Whether you are adopting a kitten from a local shelter or are buying one from a breeder, kittens cost money - a lot. In this blog post, we not only break down the costs of raising a kitten starting right from birth until they are grown, we also show you handy saving tricks that we gathered throughout the years. We wished we would have known these tricks from the start and they will definitely help you avoid some extra costs, so make sure you read on.
Note: The post is structured chronically, so if you are owning a kitten that is 3 months old, you can gladly scroll down and proceed from there.
Overview of expenses for your kitten
Before we jump into the actual calculation of expenses according to the age of your kitten, we will quickly summarize the type of expenses you need to be aware of. How much the following expenses fall into account is completely up to you:
The costs of your kitten in the first 4 weeks
Kittens are very susceptible to infections and illnesses at the beginning of their lives. It takes around 4-6 weeks for the kitten to become fairly independent from its mother, so you need to be extremely careful during these times.
The main costs that you will have to take care of are for regular visits to your trusted vet, a microchip identification and a pet license. Food barely falls into account as your tiny kitten won't consume substantial amounts of milk.
During these weeks, calculate with around $400 to $600 USD. This should definitely be enough to cover the regular costs and leaves enough room for emergency treatments of illnesses, should they occur.
Saving advise: Ill cats are expensive cats. As mentioned above, small kittens are very susceptible to illnesses at their early stage of life, so make sure to protect it from catching a flu by regulating the temperature accordingly:
Note: Usually, you should never encounter a situation where you need to take care of a kitten that is so young as an individual! We simply added the information to make this a complete guide.
TOTAL COSTS so far: $400 to $600 USD.
The costs of your kitten from 1 to 3 months
Now, as your kitten is growing older, its behavior changes dramatically - mostly to the better! This is the time when the fun comes in: Your kitten will start to explore everything it can, climb up walls, furniture and even you!
During these times, your kitten has its most playful time considering its whole life. Enjoy this time to the fullest and have fun with your kitty!
When it comes to the money, your kitten needs a bigger bed, its first bowls of foods and its first few toys. These things are not expensive individually, but they are going to fall account in total! This is mostly due to the fun you are going to have with your tiny little feline.
Mind that you probably will return from the pet store with heaps of stuff that you didn't want to buy. That's normal. Calculate around $100 to $200 USD for all these accessories.
Also, as the number of visits to your vet will steadily decrease over time, we suggest you plan less money than before. A total budget of $100 USD should be sufficient.
Saving advise: Plan ahead! Most of the time, you can get extremely cheap cat toys and gadgets from China. Big brands simply buy these in bulk and put up a bigger price so they can make a profit, but you can outsmart them by simply buying the toys 4 weeks ahead so they arrive just in time when your kitty gets playful!
Is your kitty continuously scratching and chewing its new bed? Does it looks like it won't last a lifetime? Go up and buy a new one from China for $10 USD. It will probably arrive at your doorstep in the exact moment your kitty tears the old bed apart.
TOTAL COSTS so far: $600 to $800 USD.
The costs of your kitten from 3 to 6 months
Just like human beings, kittens do teeth. Usually, this is just a short phase without any issues, but sometimes kittens do have discomfort due to swelling gums. If you spot your kitten chewing slower than usual, inspect said gums for redness and swellings. A costly trip to the vet will have to be done if you find any of these signs. Plan $100 USD for a vet visit into your budget just to be on the safe side.
After your kitten has her new teeth, it will want to try them out! Prepare for extra chews on literally everything - even yourself! Plan ahead and buy some kitten chew toys. If you don't invest this money into some toys, you may need new furniture, which is exponentially more expensive of course. Set aside around $50 USD for heaps of toys and chewing gadgets.
In addition to that, you need to start asking yourself the question whether you want 8 more kittens in your home. Do you? Because if not and you haven't done it before, it is now the time to spay or neuter your kitten. This will cost up to $200 USD, so be prepared.
Saving advise: Monthly cat food costs will keep on increasing during this time. Plan ahead and figure out your cat's favorite food as soon as you can. Create a diet consisting of that food and stick to it. Otherwise, food that you will constantly throw away because it is left over or was not eaten by your kitten at all can cost you up to $50 USD per month.
TOTAL costs so far: $1000-$1300 USD.
The costs of your kitten from 6 to 12 months
By this time, you will realize that your kitten is growing into a mature cat with more muscles, thicker bone structure and an overall older appearance. Big costs like neutering, chip inspection and maybe teething infections are off the table, so there are no major expenses anymore that you need to worry about at this stage.
One thing you could start to look into is a pet insurance (Click here if you are unfamiliar with that). These usually save you a lot of nerves and can also be super helpful financially if your cat suffers from a serios disease or injury. Cat insurance can cost up to $40 USD a month covering all sorts of incidents, so choose wisely.
In addition to that, your kitten is now consuming regular amounts of food, so you should be calculating between $70-$100 USD per month for that. When choosing the brand and type of food, we recommend one trial week where you put everything on the table you can find. Your cat can communicate well with you and it will signal you which food it prefers.
Moreover, as your cat is a grownup now, it needs mature sizes for everything. Scratching trees, litter boxes and cat beds should all be decently sized, so you probably need to buy a few items again or for the very first time. Please plan with at least $100-$200 USD because you won't want to save a few bucks at a cost of your cat tearing the scratching tree apart within a week.
Another thing that you may take into consideration will be your obsession with all sorts of feline accessories for yourself. T-Shirts, cups, jewelry, wall stickers... your eyes will probably start to lid up when seeing these products with a cat on them. Personally, we think it's a great idea to express one's love for cats this way. We think it's very well invested money and occasionally, we treat ourselves with some jewelry pieces from KittySensations.
We advise you calculate $10-$20 USD per month for these kinds of products. It heavily depends on the individual, but we love getting ourselves a new accessory with tiny little kittens on it every now and then.
TOTAL COSTS AFTER 12 MONTHS: $1500-$2500 USD.
The costs of a grown cat
After the first 12 months, it will get a little bit cheaper. You probably realized that a lot of the expenses for a kitten will not continue to come up. We generally would advise a budget of around $1000 USD per year to keep your cat healthy and happy. With that kind of budget, you will also have enough room to treat yourself with some awesome cat shirts or similar items.
This video wraps up the yearly costs of cats pretty well:
Depending on your purchase behavior, the food of your kitten, the possibility of unplanned vet visits (and so much more), having a kitten can cost you up to $2500 USD in the first 12 months. For a short and concise overview, we found the following infographic by TailSmart to be very helpful. The blog post continues afterwards.
If you are not that much into cat accessories or thinking about training your cat to be a home cat, which would make the insurance pretty much obsolete, you will still need at least $1500 USD in the first year.
We have risen up 3 kittens on our own and know how big these numbers may seem, but please believe us and calculate your budgets accordingly. There are way too many shelters being full of abandoned kittens, so the best thing you can do if you are not willing to spend that amount of money for a cat is not getting one in the first place.
If you do however agree that the value of a kitten at home outweighs the financial expenses by a huge amount and that they are the cutest beings in the world, then we wish you all the best wish your kitten! Raising a tiny feline into a grownup is a wonderful, life changing experience and we sincerely hope that you will have this opportunity.
This wraps up our blog post about the costs of raising a kitten. We hope you enjoyed it and if you want, you can tell us about your experience and stories down below in the comment section! As always, stick around for more blog posts and share this post on Social Media - it helps a lot.
Thank you for being with us and we wish you a great time,
Nicole and Robert