Have you always wanted to have a cat but are hesitant to do so because of the cost? Bringing home a cat entails financial preparedness, especially if you intend to own a rare cat breed. Read on for some information on the standard expenses that come with having a cat at home.
How much does a cat cost per month?
A cat costs an average of $83 each month, but this may be double in the first year of ownership. Cats can cost around $500 to $1000 yearly. The main factors that can affect the costs of having a cat include the cat’s breed, health issues, sex, age as well as vet fees. Affordable cat breeds include the Manx, Himalayan, Snowshoe, Cornish Rex, Oriental Shorthair and Siamese while expensive cat breeds include Savannah, Bengal, the Ashera, Persian, Peterbald, Sphynx, Russian Blue and Scottish Fold.
One-time costs for a cat may include the adoption fee, which can be around $50 to $175, but if you want to get your cat from a cat breeder the cost could be around $750 or more depending on the breed.
These are the expenses usually incurred every month:
Dry food costs roughly $1.62 daily or $49 monthly, while dry prescription food costs around $2.02 daily or $60.60 monthly. Wet cat food can cost $1 daily or $30 monthly while wet prescription food can be $2.04 daily or $61.20.
The cost of cat food will also depend on your cat’s age, sex and specific medical problems aside from the type of food as indicated above. Additionally, the cost of cat treats per month can be more or less $10 to $50.
The average cost of cat litter of 14 pounds is more or less $10, so if your cat uses about 28 pounds the monthly cost for this item would be $20.
The cost of cat litter will also depend on the type of litter you use, such clumping or non-clumping, the number of litter boxes you have, the brand you use and how often you replace the litter. You also have to consider the cost of litter box liners, litter mats, litter deodorizers, litter trash cans and bags, and annual replacement of litter boxes. The yearly budget for litter and supplies is estimated at around $120.
Other possible expenses if you own a cat
These are the other expenses you are likely to incur if you own a cat:
- Professional cat grooming – it could cost from $15 to $100 per cat, and will depend on your cat’s coat and if a professional groomer is needed, especially if you have a long-haired cat. This may also include nail trimming as part of your cat’s grooming needs.
- Cat surgery – this costs from $140 to $10,000 based on the complexity and extent of surgery. If your cat has to stay overnight or longer at the veterinary clinic the cost is generally higher.
- Cat neutering/spaying – the cost can be around $140 to $300, with spaying for females more costly compared to neutering for males.
- Cat boarding – the average cost is $25 per night, but this may vary depending on the type of boarding facility you use and if your cat has special needs. You may however opt to hire a cat sitter, which may cost around $25 to $30 per day.
- Professional teeth cleaning – this costs around $200 to $400 per cat. Although some cats require yearly teeth cleanings, most cat owners usually do the brushing for their cats themselves.
Other expenses for your cat could include recurring medical expenses, annual medical check-ups, vaccinations, flea, tick and heartworm medication as well as deworming sessions.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or ASPCA, the capital cost of having a cat is around $365, and this includes spaying or neutering and initial medical care. They also note that the cost will vary depending on the supplies and items that you purchase for your cat’s needs.
These are the essential cat needs:
- Litter box – plain plastic ones are affordable compared to self-cleaning and automatic ones, which can be very expensive. You may have to purchase more than one litter box if your house has multiple floors.
- Pet carrier – the cost will depend on the material and design.
- Collar and ID tag – this is essential even if your cat is microchipped.
- Scratching post/scratching mat – cats are natural scratchers and having these items will prevent them from scratching furniture and carpets.
These are the optional items to purchase:
- Cat bed – some cats are content with a towel or soft blanket, although a cat bed provides comfort and a cozy place to sleep.
- Pet drinking fountain – most cats are happy with a water bowl, but some cats also prefer to drink running water from a fountain.
- Cat shelves – these shelves allow cats to have a full and elevated view of their surroundings. This does not have to be purchased, and you may be able do this yourself using materials found in your home.
- Cat perch – this allows your cat to watch birds and other animals from the window. Just as with cat shelves, you may also be able make this yourself.
- Pet tech gadgets – these may include computerized cat toys and two-way videos, although there are also a lot of options available at a more affordable cost.
Aside from cat surgery and medical bills, you may also incur other unexpected costs, such as repair of some home damages caused by your cat. They may scratch your precious furniture, rip your carpet or destroy vintage fixtures. Cats also spray urine to mark their territory and you may have to spend a considerable cost for the cleaning materials to remove the pungent odor.
How to save on cat costs?
Here are ways to save on cat costs:
- Try to browse around first and compare prices when buying cat supplies.
- Try to buy in bulk so you can save more.
- Consider making your cat toys instead of buying them.
- Make your cat treats that are similarly tasty and satisfying for your cat. Some examples would be baked flour treats and homemade tuna or chicken treats.
- Get pet insurance for your cat to manage veterinary costs.
- Keep your cat healthy by feeding them nutritious food and making sure that they get ample exercise.
- Cat-proof your home so your cat is safe at all times.
You need to be financially prepared if you want to own and care for a cat. It costs roughly $83 each month if you have a cat, and this may be double in the first year of ownership. The essential cat supplies include their litter box, cat food and litter while other important things include veterinary and medical care as well as grooming needs. Toys, cat shelves and treats are beneficial, but you can opt to do it yourself at home.
Image: istockphoto.com / volkan cakirca