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How much money do you spend on your cat?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

DH & I are talking about getting a cat. He needs more convincing than I do, though. He grew up with cats and I grew up with cats and dogs, but it has been a long time since either of us have had cats in our care. (Personally, I'm more of a dog person, but because we live in a small condo in the city with an un-fenced yard, I just don't think a dog would be a good choice for us.) DD will be 5 in a few months and she loves animals. She's really gentle and I don't have any concerns about her being too rough or anything like that. Also, we are not having more children so there is no concern about a pet vs. a new baby. Anyway, I could go on and on for my reasons in favor, but what seems to be holding us up at this point is my DH thinking it will break the bank. We can budget somewhere between $800-$1000 a year, which I think will be plenty, especially if we take advantage of low-cost vaccine clinics and the like. But maybe I'm way off base here? Anyway, if you don't mind sharing what you spend, I would really appreciate it. Oh, and if you can specify whether you buy a lot of toys, treats, etc.,  or just kind of do the bare minimum, I would appreciate knowing that, too. Thanks!

post #2 of 20

Honestly, most of your expenses are just going to be food and cat littler. We rarely spend more than $30 a month on our two cats buying those things. However, we're not very good at keeping up with vaccinations. They both got really sick within a month of each other last year so we updated their vaccinations then just because they were already at the vet. They're both overdue for their vaxes this year, but we just haven't had the extra money. All that being said, as long as you get your cat checked regularly and don't buy obscenely expensive cat food, $800-1000 a year should be plenty in my opinion. Oh, and make sure you get their teeth cleaned regularly. My cat ended up with a bad infection in his mouth and they had to pull 16 teeth. Everything behind his fangs is gone and it cost us $600 for them to do it. Regular teeth-cleaning would have probably saved most of his teeth in that situation.

post #3 of 20
I buy cat food, do vaccines, heartworm med, frontline, and have a really fat black cat name Jack who my 16 month old is in love with.

Usually you get vax every 3 years, and it costs me about $200.00 so, $75/per year.
The cat food I buy is $30 a bag and last about a month and a half so, $240.00
Liter: once a month $12.00 so, $140
I only use frontline in the summer and I buy it from my vet so, $50.00
We give Advantage once a month for heartworms so, $125.00

So, all in all, our cat costs about $600.00 a year, with pretty darn good cat food, and preventive medicine and all his shots.

Of course, initial costs include:
water bowl
food bowl
litter box

We buy toys at christmas, but thats pretty much it. He never destroys them, so its not like we need to keep buying them. If you live in an apartment, I highly recommend a scratch post, so your couch doesnt get torn up.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks! This is helpful.

post #5 of 20

Well, I got both my kittens from rescue and both of them ended up being sick and requiring medical attention within the first week. One cat required an emergency visit on the weekend I got him that I didn't feel should wait till Monday and that was 200 dollars, the other one was not as sick and it was normal hours and it was I think 80 dollars that was including their medications but no routine care or vaxes since they were sick. The medical stuff is kind of a crap shoot, you can't really predict accidents or emergencies. I have three dogs that are extremely healthy and never needed a dental and have pristine teeth due to an excellent diet of raw food, but one of them has allergies. Both cats came to me with beginning vaxes and neutered so no costs there. 


My cats eat grain free premium canned food which runs me about 80-100 dollars a month for both cats, and that is because I get a savings from buying the 13oz cans of food. They also are free fed ( probably only makes up 10% of their total diet) grain free dry food because they were both quite thin when I got them and they are still growing. I don't know maybe 10 dollars a month but it's fraction of their diet. I want to switch them to raw food soon which will be better for them and much cheaper. They are both quite lean still too. 


Then there is the heartworm medication, the flea meds. I'm guessing at 150 a year for both cats, I don't medicate in winter and I only give heartworm every 6 weeks.


Litter is fairly cheap, I'm guessing maybe 20 dollars a month, but I have 3 boxes. Remember the recommendation of one box per cat and one extra for the house. The other stuff, like pet carrier I spent 30 dollars on one that will fit both and probably another 200 dollars on small toys, scratchers and a small piece of cat furniture. Waiting to get them a big kitty condo after I move.  I also got them a ceramic drinking fountain to encourage water consumption even though they are on a mostly wet food diet already. I'm doing everything I can to avoid urinary tract issues later. 

post #6 of 20

I've had both my cats for over a decade. Even with a yearly vet visit and buying good food (not super expensive but not sale stuff either) some extra toys and treats here and there we spent no more $500 a year on them for many years.


Then they BOTH got sick. With different ailments at that. I can't tell you exactly what it's cost me financially and emotionally these past few years. If I tried to calculate it I would probably pass out. 


So it's just something to think about. If things were to go wrong and the cat you adopt gets sick/injured are you able/willing to put extra funds towards the pet?

post #7 of 20

Adaline's Mom-


I only use frontline in the summer and I buy it from my vet so, $50.00
We give Advantage once a month for heartworms so, $125.00

Why do you use both products? They are virtually the same.


ack gotta run will update my costs in a bit!

post #8 of 20

ok so costs for my kitty


Food- About $25 a month for premium grain free kibble (cats dont need grain in their diet, they cannot digest it)

Vet Bills:

Shots- around $100, he gets them every 3 years

Heartworm/flea stuff- $70 a year

Catnip- free from the garden

Toys- not that much actually lol but its hard not to buy him cool stuff.

Litter- I like to use cat attract mostly because it is the best clumping stuff I can find and it's about $12 a bag and I have 2 boxes so about $24 a month

Treats- I just nab temptations on sale so less then $5 a month, he also eats dog treats lol


Est about $800 a year.

Hoping to switch him to raw at some point which will be much cheaper then kibble! More like $10 a month

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for your responses, everyone. It is really helpful. I am thinking we would be more on the minimalist side of cat ownership and this all makes it seem totally doable for us.

post #10 of 20

The most expenses will occur in the first year of life, if you get a kitten. There are more vet visits, then surgeries if you choose, etc. So $500-1000 could be quite reasonable for the first year, depending on if you declaw or not, you SHOULD spay or neuter though, and generally how expensive your vet is.


Litter cost will depend on how often you want to clean it, if you like/want clay litter or go for something alternative (paper, corn, wheat, pine)


Food cost will depend on what you choose. I've found a food I pay a little more for, but the smell of her poo has diminished compared to others...




post #11 of 20
All of our cats are indoors which tends to cut down on costs a bit. Buuuut, we recently spent $4oo on one of our 4 cats in 2 days...due to a bladder infection that they had us convinced was probably cancer. If we had followed through with the ultrasound, it would have been at least $600. So, often, it's not the everyday costs that get you. It's the unexpected costs that put things over the edge. Thank goodness for the fact that our vet takes care credit.
post #12 of 20

Vet: about $75 a year per cat. 

Food: $240 a year

Litter: $260 per year (this might be higher for us because we have three...it is hard to parce out what it would be if we just had one)

Toys: maybe $10...they are pretty content with socks and each other.  I've had more picky cats, then I'd say $30.


We don't do heart worm or flea treatment.  They are strictly indoor kitties, we're comfortable with the risk there.

Start up cost was nothing for one (craigslist rescue) and $75 for the other two.  They were already fixed, the craigslist cat needed it, so we took her to the humane society for about 70 bucks for shots and getting fixed.  Carriers for them, we've probably spent about $70 bucks.  We also go out of town for about two weeks each year, a friend watches them and usually is paid in beer. 


I know people who go nuts, who spend a ton more on their cats.  They really are pretty low maintainance as long as they are healthy.  There is always the risk that they will have health problems, which should be taken into account.  Our dog is more expensive, she's a healthy dog but has had to go to the vet for things like a cut paw, an ear infection, etc.  Plus, we have to pay to kennel her at doggie daycare when we go out of town for short periods and she isn't invited. 


Many communities have low cost immunizations and spay/nuture clinics.  Our rabies shots only run $10 bucks when they are due because we use a clinic.  I do take them each for physicals though just to make sure they are doing okay.  We don't do any other vaccines.

post #13 of 20
I think if you budget $800-1000/year you'll usually come in under that, but keep in mind the random emergency visits. One of our cats, who lived to 19, had a bizarre neurological incident when he was about 11 that ended up costing us close to $2K to diagnose and treat, and another cat was accidentally poisoned (vet thinks he ate a rodent that had been poisoned) that cost $1.7K. In both cases our vets were awesome about letting us do payment plans. The costs can sound outrageous, but compared to human medical bills they're nothing, and these guys are family.

So over the last 19 years I've spent probably about $700/yr per cat, plus these two outrageous exceptions. Oh, and two of our cats never had any emergency visits.

I noticed most PP don't mention dental cleanings, but unless you're feeding raw food it's really important to keep their teeth clean - our vet has a package that includes the teeth cleaning, checkup and blood test. You can brush their teeth, but having spent my entire life living with cats, I've just never gone in that direction.

And as far as toys and beds and stuff, nothing we've ever purchased "for cats" has ever been enjoyed the way found-in-the-home things are. Our cats love playing in paper bags and cardboard boxes and playing with plastic bottle caps and twisted up pipe cleaners WAY more than anything we ever spent money on. smile.gif
post #14 of 20

I round mine up to $50 a month for 3 cats. For one I bet it would be $10 for litter and ? for food.Food can range from $8 to $40. My friend makes her own fresh food and adds in some dry for the various dietary needs.


Random toys and some cat nip $5 to $10.


Get some tote boxes for your cat instead of the litter pans.More room,and the height will prevent overspray.Make some scratchers with rope and rub with catnip,but don't be suprised if they use a couch corner or door trim!

post #15 of 20

Keeping your cat indoors will save LOTS of money.  We have two cats and really the only routine expenses are food (which we buy in bulk, saves $$) and litter.  The up front expense (adoption "fee", spay/neuter, vaccines) might be a few hundred dollars but that's only a one time thing.  You can find inexpensive carriers, toys, litter pans.  To me those accessories are necessary but incidental.


Of course emergencies come up, but that is the same with a dog or a cat.  The most we've spent on medical bills for our cat (who sadly passed despite sparing no expense) was about $2k, I believe, but she needed a LOT of help.  Her liver failed and then she got a terrible infection.  Most vet bills for a random sick visit are about $120.

post #16 of 20

We have 3 cats currently and  I've had cats my whole life. My best guess is I spend about $60 - $70 a month on all three. They eat Iams and we have 3 littler boxes that we fill w/ scoopable litter (but we use a generic brand that saves about $20/month over name brand).  They have scratching posts that use that corrugated cardboard that we replace every few months (maybe $10 each). Catnip and moist treats - about $4 every few months. I buy them collars and pet tags yearly, despite them being indoor cats (they do go outside on our enclosed in porch). That's maybe another $15/yr.  I have one cat w/ extremely long hair and we have her groomed about 3 times a year. That's $70 each time. My short haired cats do well w/ grooming on their own and the occasional brushing from us (brushes can run anywhere from $5 to $20). We don't do heart worm or flea medicine but years ago when I did, I ordered it online and saved some money.


All of my cats get spayed/neutered through SNAP coupon programs (spay/neuter assistance programs). It's a community outreach program anyone can utilize regardless of income. I suspect most communities have these programs at least occasionally. If anyone reading this is in Dallas, they offer a "neuter scooter for a nickel" program twice a year and you only pay 5 cents to have your male cat neutered!

 I get my cats rabies shots every 3 years (we are way out in the country w/ many skunks and ours must have proof of rabies to get registered w/ the city). We go to PetsMart/Banfield for shots and it's pretty inexpensive. If you go on certain days/times you do not have to pay the vet fee (the downside is you also don't have an "appointment" and might have to wait an hour or two). I think the shots are about $20 each every 3 yrs. Another expense is city registration although I've never heard of that being more than $15 - $20 per pet.


If you think you may get a cat, you may want to look into pet insurance. It's not normally cost effective for normal things but it can save thousands for catastrophic events/illness. I'd also recommend, if you choose to let your cat be outdoors, to also look into getting it micro-chipped. Sometimes collars/tags fall off.


Sometimes you can find cat carriers on Craig's List or  Freecycle. I did get a free carrier that way.


The only other thing I can think of is that if you are considering declawing, please research it. I know people don't like unsolicited advice, so I'm sorry, but it's not just an easy snip of the nails. Out of all my cats I've had, none have been declawed and I've only had one that destroys furniture (I still have the cat and she still tears up my sofa but I love her anyway!). Most cats will do well w/ a sharpening post or two and their claws are not problematic.

post #17 of 20

I have 6 cats,plus I also feed my dad's 2,and I think we spend maybe $25 a month on food,and maybe $30 in litter for all 8.We buy the big bags of food,and big boxes of scoopable litter.I do have to have my mama cat spayed,as well as her 2 babies neutered.At the clinic it is $60 per cat,which includes everything.The only cat that cost quite a bit was my dad's cat Peacey.He had diabeties,so he had to have insulin shots and special food.He lived to be about 18 years old,became very sick,and died in my dad's arms right as we arrived at the vet. :( We recently spent over $1000 on our kitty Ollie,but he passed away anyway. :( But that's the worst we've had,out of many,many kitties.Some were from ads in the paper,craigslist,my mama cat was abondoned by her family and we took her in,but she got out one day,and soon after had kittens.We don't usually treat for fleas,as they are all indoor.We had to when we took in the mama cat,as she had them,but that didn't cost much,maybe $10 per cat?She didn't have them bad,so one treatment took care of them.I love having cats,mine are sweet and lovable. :)

post #18 of 20


post #19 of 20


post #20 of 20

Our cat is an indoor/outdoor cat.  He does have a litter box but only uses it if he has nobody to go outside with.  We trained him to stay close to our big dog and they usually go to the bathroom together.  She hovers over him and waits while he does his thing.  I only change the litter box when he actually uses it.  I think maybe once in the last 3 months.  I know you live in a condo so this wouldn't work for you.  But we spend so much time outside and he's pretty good at staying in the yard with his posse of dogs for protection. 

We do spend a lot of food and other medical needs.  Though we did not get him neutered.  He does not spray, he's not aggressive and our vet said it was unnecessary unless we were letting him roam the neighborhood.  But we don't we keep an eye on him and so far after two years he's still not interested in leaving our yard.  Though a mama cat showed up with her kitten and is hanging out on our porch.  Both the cat and the big dog are not pleased with the interlopers.  And will watch them together through the window. 


Cats can be just as expensive as a dog.  I have two dogs that do not have any serious medical needs and only cost me food and what I spend to keep the fleas at bay. 

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