How Much Does a Cat Cost: A Guide For New Pet Owners
Answering the question: How much does a cat cost? If you’re a new cat parent, here is everything you need to know about how much it costs to have a cat.
If you’re considering adding a new feline friend to your family, it’s important to understand the costs associated with being a cat parent. While owning a pet is truly an incredible experience, many potential pet owners are often surprised by the financial commitment that comes with having a pet.
In order to help you feel prepared and financially ready to bring your kitten home, let’s discuss how much it costs to have a cat. \
How Much Does a Cat Cost?
The Costs of Owning a Cat: Nutrition, Necessities and Medical Expenses
Adoption or Breeder/Cattery Costs
The first expense you’ll need to consider as a new pet owner is the adoption, rescue or cat breeder/cattery fee.
Adoption fees can vary by shelter and the age of the cat you’re adopting. But, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200. Most cats that are adopted from shelters may already be spayed or neutered, microchipped or vaccinated.
If you decide to purchase your cat from a breeder, the cost will be more expensive. Depending on the breed of the cat, you could easily pay $500 or even up to $1000 for a cat.
You can use the ASPCA website to find adoptable cats from your local shelter.
Cat Accessories: Litter, Carrier and Collar
Cat accessories are often one time purchases that you can keep for years.
Some items your cat will need include:
- Litter box
- There are many options for litter boxes that vary in price. You may only need to purchase one, but some cat owners purchase several if they have a larger home. You can choose something simple or select a more expensive litter box that self cleans.
- Carrier / Crate
- The carrier will be used for when you need to take your cat to the veterinarian or in the event of travel. Some cat owners buy backpacks and bags that are designed for cat travel. It’s up to your discretion which model you buy and how much you would like to spend.
- Cat Collar & ID
- In order to keep your cat safe, you should purchase a collar and ID tag in case they get lost or go outside.
- Scratching Posts:
- If your cat likes to scratch, purchasing a post or mat can ensure that they do not cause damage to your floors or furniture
- Every cat is different when it comes to toys, but having something to give your cat to play with can help keep them busy and occupied. Again, the price you pay for toys will be determined by you.
Other optional purchases you may make for your cat include a cat bed, water fountain or cat shelves.
Cat Food, Treats & Litter
Recurring costs that you can expect to purchase each month are your cat’s food, treats and litter.
Every cat owner will make different decisions when it comes to selecting their cat’s nutrition. You can choose from dry food, wet food, a grocery store brand or a more premium option. And, if your cat is a fan of treats you can purchase those as well.
Here are some examples of cat food prices:
- Fancy Feast (24 cans): $15.99
- Friskies Cat Food (40 pack): $24
- Meow Mix (3lb bag): $4.20
- Cat Chow Complete (15lb bag): $14.49
In addition to food, you’ll need to purchase litter for your cat’s litter box.
Here are some examples of what different brands of litter will cost:
- Frisco Multi-Cat (40lb bag): $15.67
- Arm & Hammer Litter: $9.97
- Dr. Elsey’s Multi-Cat Litter: $19.99
- Tidy Cats: $10.49
Veterinary Visits, Dental, Vaccinations & Medicine
Your cat’s health and wellbeing is incredibly important. In order to keep them safe and protected, you will need to ensure that they have their vaccinations, any necessary medication and visit the veterinarian regularly.
Here is a breakdown of medical expenses you can expect to pay for your cat:
- Routine Medical Costs (Vaccines, Wellness Visits): $160
- Preventative Medication (Heartworm, Flea/Tick): $140
- Spay/Neuter: $150
- Initial Medical Costs: $175
- Microchipping: $20
- Dental Care: $300
Vaccinations, spay/neuter, flea/tick and microchipping are all standard “start-up” costs for when you first bring your kitten home. Additional veterinarian care over your cat’s lifetime will be dependent upon their health and medical conditions that may develop.
Even if your cat is healthy, you should still schedule regular veterinary visits and check-ups as a preventative measure.
Emergency Care: Accidents and Illnesses
While we never want to think about our cat becoming sick or having an accident. The truth is that unexpected illness and accidents do occur and pet parents need to be prepared.
Emergency veterinarian care is often difficult to predict. According to Emergency Vets USA, these are the common emergency veterinarian procedures and what they cost for a cat:
- Exam / Consultation: $100-$150
- General Blood Work: $80-$200
- X-Rays: $150-$250
- Ultrasound: $300-$600
- 1-2 Day Hospitalization (vomiting/diarrhea, seizures): $600-$1500
- 3-5 Day Hospitalization (kidney failure, blocked cat, parvo): $1500-$3000
- Wound and Treatment Repair: $800-$1500
- Emergency Surgery (bloat, foreign body, hit by car): $1500-$3000
- Oxygen Therapy (heart, failure, pneumonia, asthma): $500-$2500
Emergency veterinarian care can quickly become expensive for cat owners. In order to get the most accurate estimate of what treatment may cost in your area, it’s best to do your research and get quotes from local veterinarians.
How Much Does a Cat Cost Per Month?
According to the ASPCA, you can expect to spend on average $634 annually on your cat which breaks down to around $53 per month. This includes spending on:
- Cat food & basic necessities
- Accessories & toys
- Medical Care
- Cat Grooming & Cat Sitters
In addition to these anticipated expenses, there will be unexpected costs of owning a cat.
The most common unexpected costs are from emergency veterinarian care due to an illness or accident.
This is why we recommend protecting your cat with a pet insurance policy as soon as you bring them home, in order to help you cover and pay for these expensive veterinary bills.
How To Budget For Your Cat’s Expenses
Owning a cat is a financial responsibility that will require budgeting and saving. In order to help you save on cat costs you can consider:
- Shopping around for the best prices
- Buying your cat’s food and litter in bulk
- Purchasing a pet insurance policy
- Opening a pet savings account with a rewards debit card
Purchase a Pet Insurance Policy
Pet insurance can help you manage your finances when it comes to veterinary costs. Expensive medical bills are more common than most cat parents think - this is why pet insurance is important.
With a pet insurance policy, you’ll be able to protect your cat, bring them to the veterinarian and get reimbursed for treatments that are covered by your provider.
Pet insurance will give you the peace of mind knowing that your cat always has access to the care they need and you’ll never need to choose between taking them for treatment or being able to afford it.
But, how do you find the best pet insurance policy?
That’s where we can help. Fursure is a team of pet insurance advisors that can help you find the best policy for your cat and budget. And, we’re completely free to use!
With our comparison tool and personalized recommendations, we provide you with policy options to choose from. All you need to do is sign up, give us a few details about your cat and we’ll send you a list of providers that we believe are the best fit.
Open a Pet Savings Account With a Rewards Debit Card
At Fursure, we’re creating the first debit card for pet parents. As a cat owner, we know you would do anything to make sure your best friend is happy and healthy. So, why not get rewarded for taking such great care of your pet?
With Fursure’s Rewards Debit Card, you’ll earn points on every purchase you make. And, these points can be redeemed on veterinarian care for your cat.
To learn more about our rewards debit card, sign up for free today!
As you can see, owning a cat is truly a financial responsibility. With basic necessities and veterinary visits, the expenses for taking care of your cat can quickly accumulate over time.
Knowing that it can be expensive, it’s best for any potential cat parent to be prepared by creating a budget, opening a pet savings account and getting your cat set up with a pet insurance policy.
Yet, despite what it may cost to own a cat - you can’t put a price on the love and companionship you’ll receive from having a feline best friend.