The Monthly Cost of Owning a Cat

Although our situation is a little different, I know a little bit about the monthly costs involved in owning a cat. Every neighborhood has a kindhearted woman known affectionately as the crazy cat lady. You know, the person who can’t stand to see any cat homeless. Well, in my neighborhood, my wife is the crazy cat lady. What does that make me, I wonder?

Aside from having three cats of our own, we also serve as a foster home for pregnant cats for the Humane Society for Greater Nashua. This involves an 8- to 12-week stretch of four adult cats and as many as five kittens using our small split-level as their personal playground. Life is good. Even I must admit that kittens are cute and get into all kinds of hilarious mischief.

Here's a rough breakdown of each of our furry friend's costs per month:

  • Cat Food — $10, more if you purchase quality food or the cat has health problems requiring prescription cat food.
  • Vet Visits — $200 to $250 per year, which you should budget for each month. It's important to keep your cat up to date on all shots. It is recommended that cats over seven years old visit the veterinarian twice per year. Also, it's wise to set aside money for emergency veterinary care. Cats get into all kinds of mischief.
  • Toys — Can range from a crumpled piece of paper or a simple scratching post to a $140 cat condo. Your budget, your choice.
  • Litter and supplies — From litter boxes to litter and disposable liners, $15 to $25

You also need to consider your "start-up" pet ownership costs, which include adoption fees if you adopt a cat, initial shots, spay/neutering, and microchip tagging of about $90 for cats and $150 for kittens.

Petfinder has a handy chart that lists annual costs you may incur as a feline caretaker. If you travel frequently, you will have to add in costs for pet sitting, which can run anywhere from $10 to upwards of $25 a visit. And anyone who has ever had to get emergency care for their cat knows that it can get expensive; pet insurance may be another monthly cost you'll want to account for.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 3.2 million cats end up in shelters every year, and not all of them get adopted. The Humane Society for Greater Nashua alone takes in over 2,000 pets per year. If you're thinking about cat adoption, you are really helping a problem of tremendous overpopulation, especially when you spay and neuter your new family member. Thank you.  

Despite their reputation for being independent, cats do bring a lot of life and love to a family. Just be sure to count the cost before taking that little cutie home.

Signed: The crazy cat man.

Create a spending plan that allows a reasonable allowance for your fur babies by downloading the Money Management Planner. This free guide includes worksheets and tips to help you create a financial plan that you (and your kitty) can live with.

money management planner

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About Author

Bill Burpeau
Bill Burpeau

Bill Burpeau is a Financial Wellness Coach at Hanscom FCU. As a Credit Union Certified Financial Counselor, he is an enthusiastic advocate of everyone being engaged in their financial health, educated and empowered to make the best financial decisions for themselves every day. He constantly studies and is up to date with the latest financial management concepts and technology. Bill is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a BBA in Business Management and served in the U.S. Navy as a Supply Officer.

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