Getting a cat

How much does it cost to have a cat?

Planning on getting a cat? Find out how much it'll cost you to own one, including the initial costs and ongoing expenses.

How much does it cost to have a cat?
Barbara September 10, 2023 • 2 minutes read

Having a pet can be one of the most rewarding experiences out there. While cats, in particular, are known as low-maintenance pets, it’s important to factor in the costs associated with owning them.

From one-time expenses to ongoing costs, in this article, we will take an in-depth look at how much it really costs to have a cat.

Disclaimer: The cost of owning a cat can vary strongly depending on the individual cat, their breed, health, age, and where you live. This article should be used as a general guide to help you set a budget for owning a cat.

One-time Expenses

When you decide to bring a new feline friend into your home, there are some initial costs you should be prepared for.

Adoption fee

Adopting a cat from a shelter is a great way to give a home to an animal in need.

Shelter adoption fees vary depending on location, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200. 1

This might seem like a large amount of money, but it includes the cost of spaying/neutering, any shots or vaccinations the cat may have had, and, in some cases, even microchipping. So, it really isn’t that much if you consider all of those services together.

Also, most animal shelters offer discounted adoption fees for pairs of cats. This is because they want to encourage people to adopt cats in pairs - cats are social animals and tend to be happier when they have company.

Breeder costs

If you choose to go through a breeder, you will encounter higher initial costs.

The average cost of obtaining a cat from a reputable breeder falls within $500 to $1,000. 1

However, it’s worth noting that certain breeds can be much more expensive. For example, a Bengal kitten can cost upwards of $4,000.

Core vaccinations

The first-year vaccinations are the most important ones. These are usually administered in a series of three to four shots. The core vaccines protect cats against several deadly diseases, including rabies and feline distemper.

The cost of the core vaccinations is typically between $45 to $85. 2

Keep in mind that your cat will need booster shots every three years or so in order to maintain immunity from these illnesses.


Another important one-time expense to consider is the cost of spaying or neutering your cat.

The procedure can range from $50 to $250, depending on the sex of your cat and where you live. 1

Spaying or neutering your cat is important, especially when your cat is an outdoor cat. This helps control the population of feral cats, which can be overwhelming in some areas.


Microchipping your cat provides a means of identification if your cat ever gets lost.

The cost of microchipping typically ranges from $30 to $50. 1

This is a one-time fee that can save you a lot of heartache if your cat ever goes missing.

Essential Supplies

Before you bring your cat home, you need to make sure you have all the essential supplies. The numbers in the list below are just estimates - depending on your budget and preferences, you may spend more or less.

Here’s a list of things you will need:

Depending on the items you choose, the one-time expenses for initial supplies can range from $160 to $485. However, the sky’s the limit if you choose to splurge.

Annual Expenses

Beyond the initial costs, cat ownership comes with ongoing expenses: Based on a survey from the American Veterinary Medical Association, here’s an overview of annual expenses for cat owners: 3

In 2020, households with one cat spent an average of

The average annual expenses for a cat in 2020 were $653. That’s $54,42 per month.

This is what my two cats cost me in 2022

I thought it might be useful to give you a real-life example of how much owning two cats can cost. Be aware that I live in Austria, so the prices might be higher or lower depending on where you are.

Also, my two cats are quite small cats. If you have larger cats, like Maine Coons, they will naturally cost more due to their larger size and higher food consumption.

Here’s an overview of what my two cats cost me in 2022:

In 2022, I spent a total of €707,03 ($759,13) for our two cats. Per month, that is about €59 ($63).


The cost of owning a cat varies greatly depending on individual cats, their breed, their health and age, and where you live.

Based on my research, the one-time expenses of owning a cat range from roughly $300 to $1500, and the annual costs are $653 on average. 3

What’s not included in this list is the expense of unexpected medical bills, which can range from minor issues to major illnesses. It’s always a good idea to set aside some money for emergencies.

Cats are wonderful companions, but they also come with responsibility and costs. By knowing what to expect and budgeting accordingly, you can be sure that you can provide the best care for your furry friends.

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