Choosing a family pet, Part 2: Cats

A young girl meeting a young kitten How much does having a cat cost?:

The initial outlay for a cat can be as much as a £50 donation to a rescue centre or perhaps not even that for a moggy or less popular black cat, which are always in need of a home. A pure breed though could be anything from £100 to £2500 or more.

Initially you will also need to buy a cat bed and bedding, toys, maybe a cat tree or cat scratching post and a cat flap, unless of course you are going to have an indoor cat: in which case you will need more indoor entertainment for them, a cat litter tray and probably a cat litter box too: giving your cat some privacy and reducing the pong.

You should also get your cat microchipped, even an indoor cat may get out and will be more likely to get A Cat bounding through the snowlost than a cat that has always been allowed outside!

On-going costs include insurance (£5-£10+) and cat food from £25 a month for good quality food but less for a basic food and more for some premium brands. Then there’s potentially also cat litter (£5 a month ).

Vaccinations, flea collars and other treatments such as protection against worms will cost around £180-220 a year.

In total the annual cost of owning and caring for a cat, including insurance but not extra medical bills, is going to be around £525 but will increase as they enter old age.

Cat time requirements:

An indoor cat needs more time and you may want to play games with them to keep them busy. An outdoor cat needs little time but they may well come in and join you in the evenings on the sofa. Some breeds require grooming that may take some extra time each day or every other day.

A kitten setting out on an adventureIf you get a cat from a kitten remember that they will need more attention while they are young and can’t really go out much in the first few months.

Other cat requirements:

Domestic cats can’t fend for themselves for long even if you leave them a little food and water, they will also get lonely. If you are going away for just a few days, getting a friend or neighbour to pop round and check your cat, give them food and water twice a day and give them a bit of fuss is the ideal solution; cats will feel more relaxed if the person is familiar to them.  Some cats will happily accept a cat sitter or a short trip to the cattery when you are away but it is worth doing your research and visiting the cattery or inviting the cat sitter round before you entrust your pet to them.

Some cats will regularly find a place to hide and seek solitude but almost all cats will require this from time to time so itA cat peeks out of its Cat Den is good to set-up a place, such as in a cat den, where they can hide away  and know you and your family will not disturb them, which should become a house rule.

Unfortunately accidents can happen, especially if you live near a busy road. Introducing your kitten to the outside world is essential but make sure you are with them or even use a harness for the first few times. Keeping your cats inside at night can also reduce the chances of a road accident.

A cat relaxes in front of the firePros:

You can fit a cat around your job and rest of your life in a way you can’t with a dog, they don’t require walking or training.

Cats may enjoy playing but this can easily be at home in front of the TV, and maybe a warm fire, rather than out in the park on a cold and rainy night as with a dog.


Some independently minded cats don’t need much attention at all and you may barely see them if they go out all day. Some cats will seek attention whenever they can though, a rescue centre may be able to tell you what personality the cat you are getting has; you should however be prepared for anything and cats, like many humans, can have mood swings.

It is not ideal to let your cats catch all the local wildlife so finding a good cat collar with a quick release clasp and a good loud bell or two will really help to bring their hunting under control, or let them escape easily if their collar gets caught on something while out and about.

Cats in all shapes and colours

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