Is there anything cuter than a kitten?! I think not!
As an animal lover who has rescued five kittens and cats in my lifetime, I know full well the joy of bringing home a sweet, meowing, feisty little ball of fur. They are so fun!
I also know full well that kittens and cats have specific needs, so I’ve created the ultimate kitten supply list to help you ensure you’re completely prepared for life with your new feline.
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In this article:
- Do I Need a Kitten Supply List?
- Prepare and Organize Your Home For a Cat
- ID Tags, Microchips and Paperwork
- Cat Food & Storage
- Litter Box & Cat Litter
- Scratching Posts
- Cat Toys & Storage
- Cat Beds
- Cat Grooming Essentials
- Traveling With Your Cat
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Do I Need a Kitten Supply List?
In a word, yes! While it’s true that kittens and cats might not require quite as much “stuff” as dogs, there are still specific items and supplies they need to stay healthy and happy.
Beyond food and kitty litter, a happy cat requires stimulation, exercise and a way to satisfy its natural “call of the wild” needs, especially if it will be living indoors all of its life.
For information on cat behaviors and answers to questions about why cats do what they do,
I recommend the book Catwise by cat behavior expert Pam Johnson-Bennett.
I found it very insightful!
As I’ve learned, a happy cat = a happy home! Thankfully, it’s not hard to provide everything your kitten needs for BOTH of you to live happily and peacefully together.
Prepare and Organize Your Home For a Cat
Bringing a kitten or cat into your home is a little like bringing a toddler into your home. A curious toddler, with claws, that can climb higher and jump farther and run faster than you.
How to Kitten-Proof Your Home
Kittens are a ton of fun! And very adventurous. They can get into a ton of trouble if you don’t prepare your house ahead of time for their arrival. Here’s how:
- Hide away harmful items that a kitten or cat might put in their mouth, especially string and rubber bands. At the holidays, avoid long curly ribbons when wrapping gifts. My friend’s cat ate a long piece of ribbon that got lodged in his intestine and required surgery to remove – BEWARE.
- Tie up or secure blind cords AND electrical cords, as cats can both chew on them and get tangled in them. (My cat chewed through my computer charging cable before I learned this lesson.)
- Remove all plants from the kitten’s reach. Cats naturally like to chew on grassy plants, but many common houseplants are toxic.
- Lock up all human food, medications, cleaning supplies and anything else that might be toxic to a curious cat.
- Keep toilet lids closed, and don’t leave filled buckets or bathtubs unattended as kittens can accidentally jump in and get trapped.
- Make sure doors and windows are secured or have tight-fitting screens to prevent your kitten from escaping or falling out.
- Remove any breakable items from tables, counters and shelves. Don’t underestimate your kitten or cat’s ability to jump and climb! I recently discovered my 16-lb. lazy lug of a cat likes to jump to the top of my refrigerator when I’m not looking:
One last piece of advice: don’t let your kitten roam the house unattended. They get into everything! If you need to leave, put him/her in a safe place like a bedroom or bathroom that has been properly kitty-proofed until you return.
ID Tags, Microchips & Paperwork
ID Tags and microchips are just as important for kittens and cats as they are for dogs.
Indoor-only cats should be microchipped. If they escape the house and are taken to a shelter or vet, a quick scan will get them returned to you.
ID tags aren’t as necessary, but they definitely come in handy if your cat gets out. It’s much easier for someone to call the number on an ID tag than take your pet to the vet or shelter.
Amazon offers cute, personalized stainless steel ID tags for cats and kittens:
You can also opt for a personalized breakaway collar. I always go for breakaway collars so my animals can’t get caught or choke on them.
I recommend both a tag and a microchip for indoor/outdoor cats. Cats that spend time outside the house should wear an ID tag. This helps ensure they aren’t mistaken for strays and taken in by someone else.
Keep all paperwork for your kitten (adoption papers, vaccination and microchip records, health information) in a centralized, easy-to-access location. Good choices: a home management binder or family command center.
Cat Food & Storage
Next on the kitten supply list: food…and food storage ideas. First, you’ll need to determine what type of food you’re going to provide your kitten.
What Is The Best Cat Food?
Check out Cornell Feline Health Center’s Feeding Your Cat for expert guidance on proper nutrition for cats and choosing a food. You can also watch this video from Dr. Jones of Veterinarian Secrets:
Food & Water Stations
There are a lot of options when it comes to food bowls. I always prefer ceramic and stainless steel varieties to plastic, as they are more hygienic and easier to clean.
Amazon has a wide selection of food bowls to choose from.
Here’s an option I like that is both skid resistant and protects a cat’s whiskers:
For water, my cats prefer to drink from a flowing stream vs. a still bowl. I bought a stainless steel fountain for my house that constantly recycles water through a replaceable carbon filter:
My two cats absolutely love the fountain, though I’ve read that not all cats take to it.
If you choose this option, note that the filters need replacing (and the entire fountain should be washed with soap and water) about every 7-10 days. Check the water level daily and replenish often.
Plan to leave your cat at home for an extended period of time? It’s a good idea to purchase a gravity feeder and water station. This ensures there’s plenty of food and water available at all times.
Cat Food Storage Ideas
If you’re going to be feeding dry food, an airtight container is best to prolong freshness:
I keep my cats’ dry food on my kitchen counter, near their food bowls. It makes things easier for me! This requires an airtight container with a bit of style. My choice:
For wet food, I keep cans neatly corralled in a handled bin in the pantry:
More ideas on how to use bins to organize items in the pantry: DIY Weekend Pantry Makeover.
Cat Treat Storage
Don’t forget the cat treats! I keep mine on the counter as well, in a stainless steel airtight container next to the dry food. But I also love cute containers like this one:
Cat Grass For Indoor Cats
Cats naturally eat grass in the wild to aid with digestion, cut down on hairballs and add nutrients to their diet. I like to provide my cats with grass indoors, too. (Plus, it keeps them from eating my houseplants.) Check out this option from Amazon:
Litter Box & Cat Litter
Right up there with food and water, another kitten supply list essential is the litter box (and litter). And once again, if you head down the cat aisle of your local pet store, you’ll be overwhelmed by the choices!
Which Cat Litter Box Is Best?
Small kittens will need a litter box that isn’t too high for them to climb into. They need enough space to climb in, turn around and scratch at the litter comfortably. A full-grown cat will do fine with a high-sided box.
Beyond those basics, you have a few choices in the style of box:
Hooded Litter Box
High-Sided Litter Box
Pellet Litter Box System
Corner Litter Box
Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Hidden Litter Box
What Is The Best Cat Litter?
After living with cats over the past 20+ years, one thing I can say for certain is they have…thoughts…about kitty litter.
And when those thoughts are not happy thoughts, they’ll make them known to you. You’re going to see (and smell) some funky stuff in your house.
Sometimes they’re unhappy with the type of litter; other times they’re unhappy with the cleanliness of the litter. So keep it scooped!
Cat litter is not a one-size-fits-all solution and may require some experimentation until you find what works for your feline. I will break down the different options below:
Clumping Cat Litter
We use Fresh Step clumping cat litter in our house. It’s clay-based, though clumping litter can be made of other materials like corn and wheat.
I’ve tried many varieties of litter, and Fresh Step keeps odors at bay the best, in my opinion. Cleanup is easy, my cats like it, and it doesn’t need to be replaced as often as non-clumping litter, so it’s our solution.
While I use a scented clumping litter, you can buy it unscented as well.
Non-Clumping Cat Litter
Non-clumping cat litter is made from a variety of materials: wood, paper, silica, walnut shells, and more. These are good options for people looking for biodegradable, eco-friendly litter.
My cats have had mixed reactions to non-clumping litter. Some have tolerated it fine, but my orange tabby Baxter absolutely will not use it. He’s a clay clumping guy.
Flushable Cat Litter
Scooping litter into a trash bag and hauling it to the garbage can every day can be a grind. Flushable cat litter makes things easier! If you have a septic tank, take extra care to make sure it’s safe for your system.
Cat Scratching Posts
Cats come with claws; they’re part of the package. I personally do not support de-clawing a cat for any reason. If you feel it’s important to have a cat without claws, one option would be to adopt an already de-clawed kitten or cat from a shelter or rescue organization.
So, assuming you’re adopting a fully-clawed cat, a scratching post is going to be on your kitten supply list.
Why Do Cats Like Scratching Posts?
Cats have natural urges to scratch their claws. In the wild, they’ll scratch them on trees to keep them sharp for hunting and climbing, stretch their muscles, exercise, and mark territory.
Indoors, cats have the same need to scratch. You’ll want to offer your kitten a specific place and solution for this behavior…so that it doesn’t use your furniture instead.
What Is The Best Scratching Post?
Just like with cat litter, different kittens and cats will like different types of scratching posts.
Some like to scratch on a vertical surface (like a tree), and some like to scratch on the ground. Some like carpeted scratching posts, others prefer cardboard or sisal rope.
I recommend starting with an inexpensive scratching post or two in a variety of materials to see which one your cat prefers. You can always upgrade to a full cat tree later.
PRO TIP: Keep a few scratching posts in different rooms in the house.
Cats will naturally use these first if they’re readily available. If not, the furniture will be their next target!
Here are several options for cat scratching posts:
Vertical Sisal Scratching Post
Multi-Angle Sisal and Carpet Scratching Tree
Door Hanger Sisal Cat Scratcher
Multi-Cat Tree & Condo
Cat Toys & Storage
Just like puppies, kittens are extremely playful and energetic little bundles of fur! Cat toys are an important way for your kitten to play, burn off energy, find comfort and stay stimulated (and out of trouble). They should rank high on your kitten supply list.
What Are The Best Toys For A Cat?
Look for toys that help your kitten stay physically active, use hunting and problem-solving skills (they like a little challenge) and interact with you. Here are some great options:
Wand Toys and Cat Teasers
My cats love wand toys! They’re great for a few minutes of high-energy, interactive play. The only caveat is they need to be stored safely out of reach when you’re not using them, as cats can get hurt ingesting ribbons, feathers or string.
Cat Ball Toys
Cats love to chase balls around the house. They’ll chase paper balls, ping-pong balls, rubber bouncy balls, toy balls with bells…you name it. If it rolls, they’ll run after it!
Cat Laser Toys
I have to admit, I’m super entertained watching my cats chase after lasers. They’ll run, slide, jump, contort into crazy positions… anything in their futile quest to catch the red dot. This is a great toy for tiring out a playful kitten!
Cat Treat Dispenser Toys
In the wild, cats have to hunt and catch their food. To stimulate the natural urge to hunt, you can provide your kitten with a cat treat dispenser toy that provides both a challenge and a reward.
Interactive Cat Toys
Cats love toys that enable them to hide, hunt, pounce and play all at once. A toy like the one above satisfies all of these instincts at once.
Cat Plush Toys
Satisfy your kitten’s need to “play with its food” with catnip-filled plush toys. Even my adult cats love to grab onto these and bite, lick and kick them with their hind feet.
Cat Toy Storage
Cat toys don’t take up too much room, so storage is fairly easy. Just make sure anything potentially dangerous (with feathers, ribbons, string) is safely out of reach when you’re not using it.
The rest of the cat toys can be stored in simple bins like this one:
While cats will truly sleep anywhere (mine sleep in the closet, a drawer, a box, and even on the tiled bathroom floor), some do like to feel the soft, protective enclosure of a cat bed.
It’s a nice idea to provide at least one cat bed for your kitten. Keep it in a quiet place it will feel safe, like your bedroom. And to encourage your kitten to give it a try, spray it with a little catnip spray.
Cat bed options to try:
Cat Grooming Essentials
Cats don’t require as much grooming as dogs. I don’t bathe mine, as they’re indoor-only and keep themselves clean. My short-haired cats have never needed a professional groomer. Long-haired cats can get mats in their hair that need to be trimmed, so brushing is very important.
You will want to keep your cat’s claws clipped. This reduces damage done to furniture from scratching. As your vet for a quick tutorial on how to do it correctly. It’s not hard!
As far as grooming essentials go, your kitten supply list should include:
- Brushes and combs
- Nail clippers
- Ear care
- Eye care
- Waterless grooming
- Shampoo & conditioner (important for indoor/outdoor cats)
Traveling With Your Cat
A word to the wise: most cats do not travel well. It stresses them out. They can get car sick (or air sick). They are territorial animals who like routine and the safety of home. They don’t like change.
That being said, obviously you’ll have to travel with your cat from time to time, even if it’s just to/from the vet.
If you are planning a longer road trip, check out The Best Road Trip Organization Tips, Checklists and Hacks.
Here are some things you’ll want to add to your list to make it a comfortable trip for everyone:
- Cat carrier (secure it with a seatbelt in the car)
- Travel bowls and bags for food and treats
- Cat calming spray (I swear, this helps!)
Kitten Supply List: Final Thoughts
I wish you much happiness with your kitten! You’re embarking on years of fun memories and companionship. I hope these tips have been helpful in preparing for life with your furbaby.
If you’ve found particular products or tips helpful for organizing your home for a kitten, please leave a comment below!