The 13 Best Essentials for a New Kitten

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New kittens are cute, cuddly, and a little (okay, often very) feisty—and bringing one home is one of the best moments in life. But just like any newborn, you have to prepare your home for a new kitten. While you may already know you’ll need some food and a litter box, there are a handful of basics that your new kitten will need to live its best life.

Whether you’re bringing home one little cat or a bonded pair, you’ll want to be prepared for your new family member. From a breakaway collar to a self-warming cat bed, we rounded up all of the best essentials for a new kitten.

Our Top Picks
You can personalize the collar with your name and number and since it's laser engraved, it won't scratch off or fade.
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Four access panels make it easier to put your kitten into the carrier, and the adjustable seat belt loops keep them safer.
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The removable door and hooded lift makes for easier cleaning and the carbon filter helps keep odors down.
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Made with all-natural ingredients, this litter is 99.9% dust free, low-tracking, and forms hard clumps that are easier to scoop.
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With anti-skid rubber wraps on the bottom, these stainless steel bowls won't slip or spill.
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This kitten formula includes protein-rich chicken combined with antioxidant-rich cranberries, minerals, omega fatty acids, and taurine.
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These treats are only 1.5 calories each and are free of preservatives, by-product meals, grains, wheat, and soy.
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This 32 inch post allows them to stretch out as they scratch and the base helps prevent them from tipping over.
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The slightly-curved bristles penetrate fur, fixing knots and tangles without irritating the skin underneath.
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To protect your skin and furniture from tiny claws, you’ll want a pair of clippers to make quick work of claw-trimming.
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GoTags Personalized Reflective Cat Collars

GoTags Cat Collars

Even if your new kitten is going to be strictly indoors only, it’s a good idea to get a personalized collar with your contact information on it. That way, if kitty slips out the door, others will know he or she has a home and how to find it. These collars have your name and phone number laser engraved on them, so they won’t scratch off or fade. The collar also has a bell, so you can hear your kitten coming and a breakaway buckle so if it gets stuck on something, it will pop right off. It's also adjustable, so it can grow with your cat.

Fitting a Cat Collar Safely

Cats can easily wriggle out of a loose collar, so the fit should be sung, but not tight. You should still be able to fit two fingers under your the collar.

PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Soft Sided Cat Carrier & Travel Crate

PetLuv "Happy Cat Premium Cat Carrier Soft Sided Foldable Top

You’ll need a new cat carrier when you’re picking up your kitten, and when you’re bringing him or her back and forth from vet appointments. But getting your kitten into the carrier is a feat that often proves difficult. This one has four access panels and a top opening, so you can put kitty in and take him or her out with less effort. Plus, it has a roomy design with optimum ventilation and all-around windows that let your kitty see what’s going on. There are also adjustable seat belt loops, so you can strap the carrier in your car for added safety.

Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Litter Pan

Jumbo Hooded Cat Pan

Of course, your new kitten will need a place to go to the bathroom, and this Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Pan is the perfect loo. While it might seem a little big for a kitten, he or she will grow into it fairly quickly. It offers a removable door and a hooded lift for easy cleaning, plus a carbon filter that absorbs odor so you won’t get bombarded with stink every time your kitty does its business. It comes in two colors—gray or white with a cute little tiger design on top.

However, it's worth noting that some cats prefer an open litter box. But if this hooded option doesn't work out, you can remove the top and use the bottom tray on its own.

"One human-friendly innovation we appreciated was the 'bag anchor.' It’s the simplest thing: A protruding lip along the interior edge of the doorway that you can use to catch the front of the garbage bag you’re scooping into, holding it open. We didn’t know we were missing that feature in a litter box, but now that we’ve used it, we’re dumbfounded as to why all models don’t have this. It made scooping so much easier." — Joy Merrifield, Product Tester

Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Ultra Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter

Precious Cat Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter

While the litter box is important, a high-quality litter will do wonders for eliminating stink and making it easier for your new kitten to learn how to regularly use the potty. This unscented litter from Dr. Elsey’s is 99.9 percent dust-free, low-tracking, and made with all-natural ingredients. It also forms hard clumps, making it easier for you to scoop and preventing crumbling.

Ureverbasic Small Pet Feeding Bowls, Set of 2

Ureverbasic Cat Bowls Pet Bowl Cat Food Water Bowl

These Ureverbasic cat bowls are ideal for a kitten who’s still figuring out how exactly this eating from a bowl thing works. They have an anti-skid rubber wrap around the bottom, to help prevent slipping and spilling. Plus, they’re made from polished, high-quality stainless steel that’s resistant to corrosion and rust, so they’ll last for years. Each bowl holds 8 ounces of food or water, and they come in more than a dozen colors, so you can get one to match your home or grab a couple sets and switch it up.

Wellness Complete Health Kitten Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Wellness Complete Health Kitten Formula Grain-Free

Young kittens have small teeth and can’t always chew dry food very well, so this Wellness Complete grain-free wet cat food is the perfect transition food. It contains protein-rich chicken combined with antioxidant-rich cranberries, minerals, omega fatty acids, and taurine, which is essential in grain-free formulas. The kitten food is finished off with real broth that keeps your kitty hydrated and supports urinary health. It’s made without artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, so you can start your new kitten off on the right foot.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken & Turkey Grain-Free Cat Treats

Blue Buffalo Cat Treats

Treats are an excellent way to tell your new kitten he or she is doing a great job (or just being really cute). Like the Wellness Complete cat food, these Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken & Turkey Grain-Free Cat Treats are made with only real ingredients and free of preservatives, by-product meals, grains, corn, wheat, and soy. Protein-rich chicken and turkey are the first ingredients, and they only have 1.5 calories per treat, so you can give out a few each day. Plus, they’re enhanced with the essential vitamins and minerals your kitten needs.

SmartCat The Ultimate Scratching Post

SmartCat Pioneer Pet Ultimate Scratching Post

If you want to discourage tiny little kitten scratches on your furniture, you’ll want to offer an appealing alternative. Kittens like to scratch things to sharpen their claws, stretch their bodies, and mark their territory. This sturdy option from SmartCat is 32 inches tall, allowing your kitten to fully stretch out, even as he or she gets bigger. The 16 x 16 inch base prevents it from tipping over, while the woven sisal naturally inspires targeted scratching.

Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush

Cats are meticulous about self-grooming, but sometimes they need a little help, especially if they’re long-haired. Brushing your kitten regularly will also help reduce shedding and keep excess fur off your furniture and clothes. This Self Cleaning Slicker Brush from Hertzko has slightly-curved bristles that can penetrate fur, fixing knots and tangles without irritating the skin underneath. When you’re done brushing, you can click a button and the bristles retract, making it easy to gather the fur from the brush and throw it away.

"Removing the loose fur on the brush was quick and easy. After we retracted the bristles, the hair wiped right off the brush without a problem—no finger pricks or bent bristles. The fur seemed to stay on the brush head, so loose furballs were not floating around everywhere." — Sharon Lehman, Product Tester

Shiny Pet Pet Nail Clippers for Small Animals

Shiny Pet Pet Nail Clippers for Small Animals

To protect your skin and furniture from tiny claws, you’ll want a pair of clippers to make quick work of claw-trimming. Trimming your cat’s nails is also important for your pet’s health, as untrimmed claws may eventually curl under towards the paw, causing pain and increasing the risk of infection. This trimmer is a great choice for cats of all ages, because their sharp blades and easy-to-grip handles help you work quickly.

"The blades of these clippers are at a 20-degree angle off the handles, which allowed us to more easily see what we were doing. With one quick movement, we were able to line up the blades and snip off the tips of Nugget’s claws. There was only minimal effort required, and the sharp blades cut through his nails with ease." —  Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester

Aspen Pet Self-Warming Bolster Cat & Dog Bed

Aspen Pet Bed

Every kitten needs a warm place to lie down, and this Aspen Pet Self-Warming Bolster Cat & Dog Bed is an excellent backup option. It has a special inner layer that utilizes the same technology as the space blankets given in emergency situations or after a marathon. When your kitty settles into it, it gets warm and cozy, without overheating. It’s finished off with faux lamb’s wool and corduroy to make it extra warm and inviting.

Cat Dancer Cat Charmer Toy


Playtime isn’t just fun, it’s a crucial part of your new kitten’s development. Interactive play—when you and your kitten play together—is a great way to create a bond between the two of you. This colorful Cat Dancer Rainbow Cat Charmer combines 4 feet of fabric with a polycarbonate wand that you can use to entice your kitten to pounce and play. Plus, with all the jumping and chasing, your kitten will get loads of aerobic exercise. Play with him or her before bed and maybe you’ll get to sleep through the night.

Go Pet Club Cat Tree

Go Pet Club 62-Inch Cat Tree

Cats love to be up high—it gives them a better vantage point for potential prey (yes, fuzzy fake mice count) and makes them feel protected from predators since they can see more of the space around them. While your new kitten may be perfectly safe in your home, he or she will still appreciate an elevated spot to scope out the room and take a nap (or several), thanks to this cat tree. The 62-inch Go Pet Club Cat Tree has several places to perch and lie down, plus multiple scratching posts so your kitten can take his or her claws for a test drive. It comes in five colors, so you can choose one that blends in nicely with your decor.

"We were very impressed with how sturdy the cat tree is. Although we placed it in a room with wall-to-wall carpeting, we assembled it on hardwood flooring and it didn’t slide on either surface. Our cats range in weight from 8 to 15 pounds, and the tree doesn’t wobble at all when they jump on it." — Sage McHugh, Product Tester

What to Consider When Shopping for a New Kitten

Kitten Personality

Kittens have lots of energy! Be sure to have interactive toys that can simulate their brains and muscles. Treats are also an excellent way to reward good behaviors, soothe scary situations (like trips in the carrier), and help your kitten bond with you. 

However, it’s OK if it takes awhile to get to know your new cat. If your kitten doesn’t like a particular bed, treat, or toy, consider trying a different one. A pet foster or shelter will happily take the items your cat gently used (or totally ignored).  

Your Space

If you live in a small space, a discrete litter box and smaller scratching post may be important to you. Before you buy a larger item like a cat tree, it’s always a good idea to measure the spot where you plan to put it, to make sure you get something that’s the right dimensions for your home. 

Your Budget

It’s easy to splurge on our pets, but before you shop it’s always a good to make a budget and plan out how much you want to spend. We recommend prioritizing products that help keep kitten healthy (like wet food and nail trimmers) over fancy toys and beds. 

Why Trust The Spruce Pets?

Lindsay Boyers is a cat mom of three, who’s been told more than once that she’s too obsessed with her cats (as if that’s even a thing). She adopted her cats when they were just 12 weeks old, and she has several items on this list, but the PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Soft Sided Cat Carrier & Travel Crate is her favorite.

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