If you are trying to ascertain if a cat or a kitten would be a good pet for you, it is important to take into account the lifetime costs of cat ownership, and be sure that you will be able to cover them. This is particularly important if you have not owned a cat or kitten before, and so may not be sure if there is anything that you have potentially overlooked.
As with anything else in life, costs for different things can vary greatly, and so nobody can give you a specific figure for how much everything is likely to cost for your own future cat. However, it is important to work this out and do the sums yourself, and be sure that you haven’t overlooked anything before making the decision to get a cat or kitten.
With this in mind, here is our checklist of the twenty core costs involved in cat ownership.
Unless you are given a cat, you will usually need to either pay a cash price for your cat or kitten, or contribute towards the costs incurred by a rescue organisation if you wish to adopt a cat. Cats can range in price from free up to several thousand pounds, so the total figure to get your cat can be very variable.
Whatever you feed your cat, the lifetime cost of providing their meals can work out to be very expensive! Feeding a good quality food is vital in order to take care of your cat’s nutritional needs for the long term, and many different options are available.
Food and water bowls for cats can be bought relatively cheaply, but you might also want to look at some of the more expensive options such as auto-feeders, or water fountains for cats who are fussy about where they drink!
Cats need warm, comfortable beds and places to rest, and you can either spend a lot of money buying these or improvise with blankets and sofas! You should also bear in mind ensuring that your cat is warm enough; you might only turn the heating on in the winter when you are at home, but when it is very cold, your cat may well require heating whether you are there or not!
Cats require an initial set of vaccinations when you first get them, and then annual boosters every year for the duration of their lives. This can add up to a sizeable amount of money over the lifetime of the average cat.
Microchipping is a one-off expense to give your cat the best chance of making it home to you if they become lost or wander off. It is particularly important as cats can be apt to lose their collars, and in order to prove ownership in the case of any disputes.
Another vital one-off expense is having your cat spayed or neutered, in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies and also to remove some of the cat’s instinctive desire to roam over long distances. Unless you intend to breed from your cat, spaying or neutering is a must!
Cats require preventative flea treatments on a monthly basis to protect them and your household from biting bugs, and good quality flea treatments can prove expensive.
Every three months (or possibly more often if your cat is a prolific hunter and likes to eat their prey) you will need to worm your cat, to protect them against infestations of harmful intestinal worms and parasites.
Even if your cat goes to the toilet outside, sometimes you will need to keep your cat indoors and provide a litter tray and cat litter. Litter can be bulky to transport and store , and can work out expensive if your cat uses a litter tray at all times!
Whether your cat is shorthaired or longhaired, you should invest in some basic grooming equipment for them, such as a flea comb, brush, tick twister and anything else that your cat needs to help to take care of their coat.
You should have a first aid kit designed for your cat available to you in the case of any emergencies; this can improve your chances of being able to take care of your cat should they become injured during the time before you can get them to a vet.
You will undoubtedly need to transport your cat outside of the home at some point, such as to visit the vet, and so a sturdy, good quality cat carrier of the appropriate size for your cat is vital to have to hand.
If you choose to put a collar on your cat, ensure that you buy a safety collar that will release itself if your cat gets caught up, and prepare to replace lost collars multiple times over the course of your cat’s life!
How will your cat be taken care of if you go on holiday or are away from home for more than a day? It is important to factor in the cost of catteries or cat sitters for those times when you cannot be there.
Most cats will require some form of veterinary treatment at some point in their lives, aside from routine checkups and vaccinations. While insurance will cover some of these costs, insurance does not take care of every cost, and you will almost always have to pay an excess before the insurance coverage begins.
Unless you have a large contingency fund of several thousand pounds on standby in case of illness or emergency, insuring your cat is essential to ensure that you will be able to cover the cost of any necessary veterinary treatments.
Unless your cat lives indoors only, you will need to provide a cat flap to allow them access to the outside world, and in some cases, hire a specialist to fit this for you.
Cats need entertainment, and to be able to flex their claws; so providing a scratching post and some toys and activities for your cat of any age is essential.
Finally, it is important to make sure that your home is safe for your new potential cat, and this might mean making some changes to your house in order to ensure that your cat will not become trapped somewhere or injured, or come into contact with anything toxic.