If you’re thinking about getting a cat, there are several factors to think about. Firstly, you need to consider if you’ll be able to spend enough time at home to take care of your cat. Secondly, you need to determine if you have enough money to cover the expenses of owning a cat. Owning a cat involves more than just buying food and toys; it also includes providing everything they need to stay healthy and have a happy life. So, how much money do you need to budget for each month to take care of a cat?
On average, owning a cat costs about $83 per month, but this amount can increase by twofold during the first year. In a year, the total cost of owning a cat ranges from $500 to $1000. The monthly expenses for cat ownership are influenced by factors such as age, health, gender, veterinary fees, and breed.
Having a cat can be quite expensive, whether you consider it on a monthly or yearly basis. To understand how we arrived at these numbers and the potential cost of caring for your cat, let’s examine some charts and scenarios.
How Expensive Is It To Keep A Cat
The cost of owning a cat as a pet depends on the breed and any health problems the cat may have. While many pet owners consider expenses such as food and veterinary bills, they often overlook the full range of responsibilities that come with cat ownership. Here is a comprehensive list of factors to consider, both major and minor, when it comes to owning a cat. This includes adoption costs, food expenses, vaccinations, and various other expenses.
This article will provide more details about the exact costs.
|Cost For Kittens
|Cost For Adult Cats
|Adoption fee/payment to the breeder
|$125 – $175
|$125 – $175
|Spay/neuter (if not covered by shelter or breeder)
|Initial three rounds of shots
|$75 – $150
|$75 – $150
|$5 – $30
|$5 – $30
|$40 – $150
|$40 – $150
|Apartment pet deposits
|$200 – $500
|$200 – $500
|Monthly pet rent
|Litter, litter box, and litter supplies
|Food (keep in mind kittens eat considerably more than adult cats)
|Emergency vet care (kittens like to get themselves into situations they shouldn’t)
|$90 – $210
|$90 – $210
|Toys and cat trees
|$5 – $30
|$10 – $179
|Boarders and pet sitters
|$25 – $179
|$45 – $179
|Replacements for furniture, carpets, rugs
|$40 – $2000
|$40 – $2000
|Dental tools and treats
|Grooming tools/visits to a groomer
|Regular vet visits & preventative meds
|Cleaning costs to clean areas the kitten soils
When you adopt an adult cat, you will encounter several fees, but they are generally lower.
Grown-up cats require fewer vaccinations compared to kittens. If you adopt a cat from a rescue, vaccinations and spaying/neutering are usually included. Although health problems can still arise, adult cats have more developed personalities and are less prone to getting into trouble (unlike kittens).
Grown-up cats consume less food compared to kittens. It’s important to avoid overfeeding adult cats, but with kittens, we need to ensure they are well-fed and continue to grow. Adult cats are often found in shelters because breeders primarily focus on kittens, not adult cats.
The toys you buy to keep an adult cat entertained will probably be more expensive than those for a kitten. Most cats won’t be satisfied with a small pet mouse, so you’ll need to buy bigger toys. Electronic toys can be quite pricey, but they will keep your cat entertained.
The cost of cat litter can vary depending on the age of the cat. Kittens can make their litter last longer due to their smaller size. However, as the cat gets older, you may need to spend more on cat litter. You can find information about the monthly costs of cat litter here. It is not uncommon for cats, especially kittens, to enjoy playing in the litter box, so you may need to replace the litter frequently during the first few weeks of owning a pet.
The biggest expenses when it comes to getting a new cat, whether it’s a kitten or an adult, are usually related to replacing furniture. The cost of furniture can vary greatly depending on what you already have at home. If your cat were to scratch and damage a high-end leather sofa beyond repair, you would likely have to buy a whole new sofa to replace it.
To assist with this, you might consider purchasing shields and covers to protect your furniture. By doing so, you can prevent any damage caused by your cat’s scratching. This can be a cost-effective solution in the long term, as it only requires a one-time investment. For further information on how to prevent cats from scratching furniture, you can read this article: Click here.
How Much Does Cat Food Cost Per Month?
The amount of money you spend on your cat’s food can change depending on how old your cat is, if they have any health issues, and even their gender. The cost will be different depending on whether you give your cat wet food, dry food, raw food, or a mix of these options.
Here is a chart that displays the average costs of cat food. These costs are typical. For instance, cans of wet food can range from .55¢ for Fancy Feast to $1.57 for Weruva (using a 3-ounce can as a reference). Dry cat food can range from $5 for Meow Mix to $21 for Hill’s Premium Cat food (using a 4-pound bag for adult cats and a 7-pound bag for kittens).
Specialized cat food that requires a prescription has a separate pricing system, with bags ranging from $26 to $56. The cost of combining different types of food is not included in this chart because there are too many factors to consider. Prescription food is specifically designed for adult cats, as there are no prescription options available for kittens or only limited to one brand.
Additionally, keep in mind the quantity mentioned for kittens; your kitten might require a larger amount depending on its age. Young kittens consume a greater amount compared to older kittens. This calculation is based on a daily intake of one can, and certain kittens can consume up to three cans of wet food per day.
|Kitten (cost per day)
|Adult (cost per day)
|RX Food (adult cats only)/cost per day
|Dry (based on ¾ cup per day from a 4lb bag for adults, 7lbs for kittens)
|Wet (based on one 3 oz can per day)
|n/a (there are no raw RX diets)
To sum up, you should expect to spend around $548 per year on cat food. It’s a necessary expense unless you’re willing to prepare homemade raw cat food.
If your cat develops health issues, you’ll have to spend more on prescription food, which means your monthly expenses will definitely increase over the cat’s lifetime. To prevent this increase, it’s important to always provide your cat with high-quality food from the start.
How Much Does Cat Litter Cost Per Month?
The cost of litter depends on the type and brand you choose, the number of litter boxes your cat has, and how frequently you need to replace all the litter. Additionally, consider the expenses of litter liners and litter box deodorizers if you use them.
My cat currently has two litter boxes, and he uses one for each type of “business” he does. I need to completely replace the litter and clean the boxes approximately every two weeks.
The cat before my current one was very particular and would prefer that his litter box be cleaned almost immediately after he used it. He also wanted it to be refreshed and washed1-2 times a week. If it wasn’t cleaned to his liking, he would use the floor next to his litter box. The cost of litter was much higher with my previous cat compared to my current one. My current cat uses approximately 21 pounds of litter every month, while his predecessor would use that amount in just a week and a half.
You have various options when it comes to cat litter. My cat prefers clumping clay, but there are also non-clumping clay, crystal litters, and litter made from natural materials such as wood chips. Non-clumping clay is the most affordable choice. On average, a 14-pound container of litter (regardless of the material) will cost around $10.
Some other factors to take into account are:
- Changing litter boxes every year
- Trash can for cat litter and bags for disposing of litter
- Litter mat
- Litter deodorizer
If you decide to use them, litter box liners can be an option.
Allocate $120 annually for litter and supplies.
How Much Does Cat Grooming Cost?
The grooming expenses for a cat range from $15 to $100 per cat. The cost of grooming will vary based on the cat’s fur and whether they require assistance from a professional groomer. Additionally, it’s important to consider the grooming of your cat’s nails.
I have to brush my cat with different brushes depending on whether his coat is matted or not. The brush for his matted fur cost $15, while the regular brush cost $12.
Every 1-2 years, he also requires a professional grooming session, which involves shaving his fur if it becomes too tangled. If shaving is not necessary, he still needs a bath and blowout. The lion cut grooming service costs $100, while blowouts cost $50. Additionally, he may develop dandruff patches, requiring the use of an $8 dandruff spray.
If your cat doesn’t require as much grooming, you can approximate the cost of grooming to be the price of the brush. If your cat has longer fur or skin problems, you can use the aforementioned figures as a reference for estimating your expenses. Cats are constantly shedding, so take into account the potential grooming expenses based on your cat’s coat.
My cat refuses to let me touch his nails. Despite that, I still attempt to do so, and occasionally I am able to trim a few nails before getting scratched or bitten excessively. The groomer and sometimes my vet’s office are able to trim his nails as well.
The cost of clipping your cat’s nails can range from $10 to $20 per session. You can purchase nail clippers for around $5 to $10 at any store. If you are able to clip your cat’s nails all at once, it is recommended to do so every six weeks. However, if you prefer to clip them whenever you have the opportunity, the process will be ongoing. Consider whether you will do the nail clipping yourself or if you will hire professionals for the job.
Allocate $30 for this category and make adjustments according to your cat.
How Much Does Cat Surgery Cost?
The cost of cat surgery can vary between $140 and $10,000, depending on the complexity of the procedure and whether your cat can be discharged on the same day. If your cat needs to stay at the veterinary clinic, this will increase the overall cost of the surgery.
On average, a basic surgery like neutering a cat costs around $140, while more complex procedures like treating hip dysplasia can cost up to $8000.
Just to get the tests back for a cat UTI, it can cost more than $2000, and that’s before any treatment is even done. So honestly, it’s a good idea to have pet insurance to help reduce those expenses. Pet insurance typically costs between $10 and $15 per month.
Set aside $3000 specifically for this category and keep this money in a savings account for unexpected expenses.
How Much Does Cat Neutering/Spaying Cost?
Getting a cat spayed is a relatively affordable procedure.On average, it costs between $140 and $300. Spaying a female cat is pricier than neutering a male cat.
Neutering a male cat is cheaper because the surgery is less invasive. On the other hand, spaying a female cat is a more intensive procedure and carries a higher risk of complications. However, the cost of spaying or neutering may vary depending on where you adopt your cat from.
Most rescues and shelters spay or neuter cats before they are adopted and include the cost in the adoption fees. However, things work differently when you are getting a cat from a breeder.
If you adopt a cat from a breeder or shelter/rescue that doesn’t include the service before adoption, make sure to set aside $200 in your budget.
How Much Does Cat Boarding Cost?
The average cost for boarding a cat is around $25 per night. This price may vary depending on the type of place you choose and if your cat requires any special care.
When it comes to cat boarding, you have the option of a bigger cage at your vet’s office or a private room in a pet resort. If your cat requires medication, there may be an additional cost. If you think your cat wouldn’t be comfortable in a cage, you’ll have to pay more for a cat condo. Additionally, you should consider whether you need to pay extra for staff members to play and engage with your cat while they’re staying.
Whenever I need to leave the house, I don’t like to board my cats because they don’t like it. Instead, I prefer to hire a cat sitter who can come to my home and look after them. The expenses for this service are similar to what I would spend on boarding my cat at a facility.
Allocate $25 per night for the duration of your annual vacation.
How Much Does A Cat’s Teeth Cleaning Cost?
The amount of money you spend on cleaning your cat’s teeth should match their oral hygiene needs. Getting a professional teeth cleaning for your cat can cost anywhere from $200 to $400. Some cats may need their teeth cleaned every year, while others can get by with tooth wipes or occasional brushing from their owners.
Not all cats will need to have their teeth cleaned every year. Throughout all the years I’ve owned cats, I’ve never had one that required a professional tooth cleaning. Whenever my vet noticed signs of plaque buildup, I’ve managed to address the issue by using dental wipes or a finger toothbrush with toothpaste. Additionally, I’ve incorporated dental chew treats into their diets.
The cost of getting a cat’s teeth professionally cleaned is around $400. This is expensive because the procedure requires anesthesia. Cats don’t like having their nails clipped, so they definitely wouldn’t tolerate having their teeth polished unless they were asleep.
Some cats may only require professional teeth cleaning a few times in their lifetime, while others may need it at least once a year. The average cost serves as a general reference, but if your vet discovers any additional problems or teeth that need to be extracted during the cleaning, the cost could increase to $1400 or more.
If your cat doesn’t require extensive dental care from the vet, you can easily find dental wipes, cat toothbrushes, and toothpaste at pet stores. The prices for these supplies can range from $5 to approximately $20.
Another affordable option is to opt for cat treats that can take care of the cleaning for you. Cats can nibble on these treats, which will help to remove debris by rubbing against their teeth.
Set aside $400 annually to cover your cat’s dental care expenses. This will ensure that you are ready for any dental health issues that may arise with your cat.
Is It Worth Getting A Cat?
Regardless of the price, a cat is valuable. They provide companionship and affection to their owners, which cannot be quantified. However, owners should be ready for the associated costs and unexpected expenses. Nevertheless, if you have genuine love for your cat, all the expenses will be worthwhile. Your cat will repay you in numerous ways.
There is no specific amount of money for this. Cats are invaluable.
Are Cats Cheaper Than Dogs?
Definitely, the difference in costs is significant. Studies indicate that owning a dog can be $5000-$9000 more expensive than owning a cat throughout their lives.
I’ve also noticed this in my own experience. Dog food is more expensive. Their medical procedures are pricier. On average, dogs require more veterinary care and have more visits to emergency vet clinics.
Even the cost of adopting them is higher. One of my previous cats had a urinary blockage and had to be quickly taken to the veterinarian, which ended up costing $4000 for his treatment. In that same year, one of my friends had to spend the same amount of money each time her dog had to visit the emergency vet, which happened twice. Dogs may be loyal companions, but they have a much bigger impact on your finances compared to cats.
If cats had the ability to talk, I’m pretty sure they would say, “See, we told you dogs were awful.” If you’re trying to decide between getting a cat or a dog, take a look at these numbers.
How Much Does It Cost Annually To Own A Cat?
The cost of having a cat can vary depending on factors such as the cat’s age, health, and other variables. It’s a good idea to budget for higher expenses and be pleasantly surprised if you end up spending less than expected.
I know some individuals who get a credit card specifically for their pets’ expenses. This allows them to keep track of how much they spend on their pets throughout the year. Alternatively, some people set up a separate savings account solely for their pets’ needs. In any case, it’s important to be prepared for the costs associated with owning a pet.
This article suggests that owning a cat can cost around $4473 per year, which is equivalent to $373 per month. However, this estimate does not take into account any adoption fees or expenses related to buying a cat from a breeder. The actual cost can vary depending on your cat’s health and various other factors. Additionally, our calculations include the cost of a week of boarding and one major surgery per year, but not all cats require these expenses.
How To Reduce Your Monthly Cat Expenditures
When it comes to saving money on your cat, my top tip is to not always splurge on the priciest and most popular brands. Your cat probably won’t even notice the difference. Keep buying them toys for stimulation, but there’s no need to go crazy.
My cat has a huge box filled with toys. He enjoys playing with bottle caps and hair ties more than anything else. And as long as the blanket is comfortable, it doesn’t matter if it’s from Crate & Barrel or IKEA.
When it comes to their diet, it’s important to do your homework and understand that you don’t necessarily have to buy the priciest cat food available. For instance, my tabby cat grew up eating Meow Mix and generic cat food from the grocery store. However, a few years later, he had to switch to what is considered “higher quality food” due to urinary health problems. Choosing the right kind of food can actually help you save money when it comes to taking care of your cat.
To save money, it’s important to regularly visit the vet and detect any potential health problems early on. Cats are known for hiding their issues, so it’s crucial to be proactive and prepared.
Summarizing The Facts
The amount of money you spend on having a cat depends on various things. The age, gender, type of food, and number of toys you buy will affect how much you need to take care of your cat each year.
The numbers we arrived at compared to the research differ significantly, but our calculations include surgeries and virtually all other possible expenses. There are costs that owners often overlook, such as pet rent, pet deposits, preparing for unexpected medical care, and various other expenses. However, owning a cat is an invaluable source of happiness that cannot be quantified. They bring warmth and joy to any household!