How Much Does A Cat Cost? The Annual Cost Breakdown Of Owning A Cat

How much does a cat cost? What are your expenses going to be in terms of daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly expenses?

Well, there’s no easy answer to this. Cats are pricey, but at the same time their upkeep is a lot less than other domesticated pets’. Furthermore, each cherished moment with your cat is a priceless one!

But let’s cut to the chase. How much will food cost you, as well as other necessities like litter, medical expenses, toys, furniture, cleaning detergents, and so on?

The Annual Cost Of Owning A Cat

In order to give a clear answer, we have to be VERY general and give an average. Under these assumptions…

Annual cat expenses are roughly around $1,000, though they can range anywhere from $500 to $3000+.


Well, indoor cats are relying on you for literally everything. They can’t hunt for food, they need a place to pee and poop, they need you to take them to the vet if necessary, etc.

Plus, some breeds are more prone to developing health issues than others, and kittens can’t really tell you what’s hurting them and what type of doctor they need.

They may find the food, toys, and scratching posts suddenly unappealing and force you into buying new ones over and over again.

Buying a cat may come free of charge (or at least quite cheap) if you adopt from a shelter, but it also might set you back, if you want to get an expensive designer breed.

Felines require special nutrition, attention, and affection. This means devoting not only your money, but also your time and energy to providing for your furry pal.

Let’s Look At Major Cost Breakdowns

Food And Treats

Rough Estimate: $120-$500/year (Depending on size, food brand, etc.)

Cats can’t survive on human food and if you aren’t serving high quality food to your pet, it will eventually develop a number of health related problems.

Treats are also necessary when it comes to training your kitty. These expenses will become one of your top priorities, since they affect your cat on such a basic, natural level.

Do not skimp on this purchase! Find our reviews of the best foods here.

Cat Litter and Box

Rough Estimate: $100-$250/year

Cat litter is just as essential as food. Whether you’re using granules, flushable litter, or even an automatic self-cleaning litter box, you’ll be spending nearly as much money on it as on food and treats.

Cats have a natural instinct to bury their waste, and if they don’t have a proper place to do so, they will resort to leaving you “presents” all around your house. Not only will this cost you more money to clean up, but it’s also a huge stress factor that you don’t need in your life.

Equipment And Supplies

Rough Estimate: $20-$350/year

Toys, scratching posts, beds, food bowls, water bowls, and other furniture pieces, catnip spray, collars, and lots of cleaning supplies are just some of the basics.

Furthermore, you might need to equip your home with various other items in order to cat-proof it, such as safety covers for the sockets, throw covers for the furniture, and more.

Medical Expenses

Rough Estimate: $65-$150/year for standard yearly checkups, etc.

Rough Estimate: $100 – $1000+ for unanticipated illness treatment

Worming, treatment against fleas, spaying and neutering, microchips, or treatment of cat allergies all fall under the category of medical expenses, and they don’t come cheap.

If your cat develops a serious illness, vet bills could be in the thousands of dollars.

Our review process is unbiased and based on extensive research. If you buy through the links on our site, we may earn a commission.

Pet Insurance

Rough Estimate: $200-$400/year

What is pet insurance? It basically offers you safety, comfort, and financial freedom when it comes to taking care of your feline furball. Think of it as a type of health insurance, life insurance, or accident insurance for your cat.

The most efficient, flexible, and affordable cat insurance is the PetsBest program. Their fully customizable plans and prices make a perfect fit for any budget and for any situation. One of their best choices is the routine care coverage plan, which offers you annual health benefits for over $500.

PetsBest could save you more than $500 annually.

Of course, each plan is just as unique as your cat and can be customized to fit you and your feline friend’s needs. You can easily get a free personal quote on insurance plans and prices from their website.


Rough Estimate: $0 – $500/year

Whether or not you get insurance, it’s a good idea to start a bit of a “slush fund” in order to pay for unexpected expenses. Maybe something breaks, maybe it’s for vet bills, maybe you need to go away and pay for boarding or a pet sitter. Just make sure you’ve got a bit tucked away for things you can’t anticipate!

Adopting or purchasing a cat or a young kitten is definitely tempting. However, taking care of the cat and of the expenses it will require isn’t an easy task.

So, let’s take a look at some more rough statistics on how much a cat costs per year.

So For The Annual Breakdown…

Food: $120 – $500

Litter: $100 – $250

Equipment And Supplies: $20 – $350

Medical Expenses and Vet Fees: $65 – $1000+

Optional Insurance: $200 – $400

Other: $0 – $500


But Don’t Forget About One-Time Costs

During the young kitten’s first 12 months you’ll have many more expenses than during the following years. Kittens need to be fed up to three times a day with special vitamin-packed foods. Furthermore, their training, play time, and socializing take up much more time, money, and energy, than looking after an adult cat does.

One-time costs can come in anywhere from $220 to $1500!

Some one-time expenses to think about include:

Purchase Price

Rough Estimate: $0 – $750

You might opt to adopt from the local shelter (an amazing idea!), in which case you may spend nothing.

However, if you opt for a designer or exotic breed, you will be paying hundreds of dollars for that privilege.

Spaying / Neutering

Rough Estimate: $100 – $200

If you’re buying a kitten and you choose to get it spayed or neutered (a good idea), then you’ll need to consider this cost right at the start.

Initial Vet Exam / Checkup

Rough Estimate: $100 – $200

When you first get kitty, you’ll want to make sure she’s got all her shots, that she’s healthy, and that there are no existing medical conditions that need to be taken care of right away.

Large Furniture or Equipment

Rough Estimate: $20 – $300

Depending on whether you get a crate or cage right at the start, or a significant piece of cat furniture, you may end up paying more up front for a piece of equipment that lasts the lifetime of your kitty.

Groomingvacuuming, cleaning, and basically taking care of all that cat hair will also cost you quite a few bucks, especially if you have a long-haired feline furball.

So, let’s sum it up.

How much does a cat cost? If you’re lucky, your annual expenses won’t go over $500, but you need to consider that it could cost thousands/year and that there is a not-inconsiderate one-time investment.

For better or for worse, each cat is unique , so there’s no exact number that applies to all cats, but getting pet insurance for your cat will definitely ease the financial burden at least in terms of medical care.

If you can’t afford to devote your time, energy, money, and affection to a cat, don’t just get one because you find it cute and fluffy. Countless furballs end up homeless on the streets each year due to negligence from their pet parents. Make sure you can truly devote yourself to your kitty and it will cherish your efforts for the rest of its life.

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!