3 essential things every first time cat owner needs

The ultimate first time cat owner’s guide to ensuring your pet leads a long, healthy and happy life (#3 is a gamechanger!)

As much as cats are independent creatures with a mind of their own, there are still some important things you need to purchase before you bring home your furry bundle of joy.

These supplies and essential items will help your cat easily adjust to their new home and welcome your feline friend into a happy space where they can feel relaxed and at ease.

Whilst most people will consider cats to be lower maintenance compared to their canine counterparts, there are still many essential items and bare necessities to ensure you have in your home and in place before Whiskers comes home.

3 things you need as a first time cat owner

1.     The right food and feeding essentials

One of the most essential items to have in your home is the right food. Choosing a quality food for your cat will provide them with the right nutrients to support their health and wellbeing. It’s a good idea to chat with your vet about what food they recommend for cats or kittens.

If you are adopting a cat from a shelter (kudos to you!), then chat to your shelter about what food your cat is already used to and possibly start with this kibble for the first few weeks. Alternatively, mix this food into your new food for your cat so that they can get used to it.

Read this: My Cat Won’t Eat: 7 Reasons and What To Do

Pro tip: Use an automated water dispenser to automatically refill your cat’s water bowl.

Did you know that most cats are lactose intolerant? This means that giving your cat fresh cream or milk as a treat will do more harm than good. Rather stick to water for drinking, and when it comes to treats, find a pet-friendly alternative at your local pet store.

When it comes to food bowls, cats generally prefer show bowls to make it easier for them to get to their food. Try to stick to metal or ceramic bowls as these are easier to sterilise and clean. Plastic bowls tend to capture bacteria and odours.

2.     Essentials for comfort

When it comes to creating a comfortable environment for your cat, there are a few must-have items you need to purchase:

The right bed

It’s important for you to create a safe and comfortable space for your cat to sleep and hang out in. Whilst they might prefer to sleep on the couch, your bed, or your face, creating a soft and comfortable place for your cat to call their own is important.

A scratching post

Although your cat’s scratching habits are not desirable, they are inevitable. Which means that you need to give your cat something to use to groom their claws, mark their territory, and play with. When finding a scratching post, try to find one that is quite tall – one that is taller than your cat when they are fully stretched out. You should also find one that is sturdy so that it doesn’t fall over or move when your cat is scratching.


Don’t waste your money on expensive and elaborate toys for your cat. Chances are, they would rather play in an empty cardboard box or with a piece of paper on the floor than some fancy flying bird toy. If you do buy toys for your cat, look for small balls for them to chase after. Wands are especially great because you can control the toy at the end of the wand and play with your cat.

Discover: 8 Strange Cat Behaviours and Their Meaning

The right litter box and litter

When buying a litter box, make sure it is big enough for your cat to comfortably move around in and make a mess in. Cats typically love to dig and scratch around when doing their business, so make sure you buy a litter box that is big enough for your kitty to go about their business as they please.

Before buying a covered box, it’s best to stick to an uncovered one first as covered ones can trap in odours which your cat will not enjoy at all. Did you know that a cat’s sense of smell is 14 times more sensitive than a human’s? When it comes to litter, make sure you choose an unscented litter. Scented litter can be off-putting for Whiskers.

You might want to read this: How Can I Stop My Male Cat from Spraying in My House? Our 4-Step Guide

3.     Pet insurance

Cats are expensive. In fact, all pets are expensive. You might be buying a whole bunch of things online for your cat right now and realising how just care, toys, and food quickly start to add up.

But what happens when your cat gets sick or is involved in an accident?

In doing anything for their cat, many pet owners will go into debt trying to afford to save their cat’s life. Luckily, with pet insurance, you don’t have to dip into your savings or take out a loan. Pet insurance is an easy and affordable way to protect your cat and your bank account.

Choosing the right pet insurance may seem like a daunting task, but we’re here to make it easier by telling you that Oneplan Pet Insurance is the best in the biz!

Not only do they offer a plan for every budget (you can get comprehensive cover from just R160 for your cat), but they also make claiming SUPER easy with their Oneplan App and Onecard. When it’s time for Mittens to visit the vet for a checkup, all you have to do is load the funds onto your Onecard via the App, and they’ll be ready within a minute for you to pay the vet bill!

Plus, they’re all about making your pet insurance premium more affordable by giving you exclusive discounts of up to 25% in the Onepet Online Pet Store so you can save monthly on premium pet food brands like Hill’s, Royal Canin, Eukanuba, and Montego, as well as tick & flea, dewormer, grooming products, toys, accessories, and MORE!

Put simply, Oneplan Pet Insurance is a must-have for any first time cat owner because they take the financial stress out of owning a pet – AND, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your newest furry family member will always be covered when they need it most!

Yours in Not-so-average Pet Insurance,

The Petinsurance.co.za Team