Cats are known to be the more independent and less demanding type of pet in our homes.
Perhaps this is the reason why there are more families in Canada that have cats than dogs. In fact, an Ipsos study shows that 38% of Canadian families have cats, whereas only 35% have dogs.
Despite being “lower maintenance,” however, there are still significant costs associated with having a cat in our home.
On average, the annual cost of having a cat in Canada can be anywhere between $1075 to $2225. This is in addition to the upfront costs associated with first buying your cat, which can cost you more than $500 depending on the breed and where you choose to get it.
When it comes to having a pet and related expenses, do note that where you live also makes a big difference. If the cost of living is relatively high where you are in Canada, chances are it’ll be just as high for pets when it comes to their expenses.
In today’s post, I’m going to break down the cost to own a cat in Canada into the following three categories: initial costs, monthly costs, and vet costs.
How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Cat in Canada?
Cats are usually much cheaper to buy than dogs. If you are buying your cat from a breeder or a pet store, it can cost you anywhere between $200 to $2,000.
If you are going for a rare cat breed, however, such as a Persian cat or a Savannah cat, the cost to buy your cat can go up to a hefty $20,000!
It is also possible to get a free kitten or adopt a cat that already needs a home from an animal shelter, which can bring down your upfront costs even more. I will detail the costs associated with adoption in the next section.
In addition to the cost of buying your cat, there are also several upfront costs that you must think about when getting them settled in their new home. As such, the first month as a cat-parent will likely be your most expensive.
Below is a breakdown of some of the expenses you should consider when you first get your new pet. Most of these expenses are only one-offs and will only have to be made during the first couple of weeks of getting your cat.
|ID Tag and Collar||$50|
|Food and Water Bowls||$20|
Upfront costs: $565 + cost of cat (ranging anywhere from $0-several thousand)
And don’t forget, the financial expenses are just one part of the equation when getting a new pet. You should be considering whether you have the time and emotional bandwidth to take care of them, too.
Adopting is a great way to give a home to a cat that needs a new family while also saving some cash. In Canada, the adoption fees of cats can range anywhere between $50 to $200.
Organizations like the SPCA also hold events during certain times of the year where adoption is completely free. If you’re looking to bring down your initial costs even further, you can consider waiting for such an event.
In my opinion, adopting is a great alternative for those looking to have a new furry friend in their home.
By adopting a pet, you are giving a better life to an animal that may be struggling, steering away from any of the unethical breeding activities that may be taking place in some breeding homes, and saving at least a couple hundred dollars.
It’s a win for both your wallet and your new pet.
If you’ve made it through your first month as a new cat parent, your monthly expenses will come down significantly moving forward.
And luckily, cats tend to be a little bit cheaper than dogs when it comes to monthly costs, but do consider that most expenses are highly variable in any case.
On average, the monthly cost of owning a cat in Canada is somewhere between $25 and $120. However, this can rise significantly based on your choices.
Some costs that you may have for your cat are once-every-couple-of-months kind of expenses, and some are only annual.
Let’s do a breakdown of the annual cost of having a cat in Canada and then take the monthly average so you can budget accordingly.
|Pet Food (annual)||$150-$1000|
|Cat Litter and Related Supplies (annual)||$100-$250|
|Grooming (depends on the breed of cat) (annual)||$50-$200|
Total annual cost: $300-$1450
Total monthly cost: $25-$120
Pet food is the most variable cost associated with any pet. When it comes to cat food, there are tons of options out there in terms of price point and quality. According to my research, however, going the cheaper route isn’t always the best.
Many experts say that feeding your cat cheap and low-quality food for a long period of time can lead to the onset of certain health issues, ballooning your vet costs in the long term.
As such, it might be worth it to consider finding good quality cat food that fits your budget.
In addition to the upfront and monthly costs, the last thing to consider as a cat-parent is vet costs.
Annual vet costs for cats in Canada are around $750 to $800. This cost does not include any emergency vet bills, which can be several thousand dollars each time, depending on the situation.
|Annual Wellness Checks/Exams||$150|
|Treatments for Fleas, Ticks, Worms, and Mites||$150|
Total annual vet costs: $775
If you are on a budget, you might be tempted to skip annual exams, vaccines, deworming, or flea prevention.
However, much like opting for cheap, low-quality pet food, avoiding these costs might end up costing you more in the end, allowing certain health problems to go undetected for longer periods of time.
As such, it’s important to factor these vet costs into your budget from the get-go and make routine visits to the vet.
Pet Insurance (Optional)
Pet insurance can help cover the cost of unexpected veterinary bills. The cost of pet insurance can vary depending on the level of coverage you choose and the age of your cat. On average, you can expect to pay around $20-$50 per month for pet insurance.
It is important to note that not all pet insurance policies are created equal. Some policies may have exclusions or limitations that you should be aware of. Be sure to read the policy carefully and ask questions before signing up for pet insurance.
Owning a cat is certainly not cheap. In most cases, however, owning a cat is cheaper than owning a dog in Canada.
From the breakdown above, you saw that the annual cost of having a cat in Canada can be anywhere between $1075 to $2225 (which includes monthly costs and annual vet costs).
This is in addition to the upfront cost of getting your cat in the first place, which can be around $500 to several thousand dollars, depending on where you decide to get your cat and the breed you choose.
The costs of owning a cat in Ontario will be similar to owning one anywhere else in Canada. But there are certain rules and fees that you must keep in mind as an Ontarian pet owner.
Most municipalities will have their own versions of pet licenses that must be renewed each year. In addition, it is required that your cat or dog wears a tag.
Below is a breakdown of the licensing costs of having a cat in Ontario.
Cat (Spayed or Neutered): $15.00/year (regular fee), $7.50/year (senior citizen fee)
Cat (Not Spayed or Neutered): $50.00/year (regular fee), $25/year (senior citizen fee)
As you can see, the annual licensing fees for non-spayed or neutered cats are significantly higher than for those who are spayed/neutered.
Keep in mind that the upfront cost of getting a cat spayed or neutered is around $150, which you would be able to make up for within four years by saving on licensing fees.
If you’re on a budget, it might be a good idea to consider this when you first get your new pet.
Lastly, do note that Ontario residents over 18 years old with an income of $50,000 or less may be able to qualify for subsidized or waived licensing fees for their pets.
I know that $15 per year may not sound like a lot, but by getting this fee waived you may be able to save more than $200 over the course of your cat’s lifetime.
Comparing Cat Ownership Costs with Dogs
Here is a rough comparison of the general costs associated with owning a cat versus owning a dog. Usually, the cost of owning a cat is less than owning a dog.
- Adoption Fees: Dogs often have higher adoption fees than cats.
- Initial Medical Exam: Initial veterinary costs are generally higher for dogs than for cats, including vaccination and potential spaying/neutering.
- Spaying/Neutering: This procedure usually costs more for dogs than for cats.
- Food: Dogs generally consume more food than cats, so the annual food cost can be higher.
- Litter: This is a cost that’s mostly applicable to cats unless dogs are primarily indoor pets using pads.
- Grooming: Dogs, especially those with long hair, often require more professional grooming than cats.
- Toys/Supplies: While both cats and dogs enjoy toys, dogs, especially puppies, can go through them faster, leading to potentially higher costs.
- Vet Check-ups and Vaccines: Annual veterinary costs, including check-ups and vaccines, can be higher for dogs than for cats.
- Flea/Tick Prevention and Heartworm Medications: These preventive costs can be higher for dogs.
- Pet Insurance: Insurance premiums are generally higher for dogs.
- Boarding or Pet Sitting: Depending on the pet’s needs and the local rates, this can be a significant expense for both types of pets, but may be slightly higher for dogs.
In conclusion, owning a cat in Canada can be very expensive. Although many of us may see these expenses as completely worth it, there are also ways we can budget and cut costs while giving our pets a good and healthy life.
Not a cat person? That’s fair. Check out this post to find out how much it would cost to own a dog in Canada. Hint: it’s even more expensive than owning a cat!