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How much does a cat cost?

Updated on June 13, 2014
VladimirCat profile image

Vladimir is a former champion ratter (retired). His hobbies are bushwalking, birdwatching and nature studies

Free to a good home ...

How many times have you seen that sign 'Kittens - Free to a Good Home'? Have you been moved to pick up a little unwanted kitten? I don't want to spoil the chances of adoption for some tiny waif, I just ask you to consider a few facts first.

If you're thinking of getting a cat this year,have a long hard look at your finances.While you're about it, have a good look at your motives too.

Why do you want a cat?

Let's Adopt

The Cost of a Cat

The Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) estimates that the average cat in Australia costs about $1000 a year.

Factor in a lifespan of 15 years or more, total pet costs can equate between $15 000 - $20,000. And that's the basic maintenance costs, not such things as pet accessories, gourmet food or emergency Veterinary care.

For the equivalent in American dollars add 5%

The Cost of Food

Food costs are the most obvious. You can't feed a cat on kitchen scraps.

Note to vegetarians

If you're a vegetarian, please don't try to turn your cat into one.

We are carnivores, meat-eaters, and more to the point, we are obligate carnivores. We get our energy and nutrient requirements from a diet of meat and really can't digest vegetables.

The best food for us is a mixture over the week of fresh meat, dried kibble and canned cat food.

pet food direct

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How much is Cat Food?

I can has cheezburger?

A cat will cost you a lot of money each week in cat food. have a look at the supermarket prices for dry and wet cat food. Estimate one can of food and a cup of dried kibble a day. Can you afford that on your grocery Bill?

The Cost to Neuter a Cat

Now, you have to add up how much it will cost you to have the cat desexed. It's cheaper to have a tomcat 'fixed' than a female cat, which only makes sense when you consider the surgery involved.

Prices differ depending upon where you live and what Veterinary Surgeon you choose., Ask around your local area.

One female cat, having 3 litters a year with 6 kittens per litter can have over 20,000 descendants in one year alone!.

A neutered tomcat is healthier. We're also quiet and calm, gentle and affectionate. I've never looked back from my own little nip 'n' tuck.

Prevent a Litter - Fix Your Critter

Cats have kittens before you can turn around!

I don't know how people can forget that cats have kittens. The kittens end up drowned in a bucket (sorry to tell you that) or on Death Row.

Where can I get a cat?

If you live near me, you can get a cat (or a dog if you're so inclined) from the Lort Smith Animal Hospital.

At any time of year, the hospital has a large number of unwanted animals but, in the couple of months after Christmas, abandoned cats pack the place to the rafters.

I thank the Lort Smith Animal Hospital

Lort Smith was established in 1935 by Louisa Lort Smith, a passionate animal welfare campaigner, to promote and improve the welfare of animals and provide veterinary care for the animals of people "of limited means.".

I think the woman who feeds me is classified as "of limited means" (probably because of her advanced age), in any case she got a reduction in my own vet bills and still hasn't paid them all.

Please remember

Every year thousands of animals are put down and dumped at shelters because their owners can't afford to keep them.

So please, if you're toying with the idea of getting a cute kitten, can you afford the costs? Do you have the time to properly look after a cat for the next 15 years?

If you're not sure you can afford the cost then don't get a cat!

What did you think?

How much did you think a cat would cost you?

See results

Big, small or in-between, all pawprints are welcome. Leave your comment too - and you don't even have to be a cat

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    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      5 years ago from Canada

      I think the absolute best investment a pet owner can make is to have their animal spayed or neutered. This one action can save so much money and heart ache. It saves lives. Many lives.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      my cat recently got abscess in her leg and it cost a lot they are expeensive she cost 1029 a year

    • Monika Weise profile image

      Monika Weise 

      5 years ago from Indianapolis, IN USA

      People just don't realize how expensive cats can be. When i was a first-time cat owner, our cat got an abscess in his leg. Treating it was horribly expensive, but of course had to be done. I had no idea at all that cats frequently get abscesses. Had I realized how expensive the veterinary was, I would have limited the number of cats that we had (three at the time). We eventually found wonderful homes for two of the cats, and kept the third (the one that had the abscess). You have to be aware of all the costs and the limitations of your budget before you adopt. You did a very good thing by making this lens :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      When we got our cats I had a steady job. Now we have a fixed income and sometimes the cats have to have a cheaper grade of cat food (there was one brand both refused to eat). But I always make sure they have food. Lady Ghost needs to go to the vet and I didn't think it was possible but many people pitched in to make it happen. You have to love humans who love cats even if they are strange at times.

    • Frischy profile image


      5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      There is a cost involved, it's true. But, the return on that investment is priceless. My cats give me a lot of love, comfort and laughter.

    • sharioleary profile image

      Shari O'Leary 

      5 years ago from Minnesota

      Thanks for bringing attention to this. Most people don't think about these things when they get a cat.

    • MariaDSk profile image


      6 years ago

      Very insightful info here some people really need to know before they make that decision. Won't put me off though, just need to get own place first. Maybe I'll eat kitchen scraps? :)

    • David Dove profile image

      David Dove 

      6 years ago

      Important info here, thank you for reminding everyone

    • jackieb99 profile image


      7 years ago

      Excellent information. I'm thinking of getting a cat and was wondering about this.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      oh Vladi...I love you! winky winky!

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 

      7 years ago from California

      It's amazing how someone can't see past the FREE sign! Some people get them and actually take good care of them, some take them and don't.

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 

      7 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Its very tempting to just pick up that lovely kitten but kittens grow up to be big cats that cost quite bit and are there for their life.

      Great lens hopefully making people more aware!

    • groovyfind profile image

      Samantha Devereux 

      7 years ago from Columbia Mo

      There's no such thing as a free cat! I have a couple bionic cats that paid for my vet's new car. LOL

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 

      7 years ago

      I have gotten kittens for free as well as adopted kittens from shelters & such, both ways are costly ~ though I have become a big fan of adopting from the US Humane society, because it is cheaper ~ My Kitty Wompuss was free, but after getting him neutered, chipped, shots, etc...I ended up spending around $300 USD, just for basic kitten care. My Scrapper I purchased from the Humane Society for $150 USD & he was already neutered, chipped & had his first round of shots. So people should really consider that pet adoption from a good shelter can be a lot less expensive than getting a "free" kitten. I am currently staying in an RV park in New Mexico where there are dozens of feral cats & kittens...and there is one particular feral silver tabby kitten I have been trying to tame to add to our family, but for me the cost of raising & keeping my cats is more than worth it ~ they're like my children now that the kids are all grown up & moved out lol :)


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