How much does it cost to be a cat parent?
The ASPCA estimates the cost of owning a cat in the first year to be over $1,000. Expenses for cat care have been reported at anywhere from $400 to $700 per year thereafter, depending upon which source you use, and what's included.
For example, the $1035 estimate from the ASPCA includes only $15 for a scratching post. For some of us, we may buy several of these. We also may purchase cat climbing furniture that includes a scratching board, and these items may cost over $200.
Spay/neuter costs may be less, however, if you adopt an older cat, or one from a shelter where that cost is included in the adoption fee.
The annual cost from the ASPCA is estimated at $670, but that includes $175 for a cat health insurance policy, and $160 for veterinary medical expenses.
Only a small percentage of pet owners carry pet health insurance, so your medical expenses could be different, especially if your cat becomes ill or injured.
The annual numbers also only allot $25 for cat toys and treats, and $30 for miscellaneous expenses. There's no mention of wear and tear on floors, carpeting, and furniture, and there are certainly extra cleaning expenses associated with living with a cat.
In some cases, you may end up switching out your furniture to accommodate the cat. Some of us will spend more on food options. All this adds up.
There are also pet sitting or boarding costs during vacations, unexpected medical problems, and other miscellaneous expenses.
In any case, if we take a $700 a year figure, and assume the cat lives with us for 15 years, that puts the total cost of owning a cat over the life of the animal at over $10,000.
A pet is a lifetime commitment. Yet, with the economic downturn, many people are giving up their animals due to cost considerations.
If you're considering adopting a cat, I urge you to make a commitment to that animal and understand that you will likely spend at least $10,000 over the lifetime of the cat.