Are you considering getting a new cat? No matter if this is your first feline companion, the idea of adding a new pet to your family may be exciting—but is your home ready for a new cat? To prepare for welcoming your cat, you should get several cat necessities. If you have questions regarding new pet parenthood, you can set your mind at ease by checking our cat adoption checklist, including plenty of helpful tips for new pet parents.

Adoption checklist for cats

All cat owners, new and old, must have certain cat essentials to ensure their pets feel comfortable and safe in their forever homes. Ensure you are ready for the cat’s arrival.

1. Take time to find the perfect cat and consider how many you can adopt.

Humans benefit from cat purring—and that is why they make you smile—because they soothe human pain. To find your purrfect cat, an online search is a great place to start. Sites like allow you to search through multiple shelter listings at once to simplify your search and find the perfect cat for you and your family.

In addition to exercise and mental stimulation, cats need social interaction. It is possible to do this by having two cats. If you have the place and means to keep two cats, you may consider getting buddies that are already accustomed to each other by living together in the adoption center.

2. It’s essential to ensure that the cat has a personality that matches your own.

Like humans, cats have their own set of characteristics. A lean cat with a narrow head and short hair generally has a more challenging time, so cats with long hair will usually be less inclined to behave aggressively and are typically more laid back. Taking the advice of adoption counselors can help you get along better with the cat.

3. In the first few days after adoption, it is essential that you schedule a visit with your veterinarian.

On your first visit, you may want to bring medical records from the adoption center. Kittens need to accompany you to an appointment—even before the exam itself—so that staff can pet the kitten and cheer you on for choosing the cutest one ever.

4. Prepare your family for receiving a cat before its arrival.

It’s a family affair to visit a shelter or animal control facility. Talk with the adoption center about making a proper introduction when you adopt a new cat. All your family members and any existing pets should feel comfortable and happy with this new addition to the family.

5. Understand the short-term and long-term costs of owning a kitten.

You should know that any pet is a responsibility and has an associated fee. Many shelters will already provide spaying or neutering, vaccines, and a microchip for permanent identification for a cat adopted from a shelter, so the cost is relatively low.

6. You may want to stock up on things in advance of the cat’s arrival.

The transition to your new home should be seamless if you have a new cat. Pet amenities for a cat include crates, cat litter, water, food bowls, scratching posts, safe and stimulating toys, a comfortable bed, grooming accessories, and a toothbrush.

When adopting a cat, make sure it's a family-approved decision. - PetsReport
When adopting a cat, make sure it’s a family-approved decision.

7. Your home must be cat-proofed.

If you do not leave everything lying around, you will quickly learn what it means to be tidy. You can teach your new friend to eat from the kitchen counter if you leave food there. Be sure your cat does not chew on electrical cords. Get rid of items that it could chew on, and remove small items like paper clips that it might swallow.

8. Introduction of your new cat to friends and family must be gradual.

For most cats, it usually takes several weeks to adjust to a new environment. The family’s latest addition should be confined to a single room, even if you have some other pets in the house. Socialization is crucial for kittens, so you should do it with caution.

9. Your new pet must be part of your family emergency plan.

Add your veterinarian’s contact information and the number for the closest 24-hour animal hospital to your “in case of emergency” phone list, so your pets are safe as well.

10. Ensure that the person you are gifting a cat can play an active role in the adoption process.

Although well-intended, the surprise kitty gift does not allow for a good introduction. Adopting a cat is not like purchasing an appliance or a piece of jewelry—this is someone’s true love and a natural living of emotion. So, always make sure to have the right person for your furry friend as a gift. 

It is important to remember you will be responsible for your cat for the rest of your life. While this cat adoption checklist may help find a good cat, know that it is a lifetime responsibility to bring a cat into your household.