Here is a list of the basic necessities for first-time cat-owners:
- Litter box preferably one with a removable lid. Some cats like privacy in the toilet; others don't care.
- Again, ask your shelter what they use, and buy some of that to start. You can wean the cat off it to another brand later.
- Food bowls- one for water, one for food. Do not buy "continuous feeding" bowls for the food, only for the water. Allowing your cat to chow down is unhealthy.
- Get primarily dry food, though you may want to occasionally give him/her wet food. Also get a small bag of treats,which are helpful in training your cat.
- A Cat Carrier. Don't use it just for car trips. In order to have your cat comfortable during long rides in the car, double the carrier as a bed. Take the door off when you are at home, to avoid having the cat accidentally lock itself in.
- Toys. Provide a variety of toys,even if it's just a few. To keep your cat entertained, hide a few toys for a while, and then switch the ones he/she plays with.
- Harness or Leash. If you want to walk your cat, get a harness and leash. As most cat collars unlatch when the cat gets caught, a harness and leash can help to train your cat for walks. Walking is a fun and healthy exercise for cats, and helps to keep them occupied (and you healthy as well!).
- Shampoo. You will need to regularly bathe your cat, and the best way is with water and shampoo. There are resources out there on how to train your cat to like bath time, and I suggest checking them out. Introducing your cat to water in a calm way will help to make bath time less stressful (and hazardous).
- A Brush. Regular brushing is essential to keeping the shedding down, especially if you have allergies.