The Basics – Daily Essentials (Supplies)

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gray-and-white-cat-on-perch-givinCongratulations on your decision to bring a new cat into your home! Now you need to make sure that you are prepared and have the “basic necessities” for a successful transition into your cat’s new home. Here is list of some basic supplies your new feline friend will need:

Cat Food

  • Consult with your veterinarian about which food would be best for your cat, or buy a small amount of what your cat is used to eating, and then consult with your veterinarian.
  • You need to make sure that you have a good quality cat food, suitable for the age of your cat, that is offered daily.

Food and Water Bowls

  • Cats like to eat and drink from dishes that are wide and shallow. Some cats prefer a glass dish instead of a plastic one.
  • Remember to change your cat’s food and water daily.
  • Some cats also like to drink running water, such as a water fountain.
  • Provide multiple places to drink water at some distance away from food bowl.

Cat Scratching Post or Cat Tree

  • Since it is a natural behavior for cats to scratch, it is very important to ensure that you have an acceptable place or places for scratching in your home.
  • There are many options available such as scratching posts, cat trees, and cardboard scratching boxes. It is important to find out which your cat prefers texture-wise, as well as whether he prefers a vertical or horizontal scratcher.
  • The placement of scratchers is very important. Cats often stretch or scratch when they wake up so consider placing one near where your cat sleeps. It may also be effective to place a scratcher near or in front of a cat’s preferred, yet undesirable, scratching object (e.g. corner of the couch).

 ToysOrange cat playing with toy

  • You will want to make sure you have some fun, appropriate toys on hand for your cat to play with on their own and with you. Toys encourage physical and mental stimulation, as w
    ell as allow your cat to exhibit their natural hunting and stalking behaviors.
  • Interactive toys like “fishing poles” or feather wands are especially fun so you can have designated play time together. Some toys with strings or lose parts may need to be put away after play.
  • It’s good to have a variety of toys available so your cat has something “new” to play with each day.
  • Cats prefer toys that change in texture and shape as they are played with, mimicking the stalk, grasp, and kill behavior of prey. If your cat seems to become “bored” with the toy, it may be because it doesn’t change when he plays with it.

Litter Box

  • A large litter box is ideal for urination and defecation. The litter box should be 1 ½ times the size of your cat, so they have enough room to enter, turn around, scratch, and eliminate. Low storage bins or totes can make great boxes.
  • If you have multiple cats,the number of litter boxes should be one more then the number of cats in your household.
  • If you have more than one cat in your household, boxes should not be located right next to each other, as cats perceive them as one large box instead of multiple boxes.
  • Older cats may need a litter box with a lower opening so they can more easily climb in and out of the box.
  • Most litter boxes are made of plastic, which makes them porous and able to pick up odors readily. Litter boxes should be replaced at least annually.
  • More information about designing the optimal litter box for your cat.

Cat Litter

  • Most cats develop a preference for litter as kittens. The texture of the litter has significance as the pads on cats’ feet are very sensitive to touch.
  • Most cats prefer an unscented, clumping litter.
  • You may need to try multiple litters to find out which your cat prefers.
  • If you have an older cat or a cat with sensitive paws, avoid litter with a sharp or very hard consistency.

Litter Scoop

  • It is important to have a sturdy scoop to clean the litter box every day.
  • Metal scoops tend to be more durable than the plastic versions.
  • Whatever scoop you select, be sure to scoop the litter box daily and discard the “used” litter in such a way to minimize odors.

Cat Nail Clipper

  • Regularly trimming your cat’s nails can prevent injury and damage to household items.
  • Ask your veterinarian what type of clipper is best for your cat and also ask for a tutorial on how to perform this necessary task of trimming your cat’s nails.


  • Most cats enjoy soft, cozy beds with deep sides that they can settle down into it. This provides your cat with a safe place they can call their own.
  • Multiple resting places are preferable as cats seek warmth throughout the day and will move to different parts of the house where the sun is shining through any windows.
  • Homes with multiple cats should have a variety of beds in many locations so that cats can have their own space if they choose.

Metal Cat Comb

  • Many cats like to be brushed. Most have a preference for the type of tool used. There are a wide variety of good brushes and gloves.
  • It is especially important to find an acceptable tool for long-haired cats who may have trouble “keeping up” with their coats.
  • It may be easier to start grooming your cat as a kitten. If your cat does not enjoy being brushed, start slowly, and give your cat plenty of breaks.

Cat Toothbrush

  • Ask your veterinarian about a toothbrush to use on your cat’s teeth. It is especially important to brush your cat’s teeth, as dental disease is very common in cats.
  • If you start early, brushing the outside surfaces of your cat’s teeth can become something your cat tolerates well, especially when it is coupled with a tasty treat afterwards.

istock_000000602202mediumCat Collar and Tags

  • You should have a collar and identification tag, even if your cat stays indoors. This collar helps to identify your cat if he escapes from your home or while at the veterinarian’s office. Plus you can attach the rabies tag to the collar.
  • Ask your veterinarian or veterinary staff for help putting the collar on tightly enough so that it will not be lost.


  • It is recommended to have this permanent form of identification implanted at your veterinarian’s office so that you have the best chance of finding your cat if he ever gets out or becomes lost.
  • Make sure to regularly check the information on file about you and your cat. Update addresses and phone numbers as they change.


Your individual cat may need additional resources. Discuss these items with your veterinarian, as well as additional supplies your cat might need.