8 Essential Cat Supplies for a New Cat Owner

It can be scary trying to figure out what a cat needs when you have never had a cat before. Keep reading for a list of essential cat supplies.

May 28, 2024By Holly Ramsey
essential cat supplies for new cat owner

New cat owners may be overwhelmed trying to decide what supplies their new kitty will need. You want your new cat to transition into their new home seamlessly. Having their supplies such as food and litter, ready before they arrive will help them feel right at home. Here are the essentials you will need for your new cat.

Food and Treats

gray tabby cat eating
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You do not want to switch the cat’s food when they change homes. Ask their former caregiver what kind of food they are eating and then switch over time. If you are purchasing a cat from a breeder, there may be a contract that specifies the type of food the cat is to be fed.

Kittens need more proteins and fats than adult cats so you will want a food specifically formulated for kittens. Kitten food that is complete and balanced or highly digestible and nutrient-dense is ideal. Eight-week-old kittens and older can eat dry kibble although canned cat food is better for digestion.

2 cats eating 1 dish
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Adult cats can eat dry food only, but canned foods are good for their digestion. If your new cat is not used to canned food, add one tablespoon during mealtime to supplement their diet. Eventually, you will want to switch your cat to canned food only.

There are plenty of commercial cat treats to purchase that your new cat will love. You can also make your cat treats or feed them small pieces of baked chicken or fish. Do not overfeed their treats, only use them for special times or training.

Water and Food Bowls

orange cat eating bowl
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Use stainless steel or ceramic bowls for your cat. Make sure the ceramic bowl is non-lead-glazed and made in the United States. Do not use plastic dishes for cats, some cats can develop a rash on their chin from plastic bowls. Plastic also is not easy to sanitize and can harbor bacteria.

Automatic water servers are great if you are away from home for several hours. Cats love fresh, running water and an automatic waterer will provide a constant supply of pure, clean water. If are bringing home two kittens, have separate bowls for each kitten.


kitten with feather toy
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Cats love to play and if they do not have toys, they will make their own fun. Some things cats should not play with such as string or hair ties, as they can easily swallow these items and cause intestinal issues. Playing with your new cat is a great way to bond with it. Interactive toys such as the rocking cat activity mat or the peek-a-prize toy box will keep you and your cat entertained.

Catnip mice or other toys are always a hit with kitties. And you do not want to forget a kitty house with hideaway boxes and climbing posts. Cats are also happy with cardboard boxes with doors cut so they can hide and jump out at you as you pass by. You can even make cat toys if you are on a budget.

Scratching Post

cat using scratching post
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Cats love to scratch and will need a place to extend their claws and have fun. Rather than have them assault your drapes or furniture, invest in a sturdy scratching post. You can purchase a simple one or invest in one of the more elaborate scratching posts with catnip scent pockets to attract your cat.

Start your kitten off with a basic cardboard scratcher, and as they grow, you can invest in more expensive or elaborate scratching posts. Handmade or DIY scratchers are also good for your cat. Some cat owners will have multiple scratching posts throughout their home.

Grooming Kit

gray white cat getting brushed
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While cats are meticulous about grooming themselves, you will still want to have grooming supplies on hand. Shorthaired cats will need a simple brush or fine-toothed comb, whereas longhaired cats will require a pin brush, slicker brush, fine-toothed comb, detangler spray, and mat splitter. Nail clippers that are designed for cats. Alcohol wipes to clean your cat’s ears are also a good idea. If you have a flat-faced cat such as a Ragdoll or Persian, unscented baby wipes will be necessary to clean their faces.


kitten in carrier
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You do not want to transport your cat without a carrier. There are several to choose from including heavy-duty cloth carriers and fiberglass or plastic carriers. The carrier needs a secure latch and is sturdy enough to support your cat’s weight.

Some people go one step further and put their cat in a harness inside the cat carrier to ensure they can be grabbed easily if they try to escape their enclosure. Cats can easily become spooked in new environments so when you must travel with your cat, either to the vet’s office or across the country, make sure they are in a safe carrier.

Litter and Litter Box

litter maid cat litter box
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Litter boxes can be as simple as a plastic box or as complex as a litter robot. When looking for a litter box, you will need to decide if you want one with a lid or an open box. You can also get one with smart technology, or make one yourself. Make sure the box is big enough for when your cat is fully grown and has high sides. Most cats like to throw their litter around when they are in the litter box. You will need to make sure the litter box has a door that is low enough for a kitten if you are bringing home a baby kitty.

Just like litter boxes, litter is also varied; from plant-based to clay. Finding the right litter for your new cat should not be that hard. Clumping clay litter has an ingredient that is harmful to cats if swallowed, if your cat likes to eat litter do not use this type. All clay litter will stir up dust and can be very messy. Chewy has several options for litter boxes and litter. Place the litter box in an area that is out of the way but easy for your cat to find. Clean your cat’s litter box often to keep them healthy.

Cat Bed

royal luxury cat bed
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Most people do not think of cats needing their own bed, but it gives them their own special place for napping. If you do not want your new cat sleeping in your bed, having their own bed is perfect. Some cat owners have several cat beds throughout their house to keep their cats comfy and able to nap wherever they like. Look for washable and big enough for an adult cat to curl up and be cozy. Check out Amazon for some great bed choices for your cat.

Once you have gathered all your supplies for your new kitty, give your veterinarian a call and set an appointment for the same day you bring your new feline friend home. You should get paperwork with your new cat showing their proof of vaccinations and negative test results, but if not, have your vet thoroughly check your new kitty over and make sure they are healthy. Then, head home and start bonding with your new cat.

Holly Ramsey
By Holly Ramsey

Holly is a 2nd generation dog breeder/trainer and has over 25 years of experience with several different breeds. She enjoys working with her Japanese Chin and Rough Collies and helping her mom and daughter with their chosen breeds. Most evenings, Holly is hanging out with her daughter watching movies, crafting, or playing with the fur-kids.