How to Get Your New Cat All Set for Life · The Wildest

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The Ultimate Shopping List for Your New Cat

It’s National Kitten Day! Here are all the new cat essentials you need, recommended by real pet parents.

by Jeremy Gundel and Helin Jung and Avery Felman
Updated July 10, 2023
Woman holding her black and white cat.
Alba Vitta / Stocksy

Congrats: You are a cat parent now. New life level unlocked. What does this mean for your life? Well, you will never be able to sit on your couch again without having to check first that it’s not already been claimed as a napping spot. Another tip: If you don’t know where your cat is, it’s best to look up (top of refrigerator, maybe) or down (they love to find the smallest nook behind the couch).

And sure, cats are more self-sufficient than dogs — sorry, dogs — but they still need a lot of gear to get acclimated (and so they don’t poop under your bed or scratch up your shit). You probably know you need cat food and a litter box. If you’re bringing home an adult cat, try to stick with food and litter brands they’re already familiar with, at least for the first few weeks, to make them feel comfortable.

Remember, your kitten or cat will be different from every other cat you have met, so take the time to observe how they react to their new digs and adjust accordingly. That said, there are some must-have cat items that experienced pet parents swear by, from catnip toys to grooming tools, and we’ve rounded them up for you. First things first: How are you going to bring your new cat home?

Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)

Best Cat Carrier

Best Cat Scratching Posts and Trees

the sisal brown cat scratcher

If you’ve ever wondered why your cat can’t get enough of your wicker chair or cool woven lampshade, you’ve just encountered a new level of shredding behavior. Though it seems to be a universally beloved texture, “specific materials for cat scratchers will usually depend on a cat’s own preference,” suggests The Wildest Collective member Dr. John Iovino. “It seems most cats will gravitate towards carpeting but not the fluffier kind, necessarily.” —Avery Felman

Best Cat Litter Boxes and Litter

Best Cat Food, Feeders, Treats and Supplements

smalls food for cats in orange bag

Are cats naturally born with their good looks? Well, it’s certainly not Maybelline, so maybe it’s their balanced diet rich in omegas. Smalls’ human-grade food for cats aims to get back to the nutritional basics that are integral to your cat’s health without any of the additives.

In their meal plans, Smalls offers human-grade fresh food made with protein-rich cow, turkey, and chicken available in pâté, diced, and shredded textures. While they firmly endorse a fresh food diet for cats, they also provide freeze-dried raw food available in duck, turkey, and chicken proteins. With a discount of $10 for your starter pack ($35 for a four week meal plan), Smalls averages about $1.25 per meal, which totals to about $17.50 per week. —AF

the cat treats in orange package

Orijen treats are nutrient-dense, high-protein, and made with 99 percent fresh or raw animal ingredients. And if the Amazon reviews are any indication, even the pickiest kitten will be obsessed with these healthy snacks. As one reviewer says, “Our little kitty Ella is the definition of a picky eater, she loves her one specific food and catnip and that is it. Her Grandma (my mom) got these for her for Valentine’s Day. We were expecting her to turn her nose up at them, but to our surprise, she loved them! She kept trying to find more, definitely will be continuing to buy these for her! And the icing on the cake is they are healthy for her and have quality ingredients!” —Sio Hornbuckle

cat grass grow kit in white pot

Cats may be strict carnivores that will stalk your bird feeder and pass up your vegetable garden, but there are some greens they do crave. This collection of three mini pots with planting supplies has 100 percent organic wheat, oats, rye, barley, and flax seeds to grow a variety of cat grasses that are sustainable and not treated with any chemicals. All you need to do to get it growing is add water to the pre-planted pots, and the seeds will sprout in four to six days. It also helps your cat avoid munching on plants that could be toxic to them. “[Cat grass] has been known to provide digestive benefits thanks to its impressive vitamin content: vitamins A and D, folic acid, niacin, and chlorophyll,” Dr. Lori M. Teller, a professor at Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, says. Fun fact: the wheatgrass in your smoothie? Cat grass! —Kellie Gormly

Best Cat Toys

cat interactive puzzle in green and red

According to certified cat behaviorist Ingrid Johnson, your cat is constantly strategizing and — go figure — could be bored. “It’s hard to take the hunt out of them,” she says. “It’s an innate need.” Don’t feel bad — you’re about to splurge on a bunch of interactive cat toys and engaging cat food puzzles that even the softest-skilled kitty can master. If your cat is no stranger to mind puzzles, this Nina Ottosson puzzle may be the perfect toy to challenge their skills. With 16 hidden compartments that allow your cat to access the treats within the toy, there’s no shortage of ways to keep your cat engaged and concentrated. They’ll be lady buggin’ out for this one (sorry not sorry). —Katherine Tolford

Best Cat Grooming and Cleaning Products

oxyfresh premium dental kit

Veterinarian Dr. Lori M. Teller says: “Cats are very prone to gingivitis and periodontitis, which can be caused by a build-up of plaque and tartar.” That’s why it’s important to brush our pets’ teeth daily.

For a natural option that gets the job done, go with this human-grade dental kit by Oxyfresh. Backed by vets and hundreds of five-star reviews, it is as comprehensive as the brand’s climate responsibility and sustainability plan. Plus, it’s flavor and scent-free, so even the pickiest of pups will approve — that is, if they even notice that you’ve sneaked a few drops of the water additive into their bowl. —RC

rocco & roxie stain odor eliminator

Maybe the greatest in a long line of cat parent woes is the issue of cats peeing indoors — on rugs, bedspreads, furniture, and literally anything expensive. That’s why we encourage anyone who is acclimating a new kitty to their home or potty training to invest in a good odor remover. And they don’t come much more effective than Rocco & Roxie.

One reviewer wrote: “Almost instantly, the smell of pee and cat spray went away! All of my hours upon hours of cleaning over the last months hadn’t even touched these spots from a smell standpoint and with one spray of this cleaner the smell in each part of my house — was gone — it was that easy!”

* PrettyLitter is a Kinship brand. We think their products are pretty cool, but we don’t play favorites. So, when a product has family ties, we’ll be real with you.

jeremy gundel

Jeremy Gundel

Jeremy Gundel is a writer and comedian from New York City. He’s a veteran performer at the Magnet Theater, been a featured contributor for CollegeHumor, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and performed stand-up in bars, basements, and basements of bars. He lives with his wife and two freeloading cats. 

writer helin jung and cat

Helin Jung

Helin Jung is a writer in Los Angeles.

Avery, editor at The Wildest, and her cat, Chicken

Avery Felman

Avery is a writer and producer. She has written for numerous publications, including Refinery29, BuzzFeed, and V Magazine. When she’s not at her computer, you can find her reading, practicing her Greek on Duolingo, and delving into the Sex and the City discourse. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their cat, Chicken, who rules with an iron fist.

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