From companionship to comforting purr, there are many benefits to owning a cat. But before you venture out and about to get one, consider the cost. Even the average moggie can save their owners thousands of pounds over the course of their lifetime.
What is the financial cost of owning a cat?
Unless you choose a rare breed, probably not as much as owning a dog. That is the good news. On the other hand, costs can go up.
There may be a purchase fee, plus vet bills, microchips, vaccinations, and you may have to pay to put a cat flap on your back door. Then you still have to feed everything and don’t forget the cat litter. None of these obligations need to break the bank, but they all contribute and must be considered as such.
Where do you get cats from and how much do they cost?
You can buy cats from registered breeders. Check out the governing bodies and organizations like The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, The International Cat Association, and Felis Britannica. A responsible breeder should keep a kitten in good health and ensure that it is not separated from its mother for at least eight weeks. Be wary of unscrupulous sellers. Last year a ban on the sale of puppies and kittens by third parties known as Lucy’s Law went into effect.
A kitten might cost you around £ 150, but breeds like Russian Blue, Maine Coon, and Norwegian Forest can cost 10 times the price. Exotic breeds like Bengal, Savannah, and Ashera can reach five-figure sums.
The cheaper alternative is takeover. Cat shelters are overcrowded in the UK and welcome responsible cat owners. They will ask for a donation, but the bonus is that your chosen cat is likely already neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. You also have the warm, cozy feeling of giving him a loving new home.
What are the initial costs to consider?
The cost includes your cat’s microchip, vaccination, and neutering, and you’ll need a few essentials like a cat bed / basket, food and water bowl, litter box, and a cat stretcher. If you don’t want the claws to rip furniture apart, a scratching post can be a handy investment, as well as a brush or comb for cleaning and even a few kitten toys. All in all, animal welfare organization PDSA estimates that this initial cost will set you back around £ 250.
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If you need a cat flap, you might be able to get a standard flap for just £ 10, but expect £ 50 or more for one with microchip sensors. The installation will likely double your cost, between £ 30 and £ 60 when built into a wooden door, but up to £ 300 for changing a double glazed panel.
What are the running costs of owning a cat?
After the initial setup, regular costs must be taken into account. This includes annual health checks and booster vaccinations, deworming and flea treatments, and cat food and litter. If you are going away you also need to factor in the cost of a pet sitter or cat breed of around £ 10 per day.
The PDSA estimates that caring for a cat costs about £ 70 a month, but the cost of vets or special diets could drive this up significantly. In the first case, you should also consider cat insurance.
What is cat insurance and how much does it cost?
Cat insurance can save you a large veterinary bill in the event of illness or injury. Pedigree cats are more prone to congenital and hereditary diseases, but there is also a risk of loss or theft.
While bills vary, a respiratory problem could cost £ 480 and removal of a tumor could cost around £ 600. According to the latest figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the average pet insurance damage in 2020 was £ 817.
There are different types of insurance, ranging from accident-only to annual and life insurance. Accident-only coverage is the cheapest, although according to the What? 70 percent of all animal insurance claims relate to illness rather than accidents.
The ABI sets the average annual pet insurance premium at £ 271, but cat insurance can start at around £ 80 per year. However, it is worth noting what is covered. For example, the insurance usually does not cover regular treatments such as vaccinations, wormer treatments, flea treatments and castration.
How much will you spend on your cat in the course of its lifetime?
A final expense is what happens when your beloved feline companion dies.
The cost of cremating cats varies, but if you want the ashes returned after a private ceremony it will be more expensive. The cost ranges from £ 50 to £ 300 according to the Money Advice Service. Your veterinarian should be able to help prepare.
In summary, Battersea Cats & Dogs Home estimates that owning a cat costs around £ 1,000 a year. In addition, a cat usually lives around 18 years. So that’s £ 18,000 worth of feline support to find in exchange for tons of fun and loving memories. Hopefully owning a cat is worth every penny.