How Much Does It Cost to Take Care of a Cat?

January 20, 2022 by Becca Glee Shepard
how much does a cat cost per year

From their beady eyes and independent nature to their furry skin, cats are some of the most well-loved pets. As domesticated creatures, they are greatly valued by humans and make excellent companions!

Cats bring a lot of happiness and laughter to families, but how much does it cost per year to take care of a cat?

It is important to consider the cost of caring for a cat before bringing one home. Here are a few things to consider before you decide to adopt your new furry best friend:

The Quick Answers:

  • Upfront costs: $700-$1,400
  • Annual Costs: $1,200-$1,500
  • Unexpected Costs: $1,000 (recommended)

Jump-to:

  • Upfront costs
  • Annual costs
  • Unexpected costs

Upfront costs:

The initial cost new pet parents will likely encounter, which includes the initial purchasing or adoption cost, upfront medical expenses, and other products. Here are the one-time costs for cats:

Purchasing cost

Cat breeders

Although cats may also be purchased from breeders, they are usually more expensive than cats that can be adopted from a shelter. Breeders typically charge at least $750 per cat. By purchasing a cat from a shelter, you are not only giving these wonderful pets a home and a loving family, but you may also be saving their life.

Cat adoption

If the cat is adopted from a shelter, you'll have the adoption fee to pay. This is usually dependent on the shelter from which the domestic animal is being adopted as well as the age of the cat.However, this cost generally varies between $50 and $175

One-time medical costs

Your new cat will also need some initial medical care. Pet parents will bear the cost of these one-time medical costs:

Equipment

Essential items should also be factored into the cost of caring for a cat. Here are the basic versions of the following cat products, which should be included as part of your initial cost:

  • Litter box $20-$30
  • Food & water bowls and supplies -$20-$35
  • Carrier -$30-$60
  • Scratching posts or mats $20-$40
  • Cat Brush - $8-$15
  • Collar and ID tag -$15-$30

Total Estimated Costs: $120-$200

Annual costs of caring for a cat:

The cost of having a cat as a pet does not stop at the initial cost paid. In fact, the ASPCA explained that cat parents can expect to spend an estimated $634 annually. This would then work out to a cost of about $53 monthly. Although the monthly cost of a cat and the average annual cost of having a cat would vary based on different factors, the ASPCA suggested the following as some of the expenses that cat parents may experience on an annual basis.

Medical expenses

Similar to humans, cats require routine check-ups so pet parents must take this expense into consideration. Routine checks at the veterinarian, vaccinations as well as medication for flea, tick, and even heartworm are extremely important.

Food

Providing balanced, healthy meals for your cat is a fundamental aspect of their care. As such, purchasing cat food ideal for your cat is important and veterinary advice must be given first to ensure you're making healthy choices for your cat.

Estimated costs: $300-$750 per year, depending on the brand.

Toys

In the same way cats provide humans with companionship and joy, they also require this added element to their lives. With that being said, buying safe toys for your cat will help them to not be bored and also provide physical stimulation as they remain active and occupied.

Estimated costs: $20-$40 per year

Cleaning & grooming supplies

To keep your home clean, you’ll want to account for the cost of products, including odor eliminators, cat wipes, grooming products and other products.

Estimated cost: $50-$100 per year.

In addition to the aforementioned costs, it is advised that a minimum of $30 be put aside for any other miscellaneous expenses that may arise. These costs vary according to the specific needs and lifestyle of the cat so it is important to have extra funds set aside.

Unexpected costs:

Of course, there may be some unexpected expenses to caring for a cat that you may not initially factor in. As inconvenient as they may seem, they form a part of the expenses that cats may come with. Whether it’s an illness or an accident, you’ll need to account for these events when factoring in the costs of caring for a cat or kitten.

Medical emergencies

These costs can vary depending on the nature of the emergency. This can include:

  • Trauma from a car or motor vehicle
  • Heat stroke
  • Urinary blockage
  • Cases of vomiting and diarrhea
  • Toxin ingestion

Damages to your home

As warm and friendly as they are, cats can cause some chaos and damage within the home. Beyond their seemingly innocent faces lie the ability to rip up carpets and cause countless other problems with their very sharp nails including scratching furniture.

Accurately predicting just how many accidents your cat can cause and the corresponding cost they may accrue is almost impossible. However, being mindful of the fact that unexpected costs will come up and giving yourself some financial cushion will spare you a lot of headaches.

Traveling costs

Whether you decide to travel with a cat, or leave them with a trusted pet sitter or cat boarding, there may be a cost that factors into the cost of cat parenthood.

  • Traveling with a cat -traveling on a plane with a cat can cost you an estimated $100-$150 each way, depending on the airline.
  • Boarding costs -if you decide to not bring your cat with you, many pet parents will opt for a pet sitter or cat boarding. This typically costs around $25 per night.

Related article: Traveling with a Pet

End-of-Life Costs

No one wants to think about it, but at some point, you must consider end-of-life costs for your feline. There are fees for euthanasia, cremation, and urns that vary depending on the location of the end-of-life services you choose. Check your local laws regarding burial guidelines if that is something you wish to pursue.

In Closing

Being financially prepared for your cat is an important first step to responsible pet parenting. Budgeting and having a cat insurance plan for your pet will prove to be extremely helpful.

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