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The Cost of Cat Ownership


Many friends are concern about the cost of having pets. Here are some numbers based on my experience. There are also articles with more detailed breakdowns. My experience so far is in accordance to that stats.

As a summary, the cost (two cats for me) is:

  $225          // initial adoption + equipment
+ $104 / month  // food + litter + health
+ $$$           // any vet visit

For a single cat, I think the monthly cost can be about $70.

Before I dive into each individual part, I have to emphasize that the return is worthwhile. They are simply cute and keep you good company. Even though sometimes they are annoying and break your plates, they make your home live all the time.

Cat adoption: $125

I adopted my first cat at Berkeley humane, with the adoption of $125. My current cats (Butter and Sesame) are adopted from SFSPCA ($125 for two, they want you to adopt a pair so cats have buddies).

Equipment: $100

This includes litter box ($25), toys ($30), bowls/cups ($20) etc. I got most of them from Berkeley Humane as the starter kit. Later I’ve also purchased some items at Pet Food Express.

Food: $11.3/week

I typically buy Purina One dry food and wellness canned food. For two cats, Purina one is about $13 for a large bag, which lasts about 3 weeks. And for Wellness canned food, 12.5 ounce is $2.5 if you buy a large quantity on Amazon and each can lasts for 2.5 days. So each week for two cats, dry food: $13/3 = $4.3; wet food: $2.5/2.5*7 = $7. The total is about $11.3.

Litter: $6/week

Target has Purina Tidy cat litter, $13 for a large box (35 lbs). I have to buy one about two-three weeks. So $6/week is probably right.

Health Care: $35/month + $$$ vet visit

Because I lost my first cat Turk, I am super cautious about the current two. I have health insurance for them from 24PetWatch. This is about $35/month for two cats. I plan to have these until they are 1 year old. I’ve also visited the vet for a few times (including post-adoption visit and a visit when Butter’s eye is abnormal). Each visit, is easily above $100; and it can easily go unbounded. So this part is often the most expensive part of having a pet; while it is also the most unpredictable part. So advice, make your home clean and keep the pets indoor only. Observe any unusual behaviors, especially their appetites.