If You're Thinking About Adopting a Cat, Here's Exactly How Much It'll Cost

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If you’re looking into adopting a cat, you’re in for all the snuggles, special moments, and catching your new feline pal getting into nooks you never thought possible. Life will be so much sweeter – but it also comes with a multitude of costs and expenses. For some, cats might seem much more low maintenance than other pets, which can be true. That being said, the yearly costs of having a cat should be examined before adopting, that way, you avoid unpleasant surprises when presented with initial adoption fees, and the eventual veterinary expenses, food costs, and more. Having everything laid out beforehand will make the entire process of getting a cat much smoother, and you’ll steer clear of upsets throughout the years as you focus on enjoying your furry friend.

How much should you expect to spend on cat adoption fees?

If you choose to adopt a cat from a local shelter, your initial expense will be the adoption fees, which can range from $34 to $276, according to the Animal Humane Society. Adoption fees typically include several features which might even save you first-year veterinary expenses, like a general physical and behavior exam, vaccines, deworming, flea/tick treatment, and spaying or neutering. Keep in mind that these adoption costs will vary depending on the age and breed of your cat, especially if it’s in high demand, as well as your location and even the time of year. Areas with a higher cost of living might have higher adoption fees, and many shelters waive adoption fees at certain times of the year. Many details go into this fee, so it’s important to do your research before cementing the adoption process.

If you prefer to purchase your cat from a breeder, it’s important to note the total initial cost will be much more expensive. A breed like a Bengal or Siberian can costs can be anywhere between $1,000 to $2,000. To add to the expenses, breeders do not include all the ready-to-go medical care that shelters do, meaning you will have to add spaying or neutering, which can cost $300 or more, and extra veterinary visits. If you’re dead-set on a purebred, but would love to avoid the high costs, try adopting from a breed-specific rescue group.

What are the yearly costs of owning a cat?

Once you have your kitty, strategizing the yearly expenses is imperative to saving yourself possible headaches. According to the ASPCA, you should expect to spend $1,174 in your first year as a cat owner, which includes $145 on spaying/neutering (if not done by a shelter), $130 on the initial veterinary visit, $10 on a collar and leash, $25 on a litter box, $15 on a scratching post, and $40 on a carrier bag. After that, you’ll spend around $809 a year on your furry friend. Your recurring annual costs will include roughly $224 in food, $160 in yearly veterinary fees, $165 on litter, $25 on toys and treats, and $175 on health insurance. You should also add to that a cat bed, which can cost anywhere from $20 to $100 (and will probably be replaced down the line), food and water bowls for $5 to $30, and flea/tick prevention which costs $20 to $200 a year.

Other eventual costs to consider when adopting a cat are emergency veterinary care, which can range from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000, plus pet sitting or boarding fees if you go on a longer trip, which can cost $15 to $50 per day. Some specialty cats require some grooming as well, which averages at around $300 a year.

A crucial element to remember when budgeting for your future cat is that costs vary widely depending on the breed you choose. While mixed breed cats are less prone to health problems, purebred cats like the Persian breed can cost you from $500 to $5,500 in miscellaneous medical fees and extra care because of their genetic health problems.

No matter your chosen route, planning ahead economically for your cat’s arrival is crucial to making the adoption experience as easy and seamless as possible. Tailor your strategy to your specific needs, and focus on all the cuddly times ahead.

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