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How much is that kitty?

How much is that kitty?

Posted by Patricia on 22nd Apr 2023

Longing for some meowing in your home? To be sure, you will have some financial commitments if you have just purchased an expensive, exotic cat, adopted one from a shelter or rescue, or welcomed the stray from your street into your home. Knowing the costs of parenting a cat will help you determine how to rearrange your budget, if necessary.

According to ASPCA Pet Insurance, cited below, Synchrony, a financial services company, surveyed 1,200 pet parents and 100 veterinarians about this topic. Their answers revealed that "the lifetime cost of caring for a dog or cat remains misunderstood by many pet parents."

Over half of the survey respondents said they had "misunderestimated" the lifetime (using 15 years as the average lifespan) cost of having a cat. Additionally, about half of the pet parents who thought they were ready for unexpected expenses reported they were not.

According to the 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, cited below, about 45.3 million US households have cats. Yearly expenses include:

* About $254 on cat food and $72 on treats

* Approximately $278 for routine vet check-ups, vaccinations, heartworm, and flea and tick preventatives

* An average of $200 for surgical procedures, such as spaying or neutering. Of course, more complicated surgeries will cost more. A tally of these numbers averages out to about $53 a month.

Then there are the non-food and non-medical costs. If you purchase a cat, the cost could be high. If you adopt a cat, there will likely be a small adoption fee. You'll need toys, maybe some cat nip, a bed or two, scratching posts, a collar and leash, and an ID tag. In addition, it's always wise to have your cat microchipped in case he should dash out the door one day. If you acquire your cat from a shelter or rescue, he may have already received a microchip, with the cost included in the adoption fee. The price for microchipping by a veterinarian averages $45. Animal groups often hold events where microchipping is free to the public, so watch for announcements.

Caring for a cat his entire life is an honor but not a cheap undertaking. Don't let that pressure you into thinking you have to have a pet insurance policy. If you decide insurance would be helpful, read all the small print, as there are usually many exceptions. Or, per ascent cited below, you could set up an emergency fund to which you would contribute a small amount regularly. Consider your budget before you make any decisions.

Quote to remember: "Your house will always be blessed with love, luck, and friendship if you have a cat." - Author Lewis Carroll


ASPCA Pet Health Insurance

"How Much Does It Cost to Have a Cat?"

the ascent

"Looking to Add a Cat to Your Family? Here's How Much Cat Owners Spend on a Lifetime of Pet Care"

(Picture credit: Henry Home)