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Published: Feb 07, 2024 4 min read

If you’re considering acquiring a feline friend to add to your family, you may be wondering about the costs related to owning one. The cost of having a cat can depend on its age, breed and health conditions. It’s also important to know that cats can live upwards of 17 years and are a long-term commitment. Read on to explore the details surrounding the cost of owning a cat.

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Costs of owning a cat

The ASPCA quotes the annual American costs associated with owning a cat at $1,149, with initial one-time costs coming in at an average of $455. However, cat ownership costs vary depending on if you’re buying or adopting a cat and if your cat develops medical conditions or complications.

Cost of adopting or purchasing a cat

Adopting can be considerably cheaper than purchasing a cat, although potential cat owners looking for specific breeds may want to consider purchasing if money is not an issue. The average cost of a purebred cat can vary wildly based on the particular breed and can exceed thousands of dollars in some cases.

If you’re looking to be a pet owner but don’t care about a particularly breed, adopting is the best option and helps control the pet population. According to the Cat Adoption Team, average adoption fees vary from $225 for kittens to as low as $110 for adult cats.

Initial expenses for owning a cat

The most important part of the initial expense for owning a cat is its veterinary care, including its first shots, heart-worm preventative care and possible spaying or neutering. Initial vaccines last from when the kittens are 6 weeks to 20 weeks of age and can cost from $25 to $50 per vaccine.

Other initial expenses can include spaying or neutering and microchipping. You’ll probably want to invest in a cat bed and a water bowl to have your new cat living as comfortably as possible. Cat toys and cat trees are optional but useful add-ons to your cat home that can improve its life and teach it not to scratch your furniture from an early age.

Average annual expenses for a cat

Annual expenses for cats include what your cat needs for its everyday life, including cat food, toys, a cat litter box, grooming supplies and medical care. You can expect to spend anywhere from $200 to $500 a year in food and supplies as well as optional add-ons like scratching posts.

Cats should also visit a veterinarian for annual checkups to ensure a healthy lifestyle. These costs can possibly be lowered with pet insurance coverage, although whether it's worth it or not will depend on what sort of insurance plan you have and how it covers medical expenses such as wellness checks, emergency vet visits and particular health issues.

All things considered, you can expect to spend the bulk of your cat’s cost in the first years, considering the initial cost of adopting, vaccinating and buying the first supplies you’ll need to keep your cat healthy and comfortable. This cost will go down through the years as your cat grows older. However, be sure to save up for surprise costs in terms of medical attention and unforeseen circumstances.

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How much does a cat cost FAQs

Are cats or dogs cheaper?

Although it depends on the cat breed, cats are generally low-cost compared to dogs when it comes to annual cost, vet bills and spay/neuter surgeries.

What is the initial cost of adopting a cat?

If you’re not getting it from a breeder, the cost of a cat can vary from as little as $110 to as high as $225.

How can I save money on my cat?

Consider buying cat food and kitty litter in bulk and keep your indoor cats healthy by avoiding exposing it to smoking inside the house. You should not cut costs by avoiding cat care.