10 Essential Items You Need for Your Cat


Ru Chen

- Updated February 18, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • The best cat items are easy to clean, sturdy, and safe to use
  • Cats need toys and scratching posts for enrichment
  • Pet insurance can cover routine and emergency expenses for your cat
10 Essential Items You Need for Your Cat

Caring for a cat is a rewarding experience that comes with great responsibility. Your cat relies on you for food, comfort, and other needs. By having the best cat essentials, you can better care for your feline friend.

Looking for the purr-fect items for your feline family member? Here are our top ten recommendations of essential supplies and items for your cat.

Food and Water Bowls

Durable, clean bowls can make a real quality of life difference for your cat. You want to use bowls made of cat-friendly materials and convenient to clean. As long as the bowl can hold a proper portion of food for your cat, the shape and design of the bowl can be as you desire.

It’s also important to consider your cat’s eating habits, size, and special conditions. Stainless steel bowls are generally recommended since they’re safe for cats, dishwater safe, and sturdy. Another good option for cats are ceramic bowls (as long as they’re confirmed to be lead-free).

Other than a food and water bowl, you might also want to buy a mat to place under the bowls. A matching placemat can prevent particles of water and food from splattering everywhere, making it easier to clean the area.


High-Quality Cat Food

Cats ideally want a balanced diet that promotes health and longevity. With all the different cat food choices, it can be daunting for a cat owner to figure out how to select nutritious, safe ingredients.

Commercial cat foods come in dry, canned, and semimoist forms. The formulation of the cat food you purchase will vary in nutrition, protein, water content, palatability, taste, and digestibility. Most vets recommend protein rich foods for cats. It can take a while before finding the brand of cat food that suits your cat’s tastes and needs best.

Common cat food ingredients include:

  • Meat
  • Fish meal
  • Poultry
  • Soybean meal
  • Cereals and grain
  • Fiber sources
  • Milk products
  • Vitamins
  • Mineral supplements

Dry food

Dry food is the most affordable and long-lasting type of cat food. It is easy to store dry food in airtight containers, so many cat owners benefit from the ability to buy dry cat food in bulk. However, cats may find the taste and texture of dry food to be subpar.

Semimoist food

Semimoist food mostly consist of meat and meat byproducts. Some cats prefer semimoist food. However, note that semimoist food may dry out after you open the food packaging, which can make it tricky to store and last shorter durations than dry or canned food.

Canned food

Canned food contains the highest water content. It is generally the most expensive type of cat food, but it is enriching and high in palatability for most cats.

Cat Litter and Litter Box

A clean, well-maintained litter box helps create a healthy and comfortable environment for your cat. A high quality litter box should grant your cat ample room to dig around, bury, and move around. Here are the main types of litter boxes, as well as their pros and cons:

Open litter box

An open litter box is cheap and simple to use, especially if you have multiple cats in your home. If your cat is a bit more skittish, an open litter box might help them feel calmer since they will have a better view of everything around them.

Covered litter box

If you want odor control, a covered litter box might be best. These litter boxes have a lid that encloses the smell. Some cats also prefer using covered litter boxes so they can enjoy more privacy.

The downside to covered litter boxes is that they are considerably harder to clean. An unclean environment can also stress out your cat.

Self-cleaning litter box

A clean kitty is a happy kitty – a self-cleaning litter box is also a happy owner. As the name suggests, a self-cleaning litter box operates with advanced technology that allows it to sift and rake through cat litter automatically. The waste will be collected and deposited into a small compartment for easy disposal.

Note that a common difficulty many cat owners face with self-cleaning litter boxes is that cats may have difficulty getting used to a self-cleaning litter box.

Disposable litter box

Disposable litter boxes are highly convenient for month-to-month use or travel. However, these boxes don’t prevent the need for scooping, and they tend to be easily torn or shredded by cats. It can also be difficult to match a disposable litter box with suitable litter.

Designer litter box

More cat owners have started using designer litter boxes so that guests or video callers won’t be able to tell that the litter box is a litter box. Designer litter boxes can have pleasing aesthetics and blend into the background of your home so it doubles as house decor.

Cat Bed or Sleeping Area

Some cats love to sleep wherever they wish, be that on a table or in your lap. Still, giving your cat a designated bed or sleeping area can help them feel more comfortable and safe.

Here are the common types of beds for cats:

  • Traditional beds
  • Blankets
  • Cozy hideaways


To keep your cat healthy and happy, it’s extremely important to maintain a certain level of mental and physical stimulation for your kitty friend. Here are some great toys that your cat might enjoy:

  • Puzzle feeders
  • Feather teasers
  • Laser cat toys
  • Felt toys
  • Collapsible cat tunnel
  • Playmats
  • Ball-in-track games

Scratching post

Other than toys, you should also keep a scratching post around for your cat to use. Scratching posts are a necessity for cats since scratching is a natural, healthy behavior. Without a dedicated scratching post, your cat might feel stressed and end up ruining your furniture instead.

Since scratching posts can get expensive, we also recommend cardboard scratching areas for those with tighter budgets.

Grooming Supplies

Supplies can facilitate the regular, proper grooming of your cat. This helps ensure better cat health and hygiene.

Here are some essential grooming supplies that cat owners should have.

  • Brushes: While cats are generally great at self-grooming, even they can benefit from some help. A high quality brush or comb can effectively remove lose fur and prevent matting. Get a pet brush that is suitable for your cat’s type of fur and how much fur shedding occurs. A short-hair cat might prefer a soft bristle or rubber brush, whereas a long-hair cat might need a slicker brush.

  • Nail clippers: To simplify the cat nail clipping process, you might want to order a pair of cat-specific nail clippers that can make trimming easier. Even if you already own a scratching post, extra nail care equipment can prevent injuries to your cat and damage to your furniture. Remember, declawing is bad for your cat since it can cause serious health and behavioral problems for your cat!

  • Cat-friendly shampoo: You should never use human shampoo on cats since it can hurt them, causing inflammation and irritation. Make sure you pick a shampoo specifically made for cats. If your cat has sensitive skin, consider hypo-allergenic cat shampoo.

  • Grooming glove: Grooming gloves are great for removing dirt and dander from your cat’s coat, keeping it shiny and clean.

Cat Carrier

A cat carrier is vital for safely transporting your cat, which is often done when the cat needs to go to the vet. Without a carrier, your cat might very well run off, especially if it’s the first time going to a vet, encountering other pets, or during an emergency.

Your cat should be able to turn around and stand in the carrier without problem. This typically means choosing a carrier that is at least one and a half times the size of your cat.

If you have more than one cat, carrier-pooling is not ideal. It’s generally better to have multiple carriers as opposed to a single larger one for all your cats, since cramming cats into an enclosed space can cause stress.

Here are some popular types of cat carriers:

  • Plastic carriers: A high quality, hard plastic carrier is typically durable and easy to clean.

  • Suitcase-style carriers: A rolling suitcase carrier are hard to clean, but can provide much more convenient transport. These carriers are spacious and easy to roll around.

  • Soft carriers: A soft cat carrier prioritizes comfort over security and durability. Make sure you choose a soft carrier of high quality to avoid wear and tear of the carrier.

  • Cardboard: Cardboard carriers are a viable, temporary transport option in emergencies if you don’t have a true cat carrier. They’re higher risk, hard to clean, and uncomfortable for cats. We do not recommend using cardboard carriers unless you have no alternative.

Veterinary Care Essentials

Regular vet check-ups can help your cat stay healthy, reducing the chance of health problems. Vets commonly recommend the following essentials for cats:

  • Flea and tick preventatives
  • Cat vaccinations
  • Dental care products (toothbrushes, dental diets, and specialized toothpaste)

The best way to determine the essentials that your cat needs for a healthy life is to consult with your veterinarian. That way you can receive specialized guidance for your feline friend.


Pet Insurance

It’s a terrifying feeling to come home to see your cat injured, vomiting, or acting weird. Emergency vet bills can easily cost thousands of dollars, posing a financial challenge for many pet owners. That’s why it is a good idea to obtain pet insurance to offset the burden of unexpected medical bills and obtain peace of mind.

According to a study by NAPHIA, accident-only pet insurance for cats costs $122.19 a year and around $10 a month on average. Accident and illness pet insurance raises the average cost to $387.01 annually or around $32 a month.

The best pet insurance companies include:

It can be hard to determine what pet insurance is best for you and your cat, especially since the insurance premium and coverage can vary tremendously. With the various types of pet insurance available, it’s important to know about the different types of coverage.

Comprehensive pet insurance

Comrephensive pet insurance policies usually cover a wide range of pet needs and vet bills. Coverage may vary between pet insurance companies, but typically a comprehensive plan covers:

  • Accidents
  • Chronic/acute conditions and illnesses
  • Behavioral problems
  • Medications and supplements
  • Dental care
  • Diagnostic tests

Accident-only pet insurance

As the name suggests, this type of insurance only covers accidents. This typically covers:

  • Lacerations
  • Swallowing a foreign object
  • Ingesting something toxic
  • Heat strokes
  • Broken bones
  • Bee stings
  • Car collisions

If you opt for accident-only pet insurance, the premiums will be much cheaper. However, you will NOT receive coverage for illnesses, breed-specific conditions, behavioral care, cancer, pre-existing conditions, and other conditions listed by your insurer.

Pet wellness coverage

Pet wellness and health maintenance coverage is a common add-on chosen by cat owners. The plan allows you to receive reimbursements for preventative care and routine checkups. Cat owners who have pet wellness coverage may feel more financially comfortable to take their cats to the vet regularly.



Balancing affordability with quality when it comes to supplies for your cat can be tough. It’s generally recommended to invest in long-lasting items for your cat. Durable carriers, bowls, scratching posts, brushes, and litter boxes can go a long way in keeping your cat happy and healthy. On the other hand, toys and cat food might require more frequent changes as you get to know what suits your cat best.

Finally, remember to consider the reactions of your cat as you buy new items, supplies, and food products. Prioritizing your cat’s needs is essential, but listening to the responses of your cat can also help you create a loving and more comfortable home for your cat.

About The Author

Ru Chen

Ru Chen

Content Writer

Ru Chen is a content writer with several years of experience in creating engaging and well-researched articles. She mostly writes about insurance, business, digital marketing, and law. In her free time, she can be found watching horror movies and playing board games with her partner in Brooklyn.

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