How Much does a Cat actually Cost?

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Happy Thursday! One year ago today, my sweet kitty cat was born! I haven't really talked about her adoption story, so I figure now would be a perfect day to tell it. Here goes!

When my sister was in college, she and her roommates essentially took cats in ...okay maybe they only took in three, but still! One of these babies never got fixed, went into heat, and bam! got pregnant. She had 4 healthy and happy kittens and Cat was one of them. Funny thing is her mom's name was Kat, short for Katherine. This is what she looked like - Cat's dad was an oreo and white! Cat's sister looks like her, but she has one tabby brother and one black and white brother. When we found out Kat was pregnant, I felt like it was the right time to adopt a kitten, plus she needed a good home! I had been talking about wanting one for a while, so it just made sense. Two months later, I took baby Cat home and here we are today! She cried the whole way to the apartment. hah! We are so glad to have her!

So what about her name? I always said I'd name my first cat Cat, after the feline in Breakfast At Tiffany's. To this day people still ask me "when are you going to give her an actual name"...I'm like you obviously know nothing. Okay, so I don't actually say that, buuuut you catch my drift. 

In addition to Cat's birthday being this week, we are also adding a new four legged friend to the mix - pray they adapt well! We brought her home last night! It's like "Happy birthday, Cat! Here's a friend, as a gift!" This is the sweet girl who is now in our presence. Because I named Cat after one of my favorite movies, I wanted Nick to name this one, after one of his favorite shows/movies. He is obsessed with Scrubs, so we decided on Elliot! She was born 2/22/17, so we are getting her at around 3 months! We are adopting her through Dallas Pets Alive. If you are in the DFW, consider using them for adopting - they have kittens, cats, puppies, and dogs! Elliot's borther Jiji is still available and is SO sweet. The link to adopt him is here. I seriously have a problem and go back on and see the babies who still need adopting and just want to take them all in! ALL THE FEELS.

Anyway, so what does a cat actually cost? I feel like most people don't research this before adopting. I tried to before getting Cat, but I couldn't find a comprehensive list of sorts, so I decided I'd just make one myself! This is based on my personal experience. I am also obsessed with The Kitten Lady and seek her website for advice as well. Her Instagram account is one of my favorites! Back to the topic at hand! I don't want this to deter you from adopting just wanted to educate you on what a cat costs, so you can be prepared. In addition to that, cats can live up to 20ish years, so it is more than just a monetary commitment. Let's begin!

Adoption Fee: $0-$150 This varies. I adopted both of my babies, but this can especially spike if you are buying a specific breed. I know bred kitties need love too, but I urge you to consider adopting, since so many cats are available out there! Anyway, with Cat I didn't have an adoption fee, as she was from a friend; however I did have an adoption fee with Elliot. ($150). These fees typically go toward medical care,etc for the animal you are receiving. Elliot will come with her first 2 rounds of shots and her spaying already complete, as well as a microchip! The fee varies, as does what comes with it. Kittens always cost more than cats, so that's something else to keep in mind.

Initial Care: $130 - $700. Depending on how much your vet is (definitely shop around! I go to CityVet Oaklawn and love it!) and what your cat comes with, this will differ. For Cat, we paid for her 3 rounds of shots (every kitten should get this) at $99 each time, plus a couple doses of Revolution, which protects against heartworms, fleas, ear mites, ticks, etc. Spaying was around $300 with tax ($189+ recommended bloodwork at $69) for Cat. Can you see how the adoption fee is actually good?! We'll just have to pay for Elliot's 3rd round of shots and be scot-free! After that, you just need 1 appointment a year, unless something is wrong or otherwise stated. Just an appointment exam is usually around $59.

Food: $70-$114 per year, per cat. (dry food only) We feed Cat about 1/2 cup of food each day, about 50 grams. 1 pound = about 453 grams, so if you buy a bag of 11lb cat food, it has 4,983 grams, so it will last you about 100 days, At $23 a bag, that's around $70 a year on food, on the low end of the spectrum. For an organic, more expensive brand, it could be about $38 per 11lb bag, making it around $114 a year. I have tried to feed Cat wet food, but she has to be in the mood for it, and it for sure has to be in pellet form. It is said that wet food is actually better for cats, but I think whether you need it for you cat is a case by case decision. Since I don't have much experience with wet food, I didn't price it, but the low end of the spectrum would be $1 per can. 

Emotional Support Animal: $75. Cat is a registered ESA - I believe their is a free version for dogs, though! This isn't the top rung of ESA, so I don't think I could take her on a plane, but it does get my apartment fee waived!

Extras: $150 - $300 per year. Think treats, litter, etc.  You may not need these or want to spend money on a $15 brush, but at the end of the day, a cat still needs to be brushed. You feel me? Here's what I pay for.

  • Treats. $4 per bag. cost around $4 a bag, for about 2 oz. One bag will last me a couple of months, so I probably buy 4ish a year. You obviously don't need treats, but they are fun to reward good behavior with, especially if you are integrating 2 cats.
  • Litter. $30 a box. This  about $2 a pound, depending on where you purchase it. You should be filling your box with about 2 inches of litter.  I clean the litter box twice a day- once in the morning and once in the evening. I buy a 20-ish lb of cat litter at a time and that lasts me about 2-3 months, so I need 4-5 boxes a year, at about $12 a box. They actually have bigger boxes of litter, but have you ever carried cat litter up 3 flights of stairs?! No bueno. Note, this was for 1 cat.
  • Litter Box Home. $90. I didn't want to keep her litter box out in the open, so I actually purchased a wooden structure to keep it in. You can't even tell there's a litter box in it! there are lots of cool options so they aren't open for the world to see, especially if you don't have a garage to put it in. It doesn't keep all the scent in, just be sure to clean the box regularly, which you should do anyway.
  • Litter Box. $5 Doesn't matter the size! I had to get one that fit inside the wooden structure. you can obviously spend more money and get a litter genie or something like that, but that wasn't important to me.
  • Litter Scooper. $1 You need this for obvious reasons. I usually save grocery bags and use those to put waste in. 
  • Litter Catcher Rug. $20 This is imperative! Cats are clean and do their business in a box, but the litter sticks to their paws and such. I shake mine out at least once a week. This helps keep litter in one spot and not all over your floor...or at least not as much!
  • Brush. $15 You want a brush that is retractable, so it is easier to get the fur off of it, and those are around $15. You could obviously buy a cheaper one, but time is money and I'd rather get it done in one fell swoop! The bristles are often finer and pick up more hair, too!
  • Food and Water Bowl. $15 I guess you can find some that are cheaper, but I like mine off of the floor. 
  • Water Fountain. $30 I recently bought this and Cat loves it! Cats like fresh water, so this is just an easy way for her to have it when we aren't home. She's also a huge water cat and loves to play. I need to buy a place mat for it, but so far, so good! I went with this one, because she likes to stick her paw in it and splash around...meaning all the water of a traditional fountain with a bowl would be on the floor.
  • Wipes. $12 I use these on Cat once a week! They help keep allergens low. I have friends and family who are allergic and this helps immensely. 
  • Clippers. $12 I've tried all the other clippers and these are the easiest and best in my opinion. They are small, so I can see if I am about to cut the nail too close. 
  • No Scratch Spray. $6 I put this on places I don't want Cat to scratch and on places I see her scratch and she stops almost immediately. Miracle worker!!
  • Microfiber Blanket. $20 Kittens love these, but Cat still loves hers! She likes to "make biscuits" in it. It's often used with tiny babies, especially if they lost their mother. It is a comfort to them.
  • Carrying Case. $20 I line this with a blanket or towel and use it to transport them to the vet. 
  • Collar and Tag. $15 Cat doesn't really like her collar, but I sometimes make her wear it. Good to at least have. 

Toys: $20-$100 per year. You should at least have a couple boxes and a scratcher, if not other toys. The more active the cat, the happier they are.

  • Mice Toys. $10 These are so basic, but they are her favorite! We probably have 15-20 around our apartment.
  • Springs. $5  She doesn't really like these, but I bought them, because they were on the Kitten Lady's recommended toy list. I actually had a pipe cleaner twisted like this and she preferred that over these toys.
  • Whack-a-ball. $25 I haven't gotten to use this with her yet, but I think she will like it. She's  for sure a "batter". 
  • Boxes. $0. Duh. Free and easy! I also have a fabric box that she loves to hop in and out of.
  • Scratchers. I have several of these laying around the house. I spray them with cat nip and she goes crazy! They have lots of fun shapes and sizes, even a kitty DJ station (lol!)
  • Scratching Post. $30 This is a traditional post, but she can also stand on it, which I like. 
  • Spray Cat Nip. $12 There's cat nip that is "loose", but I prefer spray, because it is not as messy and still gets the job done.

Unexpected Costs: $1000+.

This year, Cat ate a Lilly and had to be hospitalized overnight. It broke my heart, but she came out on top! You may not know what comes up, but you need to be prepared if it does and how you will deal with it. All in all, pay attention to your cat- its personality, bathroom behavior, etc. Catching things that are wrong early on, are key to survival. 


All in all, Cat probably cost us around $2k this year, but that includes her incident. I would guesstimate this next year it will be around $500, as the cost is less after the first year, pending no health issues or accidents. Is that more than you thought? Less? Average? All I have to say is #WORTHIT, because I love her! Animals definitely make our lives better:)

Did you like this post? If so, would you want to see a post on "how to acclimate your cats to each other?", that is if I can do it successfully!


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