How Much Does it Cost to Keep a Cat?

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cost of keeping a catMeet Bruno, our 10 week old Bengal/Siamese kitten!

Cute, fluffy and purrrfect for making a house a home but did you know the average lifetime cost of a cat is £17,200? When considering getting a cat it’s important to know the costs that are involved, these are the common expenses you will encounter:

Startup Costs : So, How Much are Kittens?

You can often adopt older cats free of charge but when it comes to kittens you’ll generally encounter a price. Unless you’re looking for rare breeds or pedigrees you can generally pick up a kitten for around £20 – £40. Gumtree and Pets4Homes are a great place to find kittens in your area.

You’ll also need a scratching post, cat toys, a bed, a litter tray, litter scoop & litter tray liners; average cost – £30 – £40.

Cats will play with almost anything so there’s really no need to splash out, our kitten loves playing with a toy mouse tied to a piece of twine – it cost us less than £1!

Young kittens will also need two sets of vaccinations these will vary depending on the veterinary clinic but you should budget for £30 – 60 per injection.

Your expected start-up costs: £110 – £200 

General Upkeep – Food & Litter : Cheapest Places to Shop

In general, a cat can eat around one 400g can of food per day – a little dry food in addition to that but not much more. Food and litter are the biggest expenses you’ll encounter and costs vary depending on:

  • How much you feed your cat
  • Which brands you choose
  • Which supermarket you shop at

We took a thorough look at the prices of 5 major supermarkets (July 2014) and compared these against average consumption of a fully grown cat. You’ll find your monthly cost almost doubles from store brands to big brands.

Store Brands£17.73 per month

Big Brands £33.45 per month

The below graph compares costs between five major supermarkets for an average monthly supply of dry food, wet food and cat litter. Based on our analysis ASDA is actually the cheapest place to shop for your furry friend where you can pick up a month’s worth of basics for just £15.38!

The above data is based on consumption of 30 cans of wet food, 2kg of dry food and 20litres of cat litter.

Average Cost of Cat Insurance: £3 – £12 per month

Pet insurance is a must. Committing to another monthly cost is not easy, however in the event that your cat falls ill then you do not want the fear of vets bills to influence your decisions about your furry friend’s health.

As with car insurance there is no set cost to pet insurance and there are many different types of policy – do your research and make sure you get exactly what you want from the policy. The cost tends to start very low and increases with renewals as your cat gets older – you can therefore expect to pay around £3 per month for a young and healthy cat and up to £12 per month for an older cat.

As with car insurance you’ll often have to pay an excess (around £99) if you make a claim; this sounds like a lot but vet bills can stack up into the thousands for some illnesses and operations.

Cattery’s and Cat Sitters

If you plan on going away from home for any period of time you’ll need someone to take care of your furry friend. Oftencase a friend, neighbor or family member can do this for you but in many cases we don’t have that luxury. Catteries charge between £6 – £10 per night so be sure to budget for this when planning your holidays!

Do you have any cats? How do you budget for your pets?

14 COMMENTS

  1. Your kitten is so cute! I’ll be honest – we don’t budget for our cats in a strict sense. We buy a month’s worth of wet food each month (we get pets at home own brand in jelly) for about £9 and then a sack of dry food at about £35 which lasts us a LONG time (not actually worked out how long). We also have insurance for the both of them and pay for their yearly injections. So, probably about £25 a month for the two of them? But, they’re totally worth it for their companionship, entertainment and general love they give us. We got our two from the Cats Protection and it was the best decision we ever made. Enjoy your time with Bruno – looking forward to more pictures 🙂

    • He’s so tiny, we don’t want him to grow up! The big sack of dry food sounds like a good idea, we’ll keep an eye out for this in our next visit to Pets at Home! Insurance works out at just £2.97 p/m for Bruno which isn’t too bad.
      I’ve always had cats so it’s great to have one of our own in our new house. Will certainly be tweeting more pics out!

  2. What a cute kitten! Two of my friends at work are ‘mad cat ladies’ and are always talking about how expensive their cats are (one has two cats, the other has three…).

    They try to cut their costs by buying in bulk and both get cashback on cat food and litter by ordering online via TopCashback. Might be worth checking out.

    • Hey Will,
      Good point, there’s a big debate surrounding this!
      Wet food tends to contain more meat based nutrients – this is more important for cats than dogs as cats are carnivores. Also,the wet food tends to contain 78% water but dry food only contains 10% – cats on dry food diets are therefore more likely to get dehydrated regardless of whether there is a water bowl nearby.
      However, the best dry food is of course better than the worst wet food – we like to use a mix of both 🙂

  3. Blog post on internet + cute cats… A surefire winning formula! 🙂

    My other half has been on about getting a cat for about 5 years, but I am resolute in that we won’t be getting one, anytime soon at least. I love cats and dogs but I know I just couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of sorting out cat/dog sitters when you are on holiday etc… too much of a pain for me!
    Plus there is the cost. £25 a month doesn’t sound much but that is worth £7,500 in retirement savings… not to be sniffed at 😉

    Saying that, when we are older and properly retired, I would love having a dog. And your kitten is heart-string-pulling-ly cute!

    • Ha! Yes, Miss Breakaway has wanted a kitten for 2 years, I finally caved and bought our Bruno a couple of weeks back. Finding a cat sitter was the biggest point holding me back as I’d like to travel a lot more after we have secured the mortgage. We have friends and family nearby though which should make this easier.
      Certainly a big chunk out of the retirement fund, time to boost the side hustles to make up for our costly bundle of fur!

  4. Oh my goodness your kitten is so cute! I used to have a cat and she was great! Cats really aren’t that expensive and are far cheaper than having a dog. It’s also a really good idea that you have insurance because veterinarian bills do add up and I say this with personal experience!! Interesting article though!

  5. I am a student at Handsworth Grammar School and I would like to use this information for my GCSE controlled assessment but I need permission before I do so. Could I please use this information for my Controlled Assessment ?
    Thanks, Jay Bains
    Handsworth Grammar School

  6. Hi we have a cat and our friend is looking after him at the minute and has done for four months now he wants four hundred pound for looking after him now i think thats far to expensive i was just wondering what others think

    • Hi Sian,

      From my personal experience I can’t imagine the cost of food, litter etc costing any more than £200 ver a four month period.

      This said, there is a big time investment in looking after cats – changing litter, regular feeding, fixing things they have broken, scheduling your day to ensure they get fed at the right times etc. No sure if they’ve factored any of this into the cost?

      Did they have to visit the vet in this time? Paying for pet insurance?

      Thanks
      Joe

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