Getting a new cat is exciting, but it can also be stressful and expensive. You’ve factored all the big things in, like the insurance and the cat tree, but what about all the extras? How much grooming will your cat require? Are there any health risks associated with the breed you like that would affect your insurance premium if the worst happened? Do you like to go on vacation, and if you do, where are you planning on housing your cat when you’re away? In general, getting a cat in the UK can cost £35 – £55+ by adoption and £50 – £2000 through a breeder. Getting your initial setup and supplies can go for approximately £80 – £170.
In this article, we’ve gone through every possible expense you might encounter when taking on a new cat. Some you will have to consider, and some won’t apply to you. So, this is an estimate, and a rough one at that. But it is a realistic approximation so you can decide whether a new cat is right for your family!
Bringing Home a New Cat: One-Time Costs
There are a few one-time purchases when you’re factoring in the cost of a cat. Buying a cat, for example, is a pretty important one. However, just because it is a one-time cost doesn’t mean it won’t make a big dent in your budget. So, it’s essential to research and plan before jumping into this decision.
You might end up adopting a cat in an unusual way. For example, someone might gift you a cat or kitten or give it to you because a family member or friend cannot care for it. While you are skipping the one-off purchasing cost, it might still not be entirely free.
Depending on the circumstances, you might need to get your new cat a health check, vaccinations, or veterinary treatment. There’s also the harsh reality that your cat is coming from a less-than-perfect home. If you adopt a cat that has been abused or neglected, you may have to help them heal from their past trauma in the form of a pet behaviorist or specialized vet care.
£35 – £55+
The price of adopting a cat from somewhere like RSPCA or Cats Protection will vary, depending on the breed and age of the cat and how much treatment they have received while they have been in their care. Your cat will receive a health check while there and any treatment required. They might have been given flea, tapeworm, and roundworm treatment and vaccinations against cat flu and enteritis. They will also have been neutered if needed and microchipped. The fee you pay won’t cover all these incurred costs, but they go towards paying them.
£50 – £2000
The cost of your cat will depend on a variety of factors. For example, the breeder you choose and whether or not you want a pedigree will affect the price. A pedigree cat or kitten can cost £200–£2000, depending on the breed. On the other hand, a standard domestic cat should cost £50–£150, depending on where you live and how reputable the breeder is.
It’s essential to do your research so you aren’t buying a sickly or stolen animal.
Initial Setup and Supplies
£80 – £170
Before welcoming your new cat home, you should go on a supply run for those one-off items that will start you off.
List of Cat Care Supplies and Costs
Your cat’s care, of course, exists beyond just these one-time costs. Some of the highest costs will be covered by insurance, but some won’t. If you don’t get insurance, you must factor in how you will pay for any surprises, like accidents or illnesses. It might be that you’ll only pay for something once, but you will still need to factor it into your budget, so it’s worth getting an idea of how much your cat’s care can cost.
|Spay/Neuter||£90 – £160|
|Litter Box||£10 – £15|
|Litter Scoop||£2 – £6|
|Toys||£6 – £20|
|Cat Flap||£40 – £200|
How Much Does a Cat Cost per Month?
£36 – £75 per month
Each month you’ll need to factor in costs like food, treats, and replacement litter. Then there’s insurance, vet visits, and grooming. It can be costly each month, but how much roughly might you spend? We have some figures below!
£10 – £125+ per month
Insurance for a cat starts at about £10 and can rise rapidly depending on the type of coverage you decide to get, the age of your cat, and where you live. It can feel like a steep price to pay each month, but frankly, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to what you might need to pay if something goes wrong. Regarding some health issues, you’re looking at thousands of pounds worth of treatment.
£36 per month
Thankfully, cats are small pets compared to some breeds of dogs, so you’re going to spend less than your neighbor will on his St Bernard, for example. The average household will spend about £36 on cat food. However, this doesn’t factor in specialized diets, so it’s something to consider. Our pets are completely healthy in a perfect world, but that doesn’t always work out.
£30 – £90 per month
The amount you spend on grooming depends on where you live, the type of cat you have and their size, the length of fur, and the haircut you want for them. For some groomers, the behavior of your cat is also a factor. If they bite and scratch, you might be charged an extra £10–£30 since the job will require extra care.
Medications and Vet Visits
£50+ per month
There are some things your cat frequently requires, like flea and worming treatment or boosters. You also need to consider that without insurance, your monthly payments could increase depending on what your cat requires. We have included an example price list for more extensive treatments.
|Surgery and hospitalization||£1500|
|Blood and routine tests||£100 – £130|
Some health conditions aren’t covered by insurance, such as dental treatment, which is considered cosmetic. However, some vets will also offer payment plans for higher costs.
£26 – £50+ per month
Looking after your cat’s environment can be costly, from litter box maintenance to tackling those nasty smells. It all adds up. We’ve included some examples of things you might end up paying for each month:
|Litter box liners||£10 – £12/month|
|Deodorizing spray or granules||£8 – £15/month|
|Cardboard Scratcher||£8 – £20/month|
£6+ per month
Replacement toys are, thankfully, cheap. You can get a lot of variety from supermarkets, online, or in stores like Pets At Home. Go for retailers you can trust that run safety checks on their toys.
If you’re looking for something special, like a subscription box. There are brands like My Meow, where boxes start from £22.90.
Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Cat
£62 – £300+ per month
Owning a cat doesn’t come cheap, even when you are factoring in a perfect scenario where your cat doesn’t have any medical emergencies or requires a specialized diet. Your new pet will rely on you for everything, from ensuring they are fed and healthy to being mentally stimulated and loved. If you are out of the house a lot, you will need to invest in toys or even another cat that will keep your pet company. This is especially true for indoor cats since they rely entirely on you for everything.
Additional Costs to Factor In
If you go on holiday, it’s recommended by Cats Protection that you leave your cat behind because holidays can be pretty stressful for your cat. Options for your cat are booking it into a cattery which can cost around £4–£5 per day in quieter, rural areas or £10–£11 in busier areas. Another option is booking a pet sitter, which costs approximately £10–£15 per hour.
Owning a Cat on a Budget
It might feel like you have to be royalty to be able to afford a cat, but don’t fret; this list outlines costs you might incur, and it’s always better to be prepared for the worse and never need it.
There are ways to comfortably afford a pet without breaking the bank. Talk to your friends and family. If you’re going on holiday, ask them to look after your pet, which will cut the costs of a cattery or pet sitter. You can get items from upcycling groups in your local area, and if you’re handy at DIY, you could make your own cat bed or cat tree.
Saving Money on Cat Care
Your research will be your friend when it comes to saving money on your cat’s care, and so is communication with your vet. If you can’t afford something, speak to your vet about alternatives, like getting the medication online instead of through the veterinary practice. Payment plans are sometimes available, so instead of paying everything off in one go, you can spread your costs out into more affordable chunks.
You might also be able to get charity help. Cats Protection, for example, offers free or low-cost neutering schemes throughout the UK. People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) also provides free or low-cost vet care for sick and injured pets, depending on where you live and your benefit status.
The cost of owning a cat can be split into one-off and monthly payments. Both can seem pretty daunting. In the beginning, there are higher costs to prepare you for the new arrival, but once you have these things paid for, you won’t need to think about them again until they need to be replaced through use and general wear and tear.
Regarding the cat itself, you can lower your costs by adopting, which we always recommend, as there are so many cats out there waiting for their forever homes. In terms of monthly payments, we recommend research. Make sure you’re getting the best deal with your insurance, and you can change veterinary practices if you think you can get a better deal elsewhere.
Of course, it’s impossible to anticipate everything that could happen. Pets are unpredictable, and we suggest you consider your decision carefully first because taking in a pet is a huge step!
Featured Image Credit: Bondar Illia, Shutterstock