Pet ownership has gone up in the era of quarantines and stay at home orders in most parts of the United States. While cats have a lot to offer families in terms of love, entertainment and companionship, there are some things to think about before going out and making an adoption. Cats are pets that come with responsibilities for healthcare and special dietary needs. There is a yearly cost with owning a cat, so it’s important to make sure that there is room in your budget before you adopt. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect it to cost for the privilege of being a cat owner.
The cost of owning a cat can vary
The ASPCA has established an average cost for owning a cat. The basic estimate for a healthy cat is between $809 and $1,000 per year. The first year is likely to be more expensive because it is a time when you’re purchasing all of the start-up supplies that are necessary. Prior to signing the adoption papers, consider the preparation that is needed. You will need to purchase a litter box, the cat litter to go inside, grooming supplies including a brush, shampoo, food, food and water holders, and a bed. Some people purchase kittens from people in their communities and others prefer to adopt from a rescue shelter. There are also adoption fees charged. Next, and of extreme importance is medical expenses. Every cat needs to have regular veterinary visits with a baseline visit for a checkup and necessary immunizations. Some owners who adopt kittens purchase pet health insurance to help offset medical bills in the event that the cat develops chronic medical conditions. You should also plan on an expense for toys. Cats are playful and curious creatures and toys are an absolute necessity. If your cat is exposed to other animals, flea treatments may also factor into the equation. These are the most common expenses that you can expect with cat ownership.
The first year
There are quite a few one-time expenses that you can count on. How much you spend will be determined by the area that you live in and how expensive the cost of living is in your region because this drives the cost of supplies. It’s cheaper in some areas and more expensive than others. Here is a breakdown of your first year’s expenses.
On average, new cat owners spend between $0 and $270 for adoption. Some are fortunate enough to find a healthy kitten for free, while others must pay adoption fees. If you purchase a pedigreed kitten, then the cost can go up significantly. Some people pay thousands of dollars for pedigreed felines.
The startup supplies that you will need for your cat includes at a minimum food and water bowls, a bed, a pet taxi to take him to and from the vet, tags, toys, leashes, litter, a litter box, and litter box liners. Owners spend between $50 to $300 for supplies. If you go with the trendy new items available you could pay even more, but if you’re just looking for the basics, you should be able to get by for well under $100.
You will likely spend between $100 to $200 a year for cat food. Cats require a specific diet and there are some amazingly nutritious formulations made just for cats. Cats shouldn’t be fed human food because some ingredients we thrive on are toxic to cats. Your veterinary can recommend the healthiest brands and formulas for your cat.
Your new cat will need a medical checkup to ensure that he is healthy and to make sure that he has all of his immunizations. At this time your vet will check for ticks, fleas, and any other health conditions. The doctor will give your cat any needed vaccinations and set you up on a regular schedule for checkups and needed shots. The average cost of vaccinations and vet visits is between $100 to $200. If you decide to have your cat spayed or neutered, the costs range between $20 up to $300 depending on where you live and the rates that the vet charges. You can also play on preventative medical interventions for heartworms, ticks, and other common issues between $50 to $100.
You’ll also need to check with your local city or county about required licensing. The fees for licensing a cat range between $0 and $20. Some areas require licensing with tags while others do not require a cat to have a license. You may want to consider having your cat microchipped in case he gets lost. The average fee for this is $50 and it is a one time expense.
After the first year
In most cases, if your cat is healthy, the expenses will go down dramatically, unless you pamper your cat and buy him the best of everything. The average cost declines to as little as $162 per year, according to All About Cats. Barring medical emergencies that can go into the thousands, most cat owners’ biggest expenses are for food and toys. You may need to replace a bed every few years, but food, toys, and medical checkups will be your biggest annual expenses.
Owning a cat is a big responsibility, but it is also a very rewarding experience. Cats bring a lot of love and joy into our lives. They offer companionship and entertainment. After the initial year, most cats are fairly inexpensive to maintain. Planning ahead with pet health insurance is an extra safeguard against medical emergencies breaking the bank, and although it’s not required, if you can afford the low monthly payments, it’s an excellent source of security. After the first year, you can keep the cost of owning a cat under $200, but be warned that it’s hard to resist some of the great toys and accessories that are offered for cat lovers.