How much does it actually cost to own a cat?

There's no hiding the fact that it can be costly owning a pet, and this is why making the decision to become a pet owner is one that shouldn't be taken lightly. Although it may seem really nice to have your own companion, it's only fair that you first determine whether your budget allows for you to care for a cat well enough before taking on the huge responsibility and then realising you aren't able to provide for all it's needs. So we thought we’d share some information on what it really costs to own a cat to help you determine if your budget will allow for it.

According to ASICs' MoneySmart, the average cost of owning a cat in Australia is $1,029 per year. 

 

This includes vet costs ($273), food ($576), grooming ($45), health products ($159) and boarding ($80). You may end up spending more or less than the average amount but it's a good indicator of what most households will spend on their cat each year.  

 

Before you can bring your cat home, you’ll have a few other upfront expenses such as microchipping, desexing, and vaccines to be financially prepared for. 

 

Although pets can add great companionship & love to your everyday life, they are a big financial commitment which needs to be carefully thought out, otherwise you may not be in a position to give that same love back to your cat when it needs it the most. 

What sort of regular expenses can you expect when owning a cat?

  • Feeding your cat

  • Grooming 

  • Accessories (toys, beds and entertainment!). 

  • Vet check-ups

  • Unexpected vet bills due to accidents or illness 

  • Tablets and treatments - to keep your cat free from worms, ticks and fleas!

Owning a cat doesn't have to break the bank though! As long as you can budget for the regular expenses above, owning a cat can still be affordable. Here are a few cost-saving tips:

DIY Grooming

Learn to groom your own cat. Cats need very little maintenance when it comes to grooming, as they do most of it themselves. Do some research on your cat's particular breed and learn how you can best help it maintain a healthy coat. 

 

Adopt a Rescue Cat 

Cats at shelters are looking for someone to take them home and love them. Not only will you feel good for giving a kitty a loving home, it can also be good for the bank account! Cat’s from shelters and cat management facilities should come vaccinated, wormed, microchipped and desexed, helping you cut down on those initial expenses. 

 

DIY Toys 

Cats are easily entertained and when they're not, they're happy lazing around the house. You can save your bank by DIYing some toys for your cat, check out our blog for heaps of DIY ideas for entertaining your cat. Think old boxes, ping pong balls, feathers on a stick etc.

Bulk Buy 

You can save heaps by buying pet food in bulk. Although it may be an expensive outlay, in the long run your bank account will love you for it as it's far cheaper than buying it weekly from the grocery store. 

 

Keeping your cat safe at home

Your cat is far less likely to have unexpected injuries and accidents if it is kept safe at home. Vets often treat cats who have been hit by cars, caught in fences, attacked by dogs or are suffering from cat fight injuries such as abscesses. These unanticipated costs can be significant and can be avoided if you keep your cat safe at home. There are lots of options including keeping your cat indoors, using a cat enclosure, cat netting or cat proof fencing. 

 

So there you have it, yes owning a cat isn't free and it's important to ensure you can afford to own a cat before making a commitment. Your cat will rely solely on you to take care of it and it's not fair to take a cat home if you aren't able to stick to that promise. We hope this has given you a better idea of what expenses you MUST budget for, as well as ways to save money when you become a cat owner.

© Tasmanian Cat Management Project 2019

The Tasmanian Cat Management Project is a state-wide initiative to promote and facilitate responsible cat ownership and management in Tasmania. The project is supported by Cradle Coast NRM, Kingborough Council, and NRM North through funding from the Tasmanian Government.