Cat Ownership: A Financial Analysis

What’s not to love about cats? They’re fluffy, quirky, and a whole lot lower maintenance than dogs. BUT just because they can be hands-free, doesn’t mean they’re cost-free. Consider these four points before adding a cat to your family:

  • One-Time Costs Add Up: If you choose to adopt from the ASPCA, kittens usually cost $125, while adult cats cost $75. If you prefer to buy from a breeder, however, you could be paying $700 or more! Spaying or neutering can range from $50 to $145, with the general doctor’s exam costing about $130. And don’t forget about a litter box! By the end of the first year of cat ownership, you could discover you’ve spent anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000.
  • Annual Cost: Expect to pay between $700 and $1,000 per year on your feline. You might think that you can buy cheap pet food and litter to cut these costs, but beware, as this can cost you on animal health care or cleaning expenses.
  • Emergencies: Emergency veterinary care can cost between $2,000 to $4,000. If that sounds steep, you might consider buying pet insurance. It will cover most pet emergencies, but usually not continuing conditions, pregnancy, boarding, or fees outside the “normal” amount. To prepare for the unexpected, start adding a little extra to your savings every month, just in case.
  • Home Damage: Many of us don’t factor in the cost of repairing clawed furniture, cleaning up cat vomit, or removing the smell of cat-spray from curtains (ugh). Also, many apartment landlords require a pet deposit, which can potentially add $100 to your cat’s total price tag.

Make absolutely sure you have room in your budget to give your cat the care it deserves: you don’t want to find yourself deeper in debt, with a sick cat to boot. That would be a cat-astrophe!