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How Much Does It Cost To Own A Cat? A Cost Breakdown

Cost of owning a cat

The cost of owning a cat

According to our estimates, the cost of owning a cat ranges from around $200 to nearly $4,000 per year. The ASPCA estimates that the typical owner will spend close to $800 annually.

The following cost breakdown is a rough estimate of the expenses you’ll encounter during a cat’s lifetime, from adoption fees to litter box liners. How much does a cat cost per year? The actual cost will be influenced by the cat’s health needs and overall lifestyle.

One-Time Cat Homing Fees – $140 to $1,395

First things first, how much does a cat cost? It typically costs between $25 and $200 to adopt a cat from a rescue. Sometimes, rescues will waive adoption fees altogether when shelters get overwhelmed with cats in need of homes. 

If you choose to acquire a cat from a breeder, the cost of owning a cat will be higher. However, we strongly encourage adopting cats, since there are so many wonderful, loving kitties overlooked at shelters and rescue organizations. Rescue cats make purr-fect furry companions!

Essentials – $115

What’s the cost of cat litter? Or the price of cat food?  Essentials for your new companion include a cat litter box, litter scoop, scratching post, carrier, and food and water bowls. Expenses like spaying and neutering, ID collars, cat beds, and other accessories might add a couple of hundred dollars to your startup costs, as well.

Annual Expenses – $162 to $3,872/year

Cat Food – $90 – $2,520/year

There’s great cat food available for every budget. The average grain-free dry food costs around $300 per year, while low-cost wet food might cost about $273.75 annually. Fresh, raw, and freeze-dried food range from $1,000 to over $2,000 a year. These calculations of the costs of owning a cat are based on the prices of popular foods sold online.

Cat Litter and Accessories – $72 – $378/year

According to results from the analysis of multiple popular products sold online, clay cat litter costs around $72 per year. Biodegradable and silica gel products are more expensive at up to $250 annually. Accessories like liners, deodorizers, and a litter mat will also add to your overall cat cost per year.

Routine Veterinary Care – Around $100 and up.

So, in terms of vet care, how much does it cost to own a cat? The average cat owner will spend around $100 per year on routine healthcare (source). This includes checkups, dental care, vaccinations, and flea and tick medication. 

Veterinary checkups can involve additional tests on your cat if something unusual pops up. These procedures can range from $100 to $800 or more.

Emergencies and Chronic Illness – may cost $10,000 or more

Emergencies and illnesses are your biggest financial planning wild cards when it comes to the costs of owning a cat. Treatment for diabetes might cost over $10,000 during a cat’s lifetime. Treating a cat with a fever might even cost over $8,000 (source).

Pet Insurance – up to $583/year

According to Value Penguin, the average accident-and-illness policy for a cat costs $335.16 per year. Insurance can save you thousands of dollars if your cat becomes sick or injured. Some plans cover all your veterinary expenses, including regular checkups and prescription food.

Fun Budget – up to $200/year

In addition to the essentials, you may want to set aside around $200 per year for discretionary spending. This budget might cover cat shampoo, toys,  trees, or a new bed.

Need more information?

For tips on owning a cat on a budget and a detailed expense breakdown, check out this comprehensive guide about the costs of cat ownership.