When accounting for ongoing costs, the usual suspects that come to mind are tuition fees, mortgage payments, groceries or rent. However, as you lose sleepless nights worrying about these expenses, your cat has other plans. From laying around on window perches to pouncing on your weekly supply of toilet roll, your expenses are the last thing on your cat’s mind.

With up to 43 million U.S households having a feline companion, many underplay the costs of owning one before adoption. So, why is this the case? After all, when deciding to have a child, annual costs are a major factor. While human and cat requirements are vastly different, the reality is that cats, like people, need a substantial amount of care.

Cats today can live up to eighteen years, meaning they have to be taken care of for the long-haul. Serious pet parents will need to plan ahead, accounting for routine veterinary procedures (vaccines, flea prevention etc.) and potential medical treatment. Recognizing cat costs provide adequate preparation time to ensure your cat lives a contented, happy life. Below are some cat costs to consider before adoption:


If family plans involve owning a cat sooner than later, your best bet would be to visit your local pet shelter. Adoption presents the very first cost, as you’ll need to pay an adoption fee. Fees can vary depending on location and establishment, but the minimum required is around $200. This fee covers vaccines, neutering and medical screenings for your cat. Seniors, however, may receive discounts. The shelter for example, have ongoing specials, which are listed below:

  • Free – Adopting a senior cat or one who has disabilities waives the adoption fee. If you’re adopting in a home void of pets, it’s also free of charge.
  • Senior Cats for the Elderly – Adoption fees are waived if you adopt a cat who is eight years older than you are. However, this only applies to seniors who are 60 years old and over.
  • Veterans – Veterans and active military personnel will receive a discount of 20% off adoption fees.
  • Get Two for the Price of One – Kittens always prefer a companion. If two cats are adopted, you’ll only have to pay a single fee.

A Trip to the Dentist

Although pet parents don’t require monthly (or even yearly) visits to the dentists for their cats, it is advisable to go at least once. A veterinarian will evaluate your cat’s teeth and gums, addressing any abnormalities. Tooth scaling is regularly performed to eradicate tartar on gum lines. Costs will vary on location and your cat’s current condition. For teeth cleaning, expect to pay anywhere from $90-140.


For owners whose attempts to bathe their cat have come in vain, grooming services provide an excellent alternative. According to the American Society of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), cats should receive regular grooming to maintain healthy skin, nails and eyes. Owners can expect to pay $50, with the nationwide average being $30-$70. Some establishments offer bathing as an add-on if you lack the patience or time to DIY. Similarly to vets, grooming service costs will depend on location and whether it’s a stationary or home service.

Medical Care

Cats who aren’t suffering from pre-existing conditions still require care. Routine exams, vaccines, deworming, and other parasite preventive procedures are standard when owning a cat. Expect to pay $80 to $400 for a routine examination covering vaccines and an extra $40-250 for prevention treatment. However, this doesn’t account for emergency procedures to treat illnesses or accidental injuries. Complex surgeries typically cost in the thousands, so many pet parents opt for pet insurance.

Investing in pet insurance alleviates much of the financial burden, as your insurer will help cover treatment costs. Monthly plan prices vary considerably, as it depends on what conditions are covered. Expect to pay anywhere from $10 monthly to more than $100. However, most pet owners pay between $30 to $50 and still receive good coverage.

Food & Litter Annual Expenses

Feeding your pet feline will set you back from $10-40, with treats giving a monthly total of $50. Most cats are ok with standard supermarket brands, and premium foods are available at pet stores if you’re feeling generous. However, regardless of choice, select high-quality foods that include essential vitamins and minerals. Good food choices ensure your cat lives off a balanced and nutritious diet.

Many pet owners put their cats on a raw diet, but recipes should be carefully designed to meet nutritional needs. Raw diets, however, aren’t risk-free, as uncooked food may have pathogens that can cause infection. If you want to save costs, buy your raw meat in bulk with less than premium cuts.


Toys act as a great distraction to cats who love to scratch your furniture. In fact, setting time out of your day for playtime sessions can help in the bonding process. Fortunately, cats aren’t very particular about toy brands or price. Although toys will vary, most are relatively cheap, often not exceeding $20.



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