Being a serial dog owner for years, I had little experience with cats and didn’t know what to expect, both experience and expense wise.
And let me tell you right away – having a cat is priceless. But, how much does a cat cost per year?
As qualified as I am to talk about cats and give advice on how to keep this animal royalty happy, what I’ve learned from experience is that there are optional expenses regarding owning a cat, but most are a must.
The first year of ownership will bring you the most expenses, as you will have to pay for the initial vet care and parasite protection for your little kitten and invest a bit more in top-quality food.
So, how much does a cat cost per year?
On average, you can spend from $500 to $1000 per year as your cat needs some basic needs covered to be happy and healthy, and here are 7 things to consider when thinking about owning one.
1. Routine Vet Care
Some things must come first, and before anything else, just like us humans, your cat will need proper health care.
Hoping your little friend won’t have any serious health issues and you won’t have to pay for expensive medical treatments, you won’t have to spend much to keep them healthy, but it’s always good to pay some extra cash for preventive care.
Dental care, vitamins and preventive medications for parasites can cost you up to $400, but not all cat owners pay that much attention to their pet’s health.
On average, owners I know pay a visit to vet center only a couple times a year, spending from $70 to $150 for preventive health care.
When considering buying or adopting a cat, probably the first thing regarding expenses that comes to mind is food.
Since you are expanding your family by one member, this is going to be one of the major things on your to-buy list, and it will be a constant one.
Some owners go for dry food only, as this is usually the cheaper option, but no matter the quality, I’ve learned from experience that a mix of dry and wet food is the best option for your little friend’s health.
Especially when you own a little kitten, it is very important to go for the healthiest food possible from the beginning.
Naturally, healthier food is usually pricier and prices can vary from one supplier to another, but on average, you can expect to spend around $180 on food per year.
You don’t want a cloud of strange smell spreading in your home, so the next important thing your kitty needs is its own pet toilet, of course.
For hygiene reasons and your pet’s comfort investing in a good quality litter box, one is a good idea.
There are different types of litter out there, such as crystal-based, plant-derived, clay-based and clumping, and how long one litter bag will last purely depends on you and your cat, and how much of hygiene freaks you two buddies are.
If you are like me, you are probably not looking for a designer litter box, and the good news is you can buy a nice quality one for less than $20.
As for the litter, you can expect to spend from $100 to $150 per year, so expect this to be one of your major expenses.
Your little friend needs some amusement, too. Now, this is very personal and depends on how much you want to spoil your cat.
The first few months, you might be thrilled by the idea of buying brand new toys whenever you bump into one in a pet shop and therefore spend a fortune on your pet’s amusement.
Some owners buy toys every month, and some only a few times a year. This is why such expenses depend on you only but if you are going to surprise your cat every month with a new toy, expect to spend around $60 per year.
5. Cat Furniture
In order to make your furry friend feel at home in your house, you should consider buying some pieces of cat furniture. You will find an endless variety of options suitable for different types of houses or apartments as well as different kinds of cats.
How much you spend on cat furniture is up to you and the individual needs of your cat. A sturdy standard cat tree you can get for around $50 to $100.
6. Grooming Supplies
There are some minor expenses, too.
Jokes on the side, depending on your budget, your cat’s breed and your personal preferences, you can spend a fortune on grooming or you can do it yourself, which is what most owners, including myself, do.
If you are not going to make your cat a dive and take it to the cat salon every month, you can groom it at home and spend no more than $20 a year on grooming supplies.
If you travel frequently or have to place your cat at a friend’s house more frequently, it is good to invest in a cat carrier and you can buy a solid one for under $30.
Boarding your cat at a kennel can cost you around $15 per night, or even more, but this is quite optional and depends more on you than your cat.
8. Pet Insurance
Pet insurance is optional and you can take it or leave it, but if you can afford at least $200 per year for your pet’s health and life insurance, then you should absolutely go for it.
These usually offer health benefits and cover unexpected expenses in case of accidents, so your pet is always protected. This way you will always be prepared for the unexpected.
What else you need to know and how to save money?
Here are some first-hand tips for future cat owners that might come handy and save you money:
- Homemade food can be good
While cat food has many essential nutrients, making organic cat food at home every now and then is not only healthy but will also save you money.
If not sure what food is good for your cat, turn to our wise friend Google.
- DIY Toys
Toys are not the expensive part of having a cat, but you can improvise and make your own customized cat playground from all different kinds of objects you find in your house or out in nature.
- Use a citrus spray to protect furniture
It is known that most cats are repelled by citrus smell, so buy a spray to protect the critical parts of furniture and make sure to buy a cat scratcher, to leave your cat enough space to be what it is - a cat.