How much does a cat cost?
Owning a cat can help you lead a happy and healthy lifestyle and comes with a whole host of benefits. Their companionship can help you manage depression, keep loneliness at bay, and reduce stress. Cats’ purrs can lower blood pressure, reducing your risk of heart disease, manage symptoms of laboured breathing, and much more.
However, owning a cat is a long term financial commitment, and in the current climate its a smart idea to know exactly what you’re getting your wallet into. In this guide we've broken down the different costs of owning a cat, and reveal the expected annual and lifetime cost of owning a cat.
Initial Costs of Owning a Cat
In this section we explore the initial costs of buying a cat and the different things you'll need to consider.
Buying or Adopting your cat
The price of adopting a cat depends on its breed, age, and from where you’re getting it. A house cat will cost you around £80. Cat breeds like British Shorthair, Oriental, Singapura, Thai, and Siamese are a different story. Usually, you will need to seek out a specialist breeder and be prepared to spend somewhere around £500.
Then there are breeds like the Persian, British Longhair, Russian Blue, Maine Coon, Sphynx, Norwegian Forest, and Scottish Fold. These can cost anywhere between £500 and £1200. At the highest price point, certain cat breeds like the Toyger, Savannah, Bengal, and Ashera could cost thousands of pounds.
Budget £145-£460 + £30 per month
You can’t have a cat and not have anything for it. Based on our highest rated reviews, be prepared to pay the following:
- cat flap (£10-£50)
- cat bed (£20-£50)
- litter tray / box (£15-£60)
- toys (£10-£40)
- bowls / feeders (£5-£25)
- collars (£5-£20)
- grooming accessories (£25-£50)
- scratching posts (£25-£100)
- blankets (£10-£25)
- cat carrier (£20-£40)
Initially, this list will set you back around £145 to £460.
Additionally, allocate £30 per month for cat litter, toys, and other items you’ll run through regularly. The cost increases if you buy automatic pet feeders, cat harnesses, and cat trees.
Routine Health & Microchipping Costs
Budget £125-£175 + £15 per month
When you bring a kitten home, you'll need to vaccinate your cat against diseases like cat flu, feline leukaemia, and feline enteritis. The first round of these vaccinations could cost you anywhere between £80 and £100. Annual boosters could range from £40 to £50. Deworming will cost between £10 and £15 every three months and flea control, £5 every month.
When you take your cat to the vet, you can ask them to insert a microchip. A microchip is an ID for your cat that goes under its skin. The purpose of a microchip is to identify the real owner of a cat when it’s lost or stolen. The cost of microchipping your cat could be anywhere between £10 and £20 and depends on where you live.
Ongoing costs of owning a cat
After buying the initial costs, there are a number of ongoing items to consider to maintain the health and happiness of your new cat!
Budget £200-£350 per year
Cats are carnivores and for that reason require a source of animal protein in their diet. As kittens, their diet will likely mostly be wet food, but as they grow their diet will include dry and wet food and the occasional treat. Your cat’s overall dietary requirements will cost you anywhere between £200 and £400 per year depending on the quality and type of food chosen.
You may have to spend more on a special diet for allergies or illnesses. Furthermore, you can buy cat supplements for better health and immunity.
Budget £275-£300 per year
You don’t have to buy cat insurance, but if you’re a responsible cat owner and can spend the money, it’s a smart move. Cat insurance covers accidents and chronic conditions. Opt for a lifetime plan for your cat rather than a time-limited or a maximum benefit insurance plan. A lifetime insurance plan for your cat costs on average £300 per year. Choose a plan that includes dental.
If you are getting an older cat, be aware that premiums become expensive once your cat reaches 6 years old. You can spread the cost of insurance by paying monthly or annual.
Budget £40-£80 per quarter
The cost of grooming your cat depends on its breed, age, gender, size, coat thickness, medical conditions and behaviour. Long-haired cats, as well as pedigree cats, need regular brushing to control mattes, pelts, and fur balls.
The average cost to professionally groom your cat could range anywhere between £40 and £80. Grooming usually includes haircut, claw trimming, coat conditioning, eye and ear cleaning, dry bathing, and styling. To save money, you could do most of this yourself.
Neuter & Spaying
Once your kitten or cat is a certain age, you should consider neutering or spaying. The cost for these procedures depends upon the vet and the facility. You can expect to pay anywhere between £30 and £80 to neuter your male cat. On the other hand, the average cost to spray your female cat could be anywhere between £50 and £100.
Pet Sitting & Boarding
Budget £4-£11 per day
There may come a point when you’ll have to travel and leave your cat at home. In the absence of a family member to catsit, you may want to hire a professional sitter. You should expect to pay anywhere between £5 and £10 a day. Alternatively, you can leave your cat at a boarding cattery who generally charge £4 to £5 per day (rural) or £10 to £11 per day if close to an airport or train station.
If you need to take your cat abroad, the overall cost for a pet passport ranges from £75 to £140. This includes microchipping, a rabies vaccination (£15 to £60), and the pet passport application (£60). Your cat will likely need additional vaccinations including a rabies blood test (£60-£120) and tapeworm treatment (£20-£30) depending on your travel destination.
Based on an average lifespan of 15 years, the lifetime cost of a cat is
Between £16,000 and £24,500
We have excluded all travel costs from this value (pet sitting, boarding & passport)