Cat adoption checklist

Are you thinking about adopting a cat? Stop the guessing game because your life is about to get a whole lot more purrfect. Still, we know it’s a big responsibility. Read our easy-to-handle cat adoption checklist, and rest assured, your cat will be right at home.

Start with a question: Am I a cat person?

Internet memes sometimes divide us into cat or dog people. Though these two species exhibit differences, all of us can be cat people if we know how to love them properly. So, step one is to understand that cats are independent, curious, at times skittish, playful, and enjoy napping in all sorts of odd places. You may go hours without seeing your fancy felinethey’ll likely be catnapping in a closet or daydreaming under a bed or on a windowsill.

If you’re interested in a pet who prefers spending much of their day by your side, then have a look at our dog adoption checklist, though cat personalities do vary.

Adopting a cat: Where to begin?

Research local adoption agencies in your area. When investigating, look for established organizations with an active website and positive news and social media presence. You will likely find an online listing of cats available for adoption on agency websites. If you land on a website where information about the organization and animals are sparse, we recommend looking for another group to accommodate your adoption needs. Once you have a list of three centers, visit the first one on the list—you may bond with a feline friend right away!

While visiting adoption agencies, inquire about low-cost adoption options and whether the center spays or neuters; many do.

What do I do before I bring my cat home?

Here comes the fun part: Preparing to bring your play pal home. Because of their size, cats do well in most living arrangements. Just make sure anyone you live with is just as excited about the cat as you are. Once you receive the green light, do the following:

  • Remove any glass and potted plants from windowsills and other surfaces your cat may want to perch on. Familiarize yourself with plants poisonous to cats, and relocate them.
  • Determine where you will put the litter box. We recommend using a mat and placing the setup in a part of the home where you spend the least amount of time but that your cat can easily access through an open door. Many people choose to put the litter box in their bathroom. Note that cats will sometimes track litter around the box, so keep a dustpan or small vacuum nearby for additional cleanup.
  • Purchase a non-toxic food and water bowl. Cats enjoy freshwater and prefer it in a separate location from their food.
  • Ask the adoption center what your cat is presently eating and buy a small bag of that food ahead of time. If you plan to change your cat’s diet, go for sugar and grain-free, but plan to introduce new food to them slowly. Your vet can answer questions about how to do this in a way most suitable to your cat.
  • Cats are naturally curious, so get creative with toy purchases. You might even enjoy getting inventive and making toys at-home.

Cat Resources

Hop over to our kittenhood pages, where you’ll find insights from pet behavior expert Sarah Hodgson on how to form a connected relationship with your cat or kitten.

Get a free quote for pet insurance, which can help you cover the cost of surprise vet bills and have a bit more control over annual pet healthcare costs.

Fill out an emergency preparedness form when you get your new cat, so that they have a plan for the unexpected or for when you travel.

Is that all?

If you do everything on this cat adoption checklist, all that’s left is to take a deep breath. Remember that adopting a cat is like starting a new friendship. Give your feline friend time to get to know you and their new environment. Show them where the litter box, food, and water are located—pay attention to how they experience their new home. Though cats are independent, the first criteria for bringing one home is to start from a place of love and curiosity!