Select a breed.
Before buying or adopting, research different breeds on the Cat Fanciers’ Association site (cfainc.org).
Scout your new pet.
Check out Web sites such as Pets911.com, PetFinder.com, and adoptapet.com to help you find a cat to adopt.
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).
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.
Cat-proof your home.
Pick up scratching posts to teach your cat not to use the couch (or your legs!).
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.
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.
Go to Pets911.com to find out how to order a license for your cat.
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.
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 (hsus.org).