The decision to bring a cat into a home is a long-term financial commitment. The payoffs, however, are priceless. Besides love and companionship, studies have shown that spending time with a pet can lower an owner’s blood pressure and reduce anxiety.
So what is the actual cost of owning a cat and how long is that commitment?
The life expectancy of a cat varies, but generally speaking, a cat will live 10 to 15 years. Indoor cats tend to live longer even into their 20s. Genetics, diet, and regular veterinary care will also affect life span.
The Kitten and Young Years
This time span will likely be the most expensive. Owners should add these usually one-time costs to the maintenance costs listed in the next section.
- Adoption or purchase fee: $0-500
- Litter Box: $5-$250
- Spay or neuter: $50-200
- Food and Water Bowls: $2-25
- Toys: $1-25
- Cat Carrier: $10-80
- Microchip: $10-50
- First Vet visit: $75-150
Optional Cat supplies to think about:
- Dental care items: $5-15
- Cat Stain Remover: $5-20 yearly
- Window Perch: $25-200
- Cat Bed: $10-100
- Cat Scratching Post: $10-20
- Cat Collar: $5-20
- Cat ID Tag: $5-20
- Boarding: $10-25 a night
The Adult Cat or Prime Years
At the age of two, a cat is considered an adult and the costs of taking care of a cat will become mostly maintenance. Cats who are allowed to venture outdoors are more likely to suffer injuries and infectious diseases requiring extra medical care. It is important that cats see a veterinarian at least once a year to maintain proper health.
During these years, you probably will want to plan on spending this much annually:
- Vet visits: $50-300 (this could be a lot higher if your cat comes down with a disease or injury)
- Cat Food: $100-300
- Kitty Litter: $75-200
- Cat Flea prevention: $25-100
- Heartworm prevention for Cats: $25-100
A Mature Adult Cat
A cat reaches full maturity between the ages of 7 to 10. At this point, a cat may start to slow down his or her routine and may develop health problems. Cats may be due for dental work at the veterinarian’s office, which can include cleaning and extractions. This can cost an additional $75-200.
As in humans, age can bring an increased risk of long-term diseases including diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Obesity can also exacerbate many of these problems, so it is important for owners to follow cat feeding guidelines.
Senior Citizen Cat
Cats who are lucky enough to reach an age older than 10 are considered seniors. They are likely to suffer from at least one of the diseases mentioned in the mature adult section, which can result in bills that can get well into the thousands.
Cats can also suffer from arthritis, which is treatable. Vet bills will most likely go up during this time due to ongoing diseases or issues. Food costs may also increase as many veterinarians recommend special diets for aging cats.
A senior cat who lives beyond 15 years is considered geriatric, and at this stage of life, cats often have trouble grooming so owners will have to provide assistance. At-home grooming supplies, such as brushes and nail trimmers, are about $5-50. If you don’t want to help groom your cat, professional grooming costs are about $50-100 per session. Many geriatric cats have bathroom accidents so stain removers ($5-20) will be needed.
Preparing for Emergency Cat Care
According to the ASPCA, most pet owners are likely to incur a bill that is within the $2,000 to $4,000 range for emergency Cat care. This means you won’t have time to budget – the bill will have to be paid now.
To prepare for circumstances such as this, it’s wise to start an emergency Cat fund and set aside at least $500 to $1,000 for certain procedures or unexpected bills. This account should be set up the minute you decide to adopt a pet.
What can you learn from all of this?
- Figure out how your expenses will affect your budget. Pay close attention to the prices mentioned above and make sure you’re going to be able to afford your cat.
- Set aside at least $500 in a pet emergency fund. If you can’t afford this fund, you may want to second guess your decision to adopt a Cat.
- Consider what you would do if you were to receive a $2,500 emergency vet bill. Would you be able to pay next month’s rent?
- Lastly, if you’re worried about these pet bills, consider getting a pet insurance policy. Like a health insurance policy, this could save you hundreds.
This was a guest post written by Stephanie Lynch from howmuchisit.org.