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Press Release
The Lifetime Costs of a Cat

A cat is an investment; there are costs and rewards. Stephen Zawistowski, Ph.D., senior vice-president of the ASPCA in New York has calculated the costs of rais­ing a cat from birth through the average 16-year life. The cost will vary with the cat’s size, health (no major medi­cal bills), life­span and choices be­tween burial and cremation. The costs per year break down as follows:


Food, dry kibble
Vet visits
Kitty litter
Accessories: Bowls, brushes, carriers, litter boxes, etc.
Toys and treats

Total annual cost

Over 16 years, that works out to $12,720 or $2.18 per day. By the way, the costs of a second cat are lower. Many of the items may be shared except for food and vet bills.

Now just what do you get for your money?
öNaming rights. You may give her a single name or two or just call her “Kitty.”
öGlimpses of God’s work every day. Your angel here on earth.
öEndless purring and Velcro hugs.
öPhotographs of playtime secured to the refrigerator with magnets.
öA front-row seat to history to witness her first mouse, the pride of successful potty training and her discovery of the cat in the mirror.
öEndless wonder over string, bugs and running water.
öAn education in feline psychology, organs of the body, animal nutrition, waste management and communications.
öA furry friend to wake you up on cold nights with demands to get under the covers.
öShe lets you know that she knows the difference between a can of freshly opened, warm cat food and yesterday’s cold food from the refrigerator.
öFinding that cats age better than people because their fur hides the wrinkles.
öFinding and saving her baby teeth and not being subjected to Tooth Fairy extortion.
öTeaching her to jump on the bed rather than clawing her way up, by trimming her nails.
öBeing envious of the luxury of being able to stare out a window for hours.
öLaughing when she first discovers her tail.
öDoing the math to discover that your 12-year old cat is 55 in people years but that since she naps 18 hours each day, she slept through 75 percent of her years of both kinds.
öBeing a hero for retrieving a toy from the roof, getting her down from a tree, chasing off the neighborhood dog, bringing home a new bag of kitty litter, blotting car grease out of her tail, and giving her kitty treats just for the asking.
öHaving enough shredded fur to make a wardrobe of sweaters.
öAdmiring her ability to find the warm spot in any room—often on top of the TV with the tail hanging down in front of the screen.
öAccepting her kneading you and sometimes drooling to demonstrate acceptance as her caretaker.

In the eyes of your cat, you are both mother and dad—you rank right up there with God. You have the authority to provide food, the power to heal and the right to share unconditional love. Your cat will love you absolutely, even when you are upset, without counting the cost.

The Lifetime Costs is excerpted from The Older Cat: Recognizing Decline & Extending Life by Dan Poynter.