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The Actual Cost To Adopt A Cat

    When it comes to adopting a kitten, there are a lot of things that consider. If you check out my post Should You Adopt A Kitten? You can read all about the different options.

    One of the biggest ones to consider is the cost of a cat.

    Not only does it cost money to adopt a cat, get their initial supplies and medical attention, but there are also ongoing costs to consider. While we are not going to talk about ongoing costs today, it is still something to not forget about.

    However, a lot of people look at the cost of the cat solely as the cost to bring the cat home or their adoption fees. Unless you already have another cat then there are a lot of other factors to consider.

    So let’s do a deeper dive into the different costs that you will incur when you adopt a new kitten.

    Typical Adoption Costs

    Actual adoption expense.

    When it comes to the actual adoption of the cat, where you choose to adopt will vary in the cost of your new feline friend.

    If you have a friend or family member that is looking for a home for a kitten, then chances are this is not a cost you will need to worry about.

    If you chose to adopt from a shelter, most shelters charge an adoption fee. Adoption fees can range anywhere for $35-$150. The average is usually around $70.

    If you are wanting a specific breed of cat and are needing to go through a breeder, that is acceptable as well. Just know that breeders charge on average $500 for a purebred kitten. This price will vary by breed and some can range upwards in the thousands of dollars.

    To give you a baseline of the costs you can incur I will give a running total at the bottom of each section.

    Found/Gifted : $0

    Rescue: $70

    Breeder: $500

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    Initial veterinary costs

    The next cost to consider is the initial veterinary bills.

    If you have found your pet, you will want to make sure you take them to the vet for an initial check up. Depending on the check up, you may need to give them theirs shots or any kind of medication.

    If you found your cat, I would budget around $150 for initial vet expenses to cover the basis of what they may need.

    The other cost you may have to pay out yourself is to have them spayed or neutered. Most shelters will pay to have them spayed/neutered before they are adopted out, but each one is unique.

    The average cost to spay a kitten is around $200 but will vary by veterinarian and the type of procedure they do. I know with our kittens the cost was $300/kitten.

    Finally, regardless of where you get the cat, you will want to get them microchipped. Microchipping is a great way to keep your cat safe if they happen to get out and escape. If someone finds your furbaby, they can take them to the vet to have them scanned and returned safely to you.

    Microchips are a one-time cost and usually run from $50-100 total. (Note, some rescues will do this for free to help keep your new cat safe).

    So let’s continue our drill down:

    • Found w/ all medical treatments: $450
    • Adopted w/ spaying and microchipping: $370
    • Adopted w/microchipping: $170
    • Breeder w/ spaying and microshipping: $800
    • Breeder w/ microchipping $600

    Initial supplies

    So that is if you are bringing a cat home. If you don’t already have a cat, then there are some basic supplies that you will need in order to keep your cat and home safe and healthy.

    Food and water along with dishes or bowls for them to eat out of is a must. Cats also need litter boxes and cat litter.

    You will definitely want a scratching post or two, if you don’t want your couch and walls to become claw magnets.

    I also recommend getting a cat carrier to help you transport your cat from your home to the vet. Or if you plan on taking them places. I take all my cats down with me to my parents when I go and visit them so carriers are a must in our household.

    Combs and toys are also a basic necessity to keep your cat happy and relaxed.

    The last thing for cats I recommend getting is Feliway Pheromones. They release pheromones into the air which help relax your cat and make them feel like this home is truly theirs. It is my cat owners MUST HAVE!

    If you already have a cat, then chances are you have food, bowls, combs and toys for your cat. You may want to invest in a second litter box to make sure your cats each have a safe space to do their business.

    I will itemize out the typical cost of my favorite items (linked of course because #shameless) and total it up for my rundown.

    Total Initial Supplies Needed: $210

    Depending on your budget, you can get all of these or choose to wait on some such as the carrier or the feliway.

    >> Why You Should Not Adopt A Cat

    Additional Supplies You May Want to Get

    If you are like me, then the first thing you want to do when you get your kitten is to completely spoil them!

    Who cares about the basic necessities…you want to stuff that will make them love you instantly.

    And while you can’t forget about the basics of food, water, and a place to do business, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t budget in some fun things to get for them initially.

    Here are some of my favorites and the typical cost associated with them. I do want to call out that the prices can range so expect some fluctuations with the market.

    Total Cost: $165

    Personally, my biggest recommendation when people say they want to spoil their kitties is to start out small. Maybe just start with the cat tree and the cat treats. See what they have an interest in slowly start to add in fun items as you get to know your cats.

    With my first cat, we tried to add in cat food when we first got her, and she didn’t like it. So until we got our other cats, that was a cost we did not have to incur ongoing. When it comes to the cost to adopt a cat, you can always add, but it’s quite hard to take away.

    And the other nice thing is a lot of the things such as the tree and bed are going to be one time purchases you can wait and find the perfect fit for your cat.


    When it comes to adopting a cat, the price can really range on how much you want to spend.

    Sometimes the initial cost could be as little as $250 if you adopt from a shelter who spays and neuters their cats and this is your second cat.

    I would consider the average cost with no fun add-ons to be around $550 for adoption fees, medical expenses and initial supplies.

    If you choose to go with a breeder, expect your costs to be around $1000 or more depending on the breed you are going with.

    It is also important to remember that these are not the ongoing costs to OWN a cat. Rather the initial costs to bring your cat home and keep them alive for your first month or so.

    Owning a cat can be a lot of fun, but it does come with a cost. If this is a cost you are willing to take on, then you are ready to adopt a cat. If these sounds like crazy numbers, then you may want to consider waiting a little while to adopt a fur-baby of your own.

    Especially because this does not account for any medical emergencies your kitty made need if they fall sick or get hurt. You’d rather have the money and not need it then have to see your cat in pain. It’s a hard reality, but one that people often forget when it is all sunshine and rainbows.


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