13 Costs of Owning a Cat

Housecats may be known for their aloofness and low-maintenance attitude, but they're not cheap. Here's what you can expect to spend if you plan on adopting a new furry best friend.

Picture of ginger tabby cat in black and white
(Image credit: Courtesy Rivan Stinson)

They party all night and sleep all day. And no, this isn’t a generalization on college students, but the life of the housecat – or, well, at least mine.

According to the 2021-2022 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, 45.3 million American households own a cat. And due to COVID-19, adoptions have increased in some metro areas as folks look for companionship while staying mostly at home.

However, just as with human children, the costs to bring home and care for your fur baby can really add up. You need to consider vaccinations, food, litter and a host of other recurring and one-time expenses. For example, according to APPA, you can expect to spend $326 a year on food and treats alone. And that's assuming your cat isn't a picky eater or needs a special diet. To give you a realistic picture of how much owning a cat will cost you, we’ve interviewed veterinarians and pored over industry research – and sprinkled in insights gleaned from our own real-world experiences living with cats. Take a look.

Rivan V. Stinson
Ex-staff writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Rivan joined Kiplinger on Leap Day 2016 as a reporter for Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. A Michigan native, she graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 and from there freelanced as a local copy editor and proofreader, and served as a research assistant to a local Detroit journalist. Her work has been featured in the Ann Arbor Observer and Sage Business Researcher. She is currently assistant editor, personal finance at The Washington Post.