Start your new friendship off on the right paw

First-time cat owner? Here are some expert tips and resources that can help give you and your new best friend the smoothest transition possible.

What to expect with your new cat

A new cat is lots of fun — and lots of work, too! Not sure what you’ll need the first week? The first month? Choose an option below for a sense of what’s ahead.

Cat Parent FAQs

One new cat is worth a million questions, but here are some common ones you no longer have to search for:

  • What things do I need before I adopt a cat?

    Make room in your budget for a few necessities, such as:

    • Collar
    • ID tag
    • Food & water bowls
    • Litter, scoop & litter box
    • Carrier
    • Bedding
    • Grooming brush
    • Nail trimmers
    • Toys
    • Vet Bills

    There will also be smaller things that you’ll need to buy regularly. For example:

    • Shampoo
    • Flea and tick control products
    • Cat food
    • Heartworm medications
  • How should I prepare my home for my new friend?

    Before your cat enters the home, you’ll want to make sure everyone you live with understands how they will welcome their new friend, as well as what their new responsibilities entail.

    Remember that kittens have LOTS of energy, and may want to scratch furniture, jump on things and pee outside their litter box.

    On the other end, senior cats often have less energy compared to younger cats, so set expectations with children and other family members so you don’t overwhelm your new friend.

    Download our home checklist

  • After the first year, how often should my cat see the vet?

    At a minimum, a healthy cat needs one thorough veterinary checkup a year. Cats can hide symptoms of injuries and illnesses, so it’s up to you to establish what is “normal” behavior for your cat and keep an eye out for anything that seems unusual.

    Download the vet checkup checklist

  • What should I feed my new cat?

    Depending on their lifestage, you will want to adjust your cat’s food accordingly.

    Kittens (Under Age 1)

    Specially formulated for their frisky lifestyle, kitten food is made to fuel the boundless energy of a young cat and support healthy development.

    Shop kitten foods

    Adult Cats (1-7 Years)

    Adult cat foods need the right balance of nutrients – not too much, not too little – to support a cat's everyday nutritional needs.

    Shop adult cat foods

    Older Cats (Age 7+)

    As your cat grows older they'll need special support to reduce the risk of kidney issues, mobility problems and other conditions associated with age.

    Shop senior cat foods

  • Can I feed my cat people food?

    Contrary to popular belief, regularly feeding your new cat human food can lead to obesity, dental issues, GI upset and finicky eating habits. It’s also important to know which types of foods are toxic to cats before you feed them anything from the dinner table.

    Rather than feeding people food as treats, ask your veterinarian about a healthier alternative designed for cats.

    See what cats can and can’t eat 

  • How much will it cost to care for my cat?

    No matter what age your cat is, there is definitely a cost to giving them a happy and healthy life. Generally, annual cat care costs average around $809 per year says Pet Coach, and that doesn’t include unexpected trips to the vet or moments of weakness when you see a toy your furry friend “has to have.” Make sure you’re ready to care for your cat physically, emotionally AND financially before you commit to making a forever friend.

    Save on your cat food purchase

  • What if my cat scratches up everything?

    A cat’s claws are a huge part of their lives, and part of the way they interact with their world. It’s no wonder they find scratching furniture and other objects a way to relieve stress or show anxiety. Another possibility is that your cat is just bored! Invest in a scratching post and remember to be patient.

    Why cats like to scratch

  • Why does my cat keep having accidents or throwing up?

    People tend to assume that a cat is being spiteful or intentional when they pee outside of the litter box, but there are less malicious reasons behind these types of behaviors. Peeing on objects around the house is often a sign of anxiety, or even a medical ailment that is hurting your cat.

    Cats can also manifest anxiety in the form of digestive problems, so while it is easy to blame the food you’re feeding your cat, one of the worst things you can do to try and improve the problem is switch their food right away.

    The important thing to remember is not to lose hope. As your cat starts to get more comfortable at home, and your vet has eliminated any potential health problems, your cat will likely get back to doing their business in the litter box again. 

    Why cats pee outside of the litter box

  • Where can I find Hill's cat food products?

Hey new cat parent!

Congratulations on the new addition! Here’s an exclusive discount on your next purchase of Science Diet® for your new friend to enjoy.

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Finding the right food for your new cat

It helps to know what your cat needs, and what they don’t. Check out the science behind our cat nutrition here.

Learn more

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Win a year's supply of Hill's pet food

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Cat Care Articles

Keep your new best friend happy and healthy for years to come with these useful tools, resources and articles.