The Cost of Owning a Cat

As you may remember, I love info graphics. So when I found this one about cat ownership, I was immediately intrigued. I accepted its challenge and tallied up the amount I spend on my cats to see how my numbers compare. Not sure who my cats are? Dottie's orange and Capone's wearing a tuxedo:
Purchase price: I paid $0 for both my cats. Capone was a gift from a friend who discovered he was allergic to cats after adopting him.  And Dottie was abandoned on the side of the road as a kitten and rescued by my dad.

Food and treats: I spend $38 on a big bag of Blue Buffalo dry cat food every two months and $20 a month on Weruva wet food (the pumpkin jack splash is their favorite flavor). That comes out $468 a year for two cats, or $234 each. I think that's pretty reasonable considering the quality of the food. I get free treats when I buy cat litter at Target so no additional cost there.

Litter: I use 2-3 boxes of Double Duty a month, at an average cost of $20 a month. This used to cost more when I used ½ clumping litter, ½ Feline Pine, but my cats stopped using whatever box I put Feline Pine in. Any one else dealt with the joys of a suddenly finicky cat? :)

Medical care: Both Dottie and Capone are fixed, which cost $50 each years ago. And Dottie had a worm when we found her, so that was another $50, and a UTI which set us back about $40 for the medication (but the worst part was shooting the meds in her mouth - AWFUL). Other than that, she's been healthy and only costs about $25-30 for her vet visit and shot update. Capone hasn't had any major medical issues, but starting last year, he requires medication for arthritis, which costs $67 a year. I buy his meds online at Pet Care Rx, which saves me about 30% off the price the vet charges me. So his total yearly medical costs are closer to $107 because of the meds.

Toys: I honestly don't buy a ton of cat toys. They adore this Da Bird cat toy, and I bought these Zanies mice years ago (when that set cost about $11) - they're still working on them. We also have the added bonus of finding random pink mice whenever we move the furniture ;) Speaking of furniture, I should probably include the cost of scratching posts here. Dottie is a scratching maniac, so we need one upstairs and down in order to keep her from harming the people furniture. One is from Natural Scratch and the other is the Top Cat Sisal Post. She loves both; Capone prefers the sisal one. Estimating high, let's say I've spent $150 on cats toys and scratchers - that's about $22/year over the past seven years.

Grooming supplies: I bought a grooming tool and nail clippers for about $10 each when I became a cat mama seven years ago, and haven't purchased anything additional since. $20 split over seven years is only $2.86 a year. I imagine this cost is higher for indoor/outdoor cats or cats who need baths.

Final stats: $234 food + $120 litter + $40 medical (Dottie) or $107 (Capone) + $22 toys + $3 grooming = $419 for Dottie and $486 for Capone

I'm shocked! $1,000 a year for two cats? I think it's just one of those things that kinda blends in with everyday purchases and I don't spend too much time contemplating - I really don't feel like I splurge on them except their food, but I guess I do!

Did this info graphic surprise you at all? If you have a cat, do you spend about what they estimate?

I mentioned a lot of cat products, websites, etc. in this post, but they're not affiliate links or sponsors. I just like their stuff :)


  1. good to see the numbers. because we adopted cats at midlife, there were more health costs maybe but I was guessing it was around that amount. even still, it's tempting to live with a cat again.

    1. My cats are 7 and 3 - so their age could definitely be a factor.

  2. All told, the expense is relatively small compared to the things Americans splurge on daily - it's less than the cost of a coffee a day. It's the illnesses that really take it on. Just this month I spent almost $3000 in vet bills when my cat caught a virus from his cousing who we were pet sitting.

    1. I hope I didn't come across like I was saying my cats were too expensive. I just meant I was surprised by the total when I added everything up. They are worth every penny! I'm so sorry to hear about your cat and wish him good health in the future :)

  3. I love your breakdown of the costs! I took a look at mine. I got two kittens for free from the same litter in 2007, so they are 6 years old now. They needed 3 checkups each with vaccinations and a rabies shot the first year, totalling $635, and spaying for both was $500 (!!) Checkups and vaccinations including rabies for years 2, 3 and 4 totalled $700. They are now up to date on all their shots and shouldn't need regular vet care for a while.

    The next biggest expense for me was putting them in a kennel for 6 vacations in the 6 years, which set me back $1065. In addition, they needed to go to the vet for flea meds before going into the kennel for another $120.

    The cats have two climbers, two pet beds and two collars with tags for about $200.

    All of the above adds up to $3220.

    Happily, they are small cats and it only costs $20 a month to feed them grocery-store cat food. We get 70 lbs a year of Feline Fresh cat litter (they didn't like Feline Pine either!) for $70. So their day-to-day expenses are only $25-30 a month.

    As long as they stay healthy and I don't travel much, I`m fine from now on :)

    I will add too that I consider the cost well worth it, for my lifestyle anyway!

    1. Oh my goodness - those vet bills and vaccinations! That is a huge cost difference from my vet visits (which usually run about $22) and shots (usually $5). Thankfully my brother or neighbors are happy to care for the cats when we're away - I never realized how much money they were saving us over kennel costs!

      And I agree, they're definitely worth it! I love my cats :)

  4. Gah, numbers! I love the post -- and the infographic (love those things). But, I can't bring myself to do the math. We have three cats...they eat all natural food (with some diet food mixed in...they've become more and more sedentary)...we use costly flushable litter...and one of them has accrued more hours and dollars at the vet's office than some humans spend in the hospital in a lifetime. So...yeah. I'm pretty sure we spend a kazillion a year. But, as others have said, the cost is well worth it. We can't imagine our lives without our little lovies. :-) (And our vet costs are similar to anexactinglife's.)

    1. Oh man, well I hope your days of high vet bills are behind you. I've been very lucky so far to have healthy cats and hope it continues :)

  5. Kitty PoP is 4 now, but his ongoing expenses are pretty low. Food + litter + vet care ~ $240 per year. (I think I added up the "startup costs" once and his first year was in the neighborhood of $500 - litter box, climbing tower, scratching post, extra shots and vet visits...)

    This year there have been a couple other expenses - his hotel stay with us (~$100, but cheaper than kennel and more pleasant for all), and the screen he recently decided to bite through to get at the lizard on the other side - $40.

    So this year is more expensive, but he's still worth it for the entertainment and having a built-in foot warmer in bed. =)

    1. I like the idea of having the "startup costs" separate because a lot of that stuff I hope to only buy once (or possibly twice). It's nice that the hotel let you bring your cat! I often see dog-friendly hotels advertised, but I don't recall ever seeing one for cats.

      Haha, I'm happy for the entertainment and lap warming too :)

  6. I can't believe how cheap your vet costs are. It's about $120 each year just to keep her shots up to date. We got our kitty for free, too, but then we had to get her kitty shots, get her spayed (almost $400!), get her ear mites treated, and get her decked out with a litter box, food bowls, brush, etc. She has cost us thousands of dollars in her two years, but we love her. Wouldn't trade her for anything!!

    Your Capone is so handsome!! I want to give him kisses on his nose!!

    1. I never realized how cheap my vet was until I wrote this post. I'm lucky!

      Aww, thank you! I love his eyes :)


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