How much does a kitten cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much does a kitten cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much does a kitten cost?

$0 – $250 average cost (kitten adoption only)
$50 – $230 average cost per month

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

$0 – $250 average cost (kitten 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
Tara Farmer
Fact-checked by
Kristen Cramer

Average cost of a kitten

Kittens are a wonderful, cuddly addition to any family. However, unless you're prepared, you may underestimate the costs associated with caring for a kitten as it grows.

A kitten costs $0 to $250 in adoption fees or $400 to $2,000+ if you buy from a breeder. Expect to spend about $300 to $1,900 up front, including supplies, vaccines, and the kitten itself. Owning a kitten costs about $50 to $230 per month or $580 to $2,800 per year.

Average initial costs of a kitten
Factor Average initial cost
Kitten $0 – $250
Food $10 – $30
Litter / box $20 – $225+
Accessories $60 – $380
Food / water dishes $5 – $30
Carrier $20 – $100
Vaccines $150 – $350
Spay / neuter $35 – $500
Total initial cost $300 – $1,900


Adopting a cat or kitten costs $0 to $250, depending on the location, breed, and age. Kittens typically cost more than adult cats. If you're lucky or look hard enough, you can get a kitten for free from a shelter or someone whose cat had a litter recently.

Adoption through a shelter is the best choice, but if you choose to get a cat from a breeder or pet store, you'll pay $400 to $2,000+. Rare breeds cost even more:

  • Ragdoll kittens cost $1,000 to $2,500.

  • Siamese kittens cost $600 to $3,500.

  • Persian kittens cost $1,500 to $6,000.

  • Bengal kittens cost $3,000 to $10,000.

  • Maine Coons kittens cost $1,000 to $2,000.

  • Hairless (Sphynx) kittens cost $2,000 to $4,000.


Dry kitten food costs $10 to $30 per bag, which will last about 1 to 6 months depending on the bag size and brand. Kitten kibble typically costs a little more than adult cat food per ounce, but since kittens eat less than adult cats, the overall costs are about the same.

Canned wet food for kittens costs about $1 per serving. You can buy the food at a local shop or subscribe to a shipment plan online. Treats cost $2 to $15 per pack and are an excellent way to train or provide some variety in their diet.


Litter boxes cost anywhere from about $10 for a simple plastic pan to $200+ for a self-scooping box. A bag or box of litter costs $10 to $25 each. Traditional clumping litter is clay-based and normally the cheapest choice. However, silica-based crystal litter lasts longer, kicks up less dust, and is better at eliminating odors.


Kitten accessories cost $60 to $380. Staying active helps kittens to be healthy and prevents negative behaviors. Scratching posts, toys, and towers protect your home from damage and enrich your kitten's life.

  • Cat toys cost $1 to $20 each.

  • Cat towers or cat trees cost $20 to $150.

  • A small cat bed costs $15 to $100.

  • Scratching posts or pads cost $10 to $40 each.

  • Collars cost $5 to $30, plus $5 to $10 for an engraved ID tag.

  • Brushes and other grooming tools cost $10 to $30.

Food / water dishes

Food and water bowls cost $5 to $30 total, depending on the size, features, and where you buy them. Automated food machines and filtered water fountains cost more than simple dishes. Use flat saucers instead of bowls, as cats get "whisker fatigue" and are bothered when the edges of small bowls touch their whiskers.


A cat or kitten carrier costs $20 to $100, depending on the material, size, and quality. Most carriers are made of rigid plastic, which is heavy but easy to clean. Some are made of softer fabric and can even convert into a backpack with mesh sides.


Most animal shelters provide necessary vaccines before an adoption. If the kitten still needs them, you'll need to go to a vet or clinic. Kitten vaccinations cost $150 to $350+ for their first year, depending on the location and if your kitten will spend any time outdoors or around other animals that go outdoors.

The vaccines recommended for all kittens, regardless of their lifestyle, include:

  • Rabies

  • Feline distemper (FVRCP)

  • Feline leukemia virus (FeLV)

A kitten getting vaccinated at a vet's office.
A kitten getting vaccinated at a vet's office.

Spay / neuter

The cost to spay or neuter a kittenis $35 to $150 at non-profit or low-cost clinics or $200 to $500 at a vet's office. Many shelters spay or neuter kittens before adoption as long as they're old enough. This procedure prevents unwanted pregnancies as well as unwanted behaviors associated with in-heat cats.

Vets can spay or neuter kittens as young as 8 weeks old, but most vets recommend waiting until they're 4 to 5 months.

Get free estimates from vets near you.

Monthly & annual cost of owning a kitten

The cost of owning a kitten depends mostly on the type of food it eats, how much equipment you buy, and how often you visit the vet. Some costs below, like pet insurance, are optional but recommended.

Monthly & annual cost of owning a kitten
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 cost $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. Most vets recommend boosters every 1 to 3 years.

Kitten cost factors

Several factors can affect the cost to get and own a kitten:

  • Location: Non-profit shelters usually charge less than pet stores and breeders. The cost of living where you live will also affect prices.

  • Microchip: Microchipping a cat costs $20 to $60 for the microchip and the implantation. This is an optional service but helps you find your kitty if they ever get lost.

  • Indoor vs. outdoor: Keeping your kitten indoors reduces the risk of injury and catching ticks, fleas, or deadly diseases. For outdoor cats, collars or drops to prevent fleas and ticks cost $5 to $40. Additional vaccines for protection against infectious diseases outdoor cats are more vulnerable to add $10 to $70 per year.

  • Unexpected costs: You could end up paying for repairs to your home if your kitten scratches your furniture or urinates on the carpet.

  • Pet sitting: Cat sitting costs $10 to $30 for a quick visit or $25 to $75 per day. If you're going to be out of town, you should arrange for someone to check on your kitten to feed them, make sure they stay out of trouble and prevent needless stress.

  • Pet rent: If you're renting your apartment or house, your landlord may charge a pet deposit of $200 to $500 or $10 to $50 per month for "pet rent."

  • Dental work: Cat teeth cleaning costs $560 to $1,100 or up to $2,000+ for tooth extractions. Your kitten may need a dental cleaning in the future, so look out for signs like tartar, difficulty eating, excessive drooling, or poor grooming.

Should I get a kitten?

Your lifestyle and budget will determine whether you should get a kitten. Kittens are adorable, but they require a substantial amount of time, attention, and money. You'll need to commit to caring for your kitten over its entire lifetime, not just the cute kitten stage.

Ask yourself these questions before getting a kitten:

  • How will a kitten fit into your lifestyle?

  • Can you afford a kitten?

  • How much time could you devote to the kitten?

  • Are you patient enough to litter-train a kitten?

  • Can you afford any possible emergency surgeries or treatments?

  • Do you travel often? Who will take care of the kitten while you're away?

  • How important is having a perfectly clean home to you?

Get free estimates from vets near you.
A kitten playing with a toy
A kitten playing with a toy

FAQs about owning a kitten

How old is my kitten?

Most shelters and breeders only sell kittens once they're weaned, or around 7 to 8 weeks old. If you have a younger kitten, use the following chart to determine its age:

Kitten ages
Week Characteristics
1 Not moving much, closed eyes
2 Eyes and ears open, wobbly walking
3 Ears pointing upwards, more confident walking
4 Eating solid food, able to run and play
5 Starting to groom and use a litter box
6 Able to chase, hide, and pounce
7 No longer need milk but may still want it
8 Fully weaned and litter-trained

When is kitten season?

Most kittens are born between April and October. Although cats can have kittens at any time of year, they tend not to go into heat in the colder winter months.

Why does my kitten bite me?

Kittens bite for a variety of reasons—to show affection, to show that they're overstimulated, and to play. To prevent this behavior from continuing into adulthood, focus their playful energy elsewhere by giving them toys when they're playful.

How long do cats live?

Cats normally live for 12 to 18 years, though some live for 20 years or longer. Cats flourish in healthy, loving homes, so be sure you're prepared to care for a cat long-term before adopting a kitten.

What do I feed a kitten?

You should feed a kitten special kitten kibble or wet food. There are many human foods that cats enjoy, but they should only eat fruits and vegetables rarely and in small portions. Their digestive systems are meant to digest animal proteins, not vegetation.

Kitten 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 kittens nocturnal?

Cats and kittens are crepuscular, not nocturnal. This means that the kitten is mostly active during the dawn and dusk hours and mostly sleepy during the day.

Questions to ask when getting a kitten

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

  • What is the adoption process for prospective owners?

  • What information do you need before adopting?

  • Do all the cats have their vaccinations already? Have they been spayed or neutered?

  • When do you wean your kittens?

  • Are there any ways to determine the temperament of a kitten now?

  • Are the kittens litter trained at all?

  • If I have other pets, should I arrange a meetup before adopting?

  • What's included in the adoption fee?

  • How long will it be before I can take the kitten home?

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