New Cat Owner Checklist

How to choose Kitty and make her feel at home.

Choosing Your Cat

  1. Check Select a breed.

    Before buying or adopting, research different breeds on the Cat Fanciers’ Association site (

  2. Check Scout your new pet.

    Check out Web sites such as,, and to help you find a cat to adopt.

  3. Check Apply to become the pet’s owner.

    You’ll be asked to fill out an application about your lifestyle and history with pets (application fees can range from $25 to $300).

  4. Check Perform a background check.

    If buying a purebred cat, request documentation of the cat’s history, health, and temperament. Bringing home a stray? Take it to the vet right away for a full medical check-up.

  5. Check Cat-proof your home.

    Pick up scratching posts to teach your cat not to use the couch (or your legs!).

  6. Check Buy supplies.

    Ask your vet (or your local pet-supplies store) what kind of food to buy for your cat (it will vary depending on the animal’s age). Also ask what kinds of toys and grooming materials to purchase. Don’t forget the litter box.

Bringing Your Cat Home

  1. Check Visit the vet.

    Ask for recommendations about how to train your cat to use the litter box and about spaying or neutering. Your vet should also let you know about vaccinations, vitamins, and medication.

  2. Check Order identification.

    Go to to find out how to order a license for your cat.

  3. Check Create a schedule—and stick to it.

    Establish a schedule for grooming your new addition, and brushing its teeth. Determine how many times a week you’ll clean the litter box, and divvy up the responsibilities between members of the family.

  4. Check Set some rules.

    Decide with your family how to train a misbehaving cat so everyone is clear on the rules. For more help with training, visit the Humane Society (