Cats bring a huge amount of love and loyalty to any household. From chasing shadows to curling up into a little ball of fur in your lap, no price can be put on owning a cat. If you want to bring a new kitty into your life, you’re likely asking yourself: how much does a cat cost?

The cost of owning a cat is not necessarily expensive, but it is important to be aware of the ongoing expenses. Let’s break down the initial and ongoing monthly cost of a cat.

A Siamese cat sits on a table outside.

How Much Does Getting a Cat Cost?

While costs do vary, the average price of owning a cat is $405 minimum for the first year and roughly $304 for each subsequent year. Let’s look at why. 

Adoption

Adopting a cat is one of the best things you can do. Giving an abandoned kitty a second chance at a loving home and family is an indescribable act of good. But how much do kittens cost when bringing them home for the first time? When adopting from a shelter, the cost will depend on the shelter and the cat’s age. Generally, fees range from $50 to $175. Some shelter cats may already have been neutered and have all their microchips in place, which will affect the price.

Breeders

How much do cats cost if bought directly from a breeder? The truth is some breeders charge up to $750 for a single cat. Adopting from a shelter not only protects the integrity of your wallet, but there are tens of thousands of cats all in need of a loving home.

Fostering

Fostering is not for everyone, but preparing a cat for their forever home is a rewarding responsibility. Foster parents are not expected to cover any initial costs, such as shots or neutering. They also have no upfront fees to pay, but fostering will usually mean you’ll need to pay the price of having to say goodbye sooner or later.

Three kittens crawl through some straw.


Bringing a Cat Home: Cost Factors

Initial adoption and breeders’ fees are just part of the cost of bringing a cat home. How much does it cost to take care of a cat when other one-time expenses are taken into account?

Here is a rundown of one-time expenses:

  • Initial Medical Care/Spraying/Neutering – Costs vary heavily, but average capital costs can add up to around $365. However, many shelter cats may also have received this necessary medical care.
  • Litter Box – Modern litter boxes can range from simple plastic trays to self-cleaning models. Budget anywhere from $10 to $200.
  • Carrier – New carriers can cost up to $75, but you can find second-hand carriers for as low as $20.
  • Collar – Collar prices depend on how fancy you want it. Most owners spend no more than $10 on a collar.
  • Toys and Scratching Posts – Cats love to scratch! Give them the stimulation they need. Average prices range from $20 to $50, although much larger posts are out there for much higher prices if you want to spoil your feline friend. Make sure you also have toy mice to keep your kitty occupied and engaged. 
  • Food and Water Bowls – Anything can be used as food and water bowls, as long as they are cleaned regularly. Spend no more than $5 if you’re on a budget.

These are the absolute basics every cat needs to flourish. While the answer to “how much does a cat cost” will inevitably vary, it should cost no more than a few hundred dollars. If it’s within your budget, feel free to splash out for more premium items, such as cat beds, fountains, and other tech gadgets.

A blue-eyed cat poses for the camera.


Monthly Cat Costs

Ongoing costs vary, too, but figuring out the rough average monthly cost of a cat is helpful for monthly and annual budgeting. On average, plan to spend around $53 a month for most cat breeds, assuming no unexpected expenses come up.

  • Recurring Medical Expenses – Flea and tick prevention, as well as checkups, can cost up to $200 per year.
  • Cat Food – Depending on the brand, the annual cost of a cat’s food that is healthy and well-balanced ranges from $200-$500 per year.
  • Treats – Tasty treats might cost no more than $10 per month.
  • Litter – Cat litter comes in at $75-$150 per year.

A pretty black cat sits in the grass.


How Much Does It Cost To Have a Cat: Miscellaneous Expenses

Anything can happen, and determining how expensive are cats also has to take into account miscellaneous expenses. Prepare for the future by being aware of potential costs if the future throws you a curveball.

  • Emergency Veterinary Care – Life happens, and even a healthy pet can be laid low. Emergency care can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Create an emergency fund and take out proper pet insurance.
  • Pet Sitting Fees – If you’re taking time away from home, commercial boarding can cost anywhere from $15 to $50 per day. You can usually find pet sitters to stop by your home for less. 
  • Professional Grooming – Professional grooming costs an average of $300 per year. Naturally, not all brands require this level of grooming attention.


Conclusion

When figuring out how much a cat costs, many prospective cat parents are surprised at the various expenses they need to cover. In return, you get the love and companionship of a cat that you won’t find anywhere else.

Protect your feline friend against whatever the future may hold by taking out comprehensive pet insurance. Start your journey with Pet Insurance Review and get your free pet insurance quote now.