How I spend $518.53 on my cats each month

Not long ago, my dad asked me how many containers of treats my cats went through each month when I was concerned about the possibility of stores running.

He is not a cat person and is allergic to them. He was mostly making conversation as we were on a walk.

My dad petting Midnight, one of the outdoor cats
My dad petting Midnight, one of the outdoor cats

Well, I had no idea how much we were spending on the cat treats! From that day forward, I started to track how many containers we were going through each month. We use the 20 oz size of Purina cat treats. It turns out we were going through about 10 containers a month.

What’s also interesting is the local grocery store (not a national chain) had the lowest price for them at about $7.50 a container. The prices on Chewy and Amazon and the other local stores in my area change occasionally, but the grocery has been lower even with the auto-ship discount.

So, we are spending $75 a month just on cat treats! Since the discovery, we have cut back on the number of treats.

Then, I was curious about the total cost of the costs each month. Since we buy different items and from various sources (some online, some locally, some from the vet), I wasn’t sure how much we were spending in total.

Therefore, I made a calculator to determine our cost of maintaining the cats (new cats/kittens usually have some one-time start-up costs).

On an average month, we are spending $518.53 a month for food, litter, and cat treats (this is for 9 indoor cats and 3 outdoor cats). This amount doesn’t include anti-flea treatment for the outdoor cats or vet visits or incidental costs for other suppliers like cat scratchers and toys.

snippet of the cat cost calculator

The breakdown of the monthly costs

Below, I will list how much food we are buying each month. Also, because of becoming enlightened by adding up the costs, we may switch to a less expensive cat litter brand.

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  • 62 cans for Hill’s Prescription C/D for the indoor cats (bought at the vet)
  • 31 cans of Weruva for the outdoor cats (from Chewy’s auto-ship).
  • 31 cans of Fancy Feast for the outdoor cats (usually from the grocery store)
  • 10 containers of treats (indoor and outdoor eat the same treats)
  • 5 bags of Boxiecat litter.  We get it on auto-ship, which lowers the cost a bit. For some reason, Amazon only allows 3 bags in their “subscribe and save,” so we are getting bags from Chewy and Amazon. (You can read my review of Boxiecat litter here).

The prices of the food and litter vary a bit online and at local stores. Or I say the current amounts in my video about the calculator.

cat collage
Pictures of some of my indoor cats

Other cat costs

In addition to the regular monthly cat costs, throughout the year, we spend more on the cats for some of the reasons listed below.

I am a big believer in the annual vet visit. My vet has discovered dental problems that I wasn’t aware of in several of my cats over the years.

The annual visit runs about $100, but that amount will vary a lot by vet and location.

We also buy other things as needed for our cats:

  • Cat beds, toys, and scratchers
  • Revolution (anti-flea) for the outdoor cats that allow me to touch them in the warm months (in the cold months, there are no fleas when it’s below freezing for weeks).
  • And now, we are adding de-wormer into the outdoor cat rotation at least twice a year after Charcoal had a tapeworm, and Midnight’s fur improved so much after being treated.
  • Lina needs to have her back legs shaved to keep her fur clean (she has longer hair and no tail). Before the pandemic, we took her to the groomer every few months. But now we do the trimming at home.
  • Midnight has super thick claws, and a few of them will curl under into his paw pads if not trimmed. He doesn’t allow me to do the trimming, so we take him to the vet for this (it’s less than $20 and saves a lot of stress).
  • For the past several years, at least one cat has needed to have dental cleaning or teeth pulled. Cat dental work is expensive, but we have the money saved for vet care.
  • And sometimes we do catification projects.

While the monthly cat cost of the cats is around $500 a month, with having 12 cats (1 I can’t pet yet), we have about one vet visit a month. And with other miscellaneous cat supplies (toys, cardboard scratchers), we probably are spending closer to $700 a month. Dental work has ranged from $300 to $700 (cleanings are less than extractions).

I am hoping that someday, I can sell enough cat art each month to cover the costs of the cats! That would be amazing (so far, I’ve made less than $50 total).

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Heidi Bender is the writer and founder of the Joy of Cats. She enjoys sharing cat information and providing helpful cat tips. She considers herself a cat lady and currently cares for nine cats.

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