Preparing My Finances To Adopt My First Pet

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I’ve wanted to adopt a cat for so long. And this spring, I was finally able to do it!

This is one of the first more adult purchases I’ve made, and it was an amazing choice. My cat has improved my overall routine and mental health, and of course, I’m happy to take her home from the shelter and let her use my apartment as her own personal palace.

I consider this an adult purchase because I am signing up to be responsible for caring for a life and it took diligent financial planning to make sure I was ready to take on this responsibility. 

I wanted to share a bit about the things I had to consider and the plans I had to make to prepare my finances for adopting my cat and taking her home! For anyone wanting to welcome a sweet, meowing companion into their home (I highly recommend it), make sure you consider all of the consequences and long-term costs of adopting a cat before jumping in.

How much does it cost to adopt a cat?

Depending on where you adopt, the fees will vary. But typically for cats it ranges from $150-$250 + tax.

This was the base goal for my cat savings fund. I avoided getting attached to any animal profiles on adoption websites, and instead a few months before I knew I wanted to seriously do this, I researched a few local shelters and their adoption fees. 

This helped me have a grasp on how I needed to adjust my budget to save up for adoption. Not only that, but I looked into the animal license fees for my city to make sure I included everything in my plan. This only cost $35 where I live, and in any place where this fee is required it isn’t usually too hefty of a price. It’s important to look into any pet fees that your landlord might charge too, just in case. 

I had to alter my monthly budget

I’m now responsible for maintaining two lives: mine and my cat’s. So naturally, I had to adjust my monthly budget to accommodate her needs as well as mine. 

This included lowering my spending on some of the “wants” or non-essentials in my budget. I wanted to ensure I had enough to cover what my cat needs. I’d recommend tracking your spending and taking a good look at your budget beforehand. Do a cost-benefit analysis of cat adoption for your personal lifestyle.

For me, buying a few less coffees and opting for transit on late nights out instead of an Uber was incredibly worth having a new companion in my life. But, this might not be the case for everyone. And that’s okay!

What’s important is being able to recognize what is important to you before you make this decision. I knew that both me and my finances needed to be ready for this new part of my life, so I planned accordingly.

How much does it cost per month to care for a cat?

The cost of caring for a cat every month will vary slightly depending on the cat’s age, breed, and overall health, but here are the essentials you’d have to spend on for your cat approximately every month:

  • Food (wet and dry)
  • Litter
  • Treats
  • Occasional vet bills

All together, this costs me about $50/month.

The fact that cats are generally low-maintenance (and consequently, low cost) makes them a great choice for first time pet-owners. If you want to care for a pet and have a companion without the high-stress of increased financial responsibilities, a cat is great for you!

My cat’s health is my responsibility and my money has to be ready for that

Preparing to bring my cat home meant going beyond the initial costs. You never know when an unexpected vet visit will come up. And even then, being prepared to take her for regular check-ups is important to me too.

I decided to save $500 to support two vet visits and two months worth of cat supplies before bringing my cat home. This is probably a bit more than the minimum for these things, but I wanted to have a buffer and be ready for the any surprising health concerns.

As an alternative to saving, you can always explore getting pet insurance to protect your pet!

It’s not free to cat-proof your home, and you have to do it

The initial cost of “cat-proofing” your home might seem daunting. But, you have to do it. You don’t need to make your home a complete feline playground. But, having a few toys for them to play with and maybe a scratching post or climbing toy for them to avoid having your furniture messed with is a good idea.

It’s not free, but it is fairly cheap to do this. Most of my cat’s toys came from the dollar store! And things like a litter box and trash bins are easy to pick up there too.

In some ways my cat pays me 

Yes, this is a very cheesy thing to say. But it’s true! And frankly, I think she’s learning how much I rely on her.

I’m a homebody, and having a quiet buddy around in my home has made the sometimes-lonely days a lot brighter. Not only that, but having something to take care of is great for improving mental health. And while I love watering my plants every week and watching them grow, having my cat excitedly meow when I serve her gross chicken from a can is somehow better. 

All of the financial prep was worth giving my cat a home. And all the early morning play-time calls are worth it to have her around.

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