Cost of owning a cat

If you’ve chosen the intelligent, independent, inquisitive cat as your new companion, it’d be helpful to know how much owning one could cost you.

Updated 21 July 2022  | 6 mins read

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From food to insurance to bedding, PDSA estimates that it could cost owners at least £12,000 to care for their cat over its lifetime.[1]

This could increase if your cat lives for longer than the average 15 years, or starts to suffer from health conditions that require expensive treatments.

Cost of buying a cat

The cost of getting a cat will vary widely depending on whether you choose to purchase or adopt a cat.

Adopting a cat does incur some costs but is much cheaper than purchasing one from a breeder or elsewhere. You may not have as much choice over which breed you get from a rescue centre, however, there is the added bonus of giving a home to an animal in need.


Type of cat Average cost [2]

Adopted £182
Purchased £720

When purchasing cats, pedigree - and the specific breed - is also a big contributing factor to the average cost. You could be paying up to £1,200 for certain purebred cats.

Pedigree breed Average cost to buy
American Shorthair £154
Maine Coon £880
Bengal £710
Siamese £590
Sphynx £785

Accessories

Once you know you can afford to buy a cat, you have the extra accessories to think about, such as bedding, food and toys. 

Bedding

This is usually quite flexible, as you have the freedom to decide what sort of bedding you want your cat to use. 

Cat beds can set you back anywhere between £20 and £50, depending on the quality, material and size you’re looking for. 

Of course, no matter how fancy the bed is, some cats will still prefer that sunny spot on the windowsill...or your bed. 

Food

This one can be slightly trickier to estimate as your cat may have certain dietary requirements. 

The majority of cats are lactose intolerant, but some may also only be able to eat certain types of food due to health conditions or illnesses. 

Certain brands of food are expensive, particularly if they’re uncommon, have to be specially shipped to you, or are medically prescribed. 

You can look to save money when purchasing cat food, by using online retailers that offer a subscription service with a discount for regular or bulk orders. This makes it easier to work out a budget for your kitty and reduces the cost per kilogram by around 50p.

Buying bowls is also a small, but important accessory to include in your budget. 

Toys

Most cats like to explore outside, but when they’re indoors it’s important to keep them entertained so they don’t rip up your furniture! Toys and scratching posts are a welcome distraction.

With the average cat toy costing around £8.60[3], you may be able to save money by making your own DIY cat toys from free, everyday materials. Try cutting out strips of old T-shirts to make a teaser toy, or sellotaping loo roll tubes to make a food maze to test your feline friend

Other accessories

There are other  costs that may seem small, but will add up in  once you’ve started shopping for your new cat. 

Collars, scoops, brushes, combs, litter and cat carriers are all little things you may forget to budget for. 

PDSA estimates that new cat owner costs could total up to £250. 

Health

Insurance, microchipping, vaccinations and neutering will make the biggest dent in your budget.


Procedure Average Cost [4]
Consultation £49.96
Flea and Worming (6 months) £73
Microchipping £20
Cat Spay £81
Cat Castrate £116
Cat Vaccination Course £68

Microchipping

Microchipping your cat isn’t a legal requirement like it is for dogs, however it’s the best way to make sure that your kitty has the best chance of being reunited with you if they’re lost or stolen. 

It can be easily done by your vet or by the organisation that you adopt your cat from if they’re a rescue. However, it’s up to you to make sure that the database is kept up to date with your latest details.  

Vaccinations

Kittens will need to be vaccinated while they’re young to protect them against certain illnesses, infections and viruses. 

At nine weeks, they receive their first lot of vaccinations, and then their second set three months later. Together, these rounds could cost up to approximately £70.

They’ll also require a booster vaccine every year to protect against cat flu, infections, and feline leukaemia. 

Worm and flea treatments could set you back up to £75 for a six-month course. However, there’s a huge variety in price depending on the brand you choose. Lower cost options are widely available, although there has been reported resistance to many of the budget brands and it is always best to use medication recommended by your vet.    

Neutering and spaying

If you’re not planning on adding kittens to your household too, neutering or spaying your cat is a must for any responsible pet owner. 

For a male cat, you can get them neutered to improve their behaviour (particularly if they exhibit signs of aggression), stop them from reproducing, and encourage them not to stray so far away from home. 

Likewise, you can spay a female cat to achieve the same thing. 

Blue Cross recommends neutering and spaying cats at around four months old, although it’s considered safe from as early as eight weeks old

The surgery to remove a female cat’s ovaries is typically on the more expensive side. 

Grooming

Grooming costs are incredibly varied, depending on the company, the size of your cat, and the type of fur they have. 

Pedigree cat’s fur is more predictable as they’re not mixed like a moggie, which could be a combination of two or more breeds. This means you may struggle to tell the groomer what type of fur they have. 

If you need to get your cat’s fur trimmed, expect to pay anywhere up to £90 for grooming. 

If you include other treatments such as eyes, ears, and claws, you could be charged extra. 

Cat insurance

Cat insurance can vary wildly depending on the level of cover, breed of cat, age and location

It’s important to purchase pet insurance, to aid in covering the cost of vet bills or emergency surgeries. 

There are four types of pet insurance:

Accident-only

Covers the cost of treatment if your pet has an accident. It doesn’t cover illnesses, diseases, or pre-existing conditions.

Time-limited

Will cover the cost of treatment for a set period of time, usually a year. You can’t claim again if you reach the cap on treatment costs, or once the 12-month period has expired.

Lifetime

Covers the cost of injuries or illnesses, up to a treatment cost cap per year, for as long as you have the lifetime policy in place. It  won’t cover pre-existing conditions. 

Maximum benefit

Gives you an annual sum capped every year for each policy, condition, or both. You can’t claim for a maximum benefit policy or condition again once you’ve reached the limit. This type of policy  won’t cover pre-existing conditions. 

Ensure you know what is and what isn’t covered by your policy. For example, many policies won’t cover:

Some policies may cover:

About this data

[1]Information taken from the PDSA’s website on the lifelong cost of owning a cat.

[2]Online pet marketplace Pets4Homes provided all pricing data relating to the average costs of adopting and buying cats and dogs, as well as a list of the most common dog and cat breeds.

[3]To calculate the average price of a cat toy in the UK, we found the average price of the top 10 bestselling cat toys on amazon.

[4]Treatment costs taken from current pricing at Stannes Veterinary Practice.