Cats sometimes get a reputation as a pet that requires less attention and money than dogs. While it is true that many cats enjoy spending time by themselves for much of the day and don’t require the frequent walks and training sessions that dogs do, they are still a financial commitment. Before bringing your kitten or cat home, it is important to consider the expected costs.
Standard Care Costs for Your Cat
When you adopt a cat, there are one time and recurring costs you should expect. These can include:
- Food - Based on the quality of food you purchase, this cost is about $15 to $30 per month.
- Litter and Litter Box - Purchasing a litter box in the beginning, and if your existing one wears out, could be as little as $5. Nicer options run into the hundreds. Litter is an ongoing expense costing around $20 per month.
- Annual Vet Visits - A yearly visit to the vet ensures your cat remains healthy and prevents costly emergencies later on. Expect to pay $100 or so for each annual checkup.
- Spay or Neuter - If you get a young kitten, you will have to make an appointment to get them fixed. A private vet typically charges $200 to $300 for this procedure, although low cost clinics around you can be as affordable as $50 to $70 due to the subsidizations they receive.
- Emergency Vet Visits - When an emergency health scare happens, it will often involve significant costs at the vet. In more extreme cases, a procedure can cost thousands of dollars, and will usually cost at least a few hundred. Pet insurance can help offset these costs.
- Toys and Beds - While not a necessity, toys, comfy bed, scratching posts, and other objects cats love can contribute to their quality of life. There are DIY options for toys and scratching posts if money is tight.
- Pet Sitting - Cat owners who travel will need to have a pet sitter regularly look in on their cat. This is to prevent any health issues and make sure your cat is getting her much needed attention. For a licensed, responsible pet care provider, this can cost $60 or more for each full day you are away.
This puts annual care for your cat at approximately $540 to $800, not including the one time expenses. In general, kittens will cost more because of their veterinary visits for grooming and spaying or neutering. Costs might go up as your cat gets older and experiences some health issues.
The individual costs will also vary based on your breed, any special needs your cat has, the rates in your area, and more. You can make some changes among your basic costs as well, such as using a less expensive product. If you are cutting costs, remember that less expensive products are generally lower quality, which can harm your cat over time.