How Much Does a Cat Truly Cost?

How Much Does a Cat Truly Cost?

by Scritch

Cat owners will likely tell you that the joys of sharing your home with a cat far outweigh the associated costs, but it’s important to be informed before you add that bundle of joy to your family.

When you adopt a cat, you are making a commitment to taking care of her for the rest of her life. Millions of pets are abandoned at shelters every year because their owners weren’t prepared to make the time and/or financial commitment, so be sure you know what you’re signing up for.

The price of a cat

If you want to give a needy kitty a loving home, adoption from a shelter or rescue is the way to go. Most shelters charge more for kittens and often prefer that you adopt them in pairs. You may find special deals on adult (cats are considered “adult” at age 1) and senior (age 7 and older) cats. Rescues and shelters often include the cost of the initial health exam and vaccinations, along with spaying or neutering, in their adoption fee. The fee may also include the cost of a microchip. Fees to adopt a cat can range from $50 to $150 or more.

You may be able to adopt a senior cat for as little as $20. Keep in mind that an older cat may have more medical bills, but on the plus side, her personality is already developed and most senior cats tend to be mellow. Because her kitten days are long past, she will not be climbing your curtains!

If you’re interested in a purebred cat, do your homework and be sure the breeder is reputable and the cats are healthy. Visit the breeder and see the conditions of the cats and their environment. Often, you can find purebred cats at rescues and shelters, however if purchasing from a breeder, costs can be much higher. The cost of a kitten from a cattery can range from $400 to $1600.

Cost of cat supplies

In addition to the cost of the cat, you’ll have your initial “startup costs,” including the cost of the kitty and all her accessories, as well as’ recurring costs. Those costs can vary depending on where you live.

You’ll want to prepare your home for kitty’s arrival. You’ll need:

  • Carrier - $40-$100
  • Litter box ($10 to $25) and litter (about $8 for a 15-pound box)
  • Collar - $10
  • Scratching post and/or cat tree - $25-$200
  • Bed - $25-$50
  • Toys - $10-$15
  • Grooming tools - $20

With a healthy cat, food will be your biggest expense. You can buy a 16-pound bag of commercial brand cat kibble for about $15, and a bag of premium food can be twice that price. A 6-ounce can of cat food ranges from 60 cents to nearly $3. Cats can be finicky eaters, so it may take some experimentation to find the food your cat likes.

Keeping your cat indoors is better for her, as well as your wallet. An indoor cat has a much lower risk of illness and injury.

Additional costs:

  • If you rent your home or apartment, you’ll need to factor in any pet deposits or monthly fees that may be required.
  • Flea and tick control – Even if your cat is indoors only, she can pick up a flea or a tick. Regular treatments will cost $15-$20.
  • License – Depending on the regulations in your area, this can run $10-$30 annually.
  • Medical care – Your kitty may not become ill or get injured, but her annual check-up and vaccinations could run up to $200.
  • Pet insurance – A health insurance plan for your cat can cost between $10-$40 per month.

A cat is a great companion for you and your family. Take the associated costs into consideration before making the commitment to her lifetime care.

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