Yes, it may be hard to resist that adorable kitten that’s up for adoption or your friendly neighborhood stray cat looking for a place to call home. However, before deciding to adopt a cat, it is important to be aware of what to expect, including the financial costs that come with being a responsible cat owner. After all, you want to make sure that you are not just willing but also ready and able to provide a loving home for a cat while making sure that their needs are met at the same time.

If you’re thinking of getting a cat for the first time, questions such as "How to be a good cat owner?" as well as "What are the expenses of owning a cat?" may come to mind. Ultimately, cat ownership is a commitment, so it helps to be aware of what to expect, including the average expenses of owning a cat (the cat’s basic needs, routine expenses, veterinary expenses, and the like), to determine if you are ready and able to take in a cat.

Costs may vary depending on the age, size, and health of your cat, as well as your location. Below are some general estimates:


  1. Basic Cat Needs
  2. Routine and Emergency Veterinary Care
  3. Optional Expenses
  4. FAQ

Basic Cat Needs

High-Quality Food

While most cats are okay with being fed the typical cat food that’s being sold at pet shops or grocery stores, looking at the ingredients list and the percentage ratio of the content is essential.

Purchasing high-quality cat food is best, in the long run, to ensure that your cat’s diet is well-balanced, with the essential vitamins and nutrients to keep them healthy. There are dry and wet cat food options available on the market, but a combination of both is said to benefit them more.

So how much does cat food cost per month? Annually, the estimated cost for cat food ranges from $200 to $500. Do note that if your cat has a chronic illness, they may require a special prescription diet, which may cost close to $500.

Read more: How Much Food Does Your Cat Really Need?

Core Vaccinations

Contagious viruses and diseases, among other potential risks, may endanger your cat, so it is essential for them to be given core vaccinations for protection. Note that the cost of these vaccinations would depend on your cat’s risk factors as well as the rabies laws in your locality.

For the complete series of vaccinations in the first year, you can expect to pay around $80 to $160.

Cat Litter Box & Cat Litter

Keep in mind that you also need to purchase a cat litter box and a regular supply of cat litter for your cat’s healthy bathroom habits. For every cat in a household, two litter boxes are recommended. Note that you would also need a litter scooper.

You may be wondering about the average cat litter cost per month as well as how much cat litter to use if you have a cat. The answer would depend on the type of litter you choose to purchase, how many cats you have at home, and any additional supplies that you may need.

Depending on the kind of litter, additional supplies needed, and the number of cats in the household, it will cost between $100 and $250.

Spaying or Neutering

To avoid health or behavioral problems or unwanted pregnancies in your cat, you may be advised to have them spayed or neutered, especially if you have a multi-cat household.

In the US, low-cost spay and neuter clinics may charge less than $100. Meanwhile, private veterinary clinics may charge between $200 and $400.

Read more: Does Emergency Fund cover spaying and neutering?

Routine and Emergency Veterinary Care

Annual Veterinary Examinations

To check on your cat’s overall health, annual veterinary examinations are important to make sure that nothing is wrong. While a cat may not show any symptoms of illness, they could just be hiding it, so it is best to be sure.

Annual check-ups that include blood and dental profiles may cost around $100 to $200.

Read more: How Often Should You Take a Cat to a Vet?

Emergency Veterinary Care

It’s hard to estimate these costs since they may vary widely, depending on your cat’s age, condition, and the severity of the emergency. However, having an emergency fund would help mitigate such costs that may become overwhelming.

A good example of this is Petcube’s Pet Emergency Fund, which is a great alternative to pet insurance. With Pet Emergency Fund, you get to protect your pet and up to five other pets with a coverage of $3000 per year for less than $1 a day. Not to mention, you also get access to their Online Vet Service, where you can consult with certified vets online 24/7.

Optional Expenses


Cat Shampoo

You may want to buy a cat shampoo to bathe your cat on occasion. This would help keep them clean and prevent them from contracting fleas and ticks.

Water Fountains

Because it is important to keep cats hydrated, water fountains may encourage them to drink more often.

Pet Cameras & Gadgets

Pet cameras and gadgets may help you keep an eye on your cat, especially when you’re away. Petcube Play 2 is an example of a good-quality pet camera that allows you to not only keep an eye on your pet but also gives you the chance to interact and play with them.

Below is a chart to show the average cost of cat ownership per location:

Location Food (per month) Cat Litter (per month) Veterinary Care
(annual checkup)
Toys & Accessories
(per month)
US $20-$40 $10-$20 $50-$100 $10-$20
UK £15-£30 £5-£15 £30-£60 £5-£15
Canada $20-$40 $10-$20 $50-$100 $10-$20
France €20-€30 €10-€20 €50-€100 €10-€20
Germany €20-€30 €10-€15 €50-€100 €10-€20


Are cats high-maintenance?

Compared to dogs, cats are considered to be relatively low-maintenance since they don’t need to be walked or potty-trained. Nevertheless, remember that as pets, they need to be loved and cared for, so it is also important to make sure that their needs are being met.

How much do kitten shots cost?

Depending on your kitten’s needs and the prices in your area, the first year of vaccinations usually costs more, with an average cost of around $100 to $200. Despite the costs, these are worth it in order to protect your cat from harmful diseases.

Why is cat food so expensive?

Because cats need a higher percentage of protein compared to dogs, this means that they need more meat in their diet. Meat is more costly than plants & fibers, making their food more expensive.

Is it cheaper to make your own cat food?

Making your own cat food may seem like the cheaper option. However, making your own high-quality cat food may turn out to be more expensive since you’ll need to buy many ingredients and supplements that are important to make sure that they contain all the necessary nutrients that your cat needs.

Read more: 21 Everyday Human Foods Can Be Toxic to Dogs and Cats

How much does it cost to get a cat spayed or neutered?

Private veterinarians typically charge anywhere between $200 and $500 to spay or neuter a cat. However, there are also lower-cost clinics run by non-profits that charge less than $100.

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