How much does a cat cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much does a cat cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much does a cat cost?

$0 – $200 average cost (cat adoption only)
$50 – $230 average cost per month

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$0 – $200 average cost (cat adoption only)

$50 – $230 average cost per month

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Jennifer Carlson
Written by
Jennifer Carlson
Edited by
Kristen Cramer
Fact-checked by
Tara Farmer

Average cost of owning a cat

Cats are great companions, and many people consider their cats part of the family. However, people frequently underestimate the costs associated with owning a cat.

A cat costs $0 to $200 in adoption fees or $300 to $2,000+ if you buy from a breeder. The average cost of owning a cat per month is about $50 to $230. The annual cost of owning a cat is $600 to $2,800, depending on their age and which supplies you choose.

Average initial costs of a cat
Factor Average initial cost
Cat $0 – $200
Food $10 – $30
Litter / box $20 – $225+
Accessories $60 – $380
Food / water dishes $5 – $30
Carrier $20 – $100
Medical expenses $185 – $500
Total initial costs $300 – $1,500


Adopting a cat costs $0 to $200, depending on the location, breed, and age. Adult cats typically cost less than kittens. You may be lucky enough to get a cat for free from a shelter or someone whose cat had kittens recently.

Adoption is the most humane choice, but if you choose to get a cat from a breeder or pet store, costs range from $300 to $2,000, depending on location and breed. Rare breeds cost even more:

  • Persians cost $1,500 to $6,000.

  • Bengals cost $3,000 to $10,000.

  • Maine Coons cost $1,000 to $2,000 from a breeder.

  • Hairless cats, or Sphynx cats, cost $2,000 to $4,000.

  • Purebred Ragdolls cost $1,000 to $2,500.


Dry cat food costs $10 to $30 per bag, which lasts around 1 to 6 months depending on the brand and bag size. Canned wet food costs about $0.80 to $1.30 per serving. You can also buy pet food online or subscribe to a shipment plan on sites like Chewy.

Treats cost $2 to $15 per pack and are a great way to reinforce positive behaviors or provide variety in their diet.


Litter boxes cost anywhere from $10 for a basic plastic pan to $200+ for self-scooping electrical litter boxes. Cat litter costs $10 to $25 per bag or box. Traditional clay-based clumping litter is usually the cheapest option. However, crystal or silica-based litter lasts longer, contains less dust, and has better odor-eliminating properties.


A cat’s accessories cost anywhere from $60 to $380. Cats need lots of activity to stay healthy and prevent destructive behaviors. Toys, scratching posts, and a cat tree or tower are investments that protect your home as well as enriching your cat’s life.

  • Cat toys cost $1 to $20 each on average.

  • Cat towers cost $20 to $150.

  • A cat bed costs $15 to $100.

  • Scratching posts cost $10 to $40 each.

  • A collar costs $5 to $30, plus $5 to $10 for a personalized ID tag.

  • Grooming tools cost $10 to $30.

Food / water dishes

A food bowl and water dispenser cost $5 to $30 total, depending on the retailer, size, and features. Automated food dispensers or filtered water dishes cost more than a simple dish.


A cat carrier costs $20 to $100, depending on the size and material. Most carriers are made of rigid plastic. Others are made of soft fabric and convert into a backpack with mesh sides for taking your cat on a walk.

Medical expenses

A routine annual vet visit costs $50 to $250. Most animal shelters perform spaying or neutering and necessary vaccinations before you adopt the cat. If the cat still needs them, you’ll need to go to a vet or clinic after the fact.

  • Kitten vaccinations cost $150 to $350 for the first year, depending on the location and the vaccines recommend for their lifestyle. Adult cat vaccinations cost $40 to $150+ per year. Common vaccines recommended for both indoor and outdoor cats include:

    • Rabies vaccine

    • Feline distemper (FVRCP) vaccine

    • Feline leukemia virus vaccine

  • The cost to spay or neuter a cat is $35 to $150 at non-profit or low-cost clinics or $200 to $500 at a vet’s office.

A veterinarian and a vet tech examining a cat
A veterinarian and a vet tech examining a cat
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Monthly and annual cost of owning a cat

The average cost of owning a cat depends on what brand of food it eats, how many toys and accessories you buy, and how often it visits the vet. Some of the following costs, like pet insurance, are optional but still recommended.

Monthly and annual cost of owning a cat
Factor Average annual cost Average monthly cost
Food $100 – $800 $8 – $67
Litter $70 – $500 $6 – $42
Toys / treats $20 – $150 $2 – $13
Pet insurance cost $180 – $600 $15 – $50
Vet checkups $50 – $250 $4 – $20
Vaccinations* $40 – $150+ $3 – $13
Heartworm, flea, and tick prevention $120 – $300 $10 – $25
Total average cost $580 – $2,800 per year $50 – $230 per month

*Annual cost after completing the initial first-year vaccine series for cats. Most vets recommend boosters every 1 to 3 years.

Cat cost factors

Several factors can affect the cost of getting and owning a cat:

  • Indoor vs. outdoor: Indoor cats have a lower risk of catching ticks or fleas than outdoor cats. Collars or drops that prevent fleas and ticks cost $5 to $40.

  • Location: Non-profit shelters and low-cost clinics usually charge less than pet stores or private veterinary practices. The cost of living in your area will also affect their prices.

  • Microchip: Microchipping a cat costs $20 to $60 for the microchip and implantation. This is optional but helps you find the cat if it ever gets lost.

  • Pet sitting: Cat sitting costs $10 to $30 for a short visit or $25 to $75 per day on average. If you’re planning on being out of town, you should arrange for someone to check in on your cat to make sure they have enough food and water and to prevent stress.

  • Pet rent: If you’re renting an apartment or house, your landlord may require a pet deposit of $200 to $500. Some landlords also charge $10 to $50 per month for "pet rent" in lieu of a deposit.

  • Dental work: Cat teeth cleaning costs $560 to $1,100, or up to $2,000+ if your cat needs any teeth extracted. Your cat might need a teeth cleaning if you notice any tartar, difficulty eating, excessive drooling, or poor grooming.

  • Unexpected costs: You could end up paying for home repairs if your cat scratches furniture or urinates on carpeting.

End-of-life care

If your cat is suffering, you may need to make the difficult choice to let them go. Cat euthanasia costs $50 to $275 at a vet's office or $200 to $400 for in-home euthanasia, including cremation.

If your cat passes away at home, the cost of pet cremation alone is $40 to $250, depending on if you choose private or communal cremation. An urn or box to hold your pet's ashes costs $50 to $350.

Should I get a cat?

Whether or not you get a cat depends on your lifestyle and budget. A cat is a substantial investment in time, attention, and money, though perhaps not as much as a dog. You'll need to commit to caring for your cat over its entire lifetime of up to 15+ years.

Ask yourself these questions before committing to a cat:

  • How will a cat fit into your lifestyle?

  • Can you afford to own a cat?

  • How much time can you devote to a cat?

  • Can you afford an emergency surgery or treatment?

  • How often do you travel? Who will look after the cat when you're away?

  • Is having a perfectly clean house or clothes important to you?

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A person petting a happy cat under its chin
A person petting a happy cat under its chin

FAQs about owning a cat

How long do cats live?

Cats usually live for 12 to 18 years, although some live for 20 years or more. Indoor cats typically live much longer than outdoor cats. Cats thrive in healthy, loving environments, so make sure you’re prepared to care for a cat long-term before adopting.

Why do cats purr and knead?

Cats purr either because they’re happy, they want something, or they’re feeling scared. Kneading—or “making biscuits”— is a behavior left over from when they were nursing as kittens. It means they’re feeling calm and affectionate.

What can cats eat?

Besides dry or wet cat food, there are many different human foods that cats enjoy. Remember to only feed them fruits and veggies in small portions as their digestive systems are primarily meant to digest animal protein.

Cat foods
Safe Avoid
Apples Avocado pits or skin
Bananas Broccoli
Blueberries Bread
Strawberries Canned tuna
Carrots Cherries
Celery Chocolate or sugary foods
Cheese (small amounts) Citrus fruits
Cooked eggs Corn
Cucumber Grapes
Green beans Junk food or chips
Lettuce Milk, ice cream, or yogurt
Melons Onion and garlic
Oatmeal Peaches and plums
Pears Peanut butter
Pumpkin Popcorn
Raspberries Raw potatoes
Rice Spinach
Unseasoned meat or fish Tomatoes

Are cats nocturnal?

Cats are not nocturnal but crepuscular. This means that they’re the most active during dawn and dusk hours and sleep mostly during the day.

When do cats stop growing?

Cats normally stop growing by the time they’re 12 to 18 months old. Some cats stop growing at the one-year mark, while others don’t reach their full size until they’re two years old.

Questions to ask when getting a cat

When you’re in the process of buying or adopting a cat, ask the following questions:

  • What is the vetting process for prospective owners?

  • What information do you need from me?

  • Does the cat have all their vaccinations and spaying or neutering already?

  • What age cat would you recommend for my family?

  • Are there any ways to determine the temperament of a cat before bringing it home?

  • Do you do any litter training beforehand?

  • If I have any other pets, do I have to arrange a meetup before adopting?

  • What’s included in this fee?

  • How long does the process usually take before I can take a cat home?

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