First Time Cat Owner Checklist

By being a first time cat owner, adopting a cat is an excellent idea for a home and life companion. Although cats are known to be independent, they are very affectionate animals. But even when sometimes, they require less work than dogs, like all pets, they need a lot of attention, care and maintenance and time.

If you are thinking of getting a cat or if you are about to be a first time cat owner, congratulations! We are glad to welcome you to the lovely world of cats.

Here you will discover everything you need to welcome your cat into its new home.


Do You Want a Kitten or an Adult Cat?

The first thing you need to know is what kind of cat you want and which one can best suit your personality and lifestyle. Most people are excited about a small kitten but adult cats have a lot to offer as well.


If you want a kitten, you will enjoy that wonderful and fun stage of its life, where you will see it learning and discovering the world.  You will have the responsibility of its education, something very important for the coexistence in the future.

You will have to have patience and time to play with it, since they usually have a lot of energy and are somewhat hyperactive.

Adult Cat.

If you want to help and adopt an adult cat, although you will not live through that stage of discovery, it still has many advantages.

Adult cats are quiet but still have energy to play with you, they usually behave well since they have had other owners. Of course, we always have to teach them some rules of our home, but they adapt very easily.

They are affectionate, clean, have a defined personality and another very important reason is that they are the least adopted in shelters; many of them also need a chance to be loved again! And it is a very satisfying experience.

Its own space in the house.

Whether it is a kitten or an adult cat, it is important that it has its own space in the house and that its environment is safe for it.

Condition your home: keep cables, chemicals, and fragile, delicate, sharp or potentially dangerous objects out of its reach.

Keep in mind that with cats, this task is a little more complex, since they like to climb on high places.

Make sure it can’t escape through doors and windows, close rooms where you don’t want it to be, such as the toilet or bathroom, for example.

New cats are often nervous and confused and like to hide in places like under the bed, under furniture or behind curtains to feel safe.

For the first few days keep it in a safe space where you can supervise, but make it feel comfortable, leave it a couple of boxes to hide in, if necessary.

Resting area: you should provide your cat with a comfortable bed in a place where it knows it can go to rest or just relax and have its grooming routine. This can be a corner in a room or a high scratching post.

However, don’t be surprised if it ends up sleeping somewhere else! The first few days it will probably explore and try different places, but it is important that it keep to the place you have chosen for it, so that it knows it has a place for itself.


List of Essential Items before Bringing a Cat Home.

Litter box.

Cats are very neat animals, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need our help. There will always be one part that we must keep an eye on, in this case, the litter box, which must be kept clean; otherwise, they may look for alternative places to do their business.

There are multiple models of litter boxes: large, medium, open, covered, even semi-automatic. The important thing is that it is big enough for it to feel comfortable.

It should be located in a well-ventilated, quiet place away from interruptions, food and resting area.


If you have never had a cat, we tell you that their stools usually have a fairly pungent odor, so it will be essential that you change the litter regularly or get some kind of litter that helps neutralize the smell of your cat.

There are several options (5 Best Cat Litters ) on the market, including scented litter, which helps to avoid bad odors.

Feeder and drinker.

Write down in your checklist two individual bowls, easy to clean and accessible to your cat.

These bowls should be wide and shallow so that they do not touch or disturb the cat’s whiskers when eating, as their whiskers are very sensitive and this could cause discomfort.

Cat Scratching Posts.

Cats have the habit of scratching everything and they do it to strengthen their nails, to calm their hunting instinct and to leave visual and olfactory marks (there are glands between the nails), which make their territory more familiar so they can “relax”.

Scratchers are an essential tool both for your kitty and for you, since you don’t want it to scratch your furniture and it needs a place to sharpen its nails.

They come in all colors and sizes, the choice is practically unlimited: from elegant and expensive designer furniture, to natural wood creations that you can make yourself.


Cats usually shed quite a lot of hair, so it is best to have a specific brush for them and brush them regularly.

The coat should be brushed against the grain and gently to remove dead hairs. In short-haired cats, brushing once a week is enough, but in long-haired or semi-long-haired cats, it should be more often.

Cat carrier.

They are necessary for trips, leaving home or taking the cat to the vet. Also in many shelters, it is part of the requirements to have a carrier to be able to take the cat home.

There are many types of carriers of different sizes and prices, our recommendation is that it is ventilated and is the right size for the cat.


They are not 100% necessary in the checklist, but they are very stimulating for cats, they allow them to do physical activity and have a bond with you when you play with them.

There are some cat toys that cats love a lot, such as: lasers, sticks with something dangling from them, little rabbits, balls, etc. It will help to stimulate it and will have fun with you.


Food is one of the most important aspects for the good health of your feline. That is why it is recommended that before bringing it home, you have informed yourself correctly about what you can give it and what you cannot give it.

For this, find out what stage of feeding your cat is in to offer it the right diet for its age.

If possible, ask its former keepers about what diet it used to eat, so that you can continue it or change it gradually or ask the vet on a suitable diet for it according to its weight and age since it will vary depending on its characteristics.

Make sure the children understand that they should not feed the cat anything other than its own food.

Prepare the family.

Keep in mind that it will not only live in your house but will be part of the family. Make sure everyone is aware of its arrival and the welcome is positive.

In the case of small kids, you should prepare them to receive this new member of the family as well. Cats are very affectionate but they are also independent, unlike dogs, they do not like to be chased or manipulated for too long.

Teach the children to interact with the cat, explaining to them that they should be gentle; give the cat some space, etc. In this way, the cat will get used to everyone more quickly.

Take it to the vet.

Once you have the cat with you, it is recommended that you first take it to the vet before coming home. Whether it is adopted, bought or especially if it is from the street, take it to the vet for a general check-up.

It is important to know its health condition exactly, so you will know if it needs any specific care in its diet or another one.  The veterinarian will check if everything is ok and if the it needs to be dewormed, vaccinated or sterilized. This step is important to do before going home, especially if you have another pet, which you could put at risk.

Also to afford vet bills, you should think about joining a pet health sharing program such as Eusoh. It’s a community health sharing plan that reimburses you for your pet’s medical, wellness, illness and routine care expenses which is way less expensive than your typical pet insurance.

In conclusion

As you can see, cats, like other pets, take a bit of work. It is understandable that for them it is a new home, with new people so they need to adapt to feel comfortable. The cat’s own character will also determine how you interact with it.

But with patience, humor, love and this ‘first time cat owner checklist’ made for you, you will easily master the challenges of living with a cat.  Good luck with your new cat!

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