As a kid, you might have dreamt of having your own pony or dragon. Too bad mum and dad said no. Now you’re old enough to know whether you’re a cat or a dog person, and the only thing standing in your way is the fear that it’s going to cost you your future kid’s university fund.
If you’re more Sylvester than Scooby Doo, you’re in luck, as owning a cat is quite a bit cheaper than owning a dog. The main thing you need to ensure is that you’re in this for the long haul and that your home is cat-friendly enough to keep this new member of the family safe and happy. We break down the cost for you.
Cost of the cat
How much your cat will cost depends on whether you’re searching for one that looks more regal than the humans in the house or are happy with a regular mixed breed, often referred to as a local cat. If a local cat will do, there are numerous animal welfare organisations with such kittens and cats up for adoption.
At the Cat Welfare Society, it costs about $40 to $60 to adopt a cat, though the cost varies from cat to cat depending on what treatments it’s undergone. Some rescuers might even let you have the cat free, although you will have to foot the cost of vaccinations, etc.
At the SPCA, it costs $80 to adopt a cat and $100 to adopt a kitten. Cats over 5.5 years of age or that have been at the shelter for over a year cost only $25.
On the other hand, if you buy from a shop or a breeder, you’ll be paying a few hundred. A Persian-mix breed will set you back at least $300 (and that’s on the low end of the scale). Purebred cats are like a high-maintenance girlfriend. They’re quite fragile and you’ll find yourself having to invest a lot more money in health and grooming.
The first thing you’ll have to do for your cat is pay a visit to the vet (about $40) for these three things:
- vaccination ($30 to $60)
- deworming ($30 to $50)
- neutering/spaying ($80 to $120)
Not all vets charge the same amounts, and those in affluent neighbourhoods like Bukit Timah and River Valley might charge more.
If you’re getting your cat from an animal shelter, all the above might already have been done recently, so make sure you ask.
You’ll also have to buy some basic items before taking your cat home. While some people will have you think you need to spend a fortune on fancy toys and (shudder) fashion items for your cat, you don’t.
- Carrier – $20 to $30
- Scratch post – $30
- Litter box – $20
- Month’s supply of cat litter – $10-$20
- Month’s supply of food – $10-$20
- Food/water bowl $10
Some people like to shampoo and groom their cats, while others buy pet beds and then try but fail to convince their cats to sleep in them. And obviously if you walk into a pet shop and tell them you’re getting a cat they’ll try to get you to buy up the whole shop. Resist.
Total: $210 to $320
Preparing your home
If you live in an apartment or HDB flat, your cat is probably going to be an indoor cat, meaning it doesn’t get to go in and out of the house as it pleases.
Depending on the configuration of your windows, you might have to place mesh over window grills that are far apart enough for the cat to squeeze through. Plastic mesh is available at DIY shops and pet shops and usually quite inexpensive.
Also hide wires and cables to stop your cat from chewing on them. If you have kids, this has probably already been done.
Once your new family member has settled in, you’re going to have to make sure you put aside enough money each month for the following:
- Food – $10 to $30 depending on which brand you pick and whether you use wet or dry food
- Cat litter – $10 to $20
- Vaccinations – $30 to $60 every 3 years for indoor cats
- Deworming – $30 to $60 every 6 months for outdoor cats; for indoor cats as needed
- Visits to the vet + medication – $30 to $60 if your cat falls sick
Are you a cat owner or do you aspire to be one? Let us know in the comments!
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