Pets can be expensive to buy and maintain but, hopefully, they give back much more in affection, entertainment and love! Here’s a rundown, from Catherine Sullivan of Cats How, on how much it costs to own a cat… 

How Much Does It Cost To Own A Cat?

After days and weeks of consideration, you finally decided to bring a cat to your family. Since they require less maintenance than dogs, you find a cat’s lifestyle matching yours, too. Such a match made in heaven, isn’t it?

However, deciding to adopt a cat is not entirely feline kisses and fluffiness (and scratches too). Like any other pets, they require the necessities to keep their health and happiness intact too.

We saved you the trouble of spending hours on the internet just to estimate how much it will cost to adopt a cat. Read on to discover the expenses to expect when you bring a cat into your home and family!

How Much Does It Cost To Own A Cat?

One-time Expenses

Adoption Fee

Shelters and rescue centers have cheaper adoption fees than breeders. Adoption fee for cats 1 year old and above ranges from $15 – $200, and $100 – $200 for kittens. The adoption fee includes medical and food expenses for the cat while waiting to be transported to your home, such as vaccinations, spay/neuter, flea and de-worming treatments and cat foods good for a week.

Adoption fees for cats from breeders vary depending on the breeder, the breed itself, the color and quality of the cat. Fees can range from $300 – $3000. Exotic brands can go up to even ten thousand dollars.


Spay/Neuter (Desexing)

Just in case the shelter/breeder didn’t cover this for you, and you’re not considering to breed and get more cats, get your cat spayed/neutered. Private operation costs $300 – $500 for female cats, and $200 for male cats.

Non-profit organizations also conduct spay/neuter operations for only $50. Don’t worry about the quality, though. These surgeries are performed by licensed vets too!


Medicines (Flick and tea, vitamins, deworming, etc)
Some adoption shelters and breeders don’t cover medications and vaccinations, so you need to cover these on your own. Here’s the price ranges of necessary medications for your feline friends:

Flea and Tick
Pills/Chewables – $28 – $50
Spray – $6- $18
Shampoo: $7 – $15
Topical treatment – $12 – $85

Deworming: $6 – $14

Vaccine (initial): $45 – $85

Vitamins: $4 – $17

How Much Does It Cost To Own A Cat?

Litter Box

You’ve got to provide your feline friend a bathroom of his/her own! Prices can vary depending on the features it comes with, like self-cleaning, scoop-free, etc. You can get a litter box for your cat for $6 – $200.


Bowls and Feeders

You can choose to buy some simple bowls for food and water, or those self-refilling types. Here’s the price range of bowls and feeders depending on the feature:

Bowls: $2 – $63
Feeders: $3 – $130
Water Fountains and Accessories: $11 – $90

Cat behaviour problem


Grooming Materials

This one’s a nice-to-have, but no need to buy one immediately. Pet combs can be useful especially when your cats shed A LOT. You can buy one for $6 – $15.


Monthly/Yearly Costs


Food for kittens can cost more than foods for adult cats, as they need to eat 4 times a day. Kitten foods range from $8 – $61, and adult cat foods range from $4 – $112.

Quality brands of cat foods can be a bit more expensive, but they can benefit your cat’s health in the long run. Also, if you want to save more, consider buying in bulk! 



You have to replace the litter in your cat’s litter box frequently, or else the urine and feces will build up and cause unwanted odors. Non-clumping litter ranges from $9 – $40, while clumping litter ranges from $6 – $43.   


Vet Checkups

Visiting your vet regularly can help prevent conditions like cancer from affecting (or spreading) your cat. A vet visit usually ranges from $60 – $70.

You should also keep an emergency fund in case your cat meets an accident or suffers a serious condition unexpectedly. 

How Much Does It Cost To Own A Cat?

Pet Insurance (Optional)

Pet insurance can help cover the vet bills in case the unexpected happens.


Flea and Tick Prevention

Keep your cats free from tick and flea by investing in some topical solutions ( $12 – $85) and/or collars ($6 – $55).



Keep your cat’s vaccines up-to-date to prevent him/her from serious diseases. Follow-up vaccines ranges from $5 – $15, and can require two- three time administration.

Having a cat requires financial and emotional investment

Of course, these expenses are just an overview of what to expect. Your expenses in adopting a cat depend on your lifestyle and unexpected turn of events. Want to spoil your cat? Go ahead! Want to keep it basic? Go for it.

What matters is that you give your feline friend the same care and affection he/she gives you. Having a cat is a lifetime responsibility and a lifetime worth of happiness too! 

About the author:
Catherine Sullivan is an avid cat lover and owns a lovely ragdoll named Mimi. She shares her experiences as a cat owner on her personal blog, Cats.How


More reading
Cats really do love us!
The cost of having and caring for a dog
Cats in small spaces
10 tips for content cats
How do I tell if my cat is anxious (video)


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