How Much Does a Cat or Kitten Cost?

Adoptable cat

Whiskery kisses are worth their weight in gold, but how much do cats cost when you really get down to the purr-ticulars? The cost of a cat or kitten runs a range depending on cat breed, age and even your lifestyle, but the basics come in around a minimum of $405 for the first year, and about $340 for each year after.

Planning for a New Cat or Kitten

When it comes to the costs of a cat or kitten, there's a wide range of prices for nearly every necessity you can think of. Where you find yourself on the cat cost scale depends on your individual pet's needs, and your personal budget. You can play it tame or go a little more wild, but the information below should give you a pretty good scope of costs (give or take a few outliers, like professional grooming or emergency veterinary care).

Cat Cost Estimates

Expense First Year Each Year Following
Adoption Fee* Sponsored ($0)–200 N/A
Veterinary Care and Vaccines* $110–550 $110–550
Flea/Tick Prevention $20–200 $20–200
Food $120–500 $120–500
Treats $10–100 $10–100
Food and Water Bowls $5–30 N/A
Litter Box $10–200 $10–100
Litter $70–150 $70–150
Cat Bed $20–100 $0–100
Carrier $20–75 $0–75
Toys and Scratching Post $20–50 $0–50
TOTAL $405–2,285 $340–1,825

* Adoption fees typically cover a range of additional costs, such as spaying/neutering and various veterinary tests. Find more details here.

Budgeting for the Cost of a Cat or Kitten

When it comes to the health and well-being of a family pet, there are certainly places that shouldn't be scrimped. But costs of cat and kitten nutrition and costs of cat fashion are two very different things. If you're looking to find ways to care for a cat that better fit your budget, here are a few simple tips:

  • Think Adoption First. Adoption fees may be more economical than buying a pet outright, and many shelters cover initial health exams, along with spaying or neutering (procedures that can cost an average of $200–$500). Plus, you get the added benefit of giving a loving home to a pet in need. If you're looking for a specific breed, you can typically even find breed-specific rescues to work with.
  • Be on the Ball with Veterinary Care. How much do cats cost to care for? It depends, and the best way to save on veterinary costs is to keep your pet healthy in the first place. Don't skip routine visits and stay up-to-date on vaccines. Emergency clinics are pricey (upward of $1,000+ in some instances), and regular visits to the veterinarian can keep them at bay. You can also check out pet insurance, which could help save on unexpected illnesses in the long-run. Average plans run around $10-40 per month, and can cover a variety of needs.
  • Keep it Basic. Skip the fancy collar, opt for a simple stainless steel food bowl and try to resist that robotic, self-cleaning litter box. You can even DIY your own cozy cat tent or create a cat scratching post—from scratch (and a bit of cardboard).
  • Save on Food and Treats. Food will be a major cost of bringing home a cat. Luckily, there are ways to save on nutrition. Choosing a quality kibble will go a long way in keeping your cat healthy (and keeping veterinary bills down), but you can also search online for deals and offers.

Other Cat & Kitten Expenses to Consider

While some cat or kitten costs are a given (food, shelter, etc.), others may be a bit more unexpected—or even optional, depending on the type of pet you choose and your lifestyle. It may be a good idea to budget for some of the potential items below, and make sure you're prepared for surprises down the road:

  • Emergency Veterinary Care. We've touched a bit on this already, but it's worth repeating. Even a healthy pet may need emergency care, ranging from a few hundred dollars to $1,000+. Hopefully, this will be a cost you'll never have to face, but you may want to set aside some funds you can draw on in emergencies. You can also consider pet insurance. There are a number of reasonable plans with low monthly fees tha help protect you, just in case.
  • Pet Sitting or Boarding Fees. If you're planning an extended trip, and can't find a friend to care for your cat while youway, you may need to budget for pet sitting or commercial boarding at around $15-50 per day.
  • Professional Grooming. Some cats are low-maintenance, but others may need some extra care when it comes to that shiny coat. If your cat requires professional grooming it could run approximately $300+ per year.

Feeling financially prepared to add a cat to your family? Find out what the first 30 days of cat adoption might look like, and then start searching for adoptable cats here.