So you’ve decided (or are in the middle of deciding) to become a cat parent and are wondering how much this little furbaby is going to set you back in the budget throughout its life. It’s a good thing to investigate, after all pet ownership is a commitment both emotionally, physically and financially.
The average cat lives between 12-18 years with the extra-healthy (typically indoor) cat reaching 20+ years and during this time routine vaccinations, food, litter and other sundry items for your fur baby can reach around $41,000 should they live to old age, so they don’t come cheap. This figure also doesn’t include incidental and optional costs, as listed below, so the cost can actually be considerably higher than this. That said, the investment pays dividends with a kitty dishing out plenty of love, cuddles (on its terms, of course) and laughs. Let’s break down where all that money will go exactly.
Purchase of a cat: between $0-$1200. If you decide to adopt a rescue cat, costs range from free (for cats aged 10 and over) to $80 for an adult cat and $138 for a kitten (aged 5 months and under). However, if you want to go the purebred route you’re looking at between $669 and $1200, depending on breed and location.
Registration: anywhere from $20-$140. This depends on whether your cat is desexed, whether it’s a rescue or a purebred and which state or territory you live in. This registration is valid for the life of the cat.
Neutering: $77-$200 (depending on gender). Generally, all kittens and cats sold by reputable breeders, pet stores and rescue organizations will be desexed prior to you picking up them up and so this cost is factored into the initial sale price.
Kitten vaccinations: $113-$134. Just like with children, kittens need to have a series of injections to prevent fatal and easily transferred diseases. These are typically done at 6-10, 10-12, and 14-16 weeks. Again, if you buy a cat or a kitten from a reputable breeder, pet store or rescue organization these are all done and included in the price, or you may just have to do the final vaccination should you pick up your kitten at 12 weeks which is standard.
Flea and worming treatments: $67 for six month’s coverage. Kittens will need this as they’ve come from a breeder’s home or rescue shelter where there are other cats and they may have gone outside. If your cat becomes a strictly indoor cat as the year’s progress and lives in a high-rise apartment complex, you can be a bit more relaxed with your regiment of this treatment. While still recommended as you yourself could bring in nasties from the outside, it’s at your discretion. However, if your cat goes outside or will be boarded this is a must.
Microchipping: $40. Again, this is often included in the cost price of a cat or kitten as all pets need to be microchipped, so unless you’ve picked up a stray you won’t have to pay this cost again.
Carry cage: $54 for an airline approved cage. This is recommended as you may want to fly with your pet at some stage during its life. You will also need a carrier for when you pick up your kitten/cat and when you take them on vet trips so it’s best to buy one which will suit all situations and the size of your cat fully grown upfront.
Bowls: $10-$20 each depending on quality. Stores such as Kmart and Target now offer pet ranges so the cost of these items have become more affordable. You will need two bowls, one for food and one for water.
Litter tray: $3-$5 for a small tray suitable for kittens. Don’t bother splashing out on a big fancy tray initially as your kitten will prefer this shallow tray as they can get in and out with their tiny legs. As they get older, or if you have adopted an adult cat, litterboxes range from $50 for a basic hooded box to $167 for a Modkat box which is more aesthetically pleasing to your decor.
10. Scratching post or lounger: $15-$100. Places such as Kmart sell small scratching posts and loungers inexpensively, or you can go extravagant and buy a scratching tower that will last for your cat’s lifetime, but also take over a good portion of your living room.
11. Toys: $2 and upwards each. You can buy small toy mice with bells inside for a couple of dollars. That said, you don’t have to invest much here. Kittens and cats are just as entertained by ribbon or string, scrunched up balls of paper, plastic straws, and cardboard boxes. You’ll often find your expensive toys often go un-played with in favor of free items your kitty has found around your home.
12. Treats $60 a year. This is for 75g bags which will each last you a couple of months. This isn’t essential but it is good to have treats on hand for when you cannot find your cat and kitten and you need them to come out of hiding (and this will happen, they are the masters of hide and seek). One shake of the bag and they will come running.
13. Insurance: from $246 per year but it can be more, depending on the type of policy, age and breed of your cat. Purebred kittens will often come with a three-months pet insurance, to ensure if anything happens in the first few months you’re covered. It is not essential to get pet insurance and it pays to look at any policy carefully before committing as it may not be worth the outlay. This is especially true for indoor cats who generally sleep all day so they can’t get into danger like outside cats.
14. Food: about $1000 a year for both wet and dry food. This will depend on the quality of the food you buy but for wet and dry food from the pet store, which is nutritionally balanced, this is what you can expect to pay. Supermarket food will be cheaper but not as nutritionally good for your cat.**
15. Litter: $300-$360 a year. It’s about $25-$30 for a bag of litter which will last you about a month, depending on your cat’s habits and the type of litter you buy.
16. Brush and nail clippers: $22. It’s a good idea to get your kitten into the habit of having their claws clipped and the fur brushed. It will be harder to get an adult cat to change their habits should they not have been groomed in the past.
17. Cat shampoo: $38. Like kids, kittens get dirty and will need a bath from time to time. It’s also a good habit to get them in while they are young because it becomes a lot harder when they are older! Cat shampoo is pH balanced, so it won’t irritate your kitten’s skin. A bottle should last 12 months, depending on how often you bath your kitty (which shouldn’t be too often as it can be drying for their skin)
TOTAL FOR FIRST YEAR: $1308-$3172 – with the cheaper figure if you adopted a rescue kitten but didn’t buy the insurance and the more expensive if you bought a purebred kitten and the top ticket item of everything on this list.
1. Food: about $447 a year for both wet and dry food.
2. Litter: $53-$100 a year. Again, this will depend on the type you use and your cat’s habits.
3. Annual vaccination vet check: $80-$100-: If your cat will be going outside or into boarding it’s essential it has these every year to stay protected from contagious and fatal diseases.
4. Flea and worming treatments: $153 for a year’s coverage.
5. Treats $40 a year which will buy you able six packets.
6. Insurance: from $164 per year. If your cat is inside-only this might not be necessary.
TOTAL FOR CONSECUTIVE YEARS: $1440-$2016 with the cheaper figure if your cat is inside-only so you don’t buy the insurance and regular flea and worm treatment, with the more expensive figure if you chose the top ticket item of everything on this list.
1. Collar with bell: $10-$33. Not every cat will like wearing a collar and if they are indoors-only it won’t be necessary.
2. Bed: $33 to $66: You’ll find your kitten will just sleep anywhere; the lounge, your bed and sometimes in the weirdest places. Unlike dogs, they don’t respond to be told to go to their bed and are just as comfortable snoozing on a windowsill. If you want a place for your kitten when you first get them, a shallow cardboard box with a soft blanket will do the trick.
1. Cat boarding at a cat hotel or cattery: from $16-$75 a day which includes food. Prior to boarding vaccinations, flea and worm treatments need to be up-to-date.
2. Flights: $36 one way when you’re accompanying your cat on the same flight.
3. Vet bills including grooming: $80 and upwards This has to be big that you cannot plan for. If your cat becomes sick, a routine vet visit is about $80 but then there are medications, tests, surgery, possible boarding for observation – the costs can add up very quickly. Also, if you have a long-haired cat you may choose to take it in for annual grooming coming into the summer months. This costs between $133-$200 as your cat will need to be put under anesthetic for stress and safety reasons.
This article originally appeared on our sister site Homes to Love
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