• Are you getting ready to adopt your very first cat? Since this is probably a brand new process for you, there are a few essentials that might slip under the radar.

    For instance, catnip, while not essential, is a great way to entertain your cat – but if you're getting a kitten, hold off on this special herb. It often only affects adult cats.

    Tips abound for new cat parents, but keep this particular checklist of must-have items on you when you go to pick out your pet. By the time you leave the shelter, try to have most of these items and tasks taken care of.

    Collar

    Both indoor and outdoor cats need collars to stay safe. If you haven't already, get a secure and sturdy collar for your pet.

    Tags

    This is another essential purchase, even for indoor cats. Sure, you know your pet's name, but this way, if he or she should slip out the back door one afternoon and get lost, the neighbor who picks your cat up will be able to bring that little escape artist back safe and sound.

    Bed

    Cats need to have territory that feels uniquely their own. Cat trees or lofty perches around the home are excellent, but a simple cat bed is the best place to start.

    Toys

    While you'll hold off on the catnip if you're getting a kitten, ask the shelter employees what kind of toys they'd suggest for a pet that's your cat's age and temperament. Sometimes a simple paper bag is what a cat wants most! But a few toy mice can't hurt, either.

    Cat litter

    Unless you're planning to potty train, this is a necessary investment. Talk to shelter employees and ask what litter they use currently, since that's what your adopted cat will be most used to.

    Food

    The same goes for cat food: Start with whatever your newly adopted cat is used to from the shelter, then gradually mix in your preferred brand before switching over completely.

    Carrier case

    This is for those future vet visits and car trips.

    A scheduled vet visit

    Speaking of the vet, make sure you schedule a visit to double-check that your cat is up to date on vaccinations and medical tests. You'll get a medical history for your pet when you adopt, but regular vet visits are a good idea, anyway!

  • Bring this new cat checklist when you go to adopt

    Adopting can be difficult. This list makes it just a little bit easier.