The addition of a cat in your family can be truly wonderful, but it is important to remember that taking on a cat is a lifetime commitment, and this comes with a cost. The overall cost of having a cat can differ depending on various factors, such as your cat’s age, health and their personal needs. We’ve put together a breakdown of several costs that come with owning a cat.
A lot of these items are likely to be found on second hand sites, and do not have to cost you a huge amount of money, so always have a look around before buying brand new.
Try finding items second hand first, there are a lot of good quality or even brand new items that people are looking to sell. Try some of these:
This can be a great way to save some money and put it towards a medical savings account instead.
We recommend you be wary of second hand cat items for fleas, and be sure to give them a proper clean and maybe even a quarantine period to save yourself some stress.
The initial costs of getting a cat
If you are thinking of getting a cat, there are a few essentials that you need to have prepared for their arrival, to make their transition into your family as easy as possible for them
For example, you’ll need;
It will soon be compulsory by law for all cats to be microchipped by the time they reach 20 weeks of age. If your cat is found to be without a chip by this time, you will be given a timeframe of 21 days to have one put in. If a microchip is still not inserted within this time, you will face a fine of £500.
A microchip is vital. Should your cat ever go missing, this is the best way for the vets, a scan angel or a charity to locate you and get your cat back into your care.
Microchipping a cat can cost anything between £20 - £30 in the UK, depending on where you live. For a more accurate pricing on this, we recommend that you ask your vet for more details.
All of our adult cats (and kittens once they are of age) are microchipped, but some services might require a fee to change details or to allow additional features (e.g. adding a secondary phone number).
On average, your cat’s first and second course of vaccinations will be around £75. Again, this will vary depending on where you live and what veterinary clinic you register your cat at, so we recommend that you speak to your vet directly and ask for more details on pricing.
Vaccination boosters are required on a yearly basis (as well as a check-up) see more info below.
You can find some great beds at Pets At Home, which are suitable for both kittens and older cats. The price of these particular beds range from £9-£28, with occasional promotional deals on offer.
Food and water bowls
Again, Pets At Home have a good variety of bowls and feeding accessories, such as water fountains, bowls, placemats and scoops for dry food. These range from £1-£35.
We recommend looking out for a raised, wide bowl for your cat's food, as an elevated bowl allows your cat to sit in a more natural position whilst eating, and a wide dish helps to avoid whisker fatigue.
Litter trays, litter and scoop
You need to be well prepared with a sufficient amount of litter trays, depending on how many cats you are getting. A general rule to follow is that each cat should have a litter tray of their own, plus one extra; so if you have one cat, you need two trays. You can find more litter advice in our litter tray use blog.
Kitten litter trays are around £5, whereas for adult cats they range from £8-£75.
Accessories such as track mats, scoops, liners and spray range from £1-£7.
Having a cat carrier is essential as this will be your way of transporting your cat to and from the vets for checkups and during emergencies.
Check whether anyone is selling one secondhand.
If you are looking to buy a brand new carrier, Pets At Home have a good range of both plastic and fabric carriers that range in price from £12-£39, which you can find here.
We recommend a sturdy carrier to ensure the cat’s safety. Some cats may find it easy to open the zippers of fabric carriers and therefore escape. For this reason, we like to recommend MDC Export carriers for kitties that are difficult to put into a carrier. These are the safest ones and prevent a cat escaping by accident (if well secured). It’s an investment but it is the safest option.
We recommend leaving the carrier out for the cat to get used to it and so they don’t associate it to vet visits only. Giving treats inside the carrier every now and then will also help with this.
Making sure that your cat has enough toys is important, as they use these for physical and mental exercise. You need to provide your cat with a range of different toys (and play with them daily!) to help promote mental enrichment. You can read more about this in the WELL-BEING section of our adoption guide.
By providing your cat with a sufficient number of toys, you are helping to create good habits through mental and physical enrichment which means that they are less likely to have behavioural issues later in life.
Sometimes people sell toys that their cats no longer engage with secondhand, so it’s a good idea to keep your eye out on second hand selling platforms for these.
You can also buy these from local pet shops or even supermarkets, although their range will be limited. Pets At Home carries toys from as little as 50p, and their pieces go up to £37.
Scratching post/Cat tree
Much like toys, a stand alone scratching post or cat tree helps with promoting good habits in your cat. Cats have a natural instinct to sharpen their claws, so providing them with a designated place for your cat to scratch can help them to sharpen their claws somewhere safe, rather than on your furniture.
A scratching post also allows your cat to stretch out their muscles and mark their territory. Some cats also like to scratch on the floor, so you can also consider having a scratching mat or board.
This is an item that you are very likely to see being sold second hand, and you can grab a great bargain this way!
Although our furry friends groom themselves regularly, it can be helpful to purchase some grooming accessories and help them with the task. Short haired cats would benefit from assisted grooming about once a week, whereas a medium - long haired cat would need this doing more frequently.
Brushing your cat comes with many benefits such as helping to prevent the formation of hairballs, and fur matts. It also allows you to check up on the condition of their skin and check for fleas.
Grooming accessories at Pets At Home range from £2 - £12, for combs and brushes.
Of course having a cat requires a lifelong commitment, so we need to think about the cost of certain things in their future.
We recommend that you look into pet insurance as soon as possible. Vet care can be very expensive within the UK, and just a hospital night can be around £1,000.
Insurance can be paid either monthly, or annually and the price will vary depending on what type of cover you take out, how many cats you have and whether they have any pre-existing medical conditions.
The cost of this is roughly from £10 low cover to £38 cover up to £5,000 per month. We recommend getting the highest cover possible.
You can find out more about the different types of cover on our blog all about insuring kitties here.
Flea treatment is usually done monthly but please consult a vet for further guidance. We are not experts and you should always seek guidance from your vet for the best advice. The costs of flea treatments vary depending on the dose that you need, the type of flea treatment that you’re after and where you buy it from.
The dose of the flea treatment your cat needs will depend on their weight. Your vet can weigh your cat and recommend a treatment when you visit for a checkup.
You can buy flea treatments directly from the vets and this is probably the simplest way to do it, but you may be able to find flea treatments online on websites like Animed Direct or Pet Drugs Online, for a fraction of the cost. To be able to purchase a flea treatment online, you will need to request a prescription for your cat, from their vet.
In this case, cheaper isn’t always best. There are some cheaper flea treatments that are not as effective in killing fleas, as they can actually become immune. We recommend that you discuss flea treatments with your vets for the best outcome.
Worm treatments are a little different, and need to be done more regularly when your cat is a kitten. Deworming medication, dosage, and timing should always be discussed with your vet.
Kittens should be dewormed monthly until they are 6 months of age
Adult cats should be given dewormer every 2 to 6 months.
The cost of worming your cat (if done so though your vets) is roughly £15, depending on where you live within the UK.
Similarly with flea medication, you can find cheaper alternatives if you look around online for worming treatment.
As you may know, vaccinating your cat plays an essential role in protecting them from diseases. We’ve looked at the cost of the initial round of vaccinations, but cats will then need a booster vaccination when they reach a year old.
After this, they’ll need a booster every one to three years following.
The booster vaccinations are roughly £50 per cat but again, this may vary depending on the vets that you are registered at.
Cats need routine check ups to make sure that they are staying healthy and to identify/address any health issues as early as possible. These visits with the vets are for them to have a general look over your cat and keep track of their health. A yearly check up will usually consist of dental cleanings, as well as health and wellness inspections.
Keeping up with your cats’ check ups is incredibly important for preventing any diseases. We want to prevent illnesses as best as we can, so make sure that your cat is visiting the vets at least once a year to check in. Older cats may need to go for check ups more frequently.
Check ups tend to cost around £40-£60, depending on the consultation fee at your vets.
Cat food can be a tricky one to get a rough estimate for in price, as cats can go off their food very suddenly and may want some variation.
This is another essential cost, where cheaper isn’t always better. It is important to look over the ingredients in cat foods, to see exactly what you are feeding your cat.
Some cats will need a special dietary requirement that you need to cater to, and this will come with a more costly price tag than your average cat.
For example, cats with sensitive tummies will need a certain diet, which will cost more than your average cat. Having looked around ourselves, the best pricing for a good sensitive wet food for cats with these requirements totals at £17.50 per week.
Cats suffering with digestive tract illnesses require gastro intestinal food, which is on the expensive side at £12 for 12 pouches.
In many cases, these types of specialty foods tend to also be increased in price, so this is something to really consider when taking on a cat that already has these kinds of requirements. Please remember that perfectly healthy cats can also develop issues later in their life, that will mean they need their diet altering to cater to them in the best possible way and this will cost more.
We recommend shopping around for deals on your required cat food as prices can vary from place to place. Sometimes bulk buying can help you save - if you see a good deal, consider stocking up!
Cat litter is a cost that you’ll need to pay throughout a cat’s life, if your cat is an indoor cat. There are various different types of litter, which all vary in price and it can be hard to find the perfect one for you and your cat.
Your cats’ litter tray should be fully cleaned out monthly (this will need doing more frequently if you have more than one cat). A 10L bag of litter will roughly last 4 - 6 weeks.
The price of litter ranges from £4.29 - £14.99 at Pets At Home, but you may find a better deal elsewhere. Try shopping around, and trying a few different options. You can often find discounts when you subscribe to a rolling order.
Cats can be very good at disguising health problems, and whether they are in pain. In this case, the Katkin Scoop Health litter can help to put your mind at ease. This litter changes colour according to the pH level of your cats’ urine, which you can check against the colour bar. This litter comes at a higher cost of £20 for 2.7kg.
You can try a 10L bag of Natusan’s wheat litter for £5, instead of their normal price of £17.99, when you use the code ‘LICK5’ at the checkout. Not only does this give you a great discount, but it also gives us a £10 donation from Natusan.
Having a cat can be unpredictable and things can go wrong, no matter how careful you are. If your insurance doesn’t cover the treatment, you might have to pay separately.
The cost of these vet bills will vary depending on the severity of the situation and whether you need to go to an out of hours emergency vets.
Even with insurance, it’s likely that you’ll need to cover the cost yourself, and then file a claim afterwards.
To help manage this, read about opening a savings account for your vets bills here.
Estimated minimum and maximum costs of having a cat
One time or monthly
Minimum estimated price
Maximum estimated price
50p per one
£2 per one
Dental (scale & polish and/or teeth removal) some insurance don’t cover this
Once or twice
*Insurance can be paid either monthly, or annually
Minimum total of one off costs = £323.50
Minimum total of monthly costs = £54
Maximum total of one costs = £767
Maximum total of monthly costs = £184
This table is only an estimate to help you think about the costs of having a cat, and considering if it’s an option for you. This will also depend on the number of cats that you have, and it also excludes any extra medical expenses outside of the basic vet checks, as well as delivery costs for online products.
When shopping at Pets At Home, there’s an option to add a charity of your choice to receive donations.
You can find this on the app by going to More > Charity Lifelines, and selecting your chosen charity.
As a small, volunteer run charity, we’d really appreciate it if you considered picking us as your charity. Every donation big or small helps us to continue doing our work, and caring for all of our cats and kittens. All donations that we receive go towards medical costs.
How Can You Help Us?
L.I.C.K is a volunteer run charity, no one gets paid!
Every donation big or small allow us to do our work and care for all our cats and kittens.
All donations go towards medical costs.
Written by Sofi N