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The Real Cost of Owning a Cat

Jan 21, 2013 at 2:07 PM Chime in now

grey cat with orange eyes

Masterfile

By SUZANNE GARDNER | PETSIDE.COM

The cost of owning a cat should be seriously taken into consideration before a kitten is adopted. While the initial cost of adoption may be low, the first year of a kitten's life can be one of the most expensive.

Pet owners need to be prepared to handle the yearly costs of their pet, increasing health costs of their aging cat, and the cost of any emergencies or health problems that may arise.

The Initial Cost of Owning a Cat

The initial cost of adopting a kitten can range from $0 to well over $100. After the kitten has been adopted, pet owners will need to pay for health care costs, which include required vaccinations and tests, deworming, and spaying or neutering procedures. Additional initial cost items include supplies such as the litter box, grooming supplies, cat carrier, toys and scratching posts, food bowls, and micro-chipping. These costs, including necessary monthly items such as flea and tick control, cat litter and food, add up to an average ranging from $900 to $1,500 for the first year.

Owning a Cat: After the First Year

After the first year, the average yearly cost of owning a cat is on average around $600 to $900. Items such as food, cat litter and annual veterinarian check ups contribute to the yearly cost of owning a cat. When a cat reaches seven years of age, these yearly costs usually increase due to a yearly blood screening test, changes in food and additional medical costs to treat conditions such as arthritis or diabetes, which may develop in the older cat.

The Cost of Owning a Cat: Taking Accidents into Account

Pet owners will also need to take into consideration costs that occur due to accidents, injuries or unexpected health problems. Veterinarian bills can add up quickly, and unfortunately pet health care costs have been steadily increasing for the past 20 years. Fortunately pet health insurance plans are available, and pet owners are encouraged to take out insurance on their cats especially to cover any emergency accidents or health problems.

The Total Cost of Owning a Cat

Without taking into consideration yearly blood screening tests or extra veterinarian bills, the total cost of owning a cat that lives to be 14 years old is a low estimate of between $8,000 to $10,000! Pet owners who wish to provide their cat with a premium diet, plenty of new toys and scratching posts, pet furniture and grooming services will pay much more. Pet owners that live in large cities will also pay higher veterinarian bills and food costs then pet owners who live in rural areas.

Preventative health care costs for cats which includes flea treatments, vaccinations, annual physical exams and blood screening tests, are necessary to avoid more serious illnesses from developing.

Pet owners that are unable or unwilling to meet these yearly costs are often faced with expensive veterinarian bills when their cat becomes ill. In addition, cats often suffer when their owners are unable to care for them properly not only from illnesses but also from living in an environment that does not include all the things a cat needs to thrive. Make sure you're prepared financially for the life-long commitment of a cat.

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