If you’re thinking about adopting a kitten or adult cat, you might be wondering about the cost of taking care of a new pet. Beyond providing your new pet with plenty of love and attention, you need to factor in the price of expected and unexpected expenses.
Cats are not as expensive as dogs, but you’ll still need to budget for all the items necessary to care for your new cat beyond the amount that you paid for them. Bringing home a new cat can cost between $75–$150 by adoption, $500–$3,000 through a breeder, and getting your initial setup and supplies ready can cost around $250–$1,000.
Here, we review a few of the costs that you can expect as a new cat or kitten owner in Canada, which should help you be better prepared. Bringing home a new pet is a big responsibility that will come with frustration and expenses, but also laughs and affection.
Bringing Home a New Cat: One-Time Costs
One-time costs include what you pay for the cat or kitten and the items you need to have in place when you bring your new pet home.
We start by giving you estimates for the different ways that you can purchase a cat, such as through a breeder or adoption.
Then, there are the costs of items such as food bowls, litter box and cat litter, cat food, and grooming supplies, to name a few.
Some of these expenses are one-time only, while others are ongoing. While the litter box might seem like a one-time only expense, it might not be over time, particularly if you have a kitten, as you’ll need to purchase new items as they grow.
Finding a cat or kitten for free today isn’t quite as common as it once was. Still, there are times when people want to rehome their cat or kitten due to unforeseen circumstances, like allergies or moving.
There are also rescue groups and shelters that waive or lower their adoption fees when you adopt a special needs or senior cat.
Adopting a cat is one of the best options when you’re considering bringing a new pet home. You’re giving a cat a second chance at a happier life, and adoption fees are much less expensive than buying a cat from a breeder.
The fees help support the rescue or shelter and include vaccinations, rehabilitation if needed, and having the cat spayed or neutered. Kittens tend to be more expensive than adults due to high demand.
You can adopt a cat through certain pet stores, but you may want to avoid purchasing any animal from a pet store, as some have been known to use kitten and puppy mills.
Depending on the breed and the breeder, the price can range from $500 (or less) to $3,000 (or more). The rarer the breed, the higher the price.
Start your search by locating a reputable breeder through word of mouth, and check if they are registered with cat associations like TICA.
Once you’ve found a good breeder, visit their cattery (if you can) so you can meet the kittens and their parents and ask as many questions as you need. A good breeder will willingly answer all your questions.
Initial Setup and Supplies
Most of these prices will depend on your cat’s age and how many items you plan on purchasing. If you’re not a beginner cat owner, you might be able to use supplies that you already have.
While the price of spaying and neutering surgery is included, you might not need to worry about this as an expense if your cat has already had the procedure. Also, you may not necessarily need or want a few of the items on this list.
List of Cat Care Supplies and Costs
|ID Tag and Collar||$15|
|Food and Water Bowls||$10–$50|
How Much Does a Cat Cost Per Month?
$50–$1,000+ per month
According to Statista, in 2021, the annual cost of taking care of a cat was $2,542, with dental cleaning ($642), pet insurance ($595), and food ($544) as the three highest expenses. But these statistics don’t necessarily reflect every household.
How much you pay for your cat every month depends on your choices and their health. Some cats might need medication, like if they have diabetes, or they could have food allergies and might require a more expensive prescription diet food.
Other factors that can affect your monthly expenses include whether you take your cat to the groomer, if you do get pet insurance, and so on.
$0–$1,000+ per month
For some households, there won’t be a monthly expense for healthcare because it depends on whether your cat has any health conditions. Purebred cats tend to be more prone to genetic health conditions, particularly cats like the Scottish Fold.
You might also decide to give your cat supplements, which can fall into the healthcare category.
$30–$100 per month
Buying food for your cat can be one of the more expensive aspects of cat ownership. How much you pay entirely depends on your choice of food and your cat’s health.
Opting for high-quality food can be more expensive, but it can sometimes keep your pet healthier in the long run.
$0–$60 per month
This depends on you and your cat’s coat. The longer and thicker your cat’s coat, the more often it needs brushing. Cats like the Persian, for example, need daily brushing. But even if you have a shorthaired cat, you still need to brush them at least once a week.
If you opt to take your cat to a groomer, the cost will depend on how much work they need to do. This includes if they not only brush your cat but also trim the nails and clean the ears.
Medications and Vet Visits
$10–$200+ per month
The annual wellness check can be anywhere from $50 to over $150, which depends on whether your vet needs to run extra tests. The vaccines can run around $100, which can break down monthly into an average of $10 to $30.
If you bring your cat to the vet’s for teeth cleaning, that can be about $400 to over $1,000, depending on if there are issues or teeth extractions are needed.
$30–$60 per month
Pet insurance is optional, but it can help cover any health conditions that might arise in the future or any medical emergencies that could cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. But you must sign up for pet insurance before your cat develops a health condition, or it won’t be covered.
How much you pay for pet insurance depends on the age and breed of your cat, as well as the insurance company.
$15–$50+ per month
Environmental maintenance for cats can include litter, any kind of deodorizing spray, and replacing your cat scratcher. These prices depend on what type of litter you buy and how often you need to replace the cat scratcher. For example, if you use a cardboard cat scratcher, it may need replacing every month, but if you opt for a scratching post, that might only need replacing once a year (if that).
|Deodorizing spray or granules||$10/month|
|Cardboard cat scratcher||$20/month|
$10–$50+ per month
Cat toys are an essential part of taking care of a cat. A bored cat will likely get into mischief and might even become obese. Feather wands, catnip, and toy mice are safe bets for most cats.
It’s recommended that you rotate the toys by putting out only a few of their toys for a month and then swapping them for other toys the next month. This way, your cat doesn’t become bored with the same toys.
You can also consider subscribing to a cat toy subscription box, which can range from $25 to $40 or more a month. This makes it easier to keep your cat entertained with a fresh supply of toys each month.
Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Cat
$50–$1,000 per month
How much you pay each month ultimately depends on you and the decisions that you make — the kind of food and litter that you purchase, sending your cat to the groomer, pet insurance, etc.
We haven’t factored in the cost of sudden health problems or medical emergencies. While your cat might be perfectly safe and healthy, it’s good practice to keep room in your budget for unexpected expenses.
Additional Costs to Factor In
Other expenses to consider can include things like pet sitting or boarding your cat when you go on vacation.
Sometimes, you have to purchase items that you didn’t know that you needed, such as a power cord protector when your cat starts chewing on them. Or, perhaps your cat jumped on a counter and accidentally (or not-so accidentally) broke a vase by knocking it to the floor, and now you need to buy a new one.
Also, keep in mind that there might be more expenses if your cat scratches your furniture and if you want to use any scratching deterrents.
Owning a Cat on a Budget
It is possible to take care of a cat when you have a tight budget. You can look for deals on cat toys or sales on your brand of cat food, and you don’t necessarily need to splurge on expensive items.
The most important thing that you can do is ensure that your cat is in good health and is receiving food, water, attention, and love from you every day.
Saving Money on Cat Care
Most ways of saving money involve you doing most of the work. For example, groom your cat yourself rather than going to a groomer. Start brushing your cat while they are young, and learn the best way to trim the nails.
If you regularly check their ears and clean their teeth, you can save a nice chunk of cash.
Toys are necessary, but you can make your own and even try DIY cat scratchers. You can also just give your cat a cardboard box to play in. Nine times out of 10, a cat would rather play with the box that their expensive new gadget was shipped in!
Just remember to not skimp on healthcare, food, and litter. You don’t have to buy the most expensive food and litter, but if you’re unsure, speak to your vet, who can recommend food you can afford but will still be a healthy option for your cat.
A new cat can be fairly expensive, particularly if you decide to bring home a kitten (and it’s even more expensive if they’re purebred from a breeder). A rescue cat can save you money, and you’re also supporting a worthwhile cause, in addition to giving a cat a second chance.
The monthly costs of owning a cat can range from $50 a month and potentially over $1,000 a month. But so much of what is spent on a cat depends on their health and how much of the work you’re able to do yourself.
Just remember to spend time with your new cat — participate in playtime, give them love, and ensure that their needs are met. Owning a cat is definitely worth every cent!
Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock