How much do you spend on your pets?

My household plans to get cats in the coming year, and we are frantically researching the cost, as we plan to really scale back our income at the same time.

What do you spend on the pets you have? For medical? Toys? Food? Accessories/other? And what of that do you feel is “required” spending vs optional?


Making myself a note here to break out expenses for disgustingly healthy 14 year old girl cat versus the relatively expensive diabetic Mr. obnoxious.Should you feel the need to know, though, insulin for a 10 pound cat runs about 90 bucks every six weeks. It could be done cheaper if I was willing to draw into a syringe every single time, but I buy the slightly more expensive insulin pen instead.


Toys are the least necessary for cats (Just buy a dollar store pack of hair ties and that will keep many cats going for like…5 years) but are the most fun to buy, but also the least expensive :joy:


Agreed.Cats mostly like to play with wads of paper, or hickory nuts, Are the little plastic rings of milk jugs.


Typically I do
Adoption fee (0-200)
One panic vet visit the first time something wrong happens (200-5000 OR insurance 38/month plus 100 deductible if they get sick)
Annual visits and shots every 2-3 years (1-200)
Monthly expensive food and litter 100ish
Impulse toys and garbage to play with plus a treat at Christmas 20 per year max
Scratching surface of their preference, usually 75 once, but this jerk likes cardboard so 10/ year
Previous cats ruined shit by scratching, this one does it by peeing when traumatized - ruined shit can be assumed to be 500/cat lifetime unless you buy expensive shit
Feliway/rescue remedy/nature’s miracle when issues happen 10/year when I had less money, now magically I spend like 50/incident (three incidents in 5 years)
Harness and leash and cage and litterbox under 100 initial cost
End of life looks like around 500 in my area

This provides a very good life for a cat. No one has every accused me of feline neglect.


Two cats who are reasonably healthy (though one getting kidney disease, which is very common in older cats):

Up front costs of food/water bowls, litter boxes (1+ per cat) and scoops, some toys, travel carriers. Varies depending on your level of fancy, but for me it was ~$100 total.

$30-50/mo for litter and high quality food, expecting to be closer to the $50 mark now with special kidney food).

$100-200/year per cat in routine veterinary visits. Rates vary by geography.

$500/every 5 years or so per cat for dental cleanings.

Other cat health issues have been from $0-$1,000 in a year. These vary and have been unlikely in any given year.

I draw the line of treatment/non-treatment much closer to the non-treatment side for severe health issues like cancer.


Re: toys, they’re so cute wrasslin with a big ol plushy fish tho!

I think our costs went something like this:

  • Food and litter, ~100/mo for 2 cats. Half wet food.
  • Routine vet: ~$50/cat/visit I think yearly? They did follow ups (dental check, booster shot) for free. Someone tell me if we are overpaying or need to go in biannually.
  • Dental for adult cat: about $1k. Likely due to life as a stray/at shelter/malnourishment but may also be genetics.
  • Pet deposits (don’t apply to you…): $500 (250/cat, but no pet rent!)
  • Startup/“infrastructure”: cat tree, litterboxes+enclosures, carriers, scratching post(s): oh, gosh. Maybe $500, give or take 100? Some of this is optional/situational. Eg we got nice furniture-looking litterbox enclosures due to apartment layout and our aesthetics. You might put an open box in basement/laundry or be ok with a plastic thing sitting out. I believe a tree is strongly recommended so they have something to climb that isn’t bookshelves, etc (they will still climb bookshelves, etc) Exhibit A:
  • Misc: Feliway ~$30/mo, Flea Meds That One Time $50 (not required for indoor cats with no outdoor contact), cardboard scratchers: $10 occasionally.

Total: probably $150/mo in required costs ongoing. Occasionally drop a big bill on you. So far similar to our car, but more cuddly.


Oh yea, I should say dora is very much an indoor cat so we’ve never had this expense. We live in a third story city apartment with no outdoor access, no feliway for her :joy:

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Yeah, we were advised to use flea meds once when we just got Floof from the foster, which had outdoor cats.

Feliway seems to cut down on bad moods/hissing/fighting/stress. I think Floof benefited from it even alone, but Goof wouldn’t have needed it by herself…

We did find the flea meds fight every summer. Girl cat is cheap, uses the over-the-counter stuff from the dollar store. Mr. obnoxious? He’s developing skin allergies and can’t tolerate much of anything at all anymore. No clue what we’re going to do for him next summer, but I expect it will be expensive. I just hope it’s expensive and works as opposed to expensive and doesn’t.

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Just chiming in to add that I have found it worth it to spend $ on high quality pet food. Felt like it saved a ton in vet bills over the years.

Also re: pet insurance, do your research. If you are disciplined it might be worth it to just set those funds aside.

1500 a year while animal is young, up to 3000 in later years depending on conditions.


Luigi lives a charmed life, but a relatively cheap one.

$22/year microchip info up to date
$50/ year on toys/treats/clothes (he’s very gentle on his toys and not super into them so this is cheaper than average)
$150/year on dog food (we bounce between Purina One Savor and Hill’s Senior diet)
We expect around $500/year for dentals/ emergency visits
$150/ year for routine vet visits- shots, blood work, heartworm/flea/tick preventative (low because of husband being vet)

Initial costs with Luigi were low because we got a bunch of stuff for free from the shelter when we adopted him. He cost us a whopping $10 and we got a leash, a dog crate, bag of food and a dog bed. We don’t do doggie daycare or walking services and can usually get family to pet sit for free. We never bothered with insurance, but have around $20k that is mentally earmarked for him if we needed to do some sort of above and beyond sort of medical care.


They sell flea meds at the dollar store!? I feel like I wouldn’t trust it… I picked up Frontline or the other big one at the pet store…

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Tallied up my spreadsheet andI spent 4788.75 on my cat this year. This was not a normal year, my cat needed to have a weekend surgery for a blocked urethra. Evidently this is problem is common in male cats, but the surgery a bit less common for a first occurrence. Surgery totaled 33817.11, normal expenses were 971.64. Normal expenses include food, litter, vet appointments, feliway, etc. He now eats prescription food and I had just re-upped on his previous food when we made the switch. Luckily the prescription food is about the same cost as the previous food.


Dollar general, not Dollar Tree. It was frontline.

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My current pets are 2 snakes (colubrids, which thrive in dry environments and have pretty easy environmental needs to satisfy; a tropical snake would be more money and time intensive in my dry environment) and about a dozen fish of various kinds.

They snakes are very low-maintenance. I have to buy a bag of substrate (aspen shavings) every few months, and the cost can vary from $10-$40 per bag depending on who knows what. I could probably replace this with shredded newspaper if I took the time, but I’m worried about whether the ink will hurt them?

I also have to buy a bag of mice about once a year for abooout $100 I want to say.

So the total cost per-snake is about $7 a month. There was the up-front cost of purchasing tanks, heat mats, heat lamps, and hides, but the heating equipment is really the only thing it’s not incredibly easy to find used at way under market price. I spent less than $100 for all the “housing” stuff.

My fish I’m less aware of the price of. We need to buy a $15 bottle of chemicals probably less than once a year, a $10 bag of food every couple months. It could increase water bills, but we use drained-out water to water plants instead of using fresh water so we don’t really increase our water bill.


Dog. Pure bred puppy. Breed can have health problems, so getting a puppy (which I wanted so I could train her and have her a long life with kid(s), my last was a rescue), it was important to me to go with a breeder who focuses on improving health in the breed and has a long history of good animals. As a result; $1500 to purchase said pup.

Said pup had a medical crisis when 4 months old (play accident, she was crushed and her lungs were bruised), that ran us like $3500 by the time all was said and done.

Now on to more normal costs. I honestly don’t know what her food costs are, since we feed her modified people food. Before the baby was eating like a human, we would make her food. But since it was from the grocery budget, I never separated it out. And now she gets the babies leavings. So it’s really hard for me to say how much her food costs. I would ballpark somewhere between 30 and $60 a month I guess? She’s a small breed, so she doesn’t eat a ton. And at this point, it’s actually cheaper than that because the food would be going to the compost. We would not be using lightly baby licked food. :rofl: yum.

We don’t really buy any toys for her. We got a bunch of random ones from by nothing project at one point, some from our building lobby at one point, and we have ones left over from our last dog. We are also occasionally given some at the holidays by relatives.

We get her choose, because she’s a chewer. Those out up somewhat. Are usually try to buy them around the Black Friday sales. We like to give her bully sticks and bully breeds. I would guess those amount to something like $50-$100 a year?

Vet costs are the biggie. I’m a firm believer in regular check ups for pets. So we take her to the vet for a yearly exam as recommended. Our vet likes to do bloodwork and intestinal parasite checks and stuff once every two years. We had that this year, so that along with her heartworm medication and stuff was a little over $700. I think the non-testing year or it’s like 250. So just normal health maintenance averages to something like four or $500 a year.
We also had her fixed last year, and I think that was like $900 between that and a dental cleaning. Obviously the spay is a one time cost ha ha. But you need to do dental cleaning on dogs every couple years. I think that’s a couple hundred bucks each time since they have to be put under for it.

Oh yeah! We also did training classes when she was younger. We did a puppy class that I think was a couple hundred dollars, I don’t remember. And then we did one higher level class than that which was a similar price. I just don’t remember exactly how much that was. But I do know the good trainers rightfully cost a decent bit of money. I didn’t want to go to one of the crappy pet shop mass classes with someone unqualified that use negative reinforcement. So we went to good local operations, and those cost more.

A.k.a., pets are very expensive family members :laughing:

Oh I thought of even more expenses. Every couple months we go and have someone else clip her nails. She’s an absolute demon about foot handling, and I just don’t wanna deal with it. :joy: The big stores have reputations for really poor animal husbandry, and I like to keep my money local. So I go to a local lady’s shop for that. With tip, it’s 18 bucks each time.


My cats are strictly indoors, and we just had a round of fleas. I dunno how - it’s December and we take our shoes off at the door. I think it depends on where you live and how ferocious the fleas are.

Set up costs are… whatever you want. I just bought 2 new litter boxes because of moving, and they were $10 each. I’ve had our carriers forever and I’m pretty sure they were from a yard sale originally.

Our current cats are pretty old and eat special sensitive skin and stomach food which is the same exorbitant price no matter where I get it, so probably $150 for that and litter every month.

Vet visit every year - $200.
They’ve both had dental work done at $1000/pop.

I don’t think either of these have had any emergency vet care, but a previous cat had MANY trips to the vet, some of which the vet took photos of so he could write up a case study. That was the world’s most expensive free cat.

I am pretty conservative about vet care. I won’t be taking them for chemo or kidney transplants, but some people feel differently about that.

We have a cat tree. That was about $100. We have a cardboard cat house from Aldi. That was $10.


Oh, fish. Add in the cost of some kind of cat-proofing for the top of the fish tank. Screen wire or heavy hardware cloth should do.


Yeah, I have that already sorted because… yeah. I can see cat going “ooh fishy I eat”