If you’re like 31% of Canadians 1, you already own a cat. If not, you may be considering adopting one to bring joy and laughter into your life.
Bringing a new pet into your home isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. Pet ownership is a costly adventure, but one that’s more than worth it.
If you’re seriously considering adopting a cat, you need to ensure your budget aligns with the annual and monthly costs of pet ownership. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about owning a cat in Canada to determine if you have room in your budget to welcome a furry new fluffball into your home.
Bringing Home a New Cat in Canada: One-Time Costs
There are two main costs to consider before you welcome a new cat into your home.
First, you will need to decide where you’ll be acquiring your new pet, as you can find them through adoption services, breeders, or even for free.
Next, you’ll need to set aside some money for the initial set-up and supplies you’ll need to get your home cat ready. Of course, if you already have cats at home, you may not need to spend any additional money at all.
Let’s take a closer look at the one-time costs you should account for as you budget for your new cat.
Although not as easy to find as adoption or breeder services, you may get lucky and find a cat for free. When people need to rehome their pets for health reasons or because they can no longer afford to care for them, they may post ads online or on community bulletin boards that state they’re looking for a new home for their cat.
Be sure to inquire about the cat’s health and history, and request any veterinary records before choosing to adopt a free cat. You don’t want to welcome a new pet into your home only to find that it has a debilitating illness or expensive health condition you can’t care for.
Adopting is another excellent way to give a loving home to a cat without spending too much upfront. When you adopt a cat, you’re giving them a chance at a better life, keeping them off of the streets and away from potentially unethical breeding activities.
You can find cats for adoption at your local SPCA and various pet rescues in your city. However, if you’re on a tight budget, you can wait until the SPCA holds an adoption event, which they do periodically throughout the year. Typically, they’ll offer reduced adoption fees during these events to try and get the pets in their care into loving homes faster.
Adopting from a breeder is the most expensive way to acquire a new kitty. However, the cost will vary wildly depending upon the breed and whether the cat you’re adopting is a pedigree. For example, breeding or show kittens can cost as much as $8,000 or more.
Initial Set-up and Supplies
After you’ve paid the adoption fee, you’ll need to consider the cost of the supplies necessary to keep your cat happy and healthy. You don’t need to buy all of the items in our table below prior to bringing your kitty home, but you should be prepared to buy them within the first few weeks.
The healthcare-related expenses such as X-rays, ultrasounds, and teeth cleaning are not necessary right away but are good to factor into your budget as they cost quite a bit.
List of Cat Care Supplies and Costs in Canada
|ID Tag and Collar
|Nail Clipper (optional)
|Water Bowl or Fountain
How Much Does a Cat in Canada Cost Per Month?
- $160–$315 per month
Now that you have a ballpark idea of what the one-time fees will be when you bring your cat home, you might be curious about what you will be looking at spending on your pet every month. So let’s take a closer look at what you’ll need to be budgeting for when welcoming a new cat into your home.
- $65–$80 per month
If your cat is healthy, you won’t likely need to make monthly vet visits. An annual check-up isn’t a bad idea, though, to ensure your pet is in tip-top shape and that it’s up-to-date on its vaccinations.
Below is a table of the average annual veterinary costs for cats in Canada.
|Annual wellness checks
|Fecal exams (optional)
The above monthly estimate takes these annual prices into account and breaks them into a monthly cost.
- $20–$45 per month
Your cat food costs will depend on the quality and food you’re serving your kitten. These costs can be considerably higher if your cat needs a specific type of diet or food prescribed by a veterinarian.
The lower the quality of food you feed, the lower the monthly price. While you’ll be spending less per month, you should know that lower-quality food can be chock full of fillers, preservatives, and unhealthy ingredients that can cause health issues in the long term. You may be looking at pricier vet bills as your cat ages after eating a poor diet its whole life.
- $10–$20 per month
Professional cat grooming is not necessary, but it is worth mentioning here as some cat breeds can benefit from several grooming sessions throughout the year. The cost will come down to the breed and size of your cat and will typically include a nail trim and a brushing and cut.
Since you won’t need to take your cat to the groomer every month, the above quoted price is based on annual grooming costs split into 12 equal payments. You should expect to pay around $120 to $250 per year for two to three grooms.
- $20–$50 per month
Pet insurance is a worthwhile investment if you have room in your budget. If your cat falls ill or has a serious accident, your insurance can help you pay for some of the astronomical veterinary fees.
Your monthly insurance cost will ultimately come down to your deductible and the payout percentage your plan will pay. The higher your deductible and payout, the pricier your monthly fee will be.
- $20–$70 per month
The most significant environmental maintenance expense you must budget for is cat litter. You’ll need one litter box plus one for every cat in your home, so if you just have one kitty, you should have two litter boxes.
You should be scooping poop daily and should expect to be emptying and refilling both boxes at least once biweekly (though some cat owners do so once a month).
The type of litter you’re using will determine the costs.
Eco-friendly options such as pine pellets will be the most budget-friendly option from your local hardware store and can typically last longer than clay litter. However, please note that you may need to pay extra for this eco-friendly litter when buying from online retailers.
Traditional clumping clay litter is fairly affordable, while crystal litter typically costs a bit more.
Other litter box-related costs include liners or deodorizers. Though these are unnecessary, they can make your litter box duties easier and less smelly.
Another environmental maintenance cost to consider is cardboard scratchers. These are designed to be torn up, so you should expect to replace your cat’s scratcher a few times yearly.
|Litter box liners (optional)
|Litter box deodorizer (optional)
- $25–$50 per month
Your monthly entertainment costs should account for things such as toy replenishment. You might also one day consider subscribing to a monthly cat toy subscription box which can run you around $25–$35 a month. A subscription service is excellent for the busy cat parent as you will always know you’re getting new toys for your pet every month and won’t have to worry about going to the pet store to replenish your toy box.
Your entertainment costs may include goodies such as catnip, window perches, and scratching posts. Though it’s unlike you’ll need to buy window perches and scratching posts every month, you may need to look at replacements annually. Therefore, we broke down the annual cost of these items into monthly payments to include them in the above estimate.
Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Cat in Canada
- $50–$165 per month
If you’re looking at what you’ll actually be spending per month on your cat, not factoring in annual items such as veterinary check-ups, vaccines, and grooming, you should expect to spend around $50–$165 per month. This factors in food, environmental costs, and pet insurance only. Most cat owners will spend on the lower end of that estimate, but the higher the quality of food you’re buying and the better your pet insurance plan is, the higher the monthly price.
Additional Costs to Factor In
There are also occasional costs you may need to factor into your budget. These are not necessary
In an ideal world, your cat will never get sick or have an accident that requires medical care. In the real world, though, this happens more often than pet owners would like. So if you don’t opt for pet insurance, put away some money every month to cover veterinary emergencies or medication.
Your cat may choose your favorite sofa to relieve themselves on or may seek out your expensive rug upon which to expel its hairballs. Unfortunately, they may also scratch up your furniture, leading to costly replacement costs.
If you choose to go away on vacation, you will need to factor in the cost of pet sitters or boarding facilities.
Owning a Cat in Canada On a Budget
It is possible to own a cat and stay on a strict budget.
Instead of buying a kitten from a breeder, try to find one at your local shelter. Doing so can save you thousands of dollars in upfront costs.
Instead of spending money on expensive toys and scratching posts from the store, you can make your own from pretty much anything in your house. Even a cardboard box can act as a fun toy for your cat. Make toys that mimic things your pet may find in nature, such as paper rolled up into a ball to mimic chasing prey.
You can save money on food and litter by clipping coupons or buying bulk. We don’t recommend trying to cut costs by choosing cheap and low-quality food, though. Remember that a bad diet may be cheap initially, but it will cost you more when you must pay expensive vet fees if your cat falls ill.
You can even try making your own treats from scratch to save money on cat treats.
Saving Money on Cat Care
The best way to save money on cat care is to introduce good habits to your pet as soon as possible.
Many cats suffer from oral health conditions, which can cost you a lot of money in vet bills over the years. However, you can encourage good dental health by brushing your cat’s teeth and ensuring the vet checks their teeth at every annual check-up.
Pet insurance is another excellent way to save money on cat care. Though it does cost money to have insurance, it will cost you far less in veterinary fees when you have insurance helping pay your bills.
If you’re seriously considering adopting a new cat, you should be prepared to spend approximately $1,200–$3,000 on the initial set-up, which includes the price of spaying/neutering, litter boxes, toys, bowls, and a carrier. We also recommend preparing for monthly costs of $50 minimum for cat food, pet insurance, and litter, but budget for more if you’re splurging on grooming or a toy subscription box.
While these costs may seem high, owning a cat on a budget is not impossible. You just need to be proactive in your pet care by scheduling regular vaccinations and examinations and performing preventative dental care at home. In addition, you can save even more money by making your own toys and treats!
Owning a cat in Canada can be expensive, but it’s a worthwhile investment for a lifetime of love.
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Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock