Cat Adoption Checklist

Cat Adoption Checklist

Adopting a cat is a commitment of sixteen plus years and a commitment that you want to start on the right foot. That means having everything in place before bringing your cat home, everything from a veterinarian on call to new toys!

We have put together a quick guide, so you do not forget anything while preparing for your cat’s adoption. We will cover topics including:

  • Questions you should answer before adopting a cat.
  • Tasks you should do before adopting a cat.
  • Supplies for your cat.

Questions You Should Answer Before Adopting a Cat

Before you start shopping for supplies for your new cat, you should ask yourself (and your family) a few questions.

  • Am I financially about to care for a cat? (During the first year of your cat’s life, you can spend anywhere from $389 and $2,356.)
  • Does anyone in my house have allergies that a cat could trigger? You do not want to adopt a cat only to return them – it is not fair to you or the cat!
  • Is everyone in my home agreeable to adopting a cat? Everyone in your home needs to be on board!
  • Do I have the time to care for a cat? Cats are fairly independent, but they still require companionship and care.
  • Am I prepared to care for my cat for sixteen+ years? You must be able to provide a stable home for the life of your cat.
  • Does my apartment etc. allow me to have pets? If your apartment does not allow pets, you risk eviction if you bring one home.
  • Does my landlord allow pets? (See above.)
  • Do I live in a home that is appropriate for the cat I want to adopt? For example, a Norwegian Forest Cat is not going to thrive in a five-hundred square foot apartment!

Tasks You Should Do Before Adopting a Cat

No, it is still not time to go shopping. First, there are a few tasks to take care of…

  • Cat-proof your home.
    • Tie up or cut off long blind cords that pose a choking risk.
    • Cover electrical cords with cord-covers to prevent chewing.
    • Move any toxic things like plants, essential oils, cleaners, and medications to a safe place where your cat cannot reach them!
    • Get rid of candles and replace them with flameless candles!
  • Find a local vet. Look for a local vet with a good reputation and excellent reviews from locals. You can even make an appointment to look around the clinic to get a better feel for the place and the staff.
  • Make a note of the emergency poison hotline and local emergency vet clinics. Keep this information on your refrigerator or beside your home phone.

Supplies For Your New Cat



Your cat needs a breakaway collar. A breakaway collar will break away if it snags on anything so that your cat does not choke.


Your cat needs a leash for outdoor walks and to make vet visits easier for everyone!


If you plan to take your cat outdoors to walk, a harness will keep them more secure than having your cat on a collar and leash.

ID Tag

Your cat’s ID tag should have your cat’s name, your name, and your phone number on it. If your new cat has a medical condition, you might consider buying a collar tag with the medical alert sign on the front.


A microchip is not something you can purchase at the store; you will need to buy this at your vet’s office after adopting a cat.

A microchip is as small as a grain of rice, and your vet will inject it between your cat’s shoulder blades. You will then register the chip number to connect it to your details. If your cat ever gets lost, vet clinics and shelters will scan the chip and be able to contact you.


Not all cities or states require that you have a license for your cat, but it is best to make sure. If you do need to license your cat, the fee is usually $10, and you can take care of the process online.

Food and Water

Cat food

Find out what your cat has been eating and purchase the same food. Your cat will be going through a lot of change which can upset their stomach. Changing their food at the same time will only add to that stress. If you want to change your cat’s food, do it once they settle into your home!

Food and water bowls

Stainless steel bowls are more sanitary and less likely to contribute to acne. Plastic bowls, however, are porous and can breed bacteria that contribute to acne and respiratory infection.

Eating Mat

It is a good idea to get a mat for underneath your cat’s bowls to protect your floor and to help keep your cat’s bowls in place when they eat.

Bathroom Needs


There are traditional litterboxes and self-cleaning litterboxes. Traditional litterboxes are cheaper but need regular manual cleaning. Self-cleaning litterboxes are more expensive but take a lot of the work out of cleaning.


Litter is a necessity.

Litter scoop

Some litterboxes come with a scoop included. If your litterbox does not have one, then do not forget to pick one up!

Litterbox mat

Cats often track litter out of their litterbox, but a mat under their box will help keep that litter from tracking through the house.



Choose from covered beds, pillow beds, bolster beds, heated beds, and orthopedic beds, choose a bed that fits your budget and your cat’s personality!

Scratching post

A scratching post gives your cat somewhere to work its claws and helps divert them from tearing up your furniture!

Cat tree

Cats enjoy having a perch where they can sit and watch the world go by – a cat tree is a perfect solution!

Window perch

A window perch is a raised platform that hooks onto your window so that your cat can lay and watch the world go by from the safety of the home!


Catnip toys

It is no secret that cats love catnip!

Interactive toys

Interactive toys are a great way to keep your cat entertained when you are busy or at work.

Ball toys

A ball is a toy that you and your cat can play with together, and you can even teach your cat to fetch!

Wand toys

A wand toy is another great toy to encourage bonding between you and your cat.



Even if you adopt a shorthaired cat, brushing plays an important part in bonding. A slicker brush is a good choice for all types of cats. If you have a shorthaired cat, a bristle brush will work too.


Human skin has a pH of 5.2 to 6.2, but your cat’s skin has a higher pH of 6.2 to 7.2 and needs shampoo designed for cats.

Cleansing wipes

Cleansing wipes are a handy alternative to giving your cat a bath when a full bath is not needed.

Nail trimmers

Keeping your cat’s claws trimmed is crucial to your cat’s health – untrimmed claws can grow into your cat’s paw pads. A good pair of trimmers lets you clip your cat’s claws at home if you do not want to spend $10 to $20 at the vet’s or groomers.

Dental care set

Start cleaning your cat’s teeth early to keep gum disease at bay. Gum disease does not just mean bad breath for your cat – it also causes tooth loss and can lead to heart disease.


Flea and tick preventative

Fleas and ticks carry a range of diseases that can cause lifetime symptoms for your cat, so monthly preventative is crucial.

Heartworm preventative

Unlike dogs, there is no safe treatment for heartworm in cats, so monthly preventative is also important.


Travel carrier

A travel carrier makes trips to the vet, road trips, and family vacations safer and easier for everyone!

Other Items

Carpet cleaner

A handheld carpet cleaner is something to consider if you have a carpeted home. Even if your cat is litterbox trained, it is not uncommon for cats to vomit, and a carpet cleaner will get out those stubborn stains.

Cleaning solution

If you pick up a handheld carpet cleaner, invest in a carpet cleaning solution designed for pet stains. If you do not get a handheld carpet cleaner, you should still pick up a small aerosolized can of carpet cleaner for emergencies.

Pet-friendly vacuum cleaner

A pet-friendly vacuum is not a necessity, but if you are worried about pet hair, it is a good investment. Pet-friendly vacuum cleaners are more expensive, but they have strong suction and pick up pet hair more efficiently.


Adopting a cat can be costly. You need to invest in basic supplies, grooming supplies, toys, furniture, health products, travel items, and more, but the companionship you receive in return is more than worth the investment!

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