February 5, 2023
cutest kitten ever

So, there you are with your tiny little puffball of joy wondering what possessed you to get a cat in the first place.

Maybe it’s your first kitten or you haven’t had a cat since childhood when your parents did all the work. Whatever the case, there you are with your new kitty and no clue what to do now.

super cute kitten

You’ll find a lot more info on the web than you can possibly use. A goodly number of sites will have told you to max out your card on cat toys, furniture, litter boxes, dishes, and putting your vet’s kid through college.

There’s nothing wrong with doing those things but let me clue you in – your kitty doesn’t care how much you spend and really doesn’t need a $200 cat tree.

But there are some things you will need for your cat. A litterbox, a crate, food and water dishes, food and some type of scratching post are essential. A trip to the vet for shots is also a must.

cat litter guide

Litterbox: if you have a small kitten get a small litterbox. Most dollar stores carry them – your cat does not care if the box costs $3 or $89 – kitty just wants a nice place to go potty.

To start out, get a small bag of litter as well. A 3 ounce kitten will not need a 20 lb bag of cat litter. The $1.50 5 lb bag will do just fine.

If the kitten is very small, a shallow aluminum cake pan is a better option. A kitten cannot use a box it cannot get in to.

litter scoop

One more thing you will need – a scoop. If you come across one in a yard sale that will do just fine (wash it in a 1:10 bleach solution and it’s as good as new).

If you have to get one at the store, skip the kitty section and go over to housewares.

Find a cheap slotted spoon – it is more durable, works better and has a longer handle than the litter scoops in the kitty section.

Store it with the litter box and away from the kitchen to avoid any confusion (we’ll cover this in more detail in the litter section).

If you have an older juvenile or an adult you can get either a full size litter box or a dish pan.

cat litter box

Plastic dishpans are cheap and have much steeper walls.

Most cats have a learning curve for getting in and out without knocking it over but they usually get the hang of it pretty quickly. (we’ll cover the ins and outs of cax boxes in the litter box section).

Go ahead and get a large size of whatever type litter you plan on using – the cat will use it up quicker than you think.


Crate: Also known as a carrier. For a tiny kitten a small carrier is fine. For a larger cat you want a carrier the cat can easily turn around in.

The carrier will be the means of transporting your cat. It will also serve to confine the cat when necessary.

An old towel placed in the crate will serve as the cat’s bed. It’s best if your cat spends time in the carrier when you aren’t about to go to the vet.

The carrier will be a safe place your cat won’t mind being in instead of an invitation to start a cat rodeo before every trip to the vet.


Food and water dishes: Any food grade dish will do. (Be wary of ceramics that aren’t intended for food use as they may leach lead which isn’t any healthier for your cat than it is for you.)

You can get the cute ones with the paw prints or just use the cereal bowls you don’t like. The cat won’t care so that is pretty much up to you.

Two things to consider: Size and material. A tiny kitten needs a small dish – you wouldn’t like trying to eat out of a swimming pool and your kitten won’t like it either.

An adult cat needs a dish large enough to hold at least one single serving can of catfood. The water dish can be the same size or larger but never smaller. Cats drink a lot more than you’d think.

If you have a white cat or a cat with a white chin you may want to avoid plastic dishes. White cats sometimes develop a type of acne when they feed out of plastic dishes.

It’s not harmful to the cat but it’s messy in appearance and probably best avoided. Glass, ceramic and metal dishes are all fine.

cat tree scratching post

Scratching Post: We’ll cover these in some detail in another section but you will need something.

Cats must tend their claws and they do that by scratching. You can find a cheap post or hanging scratcher at the dollar store.

The cat won’t care. But if you don’t provide something don’t be terribly surprised when your sofa becomes kitty’s scratching post.


Vet: Some shots are legally mandated (rabies) and others are just a really good idea. Talk to your vet about what your cat needs and when.

If cost is an issue most vets will work with you and spread out the schedule to make it more affordable.

The other advantage is that by getting a vet as soon as you get the cat you have someone to turn to if you ever do have an emergency.

Now that we’ve covered the essentials, let’s look at the non-essentials:

kitten toys

Toys: Adult cat or kitten, all cats need something to play with. That doesn’t mean they need something bought from the store.

You have lots of things around the house you can use for a cat toy. The only thing to remember is never use anything might make the cat mistake a non-toy for a toy.

If you like your shoes don’t make an old pair into a cat toy. But a small water bottle with a few rocks in it will entertain your cat just as well as that $5 crinkle toy at the store.


Furniture: Cut some holes in a card board box and your cat will be just as happy as if you’d spent $50 on that cat hideout.

Be creative – kitty just wants something to climb on. A step stool can make kitty just as happy as an elaborate cat tree. 

So that about sums it up for now.

Other than these things, you obviously need to be patient, and have lots of love in your heart for your new cuddle monster.  Please do let us know your experience with an inbound kitten, and how it all goes. Are they happy, or did you run into issues?  Let us know in the comments below.

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