Pet Ownership: The Complete Cost of Owning a Cat


Welcoming a feline friend into your life is a delightful experience filled with purrs, playful antics, and endless affection. Cats have their own unique needs and quirks, and understanding the full cost of owning a cat is essential before embarking on this lifelong journey. Beyond the cuddles and independent charm lies a responsibility that requires careful consideration. Here we get you up to speed on the ins and outs of cat ownership costs, shedding light on both expected and unforeseen expenses to help you provide the best life for your feline companion.

Cost Considerations

When it comes to owning a cat, several factors can influence the requirements and costs associated with their care. Factors such as breed, age, temperament, health, and lifestyle can significantly impact your cat’s needs. For instance, different breeds may have specific dietary requirements or grooming needs, and some cats may require more mental stimulation and playtime than others. By understanding these factors, you can make informed decisions about the breed or individual cat that best aligns with your lifestyle and financial capabilities.

Initial Costs

Before bringing your new feline friend home, it’s important to consider several upfront costs. Let’s take a closer look.

Adoption or Purchase: $0–$1,000+

When it comes to adding a cat to your family, you have the option to adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation or purchase from a reputable breeder. Adoption fees can vary depending on the age, breed, and location, while purchasing a cat from a licenced breeder may come with a higher price tag due to factors such as pedigree and lineage. Regardless of your choice, there will be an initial cost associated with welcoming your new companion into your home.

Initial Veterinary Costs: $100–$300

Upon bringing your cat home, a visit to the veterinarian is crucial to ensure their well-being. During this initial check-up, the vet will perform a comprehensive examination, administer cat and kitten vaccinations, and conduct any necessary tests. The cost of the first vet visit will likely cost a few hundred dollars, depending on the region and the specific services provided. This initial investment in your cat’s health sets the foundation for their long-term well-being.

Spaying or Neutering: $50–$200

Spaying or neutering your cat is an important decision that contributes to their overall health and population control. While some shelters may perform this procedure before adoption, it’s essential to consider the cost if it hasn’t been done. The price of spaying or neutering can vary based on factors such as the gender of the cat, the veterinarian, and the region, but generally ranges from $50 to $200.

Initial Vaccinations: $50–$100

Vaccinations are crucial in protecting your cat against various diseases like feline immunodeficiency virus, feline herpes virus, feline leukaemia virus, and cat flu. Kittens require a series of initial vaccinations to build their immunity, while adult cats need regular booster shots to maintain protection. Cat vaccinations cost between $50 and $100 per year, depending on the specific vaccines required and the veterinary clinic you visit. By ensuring your cat is up to date with core vaccinations (including the final kitten vaccination) and any recommended non-core vaccinations, you’re safeguarding their health and well-being.

Microchipping & Registration: $50

Microchipping your cat or kitten is a wise decision that helps in identifying them if they ever get lost. This small chip, inserted under your cat’s skin, contains a unique identification number linked to your contact information. The cost of microchipping typically ranges from $50 to $100, depending on the veterinary clinic. This one-time expense significantly increases the chances of being reunited with your cat in case they ever go astray.

Litter Box and Accessories: $30–$100

Cats are naturally inclined to use a litter box for their bathroom needs. Providing a suitable litter box, litter, and accessories is essential for their comfort and hygiene. The cost of a litter box and related items can vary depending on the size, design, and quality. It’s important to choose a litter box that suits your cat’s size and preferences, along with litter that clumps well and controls odours effectively.

Scratching Posts and Toys: $20–$50

Cats have a natural instinct to scratch, and providing them with appropriate scratching posts or pads is crucial for their physical and emotional well-being. Additionally, offering a variety of toys will keep your cat mentally stimulated and engaged. The cost of scratching posts and toys can range from $20 to $50, depending on the quality and design. Investing in these items will help prevent potential furniture damage and promote a happy, active cat.

Food & Water Bowls: $5–$30

When looking for cat bowls, consider the appropriate size and material based on your cat’s breed and size. Stainless steel or ceramic bowls are recommended as they are durable, easy to clean, and don’t retain bacteria. The cost of food and water bowls can vary depending on the quality and design, but you can find suitable options within a reasonable price range, starting at around $5.

Bedding & Comfort Items: $20–$100

Providing a cosy bed and comfort items for your cat ensures they have a safe and comfortable space of their own. The cost of bedding and comfort items can vary based on the size, quality, and brand. It’s important to choose a bed that provides adequate support for your cat’s joints and select comfort items that align with their preferences. Shy cats might love a cat cave to keep them cosy and hidden away, while other cats would prefer a tall, sturdy cat bed and tree so they can have a good view of their home. 

Cat Carrier: $30–$100

Be it a veterinary visit or a travel trip, a cat carrier is an essential item for transporting your feline friend. Choose a carrier that provides comfort, security, and easy access for your cat. The cost of a cat carrier can vary depending on the size, design, and additional features. Investing in a sturdy and well-ventilated carrier will ensure your cat’s safety during transport.

Day-to-day Costs

Once you’ve taken care of the initial expenses, it’s important to consider the day-to-day costs and annual expenses associated with cat ownership. These costs include:

Cat Food: $15–$30/month

Providing your cat with a balanced and nutritious diet is vital for their overall health and well-being. The cost of cat food can vary depending on the brand, size, and dietary requirements of your cat. On average, you can expect to spend around $15 to $30 per month on cat food, although this can vary depending on your cat’s size, breed, and specific dietary needs.

Litter: $10–$20/month

Cats are known for their cleanliness, and providing them with suitable litter is essential for maintaining a hygienic environment. The cost of cat litter depends on factors such as the brand, type, and quantity. On average, you can expect to spend around $10 to $20 per month on cat litter, although this may vary depending on the litter’s clumping ability and odour control.

Routine Vet Care & Preventive Medicines: $50–$300/year

Regular veterinary care is crucial to keep your cat healthy and detect any potential issues early on. Routine vet visits often include check-ups, vaccinations, parasite control, and dental care. Budgeting for vet bills and preventive medicines is important, and on average, you can expect to spend around $50 to $300 per year, depending on your cat’s specific needs and cat vaccination costs.

Flea and Tick Prevention: $10–$30/month

Preventing fleas and ticks is essential for your cat’s well-being and comfort. These parasites can cause irritation, transmit diseases, and lead to health problems. The cost of flea and tick prevention products depends on factors such as the size of your cat and the brand you choose. On average, you can expect to spend around $10 to $30 per month on preventive treatments.

Pet Insurance: $15–$50/month

While not mandatory, considering pet insurance for your cat can provide peace of mind and financial protection in case of unexpected veterinary expenses. Pet insurance policies can vary in terms of coverage, deductibles, and premiums, so it’s important to research different options and choose a policy that aligns with your cat’s needs and your budget. The cost of pet insurance can range from $15 to $50 per month, depending on factors such as your cat’s age, breed, and any pre-existing conditions. Investing in good pet insurance cover can help alleviate the financial burden of unexpected medical bills and ensure that your beloved feline companion receives the necessary care without hesitation.

Grooming: $0–$50/year

Cats are generally self-groomers and require minimal grooming. However, certain breeds or specific coat types may need occasional brushing or grooming assistance. The cost of grooming will depend on your cat’s needs and whether you choose to groom them at home or seek professional grooming services. On average, grooming expenses for a cat can range from $0 to $50 per year.

Additional Costs

In addition to upfront and day-to-day expenses, there are a few other potential costs to consider:

Emergency Vet Care: $400+

Cats, like any other animals, can face emergencies or sudden health issues. Being financially prepared for unexpected veterinary visits is crucial. The cost of emergency vet care can vary depending on the severity of the situation and the necessary treatments or procedures. In some cases, emergency vet care can cost $400 or more.

Cat Boarding or Pet Sitting: $20–$50/day

When you need to travel or be away from home, you may need to arrange for cat boarding or pet sitting services. The cost of these services depends on the duration of your absence and the level of care required. On average, cat boarding or pet sitting services can cost around $20 to $50 per day.

Wrapping Up: Providing the Best for Your Furry Friend

Owning a cat brings immense joy and companionship, along with financial responsibilities. By considering the initial costs, day-to-day expenses, and potential additional costs, you can ensure that you are financially prepared to provide the best care for your feline companion. Remember, the happiness that cats bring into our lives is invaluable, making every pet investment worthwhile.


Have some quick questions? We can help.

How much do cat vaccinations cost?

The cost of cat vaccinations can vary depending on factors such as the specific vaccines required and the veterinary clinic you visit. On average, cat vaccinations can cost between $50 and $100 per year. It’s best to consult with your veterinarian for accurate pricing based on your cat’s individual needs.

How much is a cat?

The cost of a cat can vary widely depending on factors such as the breed, age, pedigree, and where you acquire the cat from. Cats can range in price from adoption fees of $100 to $3,000 or more if you’re purchasing a pedigreed cat from a breeder.

How much does a cat microchip cost?

The cost of microchipping a cat is usually around $50, depending on the veterinary clinic and any additional services included. Microchipping is a one-time expense that provides a permanent form of identification for your cat.

How much does cat teeth cleaning cost?

The cost of a professional cat teeth cleaning can vary depending on factors such as the veterinary clinic, the extent of the cleaning required, and any additional treatments needed. The price of cat teeth cleaning can range from $300 to around $1,500. The total expense may vary significantly, influenced by crucial factors such as anesthesia, x-rays, hospital care, medications, and the complexity of the procedure itself.

How much does a vet checkup cost for a cat?

The cost of a veterinary checkup for a cat can vary depending on factors such as the region, specific services provided, and any additional tests or treatments required. On average, a routine vet checkup for a cat can range from $50 to $300 per year, including vaccinations, medicines, etc.

What are the vet costs for a cat?

Veterinary costs for a cat can vary depending on factors such as routine care, vaccinations, preventive medications, dental care, and any unforeseen health issues. On an annual basis, you can expect to budget anywhere from $100 to $300 or more for routine veterinary care, excluding any additional expenses related to specific health conditions or emergencies. is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473, AFSL 241436, is arranged and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 95 075 949 923, AFSL 420183 (PetSure) and is promoted and distributed by PetSure’s Authorised Representatives (AR) Pet Insurance Pty Ltd ABN 38 607 160 930, AR 1234944 and Gumtree AU Pty Ltd ABN 33 616 996 840, AR 1304608. Any advice provided is general only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Please consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to ensure this product meets your needs before purchasing. PDS and Target Market Determination available at