The actual cost of owning a cat

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A cat with the best pet insurance cuddles in her owners arms.

By: Dr. Jane Matheys
Associate Veterinarian
The Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital
For Pets Best Insurance

Cats can make wonderful pets for many people and, in fact, pet cats in the US now outnumber pet dogs, making cats the most popular pets, which is likely why cat insurance has become so popular. While the cost of owning a cat is much less than that of a dog, there is still significant cost and it is most likely much more than the average pet owner thinks.

There is truly no such thing as a “free” kitten. Being a responsible owner of a cat carries with it certain financial obligations. Cost does matter and directly influences both the type and the quality of care that a cat will receive. Each day animals are denied basic care and veterinary treatment because of the failure of owners to recognize that pets cost money. No pet should suffer because of poor financial planning and lack of commitment of the owner. It is essential to consider the expense of owning a cat before adopting one of these beautiful creatures. Researching the best pet insurance options for your cat is also a good idea. Having cat insurance may ultimately help you afford the best possible care.

The first year of a cat’s life can be one of the most expensive, depending upon how you obtain the cat. Pure-bred cats vary in price range from $300-$1,000. Shelter cats are usually around $50-$150. Both costs may sound expensive compared to getting a “free” cat, but most shelters and some breeders have already paid to neuter/spay, vaccinate, deworm and microchip the cat, so the initial cost isn’t expensive when you compare it to paying out of your own pocket for all those services performed on the kitten you got from a friend or relative. Additional initial cost items include supplies such as food and water bowls, litter boxes, grooming supplies, cat carriers, scratching posts and toys. These first year costs may add up to an average ranging from about $900 to $1500.

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After the first year, the average yearly cost of owning a cat is estimated to be $1,320. This includes items such as food, cat litter, and annual veterinary check ups. These costs generally increase in older cats due to additional medical costs to treat conditions which may develop as cats age. If you consider that the average lifespan of a cat is around 14 years, this means you will spend an average of around $18,000 on your cat during his or her lifetime.

Are you surprised by the total cost? Keep in mind that these totals do not take into account costs due to accidents, injuries or unexpected health problems. This is where pet health insurance may help you more easily afford vet bills. If you have a cat with a chronic illness, your veterinary costs could triple. Prices could easily be doubled in large metropolitan areas versus smaller urban or rural areas. While some people think they can cut costs on food, litter or veterinary expenses, experience shows otherwise. If you feed cheap food, you may end up with a cat with urinary or intestinal problems and high veterinary bills. If you use cheap litter, your cat may use the living room carpeting instead. The same goes for avoiding routine veterinary care. By cutting corners, you will likely shorten your cat’s life or pay more money in the end.

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For many people, cat insurance is becoming an increasingly attractive option to help manage the cost of owning a cat. Improvements in pet health insurance over the past decade or so have made it more worthwhile than ever. There are more companies offering the service and more policy options available, so you have a better chance of finding a policy that covers what’s important to you and your cat at a price you can afford. Pet health insurance provides the financial help needed to afford excellent medical and surgical care. It’s best to enroll in pet health insurance while your cat is young and healthy and there are no pre-existing conditions. Companies like Pets Best Insurance have very affordable and comprehensive cat and dog insurance plans.

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The animal shelters in this country are overflowing with abandoned and unwanted cats and dogs. Millions are euthanized every year, and millions more lead unhappy and poor quality lives with owners that do not meet their basic needs. If you are thinking of adopting a pet cat, make sure you’re prepared financially for the life-long commitment of a furry companion.

For more information about pet health and cat insurance, visit Pets Best Insurance.

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