Calico longhair cat laying and stretching out on his owner's bed which is now his.

How Much Does It Cost to Keep a Cat?

How Much Does It Cost to Keep a Cat?

Let’s get one thing straight. That you are keeping them is an insult to the decision they made about you regarding their lifestyle. A cat is 95% Tiger DNA. Please review this list of cat facts you need to understand to understand anything and everything else.

Keeping a house cat is having a roommate that may or may not talk to you. They need a few personal items to be a cat. They prefer you keep yourself available, but not that available. Costs are not extravagant if you keep your kitty inside. I write this article assuming your house cat is not a feral cat by day or night. Because cats that roam from home have shorter lifespans and higher vet bills statistically.

The Costs of Keeping a Cat

  • Spaying or neutering. Fix your cat. Ever wonder why the word, fix? Because it fixes most behavior problems. Cats are calmer without misdirected, unmapped hormones. I know I am.
  • Food. Cat food comes in an infinite assortment of styles. Soft food. Dry food. Gravy sides with soft food. Gravy sides with dry food. Chewy. Crunchy. Crunchy, chewy. Specialty treats. Cats have more available choices for foods than dogs. Why? Because dogs come in different sizes. Outside of the Maine Coon and Savannah like breeds, adult cats weigh between 8 - 11 pounds. Pet food creators focus on texture, ingredients, serving containers, naming conventions, and color. Cats receive far more attention and concern about their needs than dogs. Tell a cat this fact. Their response will be akin to, "Duh."  What makes the difference for cats in food is where they eat, what they are eating out of, and how you plated that meal. They see what you did for yourself at that dinner buffet.
  • Water. Filtered water. Not bottled, but active filtering through a filter pitcher, or your refrigerator. Deep water bowls are unnerving. They’ll also need you to monitor the surface of their water. Did dust and floating particles land and create a film? Your water is fresh. They see what you did for yourself with that water pitcher, and glass, and crushed ice. What exactly is your problem?
  • Cat Toys. Whatever. Buy them. Stack them. Collect them. Sort them. Alphabetize them. Whatever. Cats play with cat toys because you are more entertaining with cat toys than without. Stuff their cat toys with cat nip. Sprinkle cat nip on their toys like Parmesan cheese. Recreational drugs are necessary sometimes when dealing with humans.
  • Litter Box and Litter. Humans spend chunks of time and money on their bathroom’s design and feel. Consider this human idea when considering your cat's bathroom and the litter you put it in. Litter boxes are not convenient. Your house cat poops and pees in a box of litter and it’s your job to fill it, clean it, refill it, and vacuum all the paths leading to and from it. Who told you litter boxes could be convenient? Litter box makers, that’s who. Your prime concern is your cat’s health and mental welfare. Do you enjoy going poop in public restrooms with doors that let strangers see you? No. You don’t. Choose a litter box that provides privacy. Excellent ventilation for comfort. Large enough to provide tiger like actions. Ever see a tiger poop? They need room. Buy a box that accommodates three of your cat. They see your master bathroom and they know you could land an aircraft carrier in there. If your cat is using your shower to pee, he’s telling you facts.
  • Litter should provide dustless digging and burying. Litter should smell like nothing. If you can smell it, it’s in your lungs. Some smells create respiratory issues. Litter should smell benign when first poured out. Your cat’s face is less than a foot off the floor. All the dander, dust, floating particles and chemical out and off-gassing are literally in their face, heading to their lungs.
  • Cats and carpets don’t do as well as cats and hardwood floors. (See above)
  • Flea meds. House cats need flea treatment medicine because you go outside, and you bring in fleas. A flea can live without a host for two weeks. It’ll take one boy flea and one girl flea less than a month to create a problem in your house. Keeping your house cat on flea meds or in a flea collar saves you long-term headaches because a flea would rather ride a cat than a human.
  • Yearly vet visits, vaccinations, and blood panels. Cats have specific health issues to monitor. Some cat illnesses have vaccinations. Others need yearly monitoring. Healthcare for your cat is important. No, they won’t be happy about the process. But men don’t enjoy coughing for doctors, and women are not fans of speculums. This will be your only opportunity to look your cat in the eye and say, “Suck it up, cupcake.” Relish the vet visit.
  • If you rent your home, you’ll have a pet rate to add to your monthly cost, and most likely a one-time pet fee. Your cat does not care. Don’t bring it up, and don’t gaslight them about it.
  • Cat scratching post. Cats scratch to stretch, flex, and groom their talons of fury. Get a few different scratching posts for vertical, horizontal, and playful scratching. Or not. Your furniture will service nicely. It’s their furniture now, anyway.
  • Cat grooming. Also referred to as your worship with a brush of sorts. You’ve done a great job grooming your cat when they randomly snap at you and claw your face.

Keeping a cat costs money. How much money depends on how much you spend on your cat’s needs. They need healthy food and water. They need to live in a house full time. They need a quiet spot to go to the bathroom. They need a clean environment. They need adoration and being left alone at the same time. They need what all companion animals need, understanding and honest health and mental care. Don’t we all, though?

I've curated a Cat Collection with all the good things, and none of the annoying. Tell your cat you curated it. If you need receipts to prove yourself.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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