How Much Does it Cost to Own a Cat? The Complete Guide for 2018

How Much Does it Cost to Own a Cat? The Complete Guide for 2018

You possibly can care for a cat for as little as $162 per yr, however it’s widespread to spend about $800 yearly. Learn on for our detailed breakdown of your annual and lifelong prices.

Of their oft-cited “Pet Care Costs” publication, the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) estimates that a new cat will value $1,174 of their first yr. With the prices of bringing a new cat into the household apart, the ASPCA determines decide that every successive yr will value $809.

We’ve calculated the annual prices of cat litter, meals, vet visits, and extra, and located you can hold a cat for as little as $277 the primary yr and $162 each successive yr. Little luxuries like vet checkups, treats, good meals, and new toys will add a few hundred dollars to that annual determine, bringing us nearer to the ASPCA’s estimate. The costliest life will probably add up to a few thousand dollars a yr.

However day by day bills aren’t cat guardians’ most critical monetary concern. Medical emergencies and sicknesses are the most important expense to price range for, probably including $5,000 or extra to your cat’s lifetime value.

Let’s work our means by means of the prices of proudly owning a cat, estimating each startup prices and the recurring prices that you simply’ll cowl for the remainder of your cat’s life.


Bringing Residence a New Cat: One-Time Prices

Free Cats

You’ll virtually all the time have to spend cash to increase a cat, however you possibly can deliver one into your life for free. Cats are given away for free every single day. Free cats are available all shapes, sizes, and ages. Typically they wander onto your porch and by no means depart. Typically you discover them in trash cans or e-book drops.

When you gained’t have to pay for these cats upfront, they could include further startup prices. You might have to cowl neutering by yourself. In case you undertake an orphaned kitten, you’ll have to pay for kitten milk replacer.

These kittens are sometimes sick or flea-infested, so it’s possible that you simply’ll encounter some medical payments alongside the street to maturity.


$25 – $200

Animal shelters and different rescue organizations sometimes cost between $50 to $200 in adoption charges. If $50 feels like a lot, hold your eyes open for particular adoption occasions. Most rescue organizations run promotions recurrently, throughout which they undertake out cats at decreased costs.

Shelter cats have already undergone checkups and have possible been handled for any medical circumstances earlier than they’re deemed adoptable. Spaying and neutering can also be sometimes included within the adoption value.


$500 – $1,000 on common

In the event you purchase your cat from a breeder, they’ll in all probability value between $500 and $1,000, however the price could also be greater if you are going to buy some of the costly breeds.

Whereas most breeders take the time to make sure that their kittens are wholesome and in nice situation earlier than they go to a new residence, they don’t all the time cowl neutering and different medical prices.

Your cat’s breed impacts how a lot they value, each upfront and over the course of their life.

Some breeds aren’t notably costly to purchase, however have excessive upkeep prices due to breed-specific well being circumstances.

Listed here are a number of the costliest breeds and the well being circumstances they encounter most frequently.

Breed Identify Common Cost Widespread Well being Circumstances
Savannah $1,500-$50,000 None
Bengal $1,000 – $25,000 Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), eye issues
Persian $500 – $5,500 Polycystic kidney illness (PKD), Progressive rod-cone degeneration (PRA), and HCM
Peterbald $1200 – $5,000 None
Russian Blue $400 – $three,000 None
Sphynx $200 – $three,000 Coronary heart illness, respiratory points, digestive issues
Scottish Fold $200 – $three,000 Osteochondrysplasia, PKD, HCM
British Shorthair $500 – $1,500 HCM, Hemophilia B

Combined-breed cats are sometimes probably the most economical choice. Not solely are they cheaper to purchase, combined breed cats are much less susceptible to well being issues.

One-time prices that you simply’ll want to think about once you first convey your cat residence:

  • ID Tag and Collar (optionally available)  – $15
  • Spay/Neuter (elective) – $145
  • Mattress (non-compulsory) – $30
  • Cat Tree (optionally available) – $75
  • Cat Nail Clipper (elective) – $7
  • Cat Brush (optionally available) – $eight
  • Litter Field  – $25
  • Litter Scoop – $10
  • Scratching Publish – $30
  • Service – $40
  • Meals and Water Bowls – $10

Complete one-time prices for cat care provides: $115 – $410

Annual Medical Bills

Veterinary payments can take a massive chunk out of your cat care price range, particularly in case your cat has a critical sickness or damage. Right here’s a breakdown of each routine and emergency veterinary bills.



Taking your cat for a common vet examination will value between $40 and $55 per go to.

It’s usually advisable that cats go to the vet’s workplace as soon as a yr till they attain their senior years. As soon as your cat is someplace between 9 and 11, most vets advocate that you simply take them in for a checkup each six months.

Dental Care


If you need to maintain your cat’s dental care payments low, spend money on a toothbrush and toothpaste as quickly as you deliver them residence. A toothbrush and cat toothpaste value round $15 and are a nice funding in your cat’s well being and your monetary future.

Periodontal illness impacts many, if not most, middle-aged and senior cats, and it brings with it a sea of different points. As soon as your cat’s tooth are coated in calculus, it will take a skilled dental cleansing to eliminate it. That may value you between $150 and $500 each time.

And should you don’t catch it early sufficient, periodontal illness will lead to organ illness and its multi-thousand-dollar remedy paths.



As well as to your cat’s first-year vaccinations, you might choose for booster photographs, which value between $50 and $150 each three to seven years. Vaccination frequency is dependent upon your private choice and your cat’s way of life.

Remedies for Fleas, Ticks, Worms, and Mites


In case you stay in an space with fleas or ticks and your cat spends time outside, you might have to deal with them with pesticides. Cats who eat wild prey may have dewormers. These remedies aren’t vital for most indoor cats.

Emergency Medical Bills

$Zero – $10,000+

In accordance to Dr. Louise Murray, vice chairman of the Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York Metropolis, costly emergency medical payments are one thing value getting ready for. She says that “owners will likely incur at least one $2,000 – $4,000 bill for emergency care at some point during their pet’s lifetime.”

Right here’s a breakdown of how a lot it may cost to deal with widespread circumstances.

cat med cost

cat med cost


Persevering with Medicine for Prolonged or Persistent Sickness

In case your cat develops most cancers, diabetes, continual kidney illness, or one other critical sickness, you’ll be able to anticipate to spend a lot of cash on steady remedy. These bills shall be a lifestyle for a very long time, presumably for the remainder of your cat’s life

Lengthy-Time period Estimated Remedy Prices for cats

Lengthy-term value estimates from Trupanion’s breakdown of precise claims and veterinary prices for numerous circumstances.

Pet Insurance coverage


The huge variable right here is whether or not or not you might have pet insurance coverage. In case you purchase pet insurance coverage for your cat early in life, your annual medical payments will in all probability be comparatively low even with a critical situation at play.

Pet insurance coverage charges rely upon how previous your cat was once you took out a coverage, the place you reside, your cat’s breed, and a number of different elements. Normally, it prices about $10-$20 a month to insure your cat for accidents and sicknesses. Complete wellness plans might value $30 or extra.

If you would like to study extra about insuring your cat, learn our complete information to one of the best pet insurance coverage for cats.

Cat Meals

$90 – $2,520/yr

The sort of meals you purchase impacts your lifetime prices in a variety of methods.

One, there’s a wide range within the costs of cat meals and types. You can pay $7 per day for a few of the costliest cat meals or $Zero.25 for a grocery-bought kibble. Theoretically, this discrepancy in meals value alone means the distinction between $1,368 and $38,325 over your cat’s lifetime.

Meals has a deeper impression, although—it’s an funding in your cat’s well being. Whereas many low cost meals are simply as nourishing because the costly ones, others solely seem to be a good worth within the brief time period. A financially-motivated choice to purchase a low-quality meals might find yourself costing you hundreds in vet payments down the street.

Put meals high quality earlier than worth, however keep in mind that you don’t have to spend a lot of cash to get a good meals. A few of the highest-quality meals is sort of economical and a few low-quality meals are costlier than you may anticipate.

Take a look at this worth chart displaying the totally different prices of cat meals. The chart is predicated on averages of well-liked merchandise bought on

prices comparison chart

prices comparison chart

Kitty’s Rest room – Litter and Provides

$72 – $240/yr

One cat will sometimes use about 20 lbs of clay litter every month, however litter utilization varies based mostly in your cat’s well being, the kind of litter you select, and your scooping effectivity.

Silica gel-based litter will value between $10 and $25 per thirty days, whereas clay litter prices between $2.50 and $6 every month. Biodegradable merchandise are priced all throughout the worth spectrum, however are sometimes costlier than clay.

Your prices will go up should you embrace further litter field equipment like mats, deodorizers, and a devoted rubbish can.

  • Litter field liners – $18/yr
  • Deodorizing spray or granules – $20/yr
  • Vacuum for litter field space – $35
  • Devoted trash can – $30
  • Litter mat – $25

Enjoyable and Video games


Yearly, you’ll in all probability purchase your cat a few enjoyable gadgets. This class consists of toys, furnishings, cute costumes, journey gear like harnesses and leashes, and treats.

Let’s see what goes into preserving a cat on each extremes of this large spending spectrum.

The low finances doesn’t contain any pet insurance coverage, nor does it contain a single vet go to. The cat is fed a low cost—in all probability dry—cat meals and makes use of a low-cost clay litter. The cat might have some good issues like a cat tree, scratching publish, and ID tag, however these have been purchased when he got here residence they usually don’t add up to recurring prices yearly. As a result of this cat doesn’t have pet insurance coverage, a critical sickness or accident will probably be his guardians’ sole duty.

Our ultra-expensive feline has a vet checkup twice yearly, makes use of a spot-on flea remedy in the summertime, goes for common skilled dental cleanings from an costly vet, and receives booster photographs each three years. She doesn’t have pet insurance coverage, so all of those vet visits are charged to her guardian’s bank card. She eats a top-of-the-line natural, uncooked, or human-grade business meals, probably subscribing to a meal supply service like NomNomNow. Her litter field is crammed with Fairly Litter crystals or a high-end biodegradable litter. She will get toys, top-of-the-line scratching posts, and new cat timber on a common foundation.

Typically a cat wanders into your own home and coronary heart earlier than you’ve had a probability to match cat meals into your month-to-month spending plan. What then?

In case you don’t have the funds for to lavish your cat with effective meals and presents, please don’t assume that you simply’re a dangerous cat guardian. Virtually everybody can afford a cat and may afford to increase them nicely.

Listed here are a few ideas for individuals who need to hold their cat care price range low.

Know the distinction between giving your cat the most effective and shopping for issues as a result of they makes you are feeling like a good cat dad or mum.

There’s a entire world of cat care merchandise that solely exist to make individuals really feel like they’re doing one thing good. These things could be enjoyable, however they’re definitely not essential and more often than not, they’re extra pleasurable for the human than the cat who’s receiving them.

    • Most cat toys—Toys are enjoyable, however most cats are completely able to find their very own toys round the home.
  • Cat beds—Cats are simply as joyful sleeping in a blanket-lined cardboard field as they’re snoozing in a sherpa-lined cat tunnel.
  • Natural cat meals—In the event you can afford it, spring for natural meats and meals, however in the event you can’t, keep in mind that non-organic species-appropriate meals is a lot better than natural meals that doesn’t honor your cat’s carnivorous wants.
  • Retailer-bought treats—Most cats can be simply as comfortable to eat a chunk of recent hen and it can be more healthy for them.

Contemplate options to conventional cat litter.

Cat litter bills can add up shortly, so optimizing your litter state of affairs is likely one of the strongest areas for enchancment.

One of the crucial economical litter field options is swapping out conventional litter for woodstove pellets—additionally marketed as horse stall bedding. These sawdust pellets are ultra-absorbent and seem to work simply in addition to widespread manufacturers of pine cat litter. The better part is that they value a tiny fraction of the worth of conventional cat litter.

Whereas the typical clay litter prices round $Zero.40 per pound, commonplace wooden pellets value about $Zero.17 per pound.

When protected to achieve this, don’t be afraid to give your cat issues that don’t have the phrase “cat” on the package deal.

It might sound clear and straightforward to solely purchase your cat merchandise “made for cats”, however in actuality, no cat has a drawback utilizing generic merchandise that don’t have pawprints on them.

Till I lastly purchased a set of meals bowls that may look good in pictures, my cats ate from classic metallic and ceramic bowls we purchased at a thrift retailer. They nonetheless drink water out of an previous pot. Cat-specific meals and water bowls, like many different gadgets within the pet retailer, are bought at a “love-of-a-pet” markup.

Don’t let your love for your cat delude you into believing that any cat is happier with bowls, beds, treats, and toothbrushes bought particularly for pets. Yow will discover generic variations of many of those merchandise in thrift shops, on Amazon, and anyplace else you may store for high-value gadgets.

Feed your cat nicely and maintain them protected.

Emergency vet payments and taking good care of a sick cat are two of the most important bills you’ll encounter. It’s unattainable to be sure that nothing will ever occur, however you’ll be able to scale back your cat’s probability of getting sick or harm.

A species-appropriate weight-reduction plan is the only best and most reasonably priced technique of discouraging weight problems, diabetes, and feline decrease urinary tract illness. Cats want a high-moisture eating regimen wealthy in bioavailable protein and minimal carbohydrate matter. In case you’re unsure what this implies, take a look at our article on the most effective cat meals.

As well as to preserving your cat wholesome with a good weight-reduction plan, you need to think about their security. Forestall accidents by maintaining your cat indoors or go for supervised outside adventures with a harness and leash.

Proudly owning a cat isn’t low cost, however it’s not essentially as costly as some recommend.



The value of holding a cat ranges from beneath $200 a yr to a number of hundreds of dollars yearly. Your precise prices will rely upon which breed you select, your cat’s well being, the kind of meals you purchase, the place you reside, your way of life decisions, and whether or not or not you spend money on pet insurance coverage.

Elevating a cat is rather like elevating a human. There’s no single determine for how a lot it prices to maintain a youngster wholesome and completely happy—it all depends upon what you possibly can afford, what you’re prepared to pay, and the way good you’re at making sensible shopping for selections. Your cat’s high quality of life hinges much less on dollars spent and extra on the quantity of power, intelligence, and love you’re prepared to give.

Concerning the writer

Mallory Crusta is a author and adventurecat fanatic on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of many founders of Wildernesscat – a website for glad, wholesome, and adventurous cats who’re fueled by nature. Go to Wildernesscat for radically pure cat vitamin, residence cures, and way of life inspiration.

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