adorable the cost/benefit analysis of having a cat

The cost/benefit analysis of having a cat (as if I need to do one)

Junior and I are cat people, and we find ourselves now without a cat for the first time since he was born. After an illness that didn’t respond to treatment, we sent our 17 year-old cat across the rainbow bridge to Valhalla last year, which was a difficult time for all involved. For the most part I found that having a cat wasn’t terribly expensive (until he got sick in his older years), but now that I’m thinking of getting another, I decided to take some time to think it through.

So here it is—the cost/benefit analysis of having a cat.


  • Adoption – $75
  • Food & snacks – $15 a month (I buy in bulk)
  • Litter tray: $10
  • Litter – $10 a month (again in the bulk)
  • Catnip & toys – $20 a year
  • Vet checkups – $120 a year
  • Carpet cleaner for the inevitable hacking and yakking: $10 a year
  • Knocking things over and breaking them: (TBD)
  • Water bottle for squirting the little effer when he yowls at my bedroom door all night: $2
  • Bandaids for scratches: $2 a month, average
  • Cat hair picker-upper / grooming glove: $20
  • Allergy pills: $$0.50 per month (I love Kirkland brand OTC drugs so much.)


  • Cat carrier: (already have one)
  • Cat lying around and doing nothing most of the day: ~
  • Cat running back and forth through the house like the devil’s on his ass: ~
  • Stress increase / stress decrease: cancel each other out


  • Keeps my feet warm so my socks last longer: $10 per year
  • Cat pics and videos for the internet: inestimable social capital
  • Purring, snuggling, playful, adorable but slightly evil bucket of love and moonbeams: priceless

And there you have it, folks, in case there was ever any doubt. Pet owners are definitely not rational!

Cat lady meme doing cost/beenfit analysis of having a cat

I jest, of course. This is perfectly rational when your goal is to enjoy balance in your life. Unless I find myself in dire circumstances, I hope to always weigh the need for frugality against the joy that spending a litte bit of cash will bring to my family. The trick, of course, is to identify whether it is short-term gratification masquerading as joy. I am aware of my tendency to justify impulsive spending, and am wary of getting myself into trouble.

Getting a kitten will definitely give us a short-term boost in happiness that will eventually wear off. What happens then? In the case of having a cat, we both know that over the long term, our lives are enriched by having a fuzzy family member.

What do you think of this rationale for taking on an added expense? I know that some in the frugal living community are opposed to pets, and I’m curious about other perspectives!


2 thoughts on “The cost/benefit analysis of having a cat (as if I need to do one)

  1. i approve this post and you getting a kitten no matter what the cost is. 🙂

    “Getting a kitten will definitely give us a short-term boost in happiness that will eventually wear off. ” It doesn’t have to wear off. I’m still totally in love with 2 of my 3 cats. We have so much fun together. I have them trained to go outside and actually behave off leash.

    flip side, they are expensive. my youngest had to have an operation, cost me 4,000. 3k for the surgery and 1k for the pre and post medical procedures. i love him to pieces though. i would pay it again if i had to. got him when he was 2 months, i wasn’t ready for him to die, which he was hours from. now he’s totally fine.

    so did you get a kitten.

    • Apologies for the delay in posting your comment – it’s been crazy around here!

      We did get a kitten finally, just a few days ago!

      He is SUPER shy and I’m really hoping he comes out of his shell a bit, but we’re all just getting to know each other. 😊

      And I agree, the joy of getting a cat really doesn’t wear off if you love them. I think what I meant is that short-lived “high” of adding something new to your life. The novelty weats off, but then you have a new member of the family. ❤️

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