Cat Tips

How Much Does a Cat Cost?

It is never a bad decision to bring a pet home. And the best way to do this is by getting to know the estimated adoption costs and monthly and one-time costs attached to it. When it comes to cats, money is incomparable when it comes to the affection, memories and entertainment it will bring to your life. But it is important to know the costs attached as we have limited resources, and we are all trying to maximize them. 

So, how much does a cat cost? We will help you break down the costs starting from adoption to initial costs to annual recurring costs and eventually an estimated lifetime cost for owning a cat. Continue reading below to learn more from Spot Pet Insurance.


The factors that affect the cost of a cat are the breed, age, and bloodline. The rarer the breed, the costlier it is. There are 3 major ways to get a cat.

  • Breeder – Getting a cat from a reputed breeder would cost you around $500-$1500 depending on the breed and the breeder’s reputation. It would be the same if you look at online portals.

  • Adoption – A cheaper way is to approach an animal rescue and shelter organization. They would charge you about $50-$200 as an adoption fee. Here the cats would have already gone through initial health check-ups and even spaying / neutering. The Animal Humane Society, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, etc. are some names you can look for.

  • Free – A roadside cat can also be a good option to adopt. But if you don’t want to go down that road, there are events, book clubs, rescue shelter adoption drives, etc. that you can look for for adopting a cat without any cost. 

One-Time Costs for Owning a Cat

Supplies - Before bringing a cat home, you would have to ensure that it feels like home. For that, you would have to set things up. These would include a collar, ID tag, microchip, litter box, scoop, scratching post, nail clippers, brushes, food and water bowls, bed, carrier, dental cleaning kit, etc. These would cost you around $300-$500 depending on the choices you make. 

Vaccinations - Some initial sets of vaccinations would be needed as well. Kitten vaccinations start at 6-8 weeks of age and continue every 3-4 weeks until they are 20 weeks old. Core vaccinations include FVRCP, Rabies, FeLV, and booster vaccinations. In total, you would have to administer about 7-9 vaccinations and each one would cost you around $25-$50 depending on where you live and the manufacturer. 

Annual Costs of Owning a Cat

Medical – Medical expenses would have to be a large chunk of your annual budget for your kitty. The costs will include – 

  • Routine check-ups – Vets recommend a routine vet visit once every year till the age of 8-9 and every 6 months after that. Each visit would cost you around $50. Adding fecal exams and heartworm tests would add another $100 to it.

  • Dental care – You can clean your cat’s teeth at home itself using a dental kit. But if your cat’s teeth get affected by Periodontal disease, you would have to go for professional dental cleaning, which would cost you around $200-$400 per visit. 

  • Flea and ticks – Flea and tick prevention, and heartworm prevention are recommended for cats, especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors. The cost for the same would be in the range of $75-$150 for every 6 months.

  • Emergencies – Diseases like fever, pneumonia, liver failure, seizures, urethral blockage, etc. can affect your cat. Apart from that, instances like foreign object ingestion, road accidents, allergic reactions, etc. can also have you rushing to the vet. The North American Pet Health Insurance Association says that “owners will likely incur at least one $2,000 to $4,000 bill for emergency care at some point during their pet’s lifetime.”

  • Chronic Illnesses – Some cats are prone to illnesses like diabetes, hip dysplasia, glaucoma, etc. The treatment costs for these diseases would be upwards of $5000.

Pet Insurance – A good and comprehensive pet insurance plan can help you mitigate the risk of these heavy medical expenses by paying a small premium. At Spot Pet, we cover all of the above illnesses along with prescription medicines, alternate therapies, behavioral issues, spaying/neutering, microchipping and much more. And our plans start from as low as $10 per month.

Food – It would be highly important for you to ensure a well-balanced, good-quality diet for your cat. A cat’s lifestyle, lifespan, and health will all be highly dependent on it. Average canned food for cats may cost you around $3 per day and hence around $1000 per year. 

Grooming – Cats usually do not require as much grooming as dogs do. Some breeds like Birman, Himalayan, Persian, etc. may require more grooming than other cats to maintain their coats. You can expect to spend around $200-$250 per year in such cases.

Additional Costs – Adding cat toys, training, trips, help while you’re away, etc. can add a few more hundred-dollar bills to your annual budget.

Lifetime Costs of Owning a Cat

If we add all the above annual expenses, the total would come in the range of $1500-$3000. Considering the average lifespan of a cat to be 12 years, the total cost comes up to be $18,000 - $36,000. Adoption costs, one-time expenses and medical emergencies would add another $2000 - $4000. It can be way higher than that if the cat gets affected by a severe chronic illness. 

Just for the sake of your curiosity, here are some more questions that may be popping into your head. 

Which are the most expensive cat breeds?

You would be shocked to know that the most expensive cat breeds in the world can cost upwards of $100,000. Ashera and Savannah are the top two most expensive ones on the list. Others include Khao Manee, Bengal, Scottish Fold, Siberian Forest and Egyptian Mau. These may cost you anywhere between $1000 to $15,000. 

Which are the cheapest cat breeds?

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the least expensive cat breeds that can go to as low as $50.The Domestic Shorthair and the Cornish Rex can be bought for as low as $50-$100. Other cat breeds under $500 include Turkish Van, Ragdoll, Siamese, Himalayan, Oriental Shorthair, Havana Brown, Burmese, and Snowshoe.  

How Much Does it Cost to Spay / Neuter a Cat?

If you go to a reputed vet, he/she may charge you around $300-$500 for spaying/neutering. An animal rescue or a shelter may charge around $100. You may even be able to find some low-cost clinics that may charge you not more than $50.

How Much is a Vet Visit for a Cat?

How much does a cat cost to take to the vet? A typical vet visit with a nose-to-tail examination may cost you around $50-$100 depending on the type of facility you choose. The cost may increase if any further examinations like X-rays are to be conducted. 

More About Spot Pet Insurance

With a Spot accident and illness plan, you can take your cat for treatment at any licensed vet in Canada or the U.S. Spot plans don’t have networks, so whether you’re home or traveling within the U.S, veterinary services your cat receives for the diagnosis, treatment, or management of eligible services can be covered. Spot’s accident and illness plans can help cover a variety of conditions, ranging from broken bones and bite wounds to behavioral conditions, and cancer. And while base plans do not offer coverage for preventive care services, Spot’s Wellness Riders can be added to any base plan for an additional fee and can help cover the eligible costs of wellness exams, vaccinations, dental cleanings, and more! Learn more about cat insurance or get a free quote. 


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