What do you spend on your cat(s)?

We adopted 2 kittens last August - they are ELEVEN months old today, how did that happen? I try to be frugal and try not to buy things for them that are not absolutely needs, because it’s easy to get carried away with toys and fun stuff like that. (Girl Kitty does have a highly preferred type of fuzzy mousie that she destroys fairly often so I replace those frequently; they’re like $5 for a 3-pack though so that’s not too bad.)

I don’t want to skimp on the quality of their food, so they eat Wellness and Blue Buffalo wet food and Whole Earth dry food. They’re doing really well on both so I hesitate to change them to something cheaper. I order the food and huge things of cat litter (which as a non-car-owner is SO amazing, to not have to haul litter home on public transport!) from chewy.com on autoship. I’m spending $84/month on this. I also spend usually around another $20 at Petsmart for the Blue Buffalo canned food because it’s cheaper there than at Chewy for some reason.

So, monthly expenses have been:
$104 food/litter

$46 every 3 months for their Revolution - they had a serious flea problem when we got them and the vet wants them on Revolution for a full year (that started in September). I get a $15 rebate every time I buy it, which goes on a card that I can only use at the vet.

$20/month Feliway - oops, forgot about this and noticed last night that the diffuser had run dry and had gotten very hot so had to order more. I am uncertain whether I should continue using it. We’ve used it since we got them and they’ve never been without it so I don’t know whether they’d develop behavior issues or inter-cat conflict without it. Honestly, I’m afraid to try; Boy Kitty tends to be sensitive and easily stressed and I don’t want him to start stress-peeing everywhere or develop stress-related UTI or anything.

Toys/non-needs: Varies, no more than $5-$10 per month. Other than Girl Kitty’s mousies, they’re perfectly happy to play with boxes, paper grocery bags, packing paper, crumped up receipts, etc.

Vet bills: this varies wildly, it’s been anywhere from $0 to more than $1,000 in a month (I include the cost of Lyfts or Zipcars in that figure because we don’t have a car and no public transport goes to our vet). They were sickly when we got them and had many ER runs as of course we’d only come home to/wake up to a struggling obviously unwell kitten outside of regular vet hours! Now they’re mostly healthy but Boy Kitten caught giardia last month which meant repeated $$$ poo sample testing and meds for both of them as every animal in the house needs treated because contagious.

This seems obscene to me. But I’m not sure how to get it down. I signed up for coupons on the food manufacturer’s websites and now and then that’ll get me a few free cans of food. I get reward points at Petsmart, and the other day I got an email offer for a free can of food at Petco so I went there though it’s out of my way.

Things I could be doing better:

I have two separate autoships going at Chewy, one for wet food and litter, and one for dry food. I have to pay shipping on the dry food because it’s not enough of a spend to qualify for free shipping - so I could synch those up and save $5 per month in shipping. But then I’ve got a bag of dry food sitting around for a while as they’re still eating off the old one.

I’ve considered doing more of the shopping at Petsmart for the reward points that I can cash in. That may be a wash, though, once I factor in the chewy.com autoship discount, though. Have to do math. And, honestly, it would be a huge PITA to have to haul large things of cat litter and wet food home on foot or on the bus. I do realize I’m paying for the convenience. And Petsmart doesn’t carry their dry food, so I’d have to find a source for that.

Anyway, curious whether my spending is in fact as obscene as it feels, or whether this is just what kittens cost. I should note that Boyfriend reimburses me for half of what I spend.

Here are the little money pits:


Over the last 12 months I have spent, averaged per month (cats only):

~35 food/litter (Natural Balance wet & dry from Chewy)
~30 wellness (no emergency visits)
~10 toys/supplies

I used Feliway when I first brought them home (I had used it in the past when introducing other animals into the household) but only for one refill worth. They’ve been fine without it.

We don’t do flea control as it has not seemed to be a problem.

The toys tend to be one big thing every few months (I need a new small scratching post I think because they destroyed the last one and were pulling off and eating the rope, for example). They have tons of toys, some are old ones from my previous cats, I just rotate through them, pulling them out of the closet after a few months makes them “like new” again. Storing some in a container of catnip also makes older toys “exciting” again.

I never pay for shipping with Chewy. Part of this is the fact that I also get Doggo’s stuff through them, so my orders are usually close to the free shipping level anyway, sometimes I need extra dollars to get to that level based on the timing, so I add canned food or dry food to push it over the limit. I use autoship, and you can add or delete items from it on an ad hoc basis whenever you want (I have two autoships actually, one with Doggo’s kibble and one for cats, but I add/subtract extra stuff, mostly cans, to them all the time). I buy 15lb bags of dry kibble (the largest size) and it lasts around 70 days. Keeping an unopened bag of food for a month or two is fine if you have a spot you can stash it (I use a cupboard in another room, it isn’t even in the kitchen). It isn’t going to go bad, and it won’t go stale unless you open it. I occasionally will buy food from PetCo or Petsmart, but only if it is on sale and cheaper than Chewy (which is almost never), and I have a car, so it is no big deal to get. I would be fine only using Chewy.

Vet will go up some this year - the Majestic Derp has extra teeth and will need them extracted (we decided to wait and see but his gums are red, so they are an issue). We have some tooth brushing supplies but right now it’s a big enough deal to try to get Doggo to let me do hers so the cats are only getting it occasionally (and only Majestic Derp, the Ninja won’t let me, but at least she appears to have better genetics for dental health).

Your costs do not seem crazy, although I would definitely work Chewy to always get free shipping, even though it means juggling things on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.

ETA: you might be able to get the Revolution cheaper from Chewy or PetMeds, it’s worth taking a look anyway. Doggo takes Interceptor Plus (heartworm +) and it is cheaper to get it through Chewy than my vet. Just need to get a written prescription from the vet, plan in advance, it takes around a week to get meds from Chewy (they need the actual (physical) prescription and verify it so it takes longer than other stuff to ship).


Um, holy shit. I am being ROBBED. My vet’s charging me $138 for 6 doses of Revolution. It’s $87.99 on Chewy. Well, that’s one problem solved. My vet didn’t have a problem with me ordering my last cat’s prescription food online and was happy to give me a physical prescription for it, so I’m assuming that’ll be the case with this as well.

Thank you! I don’t know why I didn’t think to do this.

I probably will throw in the dry food next time I have to order the wet + litter. I’ll literally have to store it in the basement, though, not in the apartment, as they will relentlessly attack doors to get at their beloved crunchies. Ask me how I know. And if it’s in the basement I worry about critters getting at it. Maybe I can seal it up in a huge ziplock or a rubbermaid container or similar?

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My expenses for Cat for 2015-2018 (ages 8 to 11), including the Very Fucking Massive Vet Bills for her end-of-life care in 2018:

2018: $7442.76, or $620.23/month (over 6k of this was end-of-life care)
2017: $2347.89, or $195.65
2016: $1449.93, or $120.82
2015: $1824.00, $152.00

Cat ate Royal Canin dry food (would not touch the wet stuff) and we used crystal litter; I got both from Petsmart, since I have a car and the store is close to my house. Chewy would have been more expensive at that point. We only had two felt ribbon toys, plus a rotating cast of cardboard boxes, because she mostly was a cranky snuggler.

The changes in her costs are mostly attributable to varying vet costs – she needed a tooth removed in 2015, for example; in 2017 she managed to pull out some claws and we took her to the ER vet to make sure that her bloody paw that she wouldn’t let me touch was just bloody and not seriously damaged. And 2018, well, yeah.


We picked up our kitty off the street, so his first year was expensive due to medical bills (he had worms, fleas, wasn’t fixed or vaccinated, etc.). Now the costs are really low:

Litter is $15.89 for a 42 pound bag.
Food is $24.39 for a 25 pound bag.

I buy everything kitty related from Costco and don’t get the fancy stuff. He only eats dry kitty food so that makes it even cheaper. I know it’s kind of considered a no-no nowadays, but I’ve had lots of animals and they always lived a super long time. When I first got kitten I was told to do the whole dry food and wet food thing, super expensive brands, and kitten’s poos were SO over the top smelly and gross and he started packing on the pounds and just didn’t seem like he felt good. I went with my gut and started buying the cheap dry stuff (like I had with other cats) and it cleared up completely. He just had a checkup and everything looks good! We play with him a lot, every day, and I think that helps too.

My parents usually get him toys for fun, and he loves to play with strings and paper, so I don’t spend much on that. We will probably have to get his teeth cleaned soon, so that’ll probably be pretty pricey.


My cat is not cheap but that’s life. She used to be cheaper. C’est la vie. :wink:
Current costs–
Food: 30~$ month (prescription)
Meds: 40~$ month
Vet: ??? Well see now. We had about 2,200$ of costs over 6 mo as we figured a few things out. Hopefully this will have stabilized now.

The reality of being responsible for the comfort and health of another creature can be expensive.
They are good monsters though. :heart:


Hmm, yeah, I’m not comfortable going dry food only. I’ve never had a cat do well on it - on the contrary, changing a past cat to wet only solved his chronic urinary issues and I was able to get him off of the $$$ prescription food. My last cat, who we adopted when she was 15 and set in her ways, wouldn’t touch wet food and she developed kidney disease. The vet said moisture in the food helps with their peeing/kidneys. I do agree with you that particularly the fishy flavors of wet food, which my cats prefer result in some epic stinky poo!

But, they are all different. If I had girls only I would at least consider dry food. But I don’t want to ever have to rush Boy Kitty to the ER because he’s blocked and can’t pee. (Yes, I know that can still happen but if I can do something to help his chances, I will.)


I’m facing the same situation as I just added two cats (had two previously) when a friend passed away. I’m planning on raising their budget to $150/month (plus a vet fund of $1500 and growing). They eat Halo dry food and Petco’s Wholehearted brand of wet food. I use the unscented bulk litter at Petco ($10 for 30 lbs?). Together they are three girls (ages 9, 9, and 10) and a boy (11 months), so costs will probably go up as the girls age. I just paid for a dental bill (3 extractions) at $655 and everyone comes due for shots in January. So, yeah, my proposed budget might not be enough…


Yeah, I really should’ve saved up a vet fund before I got these guys, but it has been just one damned thing after another. I’m having a hard time finding money in the budget for vet savings, though I do have a decently sized efund. I feel better having a separate “vet” fund though, because in my mind the efund is for paying rent during job loss or disability, or for paying for catastrophic medical bills, etc.

It’s good to hear that you folks aren’t saying I’m being extravagant. Someone over at MMM made a comment on my exorbitant vet spending and I was like, uh? What’s the other option, let them suffer and die? Not take 3-month-old kittens who are not eating and are lethargic and having trouble breathing to the ER? Not bring in a poo sample when Boy Kitty suddenly has explosive farty diarrhea out of nowhere, not treat them both when directed to do so when he comes up positive for parasites, and not bring in MORE poo samples after to verify that it’s gone? (Girl Kitty never did test positive, which I don’t really get because they use the same boxes and, ahem, lick one another EVERYWHERE, but I trust my vet and wasn’t going to blow off recommended treatment.)


Ahhhhh that photo is soooo cuddly!

Your spending should even out a little bit once they’re past the high-frequency kitten visits and ailments.

My cats have all lived past 20 and my dog is now 18 so I do have a few years for each of them where geriatric needs are more expensive, but overall my averaged spending per pet in the last 25 years has been a little over $80/month. Of note, I worked in a veterinary clinic for 14 years and that spending includes my discount (no freebies except for the occasional expired shampoo).

My current cat’s food is about $60/month; litter $20/month; I’m still working through a supply of Advantage flea prevention I bought several years ago; and maybe once a year I need a refill of the Comfort Zone version of Feliway (when we are petsitting). Toys and catnip maybe $20/year now that I know his personality - it was definitely higher the first year I had him.


I paid bought through the vet for an entire year before thinking to check. Part of it was because I had checked some pharmacy prescriptions elsewhere, and there was very little difference. There was a pretty big difference with Interceptor Plus though. Maybe it is the “products” rather than the “medications” that there is a big markup, IDK. Don’t beat yourself up, we’ve all been there.


I have pet insurance.
$50/month, good coverage.

Dry food, performatrin something hippy and grain free $26/3 months
Wet food $3/week
Pine kitty litter I think is around 30 for 3 months worth? You onky change it once a month and I flush the scooped bits


Other people buy him many toys, I buy about $5 worth a year.

And he’s almost done the treats smacky bought him 18 months ago. I will buy more, because they help with door dashing


Hm, if it has to be stored in the basement I guess I would want it to be in a very secure plastic rubbermaid type thing, to avoid other animals potentially getting into it. Or else just go the wet food route, since it would be fine in the basement unsecured, if the cost at Chewy is only a tad more than Petsmart.

Also - You can put meds on autoship also (mine are on 6 month autoship), although you need a new written prescription once a year I believe. That way you can get the autoship discount too (I think it gets the autoship discount - I have to combine it with food to get over $50, but even though they get shipped separately (because pharmacy stuff gets shipped from a separate location) I still get free shipping and I think the discount on both).


Oh yeah, I wasn’t trying to be prescriptive. You should do whatever works! Kitty does get some moisture from canned tuna, which he gets a couple of times a month :slight_smile: he also drinks SO MUCH water. He loves sitting on the edge of the bathroom sink and sipping straight from the faucet, like a damn king.


Hahaha, the Ninja does this too.


Maybe move the wet + litter to the dry instead, since they won’t be hurt by storage?

We have 2 cats, they eat mostly dry food from Costco, $20/month. Litter is also Costco and $5/month. They get a little wet food as a treat $3/month. They get Aldi boxes and papers tied to strings to play with. (Knock wood), they get their yearly check ups for $54 each for the year, $9/month. And they get flea/tick meds in the spring/summer, that averages out to $10/month.

So I get $50/month. I’d say they’re worth it. I never added it up, thanks for the impetus.


Hmmm our cat cost £50 to adopt plus taxi home. She goes through 8kg of diet food every 3 months at a cost of £50 plus £15 per month for the vet to cover checkups, flea and worm meds plus yearly vaccination and £11 per month on pet insurance. We bought her a scratching bed for £10 but she now uses a scratching tower we found in the street. We recently bought her a fountain because she needed to drink more water and we also bought a cat door (about £100 with installation) and feeder (£60). The feeder means we don’t need someone to come in and feed her when we’re away but obviously we’re not monsters and get housesitters if possible or people to check on her if not. We got rid of her litter tray so she now goes outside for free.

In the UK there seems to be a “cats must go outdoors!” (in general, not just for the toilet) ethos but in the US it seems like a lot of people oppose letting cats outdoors?


In urban areas in the US (at least all that I’ve lived in), indoor/outdoor cats are frowned upon partly for their safety (disease, hit by cars), partly for bird/bat safety, and partly due to being perceived as a nuisance in other people’s yards. I think in general a lot of urban/suburban people are very proprietary about their yards now compared to when I was a kid and all the yards were fair game for play as long as we weren’t ruining flowers, etc.

The cat I have now is the only cat I’ve had that is strictly indoors. My previous cats have gone outside with varying levels of supervision.


That’s definitely true! I had to sign something when I adopted my cats, saying that I would never let them outside. If I hadn’t signed, I would not have been allowed to adopt them. Meanwhile, I follow the Facebook page of a cat cafe in London that we visited last year, and they were posting about this issue. Apparently over there, you all can get denied adoption if you DON’T have a way of giving your cat access to the outdoors?

That’s so strange to me. I would never let my cats outside regardless of whether I signed anything. At least, not where I live, in a big city. Too much traffic. Rat poison in the alleys (sometimes left intentionally by people who want to kill off the feral cats :frowning: ). People shooting cats with pellet guns. It just seems so unsafe to me.

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