How much does it cost to own a cat?

How much does it cost to own a cat?

I've been wondering about this for a while.  We're crazy cat people--we have four--but how much are we actually spending on our fur babies?  Could it be reduced?  (Hint: yes.  We definitely could spend less on cats, as you'll see below.)


(Justin James, aka JJ, helping me read up on recipes for the Instant Pot.)


By my rough brainstorming, we spend on the following cat expenses:

  • Kitty litter - Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal.
    • $29.99/month
  • Dry Purina Cat Chow - I really have no idea how often we go through the ($26.22) 22 pound bag, so I'm totally guesstimating that it happens every other month.
    • $13.11/month
  • "Holly Soups" - these are Holly's prefered wet food, which we go through at a rate of 2/day.
    • $9.29/12-pack... we go through 2 a day, so 60/month, so that'd be 5 (12 packs) per month
    • $46.50/month
  • Various canned wet foods - mostly Purina with some adventures: avg $0.50 per can, which we use at 2/day.
    • $30/month
  • Cat Toys & Catnip - this category fluctuates from month to month, but I'll estimate we blow $10 every other month or so.
    • $5/month
  • Kitty Diffusers - We've experimented with Comfort Zone Pheromone Diffusers, designed to help calm and relax cats, and so far, our conclusion is: it doesn't hurt.  We only recently decided to try these again, hoping they'll help calm the tension with the new cat, so we're at least committing to a few months of use.  A $60.00 refill lasts us two months.
    • $30/month
  • Vet Care - we practically use a concierge doctor, so our vet expenses are more than most people's.  We spent $900 on annual visits for 3 of our 4 cats (the 4th cat came to us this summer, after everyone's vet visits, but she had regular vet care with her previous owner), so I'll round up to $1200 for 4 cats.  Thankfully, that only happens once a year, excepting emergencies.  We will be starting dentals for our cats on an annual basis, so costs may go up, but I'll be getting more veterinary care through my employer, so costs may go down.
    • $1200/year
    • $100/year, broken down across the year, for 4 cats


Surely I'm forgetting things, which is why I plan to update this post as costs occur to me.  BUT!  As we currently have it, we're spending $254.60 for four cats, every month.  That's about 64 bucks per cat, per month.  That seems a bit outrageous, to be honest.  Especially if you consider that I'm not including one-time start-up costs, like initially buying a litter box, or buying the kitty diffusers themselves.  Or the slow puzzle feeders.  Or their many blankies.  Gosh, we waste a lot of money on our cats.

But: we have the money to spend; we don't need to spend it on anything else (ok, ok, we should probably spend it all on our retirement savings); most importantly, the cats bring us joy.  Two dollars of joy per day, per cat?  I don't know.  But as easy as it'd theoretically be to cut kitty expenses, everyone--meaning the husband and the cats--would complain ad nauseum if we changed anything about the daily schedule.  Two dollars per cat per day currently strikes me as worth it, just to not hear them all complain.  But if we ever needed to pinch pennies, our cats would be an obvious starting place.


Have you bothered to calculate your regular pet expenses?  Would you rather make cuts to your own budget, or your pets' budget?


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