If you’re weighing up the cost of cat ownership, don’t forget to consider not only the initial outlay but the ongoing expenses too.

As a responsible cat owner (or wannabe cat parent) you will want to take great care of your feline friend. In preparation for your new cat, you might want to consider grooming, vet checks, vaccinations, cat food and bedding—all of which cost money.

If you’re a wise wannabe cat owner, no doubt you’ll be weighing up the cost of cat ownership. To help you do we’ve compiled a list of some of the upfront and ongoing costs.

Initial set-up costs

The cat: The cost of a cat can vary from nada (you might get it free from a friend) up to $1000, if it’s a fancy breed you want! So make sure you do some research into the costs of different breeds of cat.

If you get your cat from a registered breeder or shelter it’s likely they will have had the cat desexed, microchipped and vaccinated. If not, you’ll need to add these to the initial costs.

Desexing: Both male and female cats must be desexed with prices varying from $100‑$200.

Microchipping: In most states, it’s a legal requirement for cats to be microchipped before they are 12 weeks old. The cost is around $30-$50.

Vaccinations: Your kitten will need three vaccinations in the first year and then annually throughout its life. This helps protect your cat from diseases. Vaccinations cost approximately $80.

Bedding: Even if you plan on allowing your cat to sleep on the end of your bed, he or she will still need a bed of its own. You can pick up a no-bells-and-whistles-bed from around $10-$30.

Litter tray: Unless you want to find a few nasty surprises when you wake in the morning, your cat will need a litter tray. These come in at approximately $10.

Kitty litter: What good is a cat tray without kitty litter? This will add an extra $10 to your initial costs.

kitten with cat toys

A few extras to think about

It’s important to think outside the box when weighing up the cost of cat ownership. Of course, depending on the type of owner you are, the costs can vary.

Here are a few other costs to consider along the way.

Grooming: Yes, cats do love to clean themselves but your purring pal might need a helping hand. If you intend on brushing your kitty’s hair, you’ll need a grooming brush. You can pick up a cat grooming brush for approximately $20.

Scratch post: These aren’t just to help stop your furniture from getting ripped to shreds, scratching posts help cats keep their nails intact. Ideally, your cat will have a few different posts but just one will cost around $20.

So, the total cost of the initial outlay is approximately $270-$420 (plus the price of the cat).

Once you’ve bought your cat that’s not the end of the costs. Now you need to consider ongoing weekly and monthly expenses, which may be small but will add up over time.

Ongoing costs

Food: Depending on what you plan to feed your cat, food costs can vary greatly—especially if you intend to feed your new feline friend caviar! On average you might spend $10 a week.

Cat litter: You’ll need to place new litter in the tray every other day. The cost for this is around $10 a week.

Worming and flea treatments: Cats need to be wormed fortnightly for the first 12 weeks and then every three months ongoing. Monthly flea treatments are also recommended to keep your kitty free from nasty fleas. The cost for both is minimal at about $5 a week, but it still adds up.

Insurance: It’s always good to plan for the unexpected. On average an annual insurance plan for a cat comes in at around $250, which works out at approximately $5 a week. Not bad for peace of mind!

Yearly veterinary check-up:  Annual health checks cost somewhere in the region of $70-$100 so let’s say $2 a week but remember, this doesn’t take into account any unexpected illnesses or accidents.

Total ongoing costs are approximately $25-$30 a week, give or take.

grey and black cat

The other thing to consider when it comes to the cost of cat ownership is what will happen when you go away. You might want to factor in the cost for a visit to the cattery or for a pet sitter. Unless, of course, you have a friend or family member that will happily look after your cat for you.

So while you can’t easily plan for the unexpected costs that might arise, having a good general idea of the basic cost of owning a cat can help ensure you don’t find yourself struggling.


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Leanne Philpott

Leanne is a freelance writer at contentchameleon.com.au. She works alongside her fur pal Chewie (a border terrier) and is passionate about promoting responsible pet ownership.

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