New Kitten Checklist

Kittens are incredibly cute, and incredibly difficult to manage if you haven’t planned ahead. Those adorable little balls of fur require a good deal of maintenance, and we’ve put together a list of necessary items-many of which you can find right here at So take a look at these suggestions before you take the plunge.


Those tiny mouths require plenty of the right food to get them started, and plenty of water, too. Stainless steel bowls with secure bases are safe and not as easy to knock over. If your cat is fascinated by running water, a fountain will provide hydration on demand, saving you from having to stand over the sink while the cat laps from the running faucet. While you’re stocking up on food, healthy cat treats in small portions can be a good distraction when trimming nails, going to the vet, or when trying to teach your new feline friend tricks. (It could happen.)


Tiny as they may be, cats are just as fast, and will likely leap from your grasp in a split second. Prepare for your trip home with a safe and sturdy cat carrier. It will make transport a lot easier, and help prevent him or her from running off and getting lost. That could still happen, so get your cat an expandable collar with a personalized ID tag (once you’ve decided on a name for the little fuzzball, of course). Along with another layer of protection, a harness-and-leash combination will also enable you to take a stroll through the neighborhood with your cat. (Really. People do that.)


What goes in must come out, so have a litter box (and a large supply of litter) set up upon your little friend’s arrival. There are lots of box and litter options available, but whatever you choose, be sure to scoop and clean it regularly. (Another rule of thumb: if you have more than one cat, you should have more than one box.) Accidents will happen, even after the housetraining stage, so stock up on stain and odor removers.


Those tiny claws will likely find their way to your upholstery, so provide a scratching post to help them work out. Some include multiple levels and sleeping areas to appeal to a cat’s climbing instinct. Chances are your cat will sleep wherever he or she pleases, but if you provide a soft den-like bed all its own, that could well be the nap station of choice.


Cats are easily entertained by shiny, moving objects-at least until they lose interest-so keep some toys on hand to distract attention from things you’d prefer to be left alone. Crinkly toys, feathery toys, and toys that have or accommodate catnip will be big hits. Be sure to supervise your cat during playtime.


Even with all the time they spend washing, there’s only so much a cat’s tongue can do. A flea comb and brush are essential for any cat, while thicker, fluffier coats will get tangled and matted. In between trips to the groomer, you can do some basic grooming maintenance yourself.

  • Published:
  • Updated: 9/27/2018: 9:31:09 PM ET
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