The Cost of Owning a Cat in the UK 2020

The Cost of Owning a Cat: Initial Expenses

initial expenses of adopting a cat

Bringing a new cat home comes with a handful of one-time expenses you’ll want to keep in mind. The total for these one-time costs ranges from £350-£1,260 for most cat parents.

Let’s break these costs down: first up, adoption fees. When rehoming a rescue, the cost is usually in the ballpark of £70-£90, but can balloon up to £200 – £2,000 if you opt to get your cat from a responsible breeder. If your kitty isn’t spayed or neutered yet, keep in mind that those surgeries range in cost from £115- £450 for most cat parents.

Other essential one-time costs include getting your cat microchipped in case they ever get lost (average cost £20) and making sure they’re up to date on vaccinations, which typically cost on average £60. When you are rehoming from a reputable rescue centre, the cost of spaying/neutering, microchipping and vaccinations are usually included in the fee.

Next up: Essentials to help your new kitty feel at home and like part of the family. This typically includes a collar (£1-£30), bed (£10-£60), food (£10-£60), food and water bowls (£1-£30), litter box (£3-£40), litter (£3-£30), scratching post (£8-£100), and toys (£10-£200). You’ll also need a few extra items to keep your cat healthy and happy: a carrier to safely transport them (£10-£60), a brush to help with shedding and preventing mats (£3-£20). Nail trimmers (£4-£10) are available to buy in pet stores, but these are not usually needed for cats as they should be able to take care of their own nails. If trimming them is absolutely necessary, we would advise that this should be done at the vets.

The Cost of Owning a Cat: Annual Expenses

cost owning cat annual expenses

Once your cat is all settled in, it’s important to factor in the costs you can expect to pay every year. These costs usually add up to between £245-£710 annually for the average cat parent.

Let’s break these costs down: Annually, most cat parents spend between £60-£150 on dry food, but it can go up to £260 if you choose wet food instead. Litter is another essential for most cat parents, and it typically costs between £36-£120 a year to keep your cat’s bathroom fresh and clean. And while cats aren’t as prone to regularly destroying their toys like dogs, it’s important to keep them active and stimulated with new toys to hunt and play with. Cat toys cost anywhere from £10-£200 a year depending on how often you need to replace them.

Routine vet visits are essential for any pet parent, and cost the typical cat owner about £30 to £60 per year. You will also need to factor in flea and tick prevention (average £60-£120) as well as worm prevention (average£50-£60) costs.

The Cost of Owning a Cat: Additional Expenses

cost owning cat additional expenses

While these expenses may not come up for every pet parent, it’s important to keep surprise costs in mind, which can average between £555-£2,735 total.

Hopefully you’ll never need to make a trip to the emergency vet, but if you do the typical cost averages between £150-£2,000. If you have insurance, check whether you are covered for emergency visits. Teeth cleaning is another expense not every pet parent opts for, but if you decide to schedule a cleaning be prepared to pay anywhere from £100-£160, or even more.

Depending on your lifestyle and schedule, you may decide to book pet care for your cat. The nightly average for pet sitting comes in at £27.3. If you have a long-haired cat or breed with a coat that requires regular maintenance, this is one cost you’ll want to keep in mind: grooming. You will need to groom them every day but if you do need to go to a groomers, a typical appointment costs between £40-£80. For many cat parents, litter disposal systems have become indispensable. They’re a bit like diaper pails for cat litter, and are relatively inexpensive to purchase at about £65 on average.

Lastly, if you opt for pet insurance, it can cost anywhere from £170-£400 per year to keep your kitty covered. Pet insurance is a great way to give you peace of mind, ensuring your pet is covered when they need it most. When getting a cat for the first time, be sure to ask for a vet check, this will flag up any pre-existing conditions your new cat may possibly have. Pet insurance often won’t cover for pre-existing conditions so it is important to understand your cat’s health from the outset so there are no surprises later down the line. If you rehome from a reputable charity or buy from a responsible breeder, they will be happy to provide you with this.

The Cost of Owning a Cat: The RSPCA's advice

There are loads of amazing initiatives out there where you can raise funds for charities whilst taking care of your own pet. We are proud to say that when you book for the first time with Rover, they donate £1 to the RSPCA. Keep your eyes peeled for these, there are vets that donate to charity and products where a percentage of the sales is donated to charity. Check out the RSPCA Pet Insurance. For every policy sold, 15 percent of the price you pay goes directly to helping less fortunate animals.The best way perhaps is to adopt a rescue rather than buy from a breeder. That way you are helping two lives, the life of the cat you adopt and the life of the cat that can now be taken into the charity’s care.

“We would always encourage people to rehome a rescue pet where possible. There are some lovely cats waiting for their forever homes at the RSPCA and our centres and branches can help you find your perfect match. It is important that any prospective owner does their research before considering getting a pet and that they understand the true cost of owning a pet. We are a nation of animal lovers, but sadly every year we see animals abandoned perhaps because they have been bought on an impulse or because the owner’s circumstances have changed and they can no longer cope. It is great to see more people consider pet ownership this year, however with lifestyles potentially about to change as people return to work and school, and possible financial uncertainties ahead, it is more important than ever to understand the costs of pet ownership so owners are fully prepared to offer their cat everything they need.”

Jane Tyson, Scientific Officer – Companion Animals

rspca cost owning a dog

Learn More

10 Tips to Help You Become the Best Cat Owner Ever

Most humans find cats to be mysterious creatures. But believe it or not, it’s not that hard to make friends with a feline, if you know what to do! Here are ten important tips for new cat parents that will enhance the fluffy and wonderful journey ahead!

How Long Can You Leave a Cat Alone?

Cats have a reputation for being solitary creatures, but anyone who has one knows that’s not entirely true. Cats form strong bonds with their human and animal companions and can become distressed or lonely if left alone for too long. Read our guidelines on how long you can leave a cat alone at home.

Sources: RSPCA, Petsathome, Nutriment, Vetuk, Petplan.


Interested in learning more about services Rover provides?

Dog Boarding | Pet Sitting | Dog Walking | Doggy Day Care | House Sitting