Last Updated: 5 months ago

Looking for tips for those first 30 days after a cat adoption? Here is everything you need to know, from what to buy to how to prepare your home!

You’ve been to the humane society or your local animal rescue and decided to bring home a new feline family member.

First of all, congratulations! Second of all, are you ready for this? Do they have their own bedroom? Gold-plated dishes?

Self-cleaning litter box? They do need all of this stuff, correct? Okay, maybe not. There are basics you will need, for sure, but you don’t have to break the bank to do it.

Below are nine essential tips that you need to know for the first month after your cat adoption.

What you need to buy and why

Embarking on the journey of cat adoption is exciting.

To ensure a smooth transition for your new feline friend, discover essential tips and must-have items.

1. A basic litter box and litter

kitten going to litter box

It’s best to go simple and inexpensive to start because cats have different preferences for their toileting needs.

You may find that your cat will not use a covered box (or will only use one) or that they need one with high sides (or won’t put the effort into using one).

It may take a few tries to sort this out, so be patient and start with the least costly one that will suit both you and, hopefully, your cat.

You may have to try different litter box locations and different types of litter before everyone is fully satisfied.

In addition, if you have other cats, you will still need a new litter box.

The general rule of thumb is that you should have one box per cat plus one extra (this may require some strategy in a multi-cat household).

Nobody wants to see litter boxes everywhere they look, but it is often more doable than you might think.

2. Simple toys of different varieties

cat playing with toys

Get your new addition a variety of toys to play with, but again, keep them simple. For now, you are trying to figure out what interests them.

Get something with a bell, some sort of “fishing” toy, and something to try fetch with (for some reason, I have always had far better luck getting my cats to play fetch than my dogs).

Cats can be funny when it comes to toys!

Growing up, I had a cat whose favourite toy was crumpled tinfoil from the evening meal (I don’t know that I would recommend this one now, but we didn’t know any better at the time).

I have one cat now who will only play with small “crinkle balls,” which are hard to find in stores, and another who won’t play with anything but cheap little plastic springs that come in packs of about 12.

I have discovered, though, that my own cats also like crocheted yarn cat toys, and there is a great deal of joy in making something for your pet to play with.

3. Bowls for food and water

best elevated cat bowls

These don’t have to be anything special; simple cereal bowls will work for now if it’s more convenient for you.

Make sure to put some distance between your cat’s water and food dishes, as cats inherently drink less from water located near a food source.

This dates back to their wild days, when water near scavenged food would often be contaminated.

4. Scratching posts or pads

cat using a scratching post

To avoid frustration—for both you and your cat—you will need something they are allowed to scratch.

Cat trees are great because they allow for climbing or napping as well as scratching.

Catnip sprays are available to help attract your cat to the post, and if you catch them scratching elsewhere, you can gently relocate them and place their paws where you would like them to scratch.

5. I would wait to purchase a bed

kitten hiding

Set up blankets or towels in a few places around the house to see where they might prefer to nap. 

Some cats won’t use a bed but like to lay on a window ledge or a perch.

You can find a bed, a platform, or, as above, a cat tree once you have determined their preference.

6. introduce Cats gradually

Adopting Multiple Cats at Once: Is it a Good Idea?

I’ve had a great deal of luck placing an item that smells like my established cats with the new arrival and taking an item from the new cat’s crate to place somewhere the other cats will encounter it.

I also let them approach each other through a closed door for a couple of days before fully allowing them to meet.

7. Book a vet appointment

kitten vet check

This is especially crucial if you have other cats, to protect them and the newcomer from any communicable illnesses.

Often, rescued cats will come with a free trial of pet insurance, which will likely cover anything that needs medical attention within the first month or two.

8. Get your cat microchipped

cat getting microchip

Your vet should be able to do this at an early appointment.

Cats are horrible with collars—they break them, lose them, etc.—and without an ID tag, the chances of them finding their way home should they ever get out are slim.

Microchips are wonderful because they don’t get lost.

9. Kitten Missing

kitten hiding under deck

If your kitten vanishes and you know there’s no chance he got outside, do not panic!

Kittens (and even adult cats) hide in the weirdest places, especially when they’re new to a home and still a bit freaked out.

Just back off and give him a chance to come out on his own. He’ll get hungry or need to use the litter box eventually!


Enjoy your new pet! You have made a great choice, and you can let them show you why.

Do you have any other advice for the first 30 days after cat adoption? Share below!

Looking for tips for those first 30 days after a cat adoption? Here is everything you need to know, from what to buy to how to prepare your home!

Hi, I’m Tamsin. I’m a serious animal lover and dog behaviorist and trainer. In fact, I live on a farm with nine rescues! So, I love writing about and creating awareness around the health and wellness of all animals.