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’ll be able to look after 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 Prices” 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 brand 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 which you could 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 number of hundred dollars to that annual determine, bringing us nearer to the ASPCA’s estimate. The costliest life will doubtless add up to some thousand dollars a yr.

However day-after-day bills aren’t cat guardians’ most critical monetary concern. Medical emergencies and sicknesses are the most important expense to finances 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 House a New Cat: One-Time Prices

Free Cats

You’ll virtually all the time should spend cash to boost a cat, however you’ll be able to deliver one into your life totally free. Cats are given away without spending a dime day by 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 guide drops.

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

These kittens are sometimes sick or flea-infested, so it’s probably 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 seems like quite a bit, hold your eyes open for particular adoption occasions. Most rescue organizations run promotions commonly, throughout which they undertake out cats at lowered costs.

Shelter cats have already undergone checkups and have probably 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

Should 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 brand new house, 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 on account of breed-specific well being circumstances.

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

Breed Identify Common Value 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 vulnerable to well being issues.

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

  • ID Tag and Collar (optionally available)  – $15
  • Spay/Neuter (optionally available) – $145
  • Mattress (elective) – $30
  • Cat Tree (optionally available) – $75
  • Cat Nail Clipper (optionally available) – $7
  • Cat Brush (non-compulsory) – $eight
  • Litter Field  – $25
  • Litter Scoop – $10
  • Scratching Submit – $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 an enormous 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 daily vet examination will value between $40 and $55 per go to.

It’s usually beneficial that cats go to the vet’s workplace every year 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 wish to maintain your cat’s dental care payments low, spend money on a toothbrush and toothpaste as quickly as you convey them residence. A toothbrush and cat toothpaste value round $15 and are an incredible 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’s going to take knowledgeable dental cleansing to eliminate it. That may value you between $150 and $500 each time.

And when you don’t catch it early sufficient, periodontal illness will result in organ illness and its multi-thousand-dollar remedy paths.



Along with your cat’s first-year vaccinations, you might go for booster photographs, which value between $50 and $150 each three to seven years. Vaccination frequency depends upon your private choice and your cat’s way of life.

Remedies for Fleas, Ticks, Worms, and Mites


In the event you reside in an space with fleas or ticks and your cat spends time outdoor, you’ll have to deal with them with pesticides. Cats who eat wild prey may have dewormers. These remedies aren’t needed for many indoor cats.

Emergency Medical Bills

$Zero – $10,000+

Based on 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 “house owners will probably incur at the very least one $2,000 – $four,000 invoice for emergency care sooner or later throughout 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 Treatment for Prolonged or Continual Sickness

In case your cat develops most cancers, diabetes, persistent kidney illness, or one other critical sickness, you possibly can anticipate to spend some huge cash on steady remedy. These bills will probably 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 large variable right here is whether or not or not you’ve got pet insurance coverage. In the event you purchase pet insurance coverage in 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 quite a lot of different elements. Usually, 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 wish 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 kind of meals you purchase impacts your lifetime prices in numerous methods.

One, there’s all kinds within the costs of cat meals and types. You can pay $7 per day for a number 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 look like a very 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 should spend some huge cash to get a very good meals. A number 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 in style merchandise bought on

cat meals worth comparability

Kitty’s Toilet – 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 when 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

Further assets:

Enjoyable and Video games


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

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

The low price range doesn’t contain any pet insurance coverage, nor does it contain a single vet go to. The cat is fed an affordable—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 house they usually don’t add as much as recurring prices yearly.

As a result of this cat doesn’t have pet insurance coverage, a critical sickness or accident might 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 normal 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 full of Fairly Litter crystals or a high-end biodegradable litter. She will get toys, top-of-the-line scratching posts, and new cat timber regularly.

Typically a cat wanders into your house and coronary heart earlier than you’ve had an opportunity to suit cat meals into your month-to-month spending plan. What then?

In the event you don’t find the money for to lavish your cat with positive meals and presents, please don’t assume that you simply’re a nasty cat guardian. Virtually everybody can afford a cat and may afford to boost them properly.

Listed here are a number of ideas for individuals who need to maintain their cat care finances 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 great cat mother or father.

There’s an entire world of cat care merchandise that solely exist to make individuals really feel like they’re doing one thing good. These things may be enjoyable, however they’re definitely not vital and more often than not, they’re extra fulfilling 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 completely satisfied sleeping in a blanket-lined cardboard field as they’re snoozing in a sherpa-lined cat tunnel.
  • Natural cat meals—Should you can afford it, spring for natural meats and meals, however should 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 glad to eat a piece of recent hen and it might 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 fashionable manufacturers of pine cat litter. One of the best half 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.

Additionally Learn: Greatest Cat Litter: Select the Good Litter for Your Cat

When protected to take action, don’t be afraid to offer 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 an issue utilizing generic merchandise that don’t have pawprints on them.

Till I lastly purchased a set of meals bowls that may look good in photographs, 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 and cat water fountains, like many different gadgets within the pet retailer, are bought at a “love-of-a-pet” markup.

Don’t let your love in your cat delude you into believing that any cat is happier with bowls, beds, treats, and toothbrushes bought particularly for pets. You’ll find 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 properly 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 make 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 food 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 weight loss plan wealthy in bioavailable protein and minimal carbohydrate matter. When you’re unsure what this implies, take a look at our article on the perfect cat meals.

Along with retaining your cat wholesome with a superb weight-reduction plan, you must think about their security. Forestall accidents by retaining 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 price of preserving a cat ranges from underneath $200 a yr to a number of hundreds of dollars yearly. Your precise prices will depend 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 a way a lot it prices to maintain a toddler wholesome and joyful—all of it is determined by what you’ll be able to afford, what you’re prepared to pay, and the way good you’re at making clever 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 offer.

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 pleased, wholesome, and adventurous cats who’re fueled by nature. Go to Wildernesscat for radically pure cat vitamin, house cures, and way of life inspiration.

About the author