9 things every new cat owner starter kit needs


Adam Cecil

Adam Cecil

Former Staff Writer

Adam Cecil is a former staff writer for Policygenius, a digital insurance brokerage trying to make sense of insurance for consumers. He is a podcast producer, writer, and video maker based in Brooklyn, NY.

Published March 17, 2016|5 min read

Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our

editorial standards


how we make money.
News article image

Cats are little bundles of joy, unless you don’t change your lifestyle or buy specific furniture for them. Then, they get a little testy. Before you bring your new cat home, here are the nine most important things you need to get.

-> Read our full guide to adopting a cat

The right litter box

This is really important. Don’t get me wrong, everything on this list is important, but a litter box is super important if you don’t want your new cat peeing and pooping on everything you own. When buying a litter box, make sure it’s big enough for your cat to comfortably move around in. Cats like to dig in the litter and get comfortable in their space, and a small litter box will just act as a constraint.And while you may be grossed out by the idea of an uncovered litter box in your home, we usually suggest picking one out instead of a covered box. Covered litter boxes trap odors, and can be really gross to your cat. Remember — their sense of smell is fourteen times more sensitive than ours, so anything you can smell, they smell fourteen times worse!

Unscented litter

You know, to put in the litter box. Try to go for an unscented variety. We know, we know — uncovered and unscented? But scented litter can be just as disturbing to your kitty as a big pile of poo, so try to avoid it. You can try getting flushable litter — that way, you can send it straight down the toilet — but typical cat litter is made out of clay and will form a cement-like compound once you dip it in water. Make sure you read the bag carefully before you flush.

Litter scoop and receptacle

It just never ends, huh? You need a scoop to get the poo out of the litter (we suggest a strong metal scoop), and you need some sort of receptacle, like a covered trash can, to put it in.

Scratching posts

If you know anything about cats, it’s that they love to scratch. They actually need to scratch — it’s instinctive, and it helps them remove old nail sheaths. Scratching posts are your best bet here. They mimic the tree trunks that cats scratch in the wild and are a great alternative to scratching up your door frames or furniture.When you look for a scratching post, make sure you get one that’s pretty tall. It should be taller than a stretched out cat, so imagine what a stretched out cat looks like or just buy one that’s about thirty inches tall. It should also be pretty stable so it doesn’t fall over while your cat is scratching on it.Typically, experts suggest one scratching post per room so your cat doesn’t have to travel far to scratch that itch. Otherwise, they may find themselves using your couch in a pinch.

Food and water bowls

Oh yeah, food is important, right? Cats typically like pretty shallow bowls — makes it easier to get at the food — so don’t get one that’s too deep. To make things easier for you, go for a metal or ceramic bowl that’s easy to clean and sterilize. Plastic bowls can capture odors and bacteria.Cats can also be super finicky about water bowls, which is annoying because they need water to live. Lots of cats won’t drink out of water bowls unless the water is moving, which is why you’ll see water bowls that have fountains attached. Our advice? Start with a plain old water bowl. If they don’t drink water out of it, try a fountain. If they don’t drink water out of that, just turn on the faucet and pray. (You can also put water in with their food to make sure they’re getting enough liquids.)

Pet insurance

Pets are expensive. You’re probably finding this out right now as you’re buying a ton of stuff for your cat on Amazon (even with free Prime shipping, it’s a lot of money!). But here’s the thing: you probably think it’s worth it, right? A lot of cat owners would do just about anything for their cat, including going into debt to pay for emergency medical bills. Fortunately, you don’t have to go into debt. Pet insurance is an easy way to protect your bank account and your cat.


Cats love to sleep and they will literally sleep on anything, including, but not limited to: the couch, the bed, your pillow, your pillow while you are sleeping, your face while you are sleeping, your lap, your chest, the kitchen counter, on top of the fridge, inside of a cupboard, on top of a cupboard, and in the cat bed that you actually paid money for.Anyway, cats also like having something they can call their own, whether it’s just a blanket on the floor or a little cat cave. Especially in the first few weeks, while your cat is getting used to you, it’s important to give them a safe space to hang out and sleep.


Cats like to play. Of course, their version of "play" is hunting and killing small animals, and you probably don’t want to buy a bunch of mice as toys. Luckily, cats are pretty good at amusing themselves — pretty much anything left on the floor that they can swat with their paws is fair game for playtime. They also love to hide in bags and boxes. If you end up buying toys for your cats, look for small balls that they chase after. You can also get "wands" — basically, a piece of cloth or a hanging bird replica tacked on to the end of a plastic wand that you control.

Beauty supplies

Two essential things you’re going to want: a nail clipper and a brush. Depending on how long your cat’s hair is, you might want a few different types of brushes. You’ll also probably want to get a little sign that says "Beauty Salon" so you can properly roleplay with your cat.

Image: Moyan Brenn