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Everything You Need To Buy Before You Adopt Your First Cat

Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez

So, you finally decided to become a Cat Person. Welcome! You’re about to be covered in fur and severely unappreciated. It’s all worth it though when your cat bestows you with a nighttime cuddle or a soft paw tap to the face in the morning.

If you’ve never owned (or been owned by) a cat before, you need more than just a love of cats to get you through it. Cats are very fickle and each cat has their own set of likes and dislikes. As a lifelong cat owner and current cat parent of three, I firmly believe no two cats are the same. However, there are many things that all cats need and these are those things. The basics are simple: litter box, litter, and food. But, cats also need a place to perch, toys to play with (and maybe ignore), tunnels to run through, and blankets to steal.

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If cats aren’t really your speed, dogs are obviously great too. Check out what products we recommend buying before adopting your first pooch.

IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box

An IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box can help cut down on litter mess around your pet’s litter box.
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez
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Before you even bring your kitty home, you need to pick out a litter box. If you’re adopting a young kitten, you’re lucky that you can get them any style of litter box and they should happily adapt to it. If you’re adopting a mature or senior cat, you should consult with the shelter or rescue to see what style (open, closed, top-entry, etc). they were using there. You do not want to change their litter box style drastically, as that can be a cause for stress that might lead them to tinkle outside of the box.

To cut down on mess, I often suggest a top-entry litter box. It won’t totally eliminate litter tracking, but it will definitely make it more minimal than a standard entry box.

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Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Premium Clumping Cat

Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Premium Clumping Cat has strong odor control, is 99.9% dust-free, and clumps for easy litter box cleaning.
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez
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You’ve got the box, now you need some litter. Ideally, you want a clumping cat litter that makes it easy to scoop out and clean their box. Also, it is important to get litter that doesn’t have a lot of dust kickback, as that can really make cleaning the box a nightmare.

Dr. Elsey’s has strong enough odor control for a multi-cat household and as a first-time cat owner, you might not be ready for the smell of a cat box. You want something extra-strength like this.

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Veken Pet Fountain

Cats don’t always like stationary water, so a Veken Pet Fountain is ideal to give them moving water.
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You should talk to your pet’s veterinarian about what food and medications they need; we won’t give you those recommendations as it really all depends on the cat. However, I can suggest getting your cat a water fountain versus a standard water dish. There is something about the moving water that allures them. It also keeps the water from being stale, which picky cats hate.

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The FURminator 

Our readers crowned The FURminator the top brush for cats. The brand sells an assortment of brushes for cats (and dogs) of varying fur types and lengths.
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Cats groom themselves, you’ll learn that fairly quickly. However, cats that shed a lot and/or have long fur need additional grooming. That’s where you come in! You’ll need to groom your cat weekly, though some would suggest daily brushing sessions. Let your cat tell you if they can handle being brushed daily. Some cats love it, while others despise it.

The FURminator brush is our readers’ favorite when it comes to heavy-shedding cats.

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The FURminator. /thread - cerenkoveffect 

YES, except get it off eBay where it is $12-$15 (and not a knock off), instead of $40+ at the pet store. - PumpkinSpies

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Prosper Pet Cat Tunnel

A Prosper Pet Cat Tunnel is a great toy for active cats to jump, play, and hide on their own, or with fellow felines.
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Help your pet channel their inner jungle cat. They can stalk around inside this three-way tunnel to catch the crinkle ball on the other side or find out who is lurking inside (no one). Tunnels are a great way for active cats to play on their own.

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Petstages Tower of Tracks Cat Toy

The Petstages Tower of Tracks Cat Toy is a toy that is enriching for both lazy and active cats.
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez
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Now, I cannot stress this enough, cats need toys. They may not always like the toys you buy, but they need enrichment and toys provide that. If you’re not adopting a kitten or younger cat, tunnels might not be the best toy for your older cat. Instead, you can get them a toy that requires a little less energy, but will still keep them entertained. This tower of tracks toy works for even the laziest of cats.

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Go Pet Club 62-Inch Cat Tree

A Go Pet Club 62-Inch Cat Tree gives your cat plenty of room to play, nap, and perch.
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Getting a big, ol’ cat tower is your official declaration that you’re a Cat Person. It is not a statement piece in your decor; it’s a massive piece of furniture. Cats love to climb, jump, and sleep on towers. They enjoy the height for some reason, which you’ll quickly come to learn. After having my cats jump onto and off of my bookcase one too many times, I invested in a tower, and haven’t looked back.

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Trixie Pet Products Fold and Store Cat Tower

The Trixie Pet Products Fold and Store Cat Tower is a small version of a cat tower that also doubles as a scratching post.
Photo: Amazon
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If you don’t have the room for a large cat tower, a small scratching post will suffice. You can get one that still allows your cat to perch like they’re a bird, not a cat. This scratching post is also small enough to fold up and store away if needed.

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BEDSURE Sherpa Fleece Blanket

The BEDSURE Sherpa Fleece Blanket is a soft, plush blanket that any cat would be happy to take a nap on.
Photo: Amazon
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This isn’t something you will find on every cat list, but every cat owner knows that cats love blankets. Cats are Professional Nappers. Part of their job requires them to test out every blanket that comes their way. Personally, my cats love blankets that are fleece on one side and sherpa on the other. It gives them the best opportunity to make some biscuits before settling down for their hourly nap.

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Petmate Two Door Pet Kennel 

The Petmate Two Door Pet Kennel is a sturdy carrier that gives owners two options for getting their cat inside of their crate.
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez
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As a cat owner, one of my biggest challenges has been getting my cats to like the carrier. It is really important, though. If you don’t want your cat to have a meltdown before they even get to the vet’s office, they need a healthy relationship with their carrier and that all comes back to having the right one.

I prefer hard-sided carriers for cats, as they are sturdy and cats are surprisingly strong. If you put a cat in a soft-sided carrier, things can go sideways, fast. This Petmate Two Door Pet Kennel is very ideal, as it gives you two options for getting your cat inside the carrier. If you can’t get them in through the front door, the large top opening should be a safe and less stressful option.

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And if you’re already a crazy cat person who just likes to read an entire article full of recommendations, thanks for making it all the way down here. We have an article for you, too.

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It’s been a week, so please share cat photos and stories in the comments if you have them. We love to see your pets. This is my cat love letter to our dear Chelsea Stone, as she wants to adopt a cat and had many questions. She is leaving us, so please support me in telling her to ADOPT THE CAT!

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About the author

Ana Suarez

Ana works as a commerce editor, but her dream job would be making her senior Yorkie, Tyrone, Insta famous.