How Much It Really Costs To Have A Cat

Having a cat for a pet can be a great thing. They can be wonderful companions who do things like curl up in your lap while you sit and write — though some like to sit ON the laptop, which can be a little less wonderful. There's almost nothing like having one rest next to you on a cold winter night, purring. While cats do have distinctly different personalities, and yes, some can be unfriendly, they tend to be loyal to the ones that brought them home. 

But, like everything else, they also bring costs along with them. They need food, water, and healthcare, just like people. Those costs can vary depending on what you choose for them. There are a variety of things to take into consideration, and some of it may be dictated by the tastes of the cat you bring home. Yes, don't act surprised, they are going to run things. They were worshiped by ancient Egyptians, and it's in their DNA. 

So before you decide to bring a cat into your home, it's always good to know how much you should put aside for expenses.

Bringing a cat home is the first expense

The first thing you have to decide is where you want to get the cat. Do you want a specific breed, like a hairless cat, aka a Sphynx? You will have to go to a breeder for that, and that can be expensive — they can be as high as $3,000 just to buy, per Cat Breeds List. If you want to pay less, then you will be better off going to a local shelter, where they can have all kinds of cats who are looking for loving homes. Check with the shelters to see if they are having any kinds of specials, too. The adoption cost is usually much lower, and the cats may have already had their shots and been spayed or neutered, according to the ASPCA. 

You're also going to need to get a crate to bring your cat home in. You may have to buy a larger one as your cat grows, especially if you are bringing a kitten home. Crates can be bought online or at a store, whether it's a chain like Petco or Petsmart or a local pet store. They can range from $9 to over $100, depending on where you buy from.

Your cat needs food and water

Here's where it can get tricky. Cats tend to be a lot more finicky than dogs when it comes to food. Some of them may be okay with just wet food, while others may insist on only dry food. As far as the food itself goes, it depends on how high-end you want to be, but you can expect to spend $326 a year, according to Kiplinger. There are cats that will greedily devour cat food that looks like slop, while others want higher-end brands that have natural ingredients. So be ready to shell out some money if need be. And here's the really fun part: Their tastes may change, and you might have to get something else. 

When it comes to water, most cats are fine with tap water. You just need to get a bowl and clean it regularly to avoid any buildup. Do that daily and your cat should be a happy camper. The bowl, and possibly a place mat, will likely cost around $20 (via Petco). A hydrated cat with a full belly is a happy cat. 

Toys, a place to sleep, and somewhere to go to the bathroom

There is the chance that your cat might completely ignore the cat bed that you bought, or use it even more infrequently than a blue moon, and crawl into a box for an item you had delivered and conk out. Then again, they might stake a claim on the cat bed and use it for its intended purpose. In case you haven't figured it out by now: Cats are weird. Lovable ... but weird. 

One of the most important purchases you make will be the cat's litter box and the type of litter you use, per Kiplinger. If your cat does not like either, then be ready to have to clean up poop in various areas of the house. Keep the litter box clean and both you and the cat will be happy. You can even get disposable litter boxes that you discard after a week. This is nonnegotiable to keep a sanitary home and a healthy cat. 

The same goes for cat toys. You can toss a million toys that you bought from the pet store, and they will ignore them — unless it has catnip in it. Then they may use them until the catnip is gone and then cast them aside. But if you leave out an empty paper towel tube, they might play with that constantly. See what works, and eventually, you will likely have a content, playful cat that keeps itself interested in things. 

Visits to the vet

Yes, this is one of the most important things to sock money away for. Your cat will need to have regular vaccinations and vet visits to make sure that they stay healthy. While it may seem aggravating to possibly have to chase your cat all over the place to get them into a crate, it's for their own good. The vet can also catch potential issues before they become too bad. 

While your cat may seem healthy all the time, you still need to be prepared to have to take it in for an emergency vet visit. That can be expensive, running as high as $800 in certain cases, per Better Pet. It's essential to have a fund ready for that possibility. You owe that to your little furry friend that you promised to take good care of. 

A cat can be a wonderful addition to your home. You just need to be ready to pay some to ensure that both of you are happy.