What to Buy for Your New Cat: The Essential Cat Products

There are few things as exciting as planning to welcome a new kitten into your household. Here we want to help you prepare so your pet has all the essential cat products. Once you have those sorted out you are ready to be a cat parent!

Tabby kittens in a basket

Bringing home a new cat is an exciting and stressful time. Once you’ve decided that you want to bring a cat home, you will probably get started figuring out what type of cat is right for you. You’ll be spending your time deciding if you need a mixed or pure breed and if you’re looking for a kitten or an older rescue cat. It can be easy to get carried away in the excitement, but before you bring a cat home it is important to have your house set up for one. This includes the obvious jobs like not leaving out dangerous things for your cat. There are also some essential cat products that you need before you bring home a cat.

There is a lot of misinformation on this topic. Many companies will attempt to give you a list that is a bit off. You might find a list of perfectly sensible items, followed by a complete inventory of that company’s products. Despite the marketing of some products, what you need to have for a cat at home is actually quite simple.

kitten lying in a woman's arms

Before your bring your kitty home

You will need the basics; equipment for feeding, giving water, and letting them use the cat equivalent of a toilet. There are some other things you’ll need though. It is highly recommended that you have your cat microchipped, so this is an absolute must to organise before bringing them home (if you are getting a baby cat make sure you do that once they are 6 months old). Similarly, you need a collar with a nametag with contact details if you plan to let your cat go outside.

cat with a collar

When going over this, it can begin to feel like you’re preparing your house for the arrival of a baby rather than a low maintenance feline. While it can be confusing, the actual amount of truly essential cat products is quite small.

The Basic Essential Cat Products

Cat in a bicycle basket

Cat carrier

There are some things that are absolute basic essential items that you need to have a cat. The first one is going to leave you looking a bit embarrassed if you forget it; a cat carrier. When you go to pick up your cat you will need a way of getting them home. Whether it is a shelter cat or a kitten, it needs transporting. Walking a cat on a leash can be a fun activity once they’ve settled in but you shouldn’t try and walk a new cat home. Equally, you can’t let them have free reign of a car. You’re going to need a cat carrier to bring home your cat. Preferably one with a door that will give them air.

cat carrier box

Cat food

The next of the essential cat products is cat food. If you’ve got a kitten, you will need to get kitten food rather than food for an adult cat. You should do some research before bringing your cat home to find out which type of food will be best for them. Once you’ve decided, make sure you stock up for those first few weeks with your cat. If your cat is from a shelter, they might have a particular brand of food that they use. Continuing with this brand can give your cat some continuity to help them settle in. Depending on your budget we recommend getting premium cat food. And make sure you always feed your cat complete diet.

Feeding bowls

Cat ceramic feeding bowls
Ceramic cat feeding bowls View on amazon

You will also need some bowls. There are many different types of bowls on the market but many people opt for a natural ceramic bowl. You will need one for food and one for water. You don’t need any special type of water for your cat. If it is a young kitten, then cat’s milk can be a nice treat. This can be bought packaged and is formulated to not upset their semi-lactose-intolerant stomachs.

Exercise and Comfort

Cat playing with a toy

Litter box

There are some essential cat products that you need to keep your new cat comfy and healthy. Your cat is going to need a litter box. Litter boxes are an ideal way to toilet train a cat. Even young kittens will often already know how to use one. If your cat is a rescue cat rather than a kitten, it might be worth checking what type of litter the cat is already used to. Replicating their normal circumstances can be helpful in transitioning an older cat to a new home.

Cat bed

A cat bed will be helpful for the first few weeks. This isn’t absolutely essential depending on the layout of your home, but it is helpful. A bed that is comfortable and specifically designed for your cat will give them a private and safe space. This can be particularly helpful during the stressful first few days of having a cat at home. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. There are many elaborate beds on the market for cats, but if you don’t have room for one then something makeshift with plenty of blankets will do just as well. You don’t need to spend a lot to give your cat a nice bed, just make sure that they have a spot that is theirs.

Scratching post

A scratching post is another important essential cat product to have around. Much like cat beds, many pet shops will sell huge and elaborate cat trees. These are a lot of fun for some cats, but it is overkill to buy one before you know if your cat will enjoy that type of play. A simple upright scratching post will get the job done. You can decide about buying a larger cat tree if your cat seems to enjoy that sort of activity.

cat on a scratching post

A scratching post is one of the more practical essential items that will help you keep your cat’s grooming needs in check. However, most cats will require a little more stimulation than just a post. When you’ve brought a new cat home, you probably won’t be able to let them out to explore straight away. A leash can help in some situations, but it requires some training to use.


With a new kitten, you shouldn’t let them outside on their own until they are 6 months old, and some would also say that your cat should also be neutered before you do. For an adult cat, it will depend on their needs. If they’re a cat who is used to going outside, you should still give them around two or three weeks at their new home before letting them out. Some cats won’t be going outside at all. This makes entertainment and toys an important thing to have ready for your cat.

cat with a string toy

You’re going to need some toys to keep your cat entertained while you’re out. These can be small or big things. However, with a brand new cat, you should probably avoid making big purchases of toys straight away. Your cat will gradually learn what they like to play with. You should maybe hold off on buying that diamond encrusted ball until you know they like chasing them. Instead, stick to the easily replaceable items. Wind up mice to chase are always fun, toys on strings will also be entertaining. These toys should be enough to keep your cat entertained, hold off on the big toys until you know your cat will like them.

Essential Cat Products For Grooming

grooming a cat with a brush

Grooming a cat can be quite a complicated process. Different cats will have different grooming needs, so you should tailor the essential items that you need to their needs. However, there are a couple of things which every cat owner is going to need. These are simple items that can be inexpensive. Much like other things on this list, put off buying big ticket items till you know a little more about your new cat. Expensive tools might be marketed as essential, but you should wait to see if they are really something you need before purchasing them.

You will definitely need a brush to comb your cat’s hair. This applies to every sort of fur. Obviously, cats with long hair will need a brush specific to them. Medium and short haired cats can cope with smaller brushes, but it is still necessary to brush them. You should also get some cat specific shampoo to make sure you’re prepared. If your cat becomes covered in dirt, you will want to have a shampoo that is suitable for them handy rather than leaving them unattended to spread the dirt around while you search for a shop still open at midnight for cat-friendly shampoo.

You will also need some nail clippers to keep your cat’s claws under control. You don’t need to cut their nails too often and a scratching post will help, but you will need to do their nails at some point. A lint roller is another essential item, but that’s more for you than your cat.

Unessential Cat Products

Those are the only items you really need for a cat to begin with. As you spend more time with them and learn what their unique needs are, you will have a better idea of what else they will need. These essential items should be enough at first, but you will gradually learn if you need different grooming tools or toys. Some cats will get a lot from expensive toys, others won’t particularly care about them. It is wiser to wait and see.  These essential cat products should cover all of your cat’s immediate needs. If you keep to these essentials, you can avoid wasting time and money on things that your cat won’t particularly need or want.

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