How Much Does It Cost To Own A Cat?

Cats May 7, 2022
Written by | Updated Jun 8, 2024
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How Much Does It Cost To Own A Cat?

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Caring for another creature is a responsibility. This involves bathing, feeding, grooming, and finding time within the day to play with them. Moreso, having a pet would entail financial responsibility.

While you may be able to find cats on the street that are able to live on close to nothing, remember that as a pet owner, it is your responsibility to provide for them.

The cost of having a pet cat would definitely depend on what you plan to provide. People have the choice to eat at cheap fast food places or at a luxurious restaurant, or, for those looking to save, opt for a home-cooked meal at home.

Clothing options can range from the affordable pieces at your local Goodwill to branded clothes that cost about as much as my second-hand car. Lifestyle options aren’t only available to humans. Owners can afford to let their cats live simply or as extravagantly as they desire, or as they are capable.

Let’s prepare Our “Cat Budget”

  • Cat Cost

Taking the cost to own a cat as literally as you could, the actual cost to getting your own feline would range from nothing to several thousands of dollars. Picking up a stray kitty and showing them the love and care that they wouldn’t find on the harsh city streets is your cheapest – and in my opinion, the better –  option.

There are also many animal shelters that house a few cats looking for a new home. While those cats can be just as lovable or mean as pure breeds, some may prefer to get a feline with a reputable lineage. Purebred cats can cost upwards of a hundred dollars, with the more rare and exotic felines costing up to $20,000!  

  • Food

There are a select few food options that your kitty shouldn’t be allowed to eat – coffee, grapes, raisins, chocolate, and a few others. The list can go on. A safe and affordable approach to feed your kitty is to purchase a bag of dry kibble.

A 4lb bag would cost between $8-$16 and should be enough to feed your cat for a few weeks. Feeding your kitty a variety of canned cat food or raw meats would cost around $35 a month.

If you want to give your kitty the best, a month’s supply of cat food packed with caviar, salmon, lobster, asparagus and a bunch of other ingredients you would expect to find in a 5-star restaurant, can cost you up to $900. Or you could give your pet last night’s leftover meatloaf.

  • Shelter

There is definitely no need to buy your cat their own piece of real estate. However, since they are territorial animals, it is best to provide them with a private space of their own.

Cat Houses are available on Amazon for prices as low as $20 to as high as $200. You could spend even more and get a custom made cat house or not spend anything and just get an old pillow, fluff it up and leave it at the corner near the litter box.

I’m sure kitty will find his designated sleeping area. If not, expect to share your bed as they do love to get comfy for bed.

  • Litter box

Now, here is an option that you definitely have to spend money on unless you get one free from a friend or relative whose cat has passed away. A standard sifting litter box could cost you as low as $6.

Medium range prices, which should offer better quality would cost you an average $20, or as high as $35 depending on the brand. If these basic litter boxes aren’t enough for you, specialty or designer litter boxes cost upwards of $50 and can even reach $500. That’s more expensive than the standard toilet.

Now, the cost doesn’t stop with the litter box. Cat litter would usually cost you around $15-$30 per month. This would really depend on how many times you clean the litter box and the brand that you get. A scooper is also a must, but you only need to get it once for barely $10.

  • Grooming

One of the advantages of having a pet cat is the lower costs of grooming when compared to having a pet dog. Since they are generally neat animals who spend a significant amount of time grooming themselves, there isn’t a need to frequently bathe and wash your cat.

A bottle of cat shampoo, costing around $10, would be enough to bathe your kitty twice in a year. You could also use a tearless baby shampoo. For long-haired cats, regular brushing is a must to prevent matting. A brush could cost between $5 – $15. Nail trimmers would cost around the same.

While you could easily groom your cat yourself, letting the experts do it may be best for your kitty. The average national cost for cat grooming is between $70-$80. Luxury groomers would charge up to 5 times more and give your cat a full on spa day.

  • Toys

Keeping your cat entertained may not seem like an easy task but purchasing a bunch of cat toys and trinkets would cost you less than $10. Even a simple scratching post that is sure to entertain your pet would keep you within that budget.

Just as all the other categories, there are several luxurious options for your kitty which would surely cost you hundreds to even thousands of dollars.

  • Medical Expenses

Medical costs at your local vet would include annual examinations, and vaccinations. Recommended additions would include your emergency fund, and the optional spaying or neutering. A complete and comprehensive annual checkup would cost somewhere between $100-$200.

The first set of vaccinations, for the first year, would be approximately $80. Spaying or Neutering is definitely an optional cost based on your decision, but, to keep you informed, it would cost $300 and $200, respectively. Setting up an exact estimate for the emergency fund would definitely vary depending on your cat’s needs, age and health.

You could set aside $1,000 – $2,000 for your cat;s emergency fund or get cat insurance, which would be around $30 – $50 per month for a decent, comprehensive plan that covers accidents and illness. Note that your cat’s breed, age and your location would affect these costs.

A national survey showed that, on average, having a pet cat can cost slightly over $1,000 for the first year. Costs generally go down in the additional years and then spike up as they begin to age, mostly due to increased medical expenses.

While there are many things that are flexible in terms of budgeting, such as food and toys, pet owners have to be ready to cover these expenses, especially medical bills. Taking on a pet may seem like a fun idea at the onset, but it is a responsibility first and foremost.   

You can visit Crazy Pet Guy or more information on anything and everything feline.

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
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