How Much Does a Cat Cost to Adopt

Cats are some of our favorite pet companions, and it’s no wonder they’re cute, cuddly, and fun chasing a laser pointer.

So how much does a cat cost? When considering the legions of the United States who own a cat, here are some things you need to know about what it might cost you.

How Much Does a Cat Cost to Adopt

The first cost, of course, you need to know how much it is to buy, adopt or keep your new cat.

However, what you pay for your cat depends a lot on:

Whether you are going to adopt your cat at a shelter or buy it from a store or breeder;

What breed you choose; if vaccinations and detox are included (more on these costs later); and

The age of the cat you selected

According to Animal Medicines America (AMA), however, the average price of a cat in 2019 was $308. The AMA breaks down the average cost of a cat into price categories and the percentage of people who paid for it. The price we’ve compiled for you here:

The acquisition cost – Of course, the cost of owning a cat is more than just the amount you have to pay to adopt or buy a cat. Once you have your cat, you’ll also need to look into microchipping, registration, vaccinations, desexing, and flea and deworming treatments – to name a few problems!

Microchipping your cat

It is mandatory in all states and territories to microchip your cat. 2 But even if you don’t, you should still use a microchip, as it can help identify your beloved pet if it goes missing.

But how much does a cat microchip cost? Well, it usually depends on where you are taking your cat to the microchip. Therefore, these costs can vary widely among cat owners.

However, the RSPCA advises that the approximate cost of your cat’s microchip is $60.

Registering Your Cat 

Whether or not you should register your cat in your community depends on where you live. Some boards require registration (and therefore a fee), while others do not.

As there are many councils, we have summarized the registration requirements for each of the state/territory capitals.

Average Cost For Registration

Cats must be registered with the City before four months of age. You can expect the following registration fees:

$29 for a sexless animal from specific animal shelters (e.g., RSPCA)

$58 for an unsexed animal, Approved Breeders, and non-sexed animals that are not recommended

$210 for a non-sexed animal

Retirees may be entitled to free or subsidized registration fees. Depending on which category above applies to your cat, you will need to provide documents when renaming.

Your cat’s health needs

As important as any Greek microchip and your new cats meet your immediate health needs, this usually includes vaccines, de-extraction, flea treatments, and deworming.

There are no exact figures that can be provided about the cost of these essential healthcare products, but the RSPCA has outlined some basic statistics.

Ongoing costs

Now that we’ve eliminated all upfront costs, it’s time to look at the ongoing costs of owning a cat, including food, bedding, and grooming.

Food is the highest operating cost for pet owners, according to the AMA. People spent nearly $4 billion on food for their pets in 2019 alone! For cat owners, this represented an average of $491 worth of food for their furry friend.

Cat litter is next on the list of items for your cat to buy. The RSPCA estimates this can cost upwards of $120 a year, and if you choose to use a professional grooming or clipping service for your cat, it costs an average of $45 in 2019.1.

Also, your cat may need to be vaccinated and dewormed every year after the first round, so you need to consider these costs.

Other expenses

We’re not done yet! Like any pet, cats need accessories and toys, collars, beds, treats, and transport cages. While cats may not be picky about such things as dogs, Cat owners still spent an average of $96 on products and accessories for their purring friends in 2019.

How much does pet insurance cost?

One final expense you might want to consider is pet insurance. But why should you?

Your cat is undoubtedly a valued and beloved member of your family, but it can cause harm. Sometimes this nonsense doesn’t go according to plan, and accidents happen; your cat can get stuck on something and get hurt, or eat the wrong thing and get sick.

These situations are painful enough for you and your cat without having to worry about expensive vet bills. Pet insurance can help cover the cost of these bills and a variety of other veterinary treatments and pet-related expenses, depending on the type of pet insurance you choose.

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