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how much does raising a cat cost?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
hey everyone, I'm new here and just to introduce myself, I'm a university student who's moved into a new house and am considering owning a cat for the first time... ever!

I've had no experience growing up with any sort of animals (my parents' are sorta tidy freaks so have always been 'no-no' to animals lol) so im not too sure on if i am prepared to raise a cat or not. I've been reading on how to take care of cats, etc but im not sure if i can afford taking care of one. can anyone give me an approximate amount that you spend raising a cat in a week, or month or year? cheers.
post #2 of 14
Hi...welcome to TCS.
You are wise to ask about the cost of raising a cat.
Many people don't think ahead and when their kitty becomes ill & requires expensive vet care are just stuck without financial options and their kitty suffers.

First let me say that cats are wonderful companions but I must tell you that if you care for them well...
good food, vet care, toys, etc....
their annual care can add up quickly, depending on your cats health.

If you adopted a kitten who appears healthy, you will have the expense of an initial check up with a vet, inoculations, worming plus spaying or neutering.
Then you have the first investment of a litter box, litter, toys, food/water bowls, grooming tools etc.
None of that is outrageously expensive and can be planed for.

The real expenses come when your kitty becomes ill.
Vet bills add up quickly into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Another, not quite so obvious expense, is your living arrangements throughout the life of your cat.
You are young.
Cats now can live 20 years or longer.
When you have a pet, rentals are harder to find, and there are almost always substantial pet deposits. In my area some apartment complexes now charge extra rent monthly for a pet. That is on top of the original pet deposit.

Once you become a kitty's caregiver, and are forever bonded with your kitty, you will want to give her all that she needs to live a long health life.
That is a commitment for the life span of your cat.

If you find that you are unable to make that financial commitment at this time in your life, but would still like to spend time with a kitty, I am sure that there are shelters in your area, that desperately need volunteers.
That would be a wonderful way for you to have the companionship of kitties and help a worthy cause at the same time.

I want to thank you for thinking ahead about such an important commitment.
When the time is right, I have no doubt that you will adopt and enjoy long years of purrs with a loving kitty.

Let us know what you decide.

If I can help you find your way around the site just click on my user name, send a PM, and I will get back to you asap.
post #3 of 14
Hi and welcome!

I worked out it costs me £100 (approx $200) a month for my 2 cats. It sounds like a lot but when I worked it out I made sure I included all expenses including occasional expenses worked out on a monthly basis. It's easy to forget thing that aren't regular, weekly purchases but they still cost money. I'd get out a pen and paper and think of everything you will have to buy your pet at some stage. Some things will be occasional buys, such as cat carriers, cat trees, pet sitter or cattery costs etc. but it's worth working out how much a year you're likely to spend on those things and then work that out to a weekly or monthly figure. Don't assume you will buy the cheapest food either. Your cat may decide to only eat the expensive stuff!

Things I would include in working out costs are:

food (wet and dry)
litter
litter trays
vet fees and medicine (initial vaccinations and neutering, but also budget for unexpected trips. emergencies always happen at inconvenient times)
worming and flea treatment
brush and comb
cat carrier
cat scratching post - generally the bigger the better
small toys
miscellaneous items - eg feliway, toothpaste
boarding cattery or cat sitter

There's probably more that I have forgotten! You don't need to be rich to afford a cat but you do need to be realistic about costs and be able to budget accordingly.
post #4 of 14
That would depend on what kind of food you are feeding. Figure at least one bag of food a month (or every other month) for one cat. Then figure in the cost of spaying/neutering (usually about $100 for spay), shots ($50) - they can be done now every 2-3 yrs), testing for FELV/FIP if you choose.

Then add in litter - that would vary a lot in size/type. You have the initial costs of a litter pan, food/water dishes, treehouse/scratching posts (should be a minimum of 4 feet high) and any other toys, etc. you want to buy.

I would guess several hundred the first year, less after that. But have a savings account for any future medical problems.
post #5 of 14
You have gotten excellent feedback here. I just wanted to chime in that from my limited experience, kittens are much more expensive than adults cats (not including senior cats). They eat sooo much more and need more of your time for play and learning. And it is a life-long commitment.

I have one cat who is so very sensitive that every time something changes, whether it be food, or home-related (my fiancee just went away to boot camp), new kitty, etc. she gets upset and this usually results in vet visits. I've spent plenty on her, but she is worth it.

My other adult cat is healthy as a horse - he's my "street cat." Nothing gets this kid down. I had the initial problem with diarrhea when he came to live with me, but nothing else (well, besides that problem we had with him eating my rattan chair, but that's a different thread).

And now my new kitty is healthy but need booster shots, vet check ups, and tons of food.

It's great that you're thinking about the expenses before you dive in head first. Kitties are awesome! I've never had a cat growing up, only dogs. And now I don't see how I got along without them.

You'll find tons of info on this site. Welcome!
post #6 of 14
I agree with urbantigers - my 2 cost me around £100 ($200) per month. That doesn't include the 'start up costs' of neutering, vaccinations, and equipment, and it doesn't include additional vet fees for illness/injury, but it does include pet insurance premiums.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
Then figure in the cost of spaying/neutering (usually about $100 for spay), shots ($50) - they can be done now every 2-3 yrs), testing for FELV/FIP if you choose.
I haven't had any female cats in a while, but here (where the cost of living is a bit lower) it is at least $118 for a male to be neutered. This does include the pre anesthesia blood test.

In vet bills alone, you can expect to pay at least $300-400 for the first few till neuter/spay. That can be cheaper if you adopt a cat that already has all of it's shots and spayed/neutered. There's also flea treatments. If your cat is indoor only and you don't bring in fleas, you may not need to retreat every month.

Not including anything I buy to spoil mine, it's about $45 per month for the two of them. That's food and litter costs.
However I can cheat with the dry food, so I spend a bit more on canned food.
post #8 of 14
I had Ling spayed about 1 1/2 yrs ago and the bill was only $125 (low-cost). The males are under $100 to neuter. Guess it depends on what else you are having done at the same time (bloodwork, FELV/FIP tests).
post #9 of 14
For spaying/neutering here, I believe its $100 for spay/$90 for neuter. No such thing as "low cost".

My advice is to consider an adult cat. Kittens are cute, but they're $$, annnoying, & IMO, not the choice for first time cat owners. You can find shelter full of adult cats, fully vetted, for a small adoption fee. I would figure about one 6 lb. bag per month or every other month, like GK said. Always plan ahead for emergency vet expenses. Figure in an initial vet visit even if you adopt a rescue kitty.

My guess would be $100-200/month.
post #10 of 14
Definitely go for an adult cat. In many places they'll already have their spay/neuter done and their shots up-to-date...

So that knocks a lot off of 'start up' costs.
post #11 of 14
Plus adult cats are the size and temperment they are and also personality is fully developed...

I alloted 90$ per animal and found it low when the senior yrs hit..

Zoey is young and Knock on wood healthy (3.5yrs) and her dry runs about 20 a month , wet about 10 a month I use dry for treats .... toys about 5 a month... plus any extras about 20 more then 2-4 vet visits( she likes to scare mom) at ave of 60 ...

RB Kandie ran about 150 a month for vet for the last 2 yrs... her food ran about 15 -25

My pup took Kandies place at $$$ girl she runs about 300 a month
post #12 of 14
I feel your pain...ahem, having recently graduated from college and now having a low-paying entry-level job, I too am caring for cats on a budget.

I would also agree that caring for a kitten is a lot more expensive... Chiefly because they have to have rounds of shots (I think we had to take ours in at least four times including the rabies vacc... Then there's worming (at least twice, athough an additional two times in our case, including an expensive tapeworm treatment). Then there's neutering, etc.

When I had a single adult cat, the monthly costs were as follows:
Food- I feed nutro, quality food, but moderately priced 1, 4lb bag= $9.99
I feed canned food daily, goes through ~ 8 5.5oz cans a month= $4.80
Litter- I used to use clumping clay, ~$10 for a 30lb box- lasts 2 months
Flea control- advantage- I shopped around, cheapest I found is ~$7.75 a month
Combined: about $30 a month

Then there's consumable stuff like toys, treats, litter deoderizer, "no scratch" etc...
I'd say I spend about $10 a month on those things.

Initial overhead/setup...
litterbox- $20-30 will buy you a good covered box (or $40 if you go for the large roll-away box like I did)
Litter scoop- $5
Litter mat- $15 (you will want a good one of these).
Scratch post- I use the whiskercity cardboard scratchers...I'd say get a flat and tilted one....2 x $9.99
Collar- $5
Carrier- $20
Grooming supplies (shampoo brush, shedding tool, etc) $20
Initial toys $10
Bowls and mat- $10
Sub total- $120+

Vet costs- Assuming that all goes well...
$150 annual vaccinations and wellness exam

So, all told, for a pre-altered adult cat in good health:
Setup-$120
Monthly- $ 40 = 480 a year
Vet-$ 150

That said, I would suggest adopting an adult cat from the shelter as the most financially viable option (and you'll be saving a life too!)...IF you can be assured that he/she is in good health (I adopted one only to find that he had pre-existing medical conditions that the shelter didn't know about). In my area, you can dopt an adult, altered, microchipped, and vaccinated cat from the shelter for $45 right now (they are trying to rehome so quickly due to the overcrowding during summer)...usually $75 the rest of the year... This pales in comparison to the $144 cost of neutering, plus $150 yearly vaccination + exam, + $75 for chipping that my vet charges.

Adult cats are also usually less hyper and destructive than kittens, so if you go with a, say 3-4yr old adult, you hopefully won't have to do as much "training" and "supervising" as you would with a kitten.

I would say that good flea prevention, food, and vet care are the most important things to spend $$ on...you can get by with the cheap (or yardsale) litter box, scoop, litter, toys, etc.

Art
post #13 of 14
i'm a student as well and I have 2 cats! I did use my credit card alot to fund the expense, not smart but I love them so its okay!

I can only say about kittens and I'm also in Canada so not sure if its a huge difference. But the first 6months is the most costly, all the injections, check ups & neutering. Here its $150 per cat for neutering and $60/per vet visit + all the injections. For my 6month (its a little high cuz he had few infections) so the bill was around $600 in 6months. But if he didnt have infections, I would say $300.

Food for 2 cats right now cost about $60 a month and make sure u get a good litter that will last long!

but initally ur cost will be high...for toys, litter box etc

im sure the veterans here gave u some great tips already!

they are like kids though, u only don't 'count' the pennies or watch ur money cuz u want them to be healthy and loved..
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by xocats View Post
Hi...welcome to TCS.

First let me say that cats are wonderful companions but I must tell you that if you care for them well...
good food, vet care, toys, etc....
their annual care can add up quickly, depending on your cats health.

If you adopted a kitten who appears healthy, you will have the expense of an initial check up with a vet, inoculations, worming plus spaying or neutering.
Then you have the first investment of a litter box, litter, toys, food/water bowls, grooming tools etc.
None of that is outrageously expensive and can be planed for.

The real expenses come when your kitty becomes ill.
Vet bills add up quickly into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Another, not quite so obvious expense, is your living arrangements throughout the life of your cat.

When you have a pet, rentals are harder to find, and there are almost always substantial pet deposits. In my area some apartment complexes now charge extra rent monthly for a pet. That is on top of the original pet deposit.

I want to thank you for thinking ahead about such an important commitment.
When the time is right, I have no doubt that you will adopt and enjoy long years of purrs with a loving kitty.
.
Great post! The others have also given valuable advice. One thing I want to add is that when you adopt many shelters and rescues already come spayed/n, up to date on vaccinations, vet checked, and they can give you an idea of temperament, and many kittens from good breeders also come already spay/n, up to date on vaccinations, and such.
And you can also search around to find low cost spay/n clinics if the cost is too much for you.

Quality food can be a lot, cats eat a lot more than most people guess they will! And be prepared to deal with kitty feces, daily. Cats like a clean box.

Also, some kitties can be destructive and it can cost you to replace items they decide to mess with (blinds, important documents, frames knocked off of shelves, etc.) Kittens have a lot of energy and can be mischevious for a long time. If you get a kitten you will need to buy lots of toys and a couple good cat trees to give them outlets for their energy.
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