automatic feeder etc is only required when your cat is getting overweight etc so dont spend your money on that just yet.
4) Cat food - This is the part where I struggled the most. Rya is very fussy when comes to food and I have wasted so much money and food because she simply wont eat it. Koen is much easy and eats almost everything provided to him.
One tip I have is never feed your cats fish or tuna or seafood. Cats are land animals and they dont generally eat seafood in the wild, also some vet as well as cat behaviorist have mentioned that it can cause UTI in older male cats. So try to get food which has chicken, beef, lamb etc, grain free dry food is another good alternative.
I give my cat both wet and dry food and you need to figure out over the time which one your cat prefers.So when it comes to first cat food shopping buy the food which cat is already eating, slowly change it to something better or according to age. Buy food in small quantity during early days and once you know the taste of your cat then buy food in bulk. This will save you from money as well as food wastage. Just for the information, I buy Royal Canin kitten and institutive adult wet food and Royal Canin indoor kitten dry food.
Cat treats - Do not buy lots of treats and give them only when grooming, putting on leash or taking to vet so that they associate these things as a good things.
5) Cat scratching post/cat tree - I will include this in must have things before bringing kitten because as early they learn that they need to scratch at a certain place better the chances of your furnitures being saved from scratches.Cats have to scratch and they will scratch and this is the best thing to get it for them.
If you have only one cat, dont bother about the cat tree, buy a long scratching post instead. If you have more than 1 cat , then I would suggest buy 1 long cat tree which has scratching threads on them. Cats love heighted or high altitude places from where they can see all over the house to try to get something which is longer in height.
If you are getting a kitten go for a medium sized scratching post and show your kitten how to scratch slowly by rubbing their paws on the scratching post. They learn quickly !
First picture is of kitten Rya and her first scratching post in Dec 2018. Second picture is from Dec 2019 when we upgraded it to a cat tree since Koen was about to come home in 2 days.
6) Cat toys - Do not buy expensive toys, most cats love to play with card board boxes, threads small balls.The best toy for both Kitten and adult cat is rod and feather toy, almost all the cat I know loves it.
7) Carriage or bags - This is a must have so that you can bring your cat home in it as well as you can carry them them to vets. I have one carriage and one cat backpack and I am very satisfied with both of them.
8) Nail clippers - You can bring this after you bring your cat home as well. Establish a habit of cutting nails and getting treats together so that cats think of it as a good things. Even then it will take time for both you and cat to get used to the process. Beware and do not cut the blood vessel as it can be painful. Check this video on how to cut the cat nails properly. Please DO NOT go for option of declawing your cat, Its inhumane and just not right for them!
9) Brush(only applicable for long haired) - Rya is a long haired cat so I need to brush her almost everyday but even after so much of trying she still hates it. Anyways this is the brush I am using and have absolutely no complains. I have also recently purchased the cat grooming gloves and really liked it as well.
10) Bed - Not required at all. I wasted money on 2 cat beds and my cats prefer to sleep on cat tree, sofa, dining table chairs, below the couch and on my face !
11) Deterrents - This is initially required just to make them in a habit of not scratching furniture or not running out of the house however do not waste a lot of money on it. I bought (Nature's Miracle) in the beginning and its still half full. I do use it to deter my cats so that they dont run out of the front door when door opens or when they start chewing wires.
12) Leash - I always wanted both of my cats to go out on picnics and beaches with us but Rya does not like it anymore. She literally hides below the couch as soon as she sees Leash on our hand so we have stopped taking her out on leash now however Koen still accompany us on picnics. Therefore if you are adopting a kitty, dont get an expensive leash initially, put it on her and give her treats right away so that she think of it as a good thing.
If your kitty is getting traumatised again and again then do not force her into it. Also, I am not a fan of putting anything on my cats, not even collars so I never bought any for them.
There you go guys, I have mentioned almost everything above so you are now ready. Do not get overwhelmed by the number of things as most of these things are small and you can get it all together in one single pet store visit.
Let me know in comments below what other stuff your cats love or if you have a nice cheaper options available.
Signing off now!
Please believe in kindness, empathy and well-being of each other.