How Much Does a Cat Cost?

Whiskery kisses are worth their weight in gold, but how much do cats cost when you really get down to the purr-ticulars? The cost of a cat or kitten runs a range depending on cat breed, age and even your lifestyle, but the basics come in around a minimum of $405 for the first year, and about $340 for each year after.

Cat Cost EstimatesExpenseFirst YearEach Year Following Adoption Fee* Sponsored ($0)200N/A Veterinary Care and Vaccines* $110550$110550 Flea/Tick Prevention $20200$20200 Food $120500$120500 Treats $10100$10100 Food and Water Bowls $530N/A Litter Box $10200$10100 Litter $70150$70150 Cat Bed $20100$0100 Carrier $2075$075 Toys and Scratching Post $2050$050 TOTAL$4052,285$3401,825 * Adoption fees typically cover a range of additional costs, such as spaying/neutering and various veterinary tests. Adoption fees may be more economical than buying a pet outright, and many shelters cover initial health exams, along with spaying or neutering (procedures that can cost an average of $200$500).

It depends, and the best way to save on veterinary costs is to keep your pet healthy in the first place. Emergency clinics are pricey (upward of $1,000+ in some instances), and regular visits to the veterinarian can keep them at bay. Skip the fancy collar, opt for a simple stainless steel food bowl and try to resist that robotic, self-cleaning litter box.

It may be a good idea to budget for some of the potential items below, and make sure youre prepared for surprises down the road: There are a number of reasonable plans with low monthly fees tha help protect you, just in case.

How much does it cost to buy a cat?

Typical costs: Adopting a kitten or adult cat from a shelter usually costs between $50 and $100. Purchasing a pet quality purebred kitten from a breeder usually costs between $300 and $1,200 depending on the breed and color.

What is the cheapest cat?

Of the 11 cat breeds on our list, the Domestic Shorthair emerges as the most affordable cat, followed closely by the Himalayan, Siamese, and Turkish Van. The Domestic Shorthair will also be the easiest to find, and you can usually have one the same day, while it might take considerably longer for the other breeds.

Are cats cheaper than dogs?

THE OVERALL WINNER: Cats. If the decision came down to your wallet, cats are significantly cheaper than dogs, costing about $13,625 to $17,510 in a lifetime, compared to dogs at $16,607 to $22,423.

If youve been dreaming of adding a cat or kitten to your family, its a good idea to take a look at how much its likely to cost you to own a cat. As well as the one-off costs like adoption, or spaying or neutering, youll have to factor in ongoing costs like food, recurring medical expenses, and pet insurance.

The amounts weve given are estimates and will depend on where you live, the availability of veterinary care in your area, and the types of products like food or litter you choose to use. The most significant variable will be whether or not your cat will need more than routine vet care, which of course, isnt something youre going to be able to plan for!

But forewarned is forearmed, so knowing a rough budget for annual costs before you fall in love with a cat at a shelter is definitely a good idea. Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, PixabayOnce youve made the decision to buy or adopt a cat, youll have to be ready to invest some funds in several one-time costs. As a rough guide, these can include the adoption fees from a shelter or the cost of a kitten from a breeder.

If your neighbor or friends cat has had a litter of kittens accidentally, they may be offering them as free to a good home. Thats not to say that getting a free kitten is a bad idea; just remember that their annual costs wont be any less than any other cat! If you dont have a specific breed in mind, then most shelters are excellent at matching your family circumstances to a cat with the right personality for you.

Depending on the cat breed youre interested in, youll find a huge range of different prices. Whichever breed you choose, its important to take the time to find a reputable breeder who can provide references, health records, and more. If youre a first-time cat owner, then youll need to invest in most or all of this list before you bring your new furry friend home.

ID Tag and Collar $15 Spay/Neuter $145 X-Ray Cost $100 $250 Ultrasound Cost $250 $500 Microchip $45 $55 Teeth Cleaning $150 $300 Bed $30 Nail Clipper $7 Brush $8 Litter Box $25 Litter Scoop $10 Toys $30 Carrier $40 Food and Water Bowls $10 Cat Flap (optional) $50 Scratching Post $40 This figure will depend on what food and litter you choose to buy, as well as which medications your cat needs. If your cat requires regular medical care, then your costs will be far higher than if they only visit the vet once a year.

Vet bills and health care have the potential to easily take up the largest chunk of your budget. Routine vet expenses can be fairly low, especially if you take preventative action like brushing your cats teeth. And of course, cats can have accidents or develop ongoing health conditions that may require large financial outlays.

Your vet will want to check your cats overall health, including if they need any procedures like teeth cleaning. Plenty of domestic cats suffer from periodontal disease, which can sometimes result in them needing a professional teeth cleaning appointment. Whether theyve eaten something they shouldnt have, been in a road traffic accident, or had a urinary tract infection, you should think about how you would meet these medical bills if you had to.

If your cat develops an ongoing condition like kidney disease, diabetes, or anything else that requires continuous treatment, your monthly costs will increase as a result. Theres a huge range of choices when it comes to cat food, so here you can either push the boat out and choose a luxury brand or economize by selecting a budget option. Low-cost food shouldnt be low-quality, though, so check youre buying the best you can afford and that it includes a high percentage of meat protein.

An indoor cat will use roughly 20 pounds of clay litter per month, so this plus the accessories you may use can quickly add up. The annual cost of owning a cat will vary widely depending on if you choose budget food and litter or buy the best that you can afford. Its absolutely possible to own a cat on a budget, so if a kitten that you cant resist comes up at the shelter, then you may be able to afford them if youre careful.

Consider swapping out expensive cat litter for a budget brand, or even using pellets designed for horse bedding instead! Taking out pet insurance might seem like an unnecessary monthly expense, but it can make a difference in the long run.

How much does a cat cost? Well, like most good things in life, a lot of cats are free. According to the American Pet Products Association survey of 2018, approximately 32 percent of adopted cats were stray animals before their owners took them in. Though many families do find their feline friends on the street, adoption costs that include necessary testing and vaccination costs still have the potential to add up. The price of cat adoption fees can be as low as $50 for older cats, or thousands of dollars for pure-bred designer cats from breeders.

However, if fractures are involved or anything requiring surgery is warranted, then the cost to repair their furbabies can be easily over $1,000. Though indoor cats are likely to stay safer and be healthier, know about these hidden dangers for your pets at home. As obligate carnivores, they need to eat meat to survive and dont derive much nutrition from vegetables and grains, or from these other human foods you should never give your cat.

Do your homework and research so you know what you may be getting yourself into both financially and emotionally. In 2018, The Humane Society estimated the yearly cost of feline veterinary care to be $890. Its clear that owning a cat is a substantial financial responsibility, so its important to think about the commitment youre making before you adopt your wise, playful companion.

Its been 6 months since Mr. Mechanic and I adopted MechaniCat, so it seems like a good time to do an assessment of how much money weve spent on our first pet. As with everything, we went the frugal route, so it will be interesting to see if we spent more or less than expected. Coincidentally, two other bloggers also adopted cats 6 months ago, so Ill also do a comparison of how much each of us spent in different categories.

One-time capital costs like feeding bowls, a travel crate, and other supplies totals $325, not including the adoption fee. We would get to enjoy the company of a new furry friend without long-term strings attached, and the cat wouldnt be cooped up in a cage for several months.

I called the shelter and asked if they had any foster cats available, and by the next day I had a mewling 7-month old kitten in the back of my car. The shelter volunteer speculated that he might have been part of a local infamous cat colony because they found him behind a gym with his two sisters a couple of towns over. He arrived at the shelter with fleas, a mild case of gingivitis, an eye infection, and a positive test for FeLV feline leukemia virus.

This is not about competition of who paid the least, but rather an investigation of three different familys experiences and choices as they brought a new furry friend into their household. Keep in mind, my expenses are deceptively low due to the fostering hack that covered the cost of the first 3 months. ESI Money had a big vet bill that covered everything from getting rid of an infection and fleas, neutering, annual shots, and declawing (which I am against; read more here ).

Comparatively, My Money Wizards paid just $35 for his routine check-up, but he ran up an unexpected emergency vet bill when his cat was diagnosed with anxiety (an extra $682 for treatment). MechaniCats adoption fee included his initial medical bills, and the shelter provided antibiotics for his eye infection for free, so we paid $0 total in the first 6 months. I could see myself buying something automatic down the line, but weve opted for the more unusual choice of attempting to potty-train our cat to save long term on litter.

We know to avoid food with high amounts of grains in the first couple of ingredients, but in general were starting our cat off on the cheap stuff and figure we can always upgrade over time. MechaniCat loves to bat a stray pistachio nut around the floor, chase a string through the house, and wrestle our grocery bags. Each line item can vary a lot; sometimes this is within our control (toys) and other times we dont have much choice (vet bills).

While the ASPCA average of $1,174 holds up fairly well as a benchmark for the first year of owning a cat, the reality may be quite different depending on your circumstances.

Planning for a New Cat or Kitten

When it comes to the costs of a cat or kitten, there’s a wide range of prices for nearly every necessity you can think of. Where you find yourself on the cat cost scale depends on your individual pet’s needs, and your personal budget. You can play it tame or go a little more wild, but the information below should give you a pretty good scope of costs (give or take a few outliers, like professional grooming or emergency veterinary care).* Adoption fees typically cover a range of additional costs, such as spaying/neutering and various veterinary tests. Find more details here.

Saving Money on Cat Care

Once you’ve made the decision to buy or adopt a cat, you’ll have to be ready to invest some funds in several one-time costs. As a rough guide, these can include the adoption fees from a shelter or the cost of a kitten from a breeder. It will also include things like initial vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and one-off purchases like a cat carrier, cat door, bed, food, and bowls.If your neighbor or friend’s cat has had a litter of kittens accidentally, they may be offering them as free to a good home. While this might seem like a bargain, remember that the cost of your kitten is a one-off expense and pales in comparison to the ongoing annual costs of keeping your new cat happy, healthy, and well-fed.That’s not to say that getting a free kitten is a bad idea; just remember that their annual costs won’t be any less than any other cat! Depending on the health of the parent cats, you may find that your free kitten requires more veterinary care than a kitten from a shelter or breeder, as those little guys will have had their health checked before they travel to their new homes.Adopting a cat or kitten from a shelter is a great way to provide a loving home for an animal in need, but it’s also usually better value than buying a kitten from a breeder. If you don’t have a specific breed in mind, then most shelters are excellent at matching your family circumstances to a cat with the right personality for you. The adoption fee usually covers a shelter’s basic costs, including veterinary fees and food.Depending on the cat breed you’re interested in, you’ll find a huge range of different prices. Even if you choose a more expensive breed, the initial cost of your new kitten will still pale in comparison to the cost of keeping them over their lifetime. Whichever breed you choose, it’s important to take the time to find a reputable breeder who can provide references, health records, and more.If you’re a first-time cat owner, then you’ll need to invest in most or all of this list before you bring your new furry friend home. You can definitely make the budget choice in some areas, but in others, like microchipping, the cost will likely be a flat rate. If you’ve owned a cat before, you may have some of these supplies already, in which case your initial outlay here will be lower.When it comes to the annual costs of keeping a cat, there’s a huge range. This figure will depend on what food and litter you choose to buy, as well as which medications your cat needs. If your cat requires regular medical care, then your costs will be far higher than if they only visit the vet once a year.Vet bills and health care have the potential to easily take up the largest chunk of your budget. Routine vet expenses can be fairly low, especially if you take preventative action like brushing your cat’s teeth. Certain breeds may need more vet attention than others. And of course, cats can have accidents or develop ongoing health conditions that may require large financial outlays.Most vets recommend that your cat comes in for a check-up once a year. You can sometimes combine this with their annual vaccination appointment. Your vet will want to check your cat’s overall health, including if they need any procedures like teeth cleaning. Once your cat is over nine years of age, your vet may suggest bringing them in twice a year.After your kitten’s initial boosters, they’ll most likely need booster shots every 1-7 years. The frequency of the shots depends on the type of vaccination used, your location, your cat’s lifestyle, and your own preferences when it comes to your cat’s vaccination schedule.Plenty of domestic cats suffer from periodontal disease, which can sometimes result in them needing a professional teeth cleaning appointment. One way to reduce this large overhead is to brush your cat’s teeth as often as possible. You can also get dental treats that help to scrape away plaque and tartar.Most cats will require regular treatments for parasites like fleas, ticks, worms, and so on. Your vet will be able to advise you on the best course of treatments for your cat and their lifestyle. Generally, indoor cats will require less treatment.At some point, your cat may have an accident that requires emergency medical care. Whether they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t have, been in a road traffic accident, or had a urinary tract infection, you should think about how you would meet these medical bills if you had to.If your cat develops an ongoing condition like kidney disease, diabetes, or anything else that requires continuous treatment, your monthly costs will increase as a result. Different medications will cost different amounts, but once an on-going condition has been diagnosed, your cat may need medication for the rest of their life.Choosing to insure your kitten as soon as you get them can be a good way to future-proof yourself if they develop a medical condition later in life. Policies will vary depending on the age of your cat, their breed, and where you live. You can insure against accidents and illnesses or choose a comprehensive plan.There’s a huge range of choices when it comes to cat food, so here you can either push the boat out and choose a luxury brand or economize by selecting a budget option. Low-cost food shouldn’t be low-quality, though, so check you’re buying the best you can afford and that it includes a high percentage of meat protein.Whether or not your cat lives indoors or not, you’ll likely have a litter box set up for them. An indoor cat will use roughly 20 pounds of clay litter per month, so this plus the accessories you may use can quickly add up. The type of litter can affect your costs, as some litters will be more expensive than others.The world is your oyster when it comes to entertaining your cat! An independent outdoor cat could be happy with the odd stuffed mouse or two, but other cats will love playing with a wide selection of toys. You can also invest in pet cameras to keep an eye on your cat while you’re away from home, laser toys to keep them entertained when you’re busy, and even GPS cat trackers so you can see just how far your cat ranges away from home.The annual cost of owning a cat will vary widely depending on if you choose budget food and litter or buy the best that you can afford. Owning a cat doesn’t have to costs a lot, but can easily end up that way!Vet visits can also quickly add up, so while some cats may only need to see the vet once a year or even less, others may become a regular visitor to the vet clinic. Our final total doesn’t take into account large vet bills that you may incur if your cat has a serious accident or requires a lengthy stay at the vet’s.

The costs of indoor vs. outdoor cats

The life of a wayfaring outdoor cat seems enticing and adventurous, but all adventures have their risks. Dr. Christman wants cat owners to know that their outdoor pets are more prone to injuries and infections. “The most common cat injuries I see in practice include abscesses, puncture wounds, fractured limbs, and dental disease,” says Christman. Because of the unpredictable nature of the wild, wandering cats are in far greater danger than cats who live inside, and can even have traumatic experiences with “catfights, fights with other animals, being hit by cars, toxicity, and infectious diseases,” Christman notes. “These injuries are relatively inexpensive. However, if fractures are involved or anything requiring surgery is warranted, then the cost to repair their furbabies can be easily over $1,000.” Though indoor cats are likely to stay safer and be healthier, know about these hidden dangers for your pets at home.

How much does a cat carrier cost?

Since cats are natural wanderers, it doesn’t seem fair that an indoor cat should be stuck inside all day without a chance to see the world. It may look silly, but walking a cat on a leash can be beneficial to a cat’s happiness, according to feline behaviorist Koski, who believes that using a harness with an indoor cat can provide a “fun and safe opportunity for enrichment that both cat and human can enjoy together.” If this activity isn’t right for your pet, owners might consider a fun cat backpack or a traditional cat carrier for $40.

How much is a vet visit?

The price of a cat’s healthcare will vary in each individual pet, due to factors such as breed, genetic predispositions to disease, and even whether your cat is an indoor or outdoor pet. If you adopt a purebred cat, you can expect some added medical costs along with them. Veterinarian Dr. Adam Christman notes that some breeds of cat are more prone to health issues, so it’s important to do your research. “It’s always advisable to consult with your veterinarian first before purchasing a purebred cat. Do your homework and research so you know what you may be getting yourself into both financially and emotionally.” In 2018, The Humane Society estimated the yearly cost of feline veterinary care to be $890.Litter boxes are probably the most necessary cat accessory, and their purchase price is usually between $20 and $30. On most merchandising sites, 40 pounds of cat litter costs $25 and will have to be purchased four times per year with typical usage. Is your kitty litter not enough? Find out ways to get rid of that cat pee smell.

The Average Cost of Adopting A Cat

Adoption fees typically range from $15 to $200 to adopt a cat (though you can get into the thousands if you want a designer breed like a Bengal or Siberian). Of course, that’s just the tip of the tail when it comes to adoption costs.When we started thinking about getting a cat, I dove into researching breeds, googling things like “most dog-like cat” and “friendliest cat breeds.” Each of those searches led me to rarer cat breeds like a Bengal or Abyssinian, famous for their high energy, friendliness, and adventurous spirits.

How Much We Saved By Fostering

We weren’t convinced about committing to pet ownership, but we thought it might be a win-win if we fostered. We would get to enjoy the company of a new furry friend without long-term strings attached, and the cat wouldn’t be cooped up in a cage for several months. I called the shelter and asked if they had any foster cats available, andA fostering perk is that the shelter covers all the capital costs of owning a pet. Here’s the cost breakdown of everything that we were given for free in the first three months:One variable benefit of fostering was that the shelter covered all of his medical treatments. The shelter volunteer speculated that he might have been part of a local infamous cat colony because they found him behind a gym with his two sisters a couple of towns over. He arrived at the shelter with fleas, a mild case of gingivitis, an eye infection, and a positive test for FeLV – feline leukemia virus. Not a particularly pretty diagnosis!After three months of fostering, we fell in love with MechaniCat and couldn’t bring ourselves to give him back. The shelter often runs promotions to further encourage people to adopt, like “Donate a bag of cat or dog food and we waive your adoption fee!”

How Much We Have Spent In Total

With the most of the capital costs already covered, we still picked up a couple more things after signing the adoption papers. I included links to the products we bought, or the closest available.

Adoption Fees

None of us got a “designer” cat. ESI Money offered $1,000 to his daughter to adopt her kitten, which was the runt of the litter. My Money Wizard adopted his kitten from the shelter. I also adopted my cat from the shelter.Many shelters will charge less for cats older than 6 months old. The overall fee can vary greatly depending on the area you live (and how generous you want to be to your kitten-having daughter).

Vet Bills

ESI Money had a big vet bill that covered everything from getting rid of an infection and fleas, neutering, annual shots, and declawing (which I am against; read more here). Comparatively, My Money Wizard’s paid just $35 for his routine check-up, but he ran up an unexpected emergency vet bill when his cat was diagnosed with anxiety (an extra $682 for treatment).MechaniCat’s adoption fee included his initial medical bills, and the shelter provided antibiotics for his eye infection for free, so we paid $0 total in the first 6 months. If we had instead adopted from a breeder in our area, we would have been on the hook for any initial vet costs. Either way, you should always be prepared for high vet costs as even one visit can end up costing a fortune.

Supplies

The main difference that drove up My Money Wizard’s costs here is an automatic litter box, which he says is definitely worth the cost. I could see myself buying something automatic down the line, but we’ve opted for the more unusual choice of attempting to potty-train our cat to save long term on litter. One fun item both My Money Wizard and I bought is a custom embroidered collar (his was $9 from Amazon and I got one for $15 on Etsy!) Otherwise, we all spent about the same amount on generic supplies.

Food

ESI Money mentions that he buys top-notch food for his kitten, which explains how he spent $500. However, I must admit that the gap between our spending of $30 vs. his $500 astounds me.It goes to show how much more you can spend if you always buy the best. My Money Wizard is right in the middle of us. He experimented with foods to find one his cat liked. Unfortunately, a surprise diagnosis meant he now has to buy special foods for his kitty.We have also seen enormous benefits from controlling MechaniCat’s portions to only two meals a day. It means he’s super food-motivated in the middle of the day, so he’s receptive to learning new tricks like this one:

Pet Sitting

Fascinatingly, we all list significantly different pet sitting costs. ESI says the going rate in his area is $50 a night, but to be generous he offers $60. My Money Wizard uses an app called Rover, where the daily charge is closer to $20. That is what I would likely budget if we didn’t have our neighbor who steadfastly refuses any sort of payment. If not for her, we would likely set up a deal with our other pet-having neighbors to do pet-sitting swaps. I’ve also had good experiences with pet-sitting apps like Wag and Rover, so next we’d also go that route!

Toys

This discretionary line item can tempt us to spend more. It’s always a joy to see your cat go wild with a new toy. Yet I learned early on from memes and other cat owners thatCats are generally entertained by junk around the house. MechaniCat loves to bat a stray pistachio nut around the floor, chase a string through the house, and wrestle our grocery bags. We only bought a single toy. The several knickknacks we got from the shelter have since disappeared, likely underneath our TV stand and couch. Here he is messing with his favorite playthings: