When bringing a new cat or kitten into your home there are several items that you will need to obtain. The following is a new kitten shopping list to help you prepare and to make the transition easier.
Litter Box - Ensure the litter box that you choose is large enough for your kitten and there is room to move around and get comfortable. For small kittens you may want to start with a small litter box and replace it later. Sometimes the larger ones are hard for them to climb into, and if that's the case put a book in front of it to act like a stair. You may want to consider a covered litter box as they are better at keeping the litter and odor inside the box.
Litter Scoop - don't forget that! They are usually available in metal or plastic.
Litter - there are many forms of litter available and the choice will be somewhat dependant on what your kitten prefers (which you learn by trial and error). We recommend a clumping litter as this type is much easier to remove from the box and to keep the box clean. Also, we recommend a biodegradable litter as they are safer for the environment. Biodegradable litters today are made from a range of materials such as sawdust scraps, recycled newspaper, corn, wheat, pea fiber, etc.
Collar & Leash or Harness - training your kitten early to wear a collar is recommended. The collar will hold your kitten's identification tags which you should also obtain from your the local authority. It is important that your cat have ID tags on it should it ever stray away from home or get lost, and if you've trained it early to be comfortable with a collar this will likely be the case. Also, training a kitten early to wear a harness and walk on a leash is a good idea. Cats that wear collars or harnesses are much easier to take places, and you may want to enjoy a stroll with your cat someday.
Food & Water Bowls - we recommend stainless steel or ceramic bowls as they are more sanitary and easier to clean. Plastic bowls can harbor bacteria that can cause acne and the plastic can also leach. If you don't have bowls when you get home use a couple of ceramic soup bowls for a temporary fix. Also, cats don't usually like it when their whiskers can touch the side of the bowl so buy wider bowls, say 5'-6" across.
Choose a Good Quality Food - if the food your kitten had been on is of low quality don't be afraid to switch it immediately. Your cat will be better off in the long run an immediate switch shouldn't be difficult as it has only been on dry food for a couple of weeks.
Stain & Odor Products - the Cat Cleaning & Grooming section of this site provides a range of products in this category. We prefer Nok-Out Odor Eliminator as it can be used for all kinds of dog odor or accident problems and it is also a broad spectrum disinfectant. We also use Nok-Out to mist overt the litter box daily as it eliminates the ammonia / urine smell from the box.
Toys and Treats - kittens love to play and can be very mischievous. Have plenty of little toys around for it to pounce on and play with. Feathers, balls, wands or little mice are always popular. Treats are handy as a reward and you can use treats as part of the training process. Be sure to choose a good quality treat, not unsimilar to our recommendations on choosing quality cat food.
Scratchers - we recommend that you purchase several types of scratchers and arrange them around your house. Several different textures are recommended (ie. carpet, cardboard or sisal) as cats sometimes prefer one texture over another. A large quantity of scratchers is recommended so that you are providing many, many alternatives to scratching on your brand new couch.
Cat Beds - all cats like to curl up for a nap and a cat bed is the perfect place to do it. Visit the Cat Beds section on this site for a wide selection of comfortable cat beds.
Those are the basic items you will need to get started with your kitten. Most other items can be purchased later or as you need the, such as grooming tools, flea treatments, nail clippers, etc., etc. One thing you might look for if you are a new cat owner in particular is a basic book on cats. Good luck with your new kitten!
Author Ted Ellwood is co-owner of Petacular, the Canadian Pet Store specializing in natural pet foods, quality pet supplies and professional pet grooming. Visit in London, ON or order online.