The True Cost of Owning a Cat

By: Talin Seta Shahinian

The thought of inviting a new feline friend into your life is exciting, but it’s important to pause before taking the plunge and adopting a new cat. Aside from lifestyle questions and whether you have enough free time to spend with your new kitty, it’s necessary to ask yourself if you can afford to have a cat. Cat ownership is a joy, but it’s also a commitment. The start-up costs right after adoption can be the highest, as you’ll need to buy all the new supplies you’ll need to take good care of your new best buddy.

Adoption Fees

The adoption costs for a cat can run anywhere from zero to $270. Your local Humane Society or shelters will be on the lower end for fees. Buying from a pet store will usually cost more, and there are so many cats and kittens in need that if you can adopt rather than shop, you’ll be doing a lot of good.

Vaccinations and Preventative Medications

Adopting a cat from your local humane society also means they’ll already have all their vaccinations upon adoption, saving $100 to $200. Sometimes you’ll even get a voucher for a free first-time vet visit. There are also additional recommended preventative medicines to protect your cat against heartworm and other parasites, and these treatments can run from $50 to $100.

Spay or Neuter

The next responsible step of cat ownership is spaying or neutering your new feline friend. Spaying or neutering your cat is highly recommended, as there’s already a high population of cats filling up shelters everywhere. Spaying or neutering can run anywhere from $20 to $300. You can contact Dr. Angie Ruppel at Purple Cat Vet to get quality care for your cat. Dr. Ruppel specializes in low-cost spay/neuter services through her mobile clinic in the NW Wisconsin area.

Kitty Supplies

Another start-up cost will be various supplies before you bring your cat home for the first time. At the bare minimum, you need food, water bowls, a litter box, and litter. Which, depending on quality, can cost from $25 to $200 (if you opt for a deluxe litter box, an automatic feeder, and a drinking water fountain.) You’ll need ongoing litter, which can run from about $6 to $10 each time.

Other initial supplies may include a collar, tags, and enrichment toys for your kitty, ranging from about $20 to $60. You may also want to get her a cat bed, which can run from $15 to $50. Cats also need scratching posts to keep them scratching appropriately. They can be relatively inexpensive, from $10 to $25. Sometimes these are combined with climbing towers, which cats enjoy climbing up and spending an afternoon napping. Cat towers and cat gyms with scratching posts can cost $30 to $60.

Cat Food

Depending on what type of food you feed your cat, the annual cost of cat food can approximately be between $100 and $250. This is not including extra cat treats, which can be an additional $40 to $60 a year.

Pet Insurance

One of the most significant unpredictable expenditures can come from vet bills for illnesses or injuries. It’s also necessary to maintain a regular schedule for annual checkups. This is why it’s wise to have pet insurance. Some can be as low as $15 a month but could have large deductibles. To get a low or zero deductible, you’d likely pay more for pet insurance per month, so for comprehensive cat health insurance, you could be looking at the cost of $50 to $75 a month.

Cat Calculations

All totaled, owning a cat can run $1,000 or up annually, especially in the first year. Not all those costs are up front, but before you adopt, take an honest look at your finances and your monthly budget to decide if owning a cat is a sensible financial decision. Know that you’re getting a friend for life, and part of that is the commitment to take good care of them.

If you live in NW Wisconsin, Purple Cat Mobile Vet Clinic is here to help you keep your cat healthy and happy. We’re a high-quality, high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter clinic. We see cats exclusively. Scheduling information is available on our website. You can also check out our Facebook page for more helpful information on all things feline!


All cat spay/neuter appointments are made on this website. We post new clinic dates 6 weeks ahead of time. Check back often if you do not see a date that works for you.

About Us

We are a high-volume, high-quality, low-cost spay/neuter veterinary clinic. 99% of our surgeries are done on cats. We occasionally do dog spay/neuter surgeries for our shelter partners

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