9 Pet Parents on the Absolute Best Purchase They Made for Their New Pet

published May 24, 2022
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Credit: Andrew Bui

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Getting a new pet, whether a tiny kitten or an older rescue dog, marks a special chapter in many people’s lives. I’ll never forget when my dad brought home our first puppy, Bunty — tongue lolling, tail wagging — and how much love he brought to our family in the following years. But as first-time pet owners, we certainly wished we had bought some things at that time to make both his and our lives easier.

If you’re about to embark on the new pet journey yourself, a little advice can go a long way. So, we asked experienced pet parents from around the country (and even the world!) about the best purchases they made for their furry friends. Whether you’re looking for something practical, stylish, travel-friendly, or even silly, you’ll find something on this list for every type of pet and pet parent out there.

Credit: Sara Wang

A Cat Tree That Actually Looks Like a Tree

“My favorite purchase is the cat tree I ordered before I even finished the adoption process for [my cat] Cody. I’m so used to the beige-carpeted behemoths of cat trees that I know cats absolutely love but can be real eyesores. Since my apartment is so small, I wanted it to be a comfortable nap spot while also being a bit of a decor piece. I also now have an excuse to make everything pink and green to match the color combo I picked. It’s available in different sizes and colors.” Sara Wang, Los Angeles

An On-the-Go Essential — Plus, a Toy Your Ears Will Thank You For

“[N]umber one functional contender [for the pups] is their travel water and food bowls that are so easy to transport, ‘cause we’re always needing to feed them in untraditional places. But the silly favorite is this toy that looks like a bag of chips — it doesn’t squeak, which is great for humans, but it’s so satisfying to them!” Anisha Chirmule, Philadelphia

A Cute Hideaway That Pets Love Snoozing In

“I bought [this pufferfish cat bed] because it really matches the chaotic energy of my two cats at home and also looks a bit silly. My two cats love it because they always enjoy darker places to sleep in, so this bed works perfectly for them since it kind of has a ceiling.” Jady Tian, New York City

A Roomy Backpack That Your Pup Can Wear for Adventures and Excursions

“I think the best purchase I’ve made for [my dog] Kiba would have to be his backpack from Non-Stop Dogwear. It really helps with packing and access to his stuff on longer trips. Also, I don’t have to carry quite as much.” Linus Zetterlund, Stockholm, Sweden

Credit: Jules Acree

A Nifty Leash That Keeps Your Hands Free

“My favorite purchase I’ve made for both of my girls is the Magic Link leash from Fable Pets. It was a splurge, but it can be worn comfortably in so many ways! I like to wear it as a crossbody leash, and it makes it more comfortable to be hands-free when I’m handling both pups or while hiking or dining outside. It’s super durable and easy to clean — plus, the colors are pretty.” Jules Acree, Austin, Texas

A Staple Purchase That Benefits Both You and Your Pet in the Long Run

“My favorite purchase [was] professional dog training. I had learned quite a lot on my own and was able to give my dog a pretty decent base initially, but working with a trainer gave me a plan that included the repetitious, monotonous tasks you have to do over and over to really build fluency of a skill with your dog. As a result of our training, my dog and I have a rock-solid bond, I am a more confident handler, and my dog has more freedom when he’s off leash on the trails because his recall is perfect. As a bonus, it put me on the path toward becoming a dog trainer myself!” Jen Sotolongo, Portland, Oregon

A Wine Bottle Your Cat Can Enjoy, Too

“My favorite thing that I have bought my cat Tyrion is a set of catnip-filled wine bottles. I’ll toss one to him and he’ll attack it, bunny kicks galore. It is adorable and fun to do as I have my evening glass of wine — I feel less like I am drinking alone!” Grace Atwood, Charleston, South Carolina

A Toy for Pets and Parents with Competitive Spirits

“We have an 18-month-old English Labrador. My favorite pet purchase is actually a gift! It’s the Nerf tug-of-war rope that seems virtually indestructible and is long enough to safely play with (without having one’s fingers nipped by a competitive dog!). It also has a squeaker at one end, which is how my puppy lets me know she is in the mood to play and win a game.” Richa Kapoor, Bay Area, California

A Sustainable Grooming Product to Keep Their Fur Soft and Smooth

“I love this [Bodhi Dog detangling spray].  It’s all natural, which means it’s very gentle for [my dog] Appa’s skin and coat, [and] is great for detangling and preventing new mats. Saves me a lot of labor while combing her hair.” —Victoria Almera, San Diego