How Much Does a Cat Cost?


How much does a cat cost? Well, like most good things in life, a lot of cats are free. According to the American Pet Products Association survey of 2018, approximately 32 percent of adopted cats were stray animals before their owners took them in. Though many families do find their feline friends on the street, adoption costs that include necessary testing and vaccination costs still have the potential to add up. The price of cat adoption fees can be as low as $50 for older cats, or thousands of dollars for pure-bred “designer” cats from breeders.  

How much does a cat cost to neuter?

To ensure that you don’t end up with grand-kittens, it’s important to spay or neuter a new cat. According to Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM, the cost of spaying or neutering your pet can put you back between $100 to $300. With a quick cost-benefit analysis, it’s easy to see that this procedure will cost less than raising a brand new litter of kittens or paying vet costs for a pregnant pet. 

How much does a cat cost to chip?

Many cat owners find peace of mind in microchipping their pets, knowing that if their cat escapes, it can be identified and brought home safely. “Many shelters and rescue organizations include microchipping in the cost of their adoption fee, which can make the cost of the microchip even less than $50,” says cat behaviorist Marci Koski of Adoption fees may also cover the cost of spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, and other expenses. It really is more economical to adopt from a shelter and have all of those things done at once.” Some leading microchip brands charge a membership fee for their services, with one leading brand charging $19.99/year. 

How much does a cat cost to vaccinate?

When it comes to your cat’s health, an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure. “Your cat will need yearly vaccines which will run around $200 or more depending on the area you live in,” says Dr. Ochoa. “If your cat goes outside, they will need flea, tick, and heartworm prevention.” Dr. Adam Christman of Brick Town Veterinary Hospital agrees, stating “Having a cat on monthly flea and tick prevention such as Revolution-Plus helps minimize intestinal parasites (roundworms and hookworms) as well as fleas, ticks, heartworm, and ear mites,” A parasite-prevention medication such as this can cost around $60 for a six month supply, or $120 per year. 

The costs of indoor vs. outdoor cats

The life of a wayfaring outdoor cat seems enticing and adventurous, but all adventures have their risks. Dr. Christman wants cat owners to know that their outdoor pets are more prone to injuries and infections. “The most common cat injuries I see in practice include abscesses, puncture wounds, fractured limbs, and dental disease,” says Christman. Because of the unpredictable nature of the wild, wandering cats are in far greater danger than cats who live inside, and can even have traumatic experiences with “catfights, fights with other animals, being hit by cars, toxicity, and infectious diseases,” Christman notes. “These injuries are relatively inexpensive.  However, if fractures are involved or anything requiring surgery is warranted, then the cost to repair their furbabies can be easily over $1,000.” Though indoor cats are likely to stay safer and be healthier, know about these hidden dangers for your pets at home.

How much does a cat carrier cost? 

Since cats are natural wanderers, it doesn’t seem fair that an indoor cat should be stuck inside all day without a chance to see the world. It may look silly, but walking a cat on a leash can be beneficial to a cat’s happiness, according to feline behaviorist Koski, who believes that using a harness with an indoor cat can provide a “fun and safe opportunity for enrichment that both cat and human can enjoy together.” If this activity isn’t right for your pet, owners might consider a fun cat backpack or a traditional cat carrier for $40.  

Happy Dog Laying in Backyard with Ball
Emily on Time/Shutterstock

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