How Much Does It Cost To Adopt A Cat?

Hint: It's worth it 🥰🐈

cat on a dollar bill

Before you decide if you should adopt a cat, it’s important to figure out if you can afford it. 

Crunching numbers is no fun, especially if you’d rather just cuddle a cat instead — but it’s pretty necessary.

So, The Dodo spoke with Mary Shaughnessy, founding member of Kitt Crusaders in Los Angeles, to find out just how much it’ll cost to adopt a cat.

How much does adopting a cat cost?

It turns out that there’s no universal answer to this question.

“[Costs] can vary from state to state, even town to town,” Shaughnessy told The Dodo. “For example, veterinary expenses, food and litter, etc., may cost less in [a rural] area than they would in a large city.”

To give you an idea of what sort of price range you could be looking at, Shaughnessy broke down what adoption costs are like in one of the biggest cities in the U.S.

“Here in Los Angeles I can tell you it would range somewhere between $50 to $200 for one cat or kitten,” she said. “Lots of groups will give you a discounted rate if you adopt a pair.”

What does the adoption cost include?

The only way to know for sure is if you ask the shelter or rescue, so definitely make sure you do!

“What you need to look at is what services and vaccines come with the adoption,” Shaughnessy explained. “Spay[ing and] neuter[ing] should always be included.”

You should also check to see if the adoption cost includes things like:

  • Required vaccinations
  • Testing for infectious diseases (like feline leukemia)
  • A microchip
“All of these things could increase the cost and are generally a much better deal if you get it done through a rescue or shelter,” Shaughnessy said.

Other costs to consider

Your financial responsibility to your new fluffball doesn’t stop with the adoption fee.

You’re always going to have to consider things like vet fees and the cost of supplies (the ASPCA estimates that owning a cat can cost more than $800 per year). So, try anticipating those prices — and how often you’ll need to shell out that cash — so you can build yourself a budget. 

(This is the only boring part about being a pet parent, promise!)

“Work out what litter and food would cost on a monthly basis, and then think about things like annual checkups and/or booster vaccines, dental cleanings when necessary [and] unexpected vet bills,” Shaughnessy said. “You might want to look into pet insurance as it could save money for unexpected veterinary costs.”
 
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