Pet Adoption Series 3: Preparing your home for your new cat

Pssst! Have you read part 1 and 2 yet?

Part 1 Are you ready to adopt:

Part 2 The adoption process:

Things you will need:

  • Litter box
    • Some cats are picky about what kind of litter box you use and some could care less. 
    • Most recommend against covered litter boxes, but some cats are fine with them. 
    • Some cats are afraid of automatic litter boxes that scoop themselves. You do not want your cat to be afraid of their litter box, because they will not use it. 
    • General rule: 1 litter box for every cat you have plus 1
      • E.g. if you have 2 cats, 3 litter boxes is idea. 
    • Keep in mind if you have a bigger cat, you will need a bigger litter box.
    • Older cats sometimes have a hard time squatting down, so you may want to get one with higher walls for an older cat.
  • Litter
    • Most cats do not like strongly scented litter, so you may want to avoid that. 
    • If you’re worried about odor you can add baking soda to their litter. We also love Arm & Hammer Litter Deodorizer. 
    • Some people like the ease of clumping litter, but non-clumping is fine too. 
  • Food
    • We will give you a sample size bag of food to start you off or to mix with whatever kind of food you would like to feed. 
    • Your vet is a great person to talk to about what kind of food you should feed your cat. 
  • Food and water bowl
  • Scratching post
    • Having a couple different types of scratching post is a great way to determine what kinds of scratching posts your cat likes. There are a lot of different types of scratching posts out there. Here are a few different types and things to keep in mind.
    • Scratching posts can be vertical, horizontal or angled. Different cats have different preferences, and some like to have a couple different options.
    • Some cats like to really stretch out when they scratch, so you should get one tall enough for your cat. 
    • There are a lot of different materials scratching posts can be made of including cardboard, sisal, rope, and many more. Carpet is probably not a great choice, since it shows them that it is okay to scratch carpet, and they might then think your carpeting on your floor is fair game.
    • Cat towers often have scratching posts on them and can be a great place for your cat not only to scratch, but to hang out and play. 
    • Sturdier scratching posts tend to be better. Your cat is less likely to use one that gets tippy or falls over when they try to use it. 
    • Placement is important. If your cat tries to scratch your couch, place it in front of where they try to scratch. This teaches them where it is appropriate to scratch. 
    • If your cat enjoys catnip, you can rub some catnip on their scratching post to help attract them to it. 
    • For more great information on encouraging your cats to appropriately scratch you can go here:

As Jackson Galaxy says, “Claws are a physically, socially, and emotionally vital part of every cat. Scratching, for a cat, is not only a natural act, but a necessary one as well.” 


  • Nail trimmers
    • CCHS is happy to show you how to trim your cat’s nails, and if you want to bring them in for periodic nail trims after you adopt them we are happy to try to trim their nails if you are not comfortable doing it. You can also bring them to your vet for nail trims. 
  • Brush
    • This is a must for long haired cats, but you may also want one for your short hair, especially during the times of year when they shed more. 
  • Toys
  • Carrier
    • You are welcome to borrow one of ours to bring them home in, but you will definitely want to buy one for vet trips, moving, emergencies, etc. 
  • Optional: cat bed, treats

Prepare yourself:

Do some research and make sure you are familiar with everything you need to do to care for your cat. Feel free to come with questions for us when you pick them up.

Preparing your home:

Coming to the shelter is very stressful for most cats, and changing environments yet again when they go home can also be very stressful. It is generally best to keep them confined to one room for at least the first couple days. Laundry rooms, bathrooms, and spare bedrooms are all great options. Set up their litter box, food and water, bed, toys, and scratching post in this room. Having a safe place where they can feel secure at first can also be very helpful. This can be anything from leaving their carrier door open with a blanket or towel in it to even a cardboard box. It’s best to have that facing the door so they don’t feel like someone can sneak up on them.

If you have young kids or other pets, it is best to let your new friend have some time to settle in before meeting or spending a lot of time with everyone. While some cats adapt very quickly, most tend to not do as well if they are just tossed into a completely new environment. 


If you have young kids make sure they are aware that their new kitty friend (who they are probably super excited about) might be a little stressed at first. They might want to run right up to kitty and be their best friend, but sometimes that isn’t the best idea. Many cats appreciate at least a couple days to decompress after coming home before spending time with the whole family.

If you have other pets, especially if you are not planning on confining your new cat at first, make sure you have a plan for separating them if they do not all get along at first. Forcing them to be together when they don’t get along can be a recipe for disaster. Short introductions and taking your time makes it much more likely that in time they will get along. If you have a dog, and the cat isn’t quite comfortable with them at first, shelves and the ability to get to high places or places away from the dog is important.

Remember forcing your new pet and your old pets together right away no matter how friendly they may be could result in fights.


If possible, try to bring them home when you have a little extra time to spend with them. This gives you time to bond when them and work on any problems you might encounter. 


Pet Adoption Series 4: Tips for when you first bring home your new cat is coming soon!!!!!