How Much Does It Cost To Take Care of a Cat

| 7 min read Financial Assistance

You and your cat share a special bond that is truly priceless. Most cat owners would agree—cat ownership is a uniquely rewarding experience, and your feline friend plays a big part in your life. Yet the cost of owning a cat can be very much, and sometimes you might need help paying for cat costs. Learn about everything that goes into the cost of cat ownership per year, and discover a few different ideas that can help you cover cat costs. 

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How much to adopt a cat?

The cost of cat adoption can vary widely, depending on your location and the specific shelter. Some cat breeds are more sought after, which can also contribute to the overall cost of adoption. Typical cat adoption fees range from $15 to $200 and up. Depending on the shelter or rescue, the following may be included as part of the adoption fee:

  • Spaying or neutering
  • Microchipping
  • Routine medical exam
  • Recommended vaccinations and testing
  • Flea treatment or deworming

The cost of owning a cat

While the overall costs of owning a cat are typically less than dog expenses, taking care of your feline friend can still be expensive. Take a look at the five main factors that contribute to the cost of owning a cat, below.

The average cost to neuter or spay a cat

According to PetMD, the average cost to neuter a male cat is $200, and the average cost to spay a female cat ranges from $300 to $500. These estimates are for a procedure done in a private veterinary office.

Cat cost – Food

The price of cat food will depend on whether you choose to feed your cat dry food, wet food, or a combination of both per year. Because of the range in food type and quality, expect to pay between $5 to $38 per month on cat food. In addition to food, you will also need a cat litter box.

Cat sitter cost

Cats are social creatures and need more than just food and water. If you’ll be gone for more than 24-48 hours, a cat sitter is a must. The average cost of an in-home cat sitter is around $20 to $30 per night.

Cat vaccination costs

Cats require different vaccines depending on their age, history, and health problems so make sure to check with your veterinarian. Oftentimes people also get pet insurance for veterinary care when adopting cats. The most common cat vaccines and their average costs are listed below:

  • Rabies: $19
  • Distemper and parvovirus feline combination shot: $35
  • Feline Leukemia: $35

How much does a vet visit cost for a cat?

Cat vet costs can be expensive, but you don’t want to wait until your pet is in pain before you set aside time to take them to the vet. A routine vet visit for your cat is a necessary preventative measure that will help ensure your cat’s continued health. The cost of an annual vet visit can run anywhere from $90 to $200 depending on your location, specific veterinarian, pet insurance, and what tests are needed in the first year. 

Is pet insurance worth it?

Cat insurance can help with vet bills and cover other medical expenses. However, many policies have restrictions on what will be covered or reimbursed. Before purchasing any cat insurance policy, make sure to understand the fine print about any limitations and what is covered so you don’t spend more than you need to on an emergency vet visit.

Cat insurance costs

The cost of cat insurance varies widely based on the age of your cat, your location, and the type of coverage care you need in the first year. According to ValuePenguin, the average monthly cat insurance cost is right around $28 for plans that cover both accidents and illnesses. The range of cat insurance costs is between $10 to $40 per month. 

Three ways to offset cat costs

1. Organizations that help with cat costs

Many animal welfare organizations exist to help with the cost of pet ownership. These organizations provide grants or other financial assistance to temporarily cover the cost of basic care or medical expenses. The below organizations can help with cat costs:

  • The Pet Fund provides financial assistance to help pet owners cover the cost of needed veterinary care.
  • Frankie’s Friends offers a handful of different programs to pay for specialty veterinary treatment, such as cancer treatment and dialysis.  
  • The Shakespeare Animal Fund helps pet owners below the poverty line, or those who are elderly or disabled, afford pet care.
  • If you are having trouble affording your pet, many state-specific resources exist to help you keep your pet, even in times of economic hardship.

 2. Low-cost spay and neuter clinics

There are many options for reducing cat vet costs available through animal shelters and clinics. While many shelters provide spay and neuter services as part of the adoption process, some do not. The following resources can help you find a low-cost clinic in your area:

3. Raising money through crowdfunding

fundraising can be a great way to help pay for expensive cat costs. Through crowdfunding, you can create a winning pet fundraiser to drum up support for your feline companion. Some fun and unique pet fundraising ideas include hosting a bake sale for pet treats or creating a pet photo calendar for an upcoming holiday. Using high-quality images, posting an engaging video, and telling your cat’s story are just a few pet fundraising tips to make sure your cause is a success. 

Successful fundraisers for cats

Many people have turned to crowdfunding to start a successful animal fundraiser for their cats, including raising money for their pet’s surgery. Take a look below at how others are using crowdfunding to offset cat costs.

Surgery costs for Beast the cat

Beast and his owner, Curtis, were both homeless when they were unfortunately attacked. Beast suffered a broken leg and required expensive surgery, something that Curtis could not afford. A caring neighbor, Jennifer, started a fundraiser to collect donations from the community—many of whom knew Beast from their morning walks and trips to the park. Jennifer reached her fundraising goal of $3,975 to help Beast get the vet care he needed. 

Fundraising for spay and neuter costs

Feline Friends animal rescue was in urgent need of funds to help support the cost of their spay and neuter program. Vicki, a volunteer with the organization, took action and started a fundraiser to collect donations for the program. She raised over three times the amount of her fundraising goal, collecting nearly $2,000.

Get support for costly cat expenses

No matter the reason, finding financial aid for your cats doesn’t need to be a stressful experience. Crowdfunding through GoFundMe can provide the easy answer to raising money for cat costs, and can help alleviate financial stress. Sign up today to start your fundraiser, and feel confident knowing that you can find your feline friend the help they deserve.

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Written by GoFundMe