A cat can be a wonderful family pet. Contrary to the opinions of some, cats are affectionate, loving, playful, and full of their own unique personality and quirky charms. They are also a popular choice of pet because they are perceived as relatively independent. While it is true that owning a cat usually requires less money and that cats are less reliant on their owners, that does not mean that the decision to get a cat should be taken lightly. This guide outlines the main costs involved in becoming a cat owner so you can make sure you can afford your own feline family member.
Buying or adopting a cat
The upfront cost of your cat will depend on whether you choose to adopt or buy. Buying a cat is likely to be more expensive, especially if you choose to buy a pedigree, as they can cost several hundred dollars or more. Adopting a cat or kitten from a shelter will probably cost up to $200 (and could be considerably less), and you will be giving an abandoned cat a warm and loving home.
Regular vet visits
Your cat needs to be checked over by a vet at least once a year, even when they appear to be completely healthy. This gives the vet the chance to catch small issues early before they develop into more serious health problems, check their teeth, coat and claws, and that they are a healthy weight. You should budget around $100 to $200 for the appointment. There are Forney veterinary centers that offer affordable vet care if you are concerned about the cost of annual checkups.
If your cat becomes unwell or injured, you could be facing thousands of dollars of veterinary expenses. Unless you are prepared to cover the cost of this out of savings or by using a credit card, it is best to take out insurance. Paying a small amount each month will give you peace of mind that your cat will receive the best care if they have an accident or develop an unexpected illness.
There are hundreds if not thousands of cat food brands out there, but choosing the cheapest is rarely the right choice for your cat. High-quality foods are developed to provide optimum nutrition, promote healthy digestion, prevent hairballs, reduce the likelihood of obesity and even prevent urinary infections. You can expect to spend between $15 to $60 per month on food for your cat, depending on your cat’s brand and size/activity level.
While cats are generally better pets than dogs for people who work long hours, you still need to consider what will happen to them when you go away for a day or more. Some cat owners have friends or family members who will help out, but you may need to consider the cost of checking them into a cattery or hiring a pet sitter to ensure they are healthy and happy while you are away. On average, the cost of a cattery, cat hotel, or cat sitter will vary between $15 to $45 per night.
Cats can take care of their own grooming for the most part (which is part of what makes them a low-maintenance pet), but some people choose to pamper their feline friend with an occasional trip to a professional groomer. Long-haired cats may need to be brushed and trimmed to keep their fur from matting, and all cats can benefit from trimmed claws and clean ears. So, while it’s not essential, you should set aside $40 to $70 for professional grooming.