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Why Do Cats Cost So Much – A Breakdown Of Expenses

Why Do Cats Cost So Much – A Breakdown Of Expenses

Getting a new cat can be incredibly exciting, but many cat owners are taken aback by the prices when they start looking. Of course, all pets can be expensive, but cats don’t have the same reputation for high expense as dogs or horses. Yet, cats can be every bit as costly as your average dog or ferret. 

So, why do cats cost so much?

Cats cost a lot because they are expensive to breed. Prices go up when cats are more popular or when people are more likely to look for purebred cats from a breeder. Shelters often use cat adoption fees (and all adoption fees) to pay for their other animals, which is a big reason most adoptions aren’t free. Food, veterinary care, and injuries can also increase the costs of a cat.

There is another reason cats are expensive, though, especially from shelters. That’s because having an adoption fee helps make sure the people adopting the cats can actually afford to take care of them. 

Many different things contribute to the cost of cats, though. So, if you want to know more about why cats cost what they do, you’re in the right place. 

Why Is Getting A Cat So Expensive

There are a lot of reasons getting a cat can be expensive. It’s not just the cat themselves, after all. The cost of getting a cat is also about getting cat food, a litter box, toys, maybe a cat tree. Or two cat trees. Three? 

Regardless of how much equipment and toys you get for your cat, you can expect to spend at least $100 to get your new pet, and likely a lot more. 

But why do cats cost so much when there are so many cats out there? There are more cats than there are homes for them, which is why some places have so many problems with feral housecats. 

The truth is that cats will always cost what people are willing to pay for them. That, combined with their cute looks and popular demand as house pets, means that cats will probably always be a little expensive. 

Don’t worry too much about the price, though; our feline friends are worth the cost!

What Is The Average Cost Of A Cat

The average cost of a cat depends a lot on where you get your cat. Here’s a chart breaking down all the various expenses associated with cats:

ItemAverage Yearly Cost
Adoption Fee$50 – $100
Food$120 $500
Medical Exams$44 – $55
Vaccinations$20 – $37
Litter$200 – $250
Toys$10 – $30
Grooming$30 – $70
Neuter/Spay$250 – $2000
Air Travel$50 -$100
Scratching Post$30 – $50

That chart is quite the list, and its easy to overlook some of those things as you keep buying various items for your cat.

One area I want to focus on is the adoption part. If you’re adopting from a shelter, you’ll probably pay about $100 for kittens and $50-75 for adult cats. Elderly cats and ‘working’ cats (cats that aren’t social enough to live in your home, but who would be happy working as a barn cat or a property mouser) usually cost less than kittens or adult cats and might even be free. 

If you want to get a cat from a breeder, it’s probably going to be a lot more. The average cost of a cat from a breeder is about $1,000. However, some breeds might cost a little less or a little more on average. 

One way to make getting a cat from a breeder less expensive would be to adopt a retired Queen (female breeding cat) or a retired Tom (retired male breeding cat). These cats are usually only a few years old, so they still have long lives ahead of them, but they can be half to a quarter the price of a kitten from the same breeder. 

Why Are Shelter Cats So Expensive

Shelter cats are often seen as the less expensive alternative to cats from a breeder, but some people are offended or upset when they find out that there’s usually a fee for adopting a shelter cat. 

The truth is that adoptions have fees mainly to help cover the shelter’s costs. Almost all cats that are adopted from shelters have received veterinary care, and the shelter fixes many before being put up for adoption. 

Even in cases where the shelter doesn’t need to do much to get a cat ready for adoption, they still need food, a clean litterbox, toys, and other resources to help them stay healthy and happy. All those resources cost money, and adoption fees help the shelters pay to keep their animals. 

Why Are Kitten Prices So High

Kitten prices are higher than the prices for adult cats for a few reasons. But the biggest reason is that kittens are cuter than adult cats and tend to be more popular with adoptive families. 

That means that breeders and shelters can afford to charge more for kittens than other cats because there’s demand for kittens even at higher prices. 

Kittens also cost more because they’ll probably be with their new owners longer, which means a lot of people are willing to pay more for a kitten than an older cat, especially a senior cat. 

Why Do Cat Breeders Charge So Much

The cat breeder market is just like any other animal market. The biggest thing driving prices is demand. If cat breeders couldn’t consistently sell their kittens at current prices, the price would go down. 

But plenty of people are willing to pay a thousand dollars or more for a kitten that’s got a good genetic background, has been tested for severe diseases, and specifically socialized to be a pet. 

Of course, not all breeders breed to the same standard, but for high-quality breeders, the kittens usually come with enough perks and benefits, not to mention completed healthcare and quality socialization, to be worth the price. 

Are Purebred Cats More Expensive

Purebred cats are almost always more expensive than shelter cats or cats with no clear bloodline. However, the price difference between a purebred cat and a mixed-breed cat isn’t as big as between a purebred dog and a mutt. 

Partially, certain cats are intentionally cross-bred to produce certain traits, but a lot of it is because cats aren’t quite as popular as dogs and because there aren’t as many cat shows, and showing cats is less high pressure. 

That’s not to say that purebreds are less valuable or that showing cats is easy. It’s just that the market is very different, which means purebreds aren’t quite as much more valuable than other cats as purebred dogs compared with other dogs. 

Why Are Rehoming Fees So Expensive

One of the most significant factors behind rehoming fees is the cost to the shelter that has to rehome a cat. They need to pay for the cat’s food and care until they find a new home, and it usually takes longer to rehome an adult cat than to adopt out a kitten or a younger cat. 

Rehoming fees are also usually increased slightly to help encourage people to keep their pets or rehome them themselves if they need to give them away. 

Animal shelters want pet owners to take responsibility for their own animals and to avoid giving them up unless they can find a loving home to take them. 

Things To Consider

There are many ways to help mitigate the cost of getting a cat. For one thing, shelters often discount adult cats, senior cats, and cats with known disabilities or health problems. That’s because those cats are still perfectly adoptable pets but are usually less desirable than kittens. 

You can also watch for free adoption days and other opportunities to avoid adoption fees from a shelter. 

However, if you can’t afford the adoption fee for a cat, it’s important to think about whether you can afford to have a cat. It’s important to make sure you have money for cat food, vet expenses, cat toys, litter, and litter boxes before you bring a cat home.