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How Much Does it Cost to Own a Cat?

Are you considering adding to your family with a new furry friend, and wondering how much does it cost to own a dog? Find out all about the costs of owning a dog in Australia right here with Savvy.   

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, updated on September 1st, 2023       

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Are you curious about how much it costs to own a cat? Having a feline companion is a source of great comfort and joy for many Aussies, with approximately 61% of households in Australia sharing their homes with a pet. However, it's essential to recognise that pet ownership comes with responsibilities and a financial commitment. 

The expenses associated with caring for a cat in Australia vary based on factors such as the cat's age, dietary requirements and overall health needs. You'll need to factor in costs like the initial adoption or purchase cost, and ongoing expenses like food and veterinary care. This Savvy guide to the cost of cat ownership will provide insights into these expenses, helping you budget for the well-being of your new feline furry companion.

What are the costs involved in getting a new cat?

If you're considering bringing a new cat into your home, whether it's a kitten or a slightly older feline companion, there are several initial costs you should be aware of to ensure your new furry friend has a comfortable and happy life. Here's a breakdown of the initial expenses associated with new cat ownership: 

Initial cost of purchase:  

The cost of acquiring a cat can vary widely depending on whether you adopt from an animal shelter, purchase a purebred kitten from a breeder, or find one through online listings or word of mouth.  

Purebred kittens from reputable breeders can range from $1,000 to $3,000 or more, depending on the breed's popularity and rarity. Currently, cat breeds that are quite popular in Australia, such as Ragdolls or Burmese or Siamese, can cost on average around $1,200 up to $1,500. However, less rare or standard coloured cats may be available much more cheaply, sometimes under $150.  

Vaccinations:  

Your new cat will require vaccinations to protect against common diseases like feline distemper (panleukopenia), calicivirus, and viral rhinotracheitis (herpes virus). Kittens typically need three sets of vaccinations, with the first round administered at six to eight weeks old. Booster vaccinations are necessary and are typically given at 10-12 weeks and 14-16 weeks. Budget around $80 to $120 for each booster dose. 

Microchipping: Microchipping is mandatory in many Australian states and may cost between $50 and $80. Many kittens are already microchipped by responsible breeders before being sold. 

Desexing: Desexing your cat is recommended for all pets not intended for breeding. Most cats should be desexed between six and eight months of age, with costs ranging from $250 to $500, with spaying being slightly more expensive than neutering. 

Council registration fees: Registering your cat with your local council is mandatory in some states and territories, but not all.  Regulations vary between local council districts. Registration fees vary by council, ranging from $0 to $150 per year. Discounts are usually offered for desexed and microchipped cats.  

Initial cat supplies: These are the essential items you'll need right away for your new kitten or cat upon their arrival: 

  • Cat bed: $15 – $45 
  • Food and water bowls: $10 – $20 
  • Collar (for outdoor cats): $5 – $10 
  • Litter box: $10 – $20 
  • Cat litter: $10 – $20 a bag 
  • Cat carrier or crate: $25 – $50 
  • Cat toys and scratching post: $10 – $80 
  • Cat food: $10 – $20  
  • Brush for grooming: $10 – $20 

These initial costs are crucial to ensure your new cat's comfort, safety and well-being as they settle into their new home.

What are the on-going costs of owning a cat?

After the initial expenses of adopting or buying your cat, and providing them with essential items like a bed, collar, and toys, you'll encounter ongoing costs associated with cat ownership, including: 

Food: High-quality cat food can range from $1 to $1.35 a day for canned food, or $10 to $30 for a 2kg bag of dry cat biscuits, which may last a fortnight to three weeks or more for an adult cat. Most vets recommend a cat is given a mixture of dry and wet food. 

Pet insurance: Pet insurance premiums vary based on the coverage you choose and your cat's breed and age. Expect to pay approximately $15 to $45 per month for cat insurance. 

Routine veterinary care: Regular check-ups and preventive treatments such as flea control can cost around $150 to $300 per year for cats. Unexpected health issues or emergency vet visits can increase these costs. 

Litter and other supplies: Cat litter, litter boxes, and other supplies like scratching posts and toys can add an extra $10 to $20 per month to your expenses. 

These ongoing expenses are essential for providing your cat with a healthy and happy life as a cherished member of your family. 

How much does it cost to adopt a homeless cat from an animal shelter?

When you adopt a cat from an animal shelter, initial expenses such as desexing, microchipping, and vaccination will often have been covered. However, you'll still need to budget for ongoing expenses, including vaccinations and regular veterinary care. 

The cost of adopting a homeless kitten or cat from an animal shelter will vary based on factors like the shelter's location, the specific cat's age, breed, and the services included in the adoption fee. 

On average, adoption fees for kittens typically range from $150 to $300 or more, while fees for adult cats may be somewhat lower. However, these fees will vary depending on the shelter's policies and the individual cat's characteristics. 

For example, RSPCA New South Wales advertises kitten adoption costs as $250, with adult cat adoption fees set at $200. It's essential to check with your local shelter to understand their specific adoption fees and what services are included in the adoption cost for your new feline furry friend.

More of your frequently asked questions about cat ownership

What is the average annual cost of owning a cat in Australia?

The annual cost of cat ownership in Australia will range from $800 to $1,500 or more, depending on various factors such as your cat's dietary habits and overall health. It's essential to budget for this expense to ensure your cat receives proper care and attention.   

Is pet insurance worth it for a cat?

Pet insurance is highly recommended for both cat and dog owners. It helps cover unexpected and potentially expensive veterinary bills, which can amount to thousands of dollars if your beloved pet gets injured or sick. Monthly premiums for pet insurance for a cat typically range from $15 to $45, depending on the level of coverage and your cat's age and breed. 

What is feline immunodeficiency virus, and can humans catch it?

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a viral infection that affects cats. It's sometimes referred to as ‘feline AIDS’ because, like the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), it weakens a cat's immune system. FIV is primarily spread through bite wounds, especially from fighting between unneutered male cats. While some cats with FIV may appear healthy for years, over time they can become more susceptible to other infections and illnesses. There's no cure for FIV, but with proper care and management, many FIV-positive cats can live relatively normal lives. It can’t be passed onto humans.  

Is cat litter really harmful for pregnant woman?

Yes, pregnant women are advised not to change cat litter due to the potential risk of toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection caused by the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can be found in cat faeces. While most healthy adults may not experience severe symptoms if infected, it can pose significant risks to a developing human foetus during pregnancy. 

Compare pet insurance

Looking into pet insurance for your beloved furry friend? Whether you have a playful pup or a curious cat, you can compare pet insurance options from a range of providers and find the perfect coverage that suits your pet's unique needs and your budget. 

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