Bringing Home a New Kitten Checklist

If you’re reading this, it’s safe to assume you’re either bringing home a new kitten or did so recently. Either way, that’s super exciting–new kittens are a fun, new adventure! Learn what you’ll need to get your new kitten started out on the right paw from my experience with my kitten, Banjo, and soon you’ll have a happy furry family member!

Necessity #1: Cat Carrier

If you’re anything like me, your new kitty may often be traveling around with you. Even if that’s not your plan, vet and grooming visits are still important travels so you’ll want to make sure you get a cat carrier. 

I really love this carrier I got for Banjo after she outgrew the original crate I bought for her. My favorite part is the front-entry door. You don’t think about front-entry or top-entry until you’re running late to the vet, your kitten really doesn’t want to go into the crate, and decides to go stiff-legged. 

Another thing I love about this crate is the fact that it’s collapsible, so if you’re traveling or plan to store it after each use, it doesn’t take up a lot of room which is always great. I chose the option that came with the bed to go inside and definitely think it was worth the few extra dollars!

A calico kitten sitting in a front entry cat carrier

Necessity #2: Cat Bed 

Should you get your cat a bed? Yes. Is there a high possibility they won’t use it and will opt for the back of your recliner or your laptop keyboard most of the time instead? Also yes. 

However, I do think that buying your cat a little bed that they can hide out in if they choose to is a good idea. It gives them a safe place to cuddle up in that is theirs.

Banjo has a cat bed that resembles a little cave bed, but she doesn’t use it often. She goes in there and lays down on occasion when I’m in the room, but those occasions are pretty rare these days. Either way, I like that she has a space she can go that’s “her own” if she chooses to. 

Necessity #3: Collar & ID Tags

Losing a kitty or cat can be a stressful situation for both pet and pet parent. Make sure that you get your new kitten a collar with an ID tag that minimally has your name and your phone number so in the event your cat does escape and get lost, anyone that finds them will have a way to contact you.

Be prepared though, the collar I bought Banjo the night I got her didn’t actually fit her until she was a few months old. Depending on how big your kitten is and how fast they grow, you may not be able to find a collar that fits them if he or she is really tiny. 

When I first got Banjo I went through two or three of the standard woven collars with a bell that you can get just about anywhere and found that they didn’t last very long. She would scratch at it and tear it up in a matter of a month or two. Recently, I researched leather collars and found a really cute collar on Etsy that was leather, has a breakaway clasp (a preference of mine, just in case), and has an engraved name plate instead of a jingly tag. It took Banjo less time to get used to because it didn’t make noise and I’ve found that it’s already holding up better than the cheaper ones I used to buy. 

Bonus: it comes in so many different colors!

A closeup of a pink cat collar with a calico kitten sitting in the background

Necessity #4: Cat Litter and Litter Box

This purchase isn’t as fun as some of the other kitty accessories, but still an important necessity. When I first got Banjo, I was advised as a first time feline owner that unscented litter was best for kittens because there’s not a lot of ingredients that mess with their fragile systems, so I chose a litter that was marked as unscented. I also purchased a standard litter box tray that had fairly low sides. When Banjo was really small I had to help her into it, but she got the hang of crawling in pretty quickly!

Once she grew bigger, having litter all over the floor around the litter box became a problem so I invested in a top-entry litter box and it was so worth it. I started her out with a medium-sized box, but once she got to be a little less than a year old I upgraded to the large.

If a top-entry litter box isn’t your cup of tea, I know other people that have bought a litter mat that goes under the litter box where your cat usually jumps out and it can solve the extra litter mess.

Necessity #5: Scratch Post 

Scratching is part of every cat’s lifestyle, and your new kitten will be no different. In order to combat this natural instinct potentially ruining your furniture, you’ll want a scratch post (or three). 

According to Dr. Jennifer Conrad, DVM and founder and director of the Paw Project in an article for Chewy, “Cats scratch for a variety of reasons. It relieves anxiety; it’s a form of exercise; it hones their nails; it strengthens and stretches their muscles; it marks territory.” Scratching is just part of being a cat! The trick, however, is training your cat to scratch in the right places which is where the scratch post(s) come in.

Banjo has two different scratch posts, one in our living room that is a cat tree with sisal rope on it, and the second in my bedroom that’s a simple post with a fun little ball hanging off the top for her to play with. There are other kinds of scratchers as well (cardboard is another popular favorite), but it’s important to note that some cats can be picky about what they like to scratch on so what’s popular may not be what your kitten likes. 

Experiment with a few types of scratch posts and scratchers to figure out what your new kitty likes and place them strategically around your house so they won’t be tempted to scratch the furniture.

Necessity #6: Quality Kitten Food

Feeding time is important, especially when your kitten is growing. I got Banjo when she was three weeks old, so at that point she was eating milk replacer and had just started being able to lick it off a plate after being bottle fed. After a few weeks of feeding the milk replacer, I was able to slowly mix in some moist canned food to the milk replacer and start weaning her onto solid food. 

For me, I think the transition from milk replacer, to canned food, to kibble was a great way to introduce her to the solid food, but if you’d rather stick with feeding wet cat food for most of your kitten’s life that’s always an option too!

Banjo was a really small kitten starting out (she was two months old before she finally weighed one pound!), so it took a little longer to get her weaned onto kibble than the average kitten. Now that she’s grown bigger, I’m feeding her our Earthborn Holistic Feline Vantage dry cat and kitten food and treating her with an occasional frozen kitty kube. Her weight is up to par now and our vet is happy with how she’s growing!

Side note: don’t forget the food and water bowls!

A calico kitten sits behind a bag of Earthborn Holistic Feline Vantage kitten food while a bowl of kibble sits in front

Bonus Necessity: Cat Toys!

Banjo is slightly spoiled in the toy department. One toy that we’ve found that she loves is a simple string on a stick toy that is similar to this one. It’s a fairly new addition to our toy collection, but one that she doesn’t typically get very tired of playing with like her other toys. We can really make her sleepy with this one!

Other small toys like springs, small furry toy mice, and a ball that makes little chirping noises are also favorites in our house. Feathers also tend to gain a lot of interest and any time a toy has catnip in it you’re typically looking at a winner. 

Good luck!

While bringing a kitten home can be stressful at times, especially in their first few weeks, the joys definitely outweigh the trials. Banjo is my little partner in crime (when she wants to be, she is still a cat at heart) and is always there to give me a good laugh when I need it. 

While this list is intended to be a starting point, these basic kitten necessities will have you well on your way to a long, happy life for your new kitten! 

If you think Earthborn Holistic might be the right food for your new kitten, but need a little extra help in deciding which recipe to try, please send us a message! We’d love to get to know you and your furry family member more to assist with your decision!