How to prepare when adopting a cat

Meow Alert! Essential Guide for Expectant Cat Paw-rents

Meow there, fellow feline fanatic! Whether you are a seasoned cat parent or a fresh recruit to the world of whiskers and purrs, you've landed in the right place – the cozy corner of all-around feline care we like to call PETSO, your feline paradise!

Our cat-loving PETSO resident expert has been on a delightful four-year journey, navigating the intricacies of cat parenthood. The scratches and snuggles, the midnight zoomies, and the mysterious disappearance of your favorite pet – our expert has seen it all.

If you're a cat newbie, you probably have a bunch of cat questions: What must be done? What should be avoided? What should they eat? What's a big no-no? These commonly asked questions will be answered in this comprehensive checklist! We suggest bookmarking this page for future reference. It's your go-to guide for feline care.

Step 1: Preparations for Bringing a New Cat Home.

Health check:

Before welcoming a new furry family member, it's important to check their health. We recommend choosing a kitten that is at least three months old. Make sure it has weaned from its mother.

Check for fleas or any parasites to avoid infecting your home. As soon as possible, visit your veterinarian to have a full cat checkup. Ensure it has completed the initial cat triple vaccine.

Baby-proof your home as an expectant cat-parent:

Create a roam safe home environment. New cats may initially be shy, hiding in corners. Allow them the freedom to adjust to their new surroundings without unnecessary interference. If you live in a big house, it will be helpful for new cats to familiarize themselves first in a small room or section. Designate a space for the cat, or section a room with pet gates.

Secure or remove fragile items to prevent injuries to the cat. Be mindful of garbage bins, as cats may attempt to explore them. Put lids on the laundry baskets.

Most importantly, talk to your human family members. Always remind yourselves to check for cat when closing the refrigerator or even the dryer doors. Cats like to cram themselves in such cool or warm spaces depending on the weather.

Ensure your cat is contained inside your home. Secure windows throughout the house. You can either purchase window screens or hire a professional for installation.

Maintain a clean indoor environment using pet-specific cleaning agents. Most regular household cleaning solutions are toxic for pets.

What to prepare when bringing a cat home.

Safety tips for transporting cats when bringing them home.

Choose a suitable pet carrier. Avoid fully transparent carriers to prevent over-stimulating the cat.

Prevent cat urine from leaking. First-time cat travelers tend to accidentally pee on the journey. This may be due to stress and being scared. Put training pads on the bottom of their carriers to avoid any spills. If you are traveling by car, put a mat or a cardboard box on the seat for added measures.

Movement from the vehicle alone is already stressful for cats. Secure the pet carrier on the seat by using a harness. This will limit further movement and avoid serious cat injuries.

Step 2: Complete the Most Basic Cat Care Checklist.

Litter Box:

Opt for a larger size, with proper maintenance, litter boxes can be used for a very long time. Thus it is more economical to buy bigger ones for your cat’s room to grow. On the other hand, a litter box that’s too small can create a stressful toilet time for your cat.

A fully enclosed litter box is recommended for better odor control and to prevent litter from scattering. Depending on your budget, you may opt for a simple one or a smart automated litter box. While both can get the job done for your cat, the smart ones will also take care of your hooman job of scooping cat poop out of the box. Take note that scooping is necessary once or twice a day and can be a tedious task.

Cat litter and cat scratchers. The most basic cat cat checklist.

Cat Litter:

Not all cat litters are created equal. Most types can be toxic with synthetic formulations. Some contain very fine particles that are harmful for humans and cats. Few do not even get the job of clumping well.

Err on the side of caution while you are just starting to explore which types suit your cat’s needs best. For your first time, choose cat litter made with naturally occurring ingredients such as tofu or bentonite. For kittens choose tofu clumping litters. Since kittens are curious, ingestion may be unavoidable. However, tofu cat litter is non-toxic and safe.

Water Bowl:

Both a regular water bowl or an automatic water dispenser will suffice. If possible, consider an automatic water dispenser. Cats are more enticed to drink running or fountain water. Some automatic water dispensers also have filters to prevent bacterial growth.

Food Bowl/ Feeder:

Avoid deep food bowls to prevent your cat's chin from getting oily. You can use simple cat bowls or invest in an automatic feeder, especially useful for busy cat parents or frequent travelers.

Cats are dependent on you as their feeder. If you travel a lot, or always going away for a day or two, consider automatic feeders that will dispense food on set times, and some even notify you when your cat eats.

Cat Food:

Be cautious about feeding kittens; opt for high-quality, high-protein cat food to support their growth and development. Cat food is categorized based on their age and needs.

While some parents consider the consistency and smell of cat’s poop when choosing between dry food or wet food. It is important to provide your cat with a well-balanced diet.

Cat food, cat feeders, cat bowls. The most basic cat cat checklist.


Cat Scratcher:

An inexpensive, effective cat scratcher is a must to protect your furniture. Choose based on general shopping experience – reasonably priced and functional. Another cat parent must: keep the cardboard boxes for cat’s use!

If you have more spending power, cat scratchers also come in extravagant yet stylist cat towers. It can match the aesthetics of your home, while protecting your furniture from those pesky claws. 

Nail Clippers:

Trim your cat's nails at least once a month to avoid sharp claws. It's a necessary tool to prevent your cat from scratching themselves or you.

Note: The listed items cover daily needs. Consider additional items based on personal experience and budget considerations.

Step 3: Practice Regular Vaccination and Deworming

To ensure your cat's health, it's essential to take them to the vet for regular vaccinations and deworming treatments. Kittens typically receive vaccinations at 6, 12, and 16 weeks, with annual booster shots.

Deworming treatments depend on the cat's living environment and veterinary recommendations.     

Step 4: Cultivate Good Habits

Start training your cat early to develop positive habits, including using the litter box, eating in designated spots, and following house rules.

Patience and consistency are key to success. Use a combination of rewards and consequences to help your cat adapt to its new environment and lifestyle.

Step 5: Maintain Interaction

Cats need companionship and affection. Spend time interacting with them, whether through play, grooming, or simply being present. This will strengthen the bond between you and your feline friend, ensuring they feel the warmth of their new home.

Cat parenting is a delightful journey, but it also comes with responsibilities. With the above recommendations, we hope you'll be better equipped to care for your newly adopted cats and enjoy many wonderful moments together.