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How Much Does It Cost to Own a Cat in Canada?

Domestic short-haired cat looking at camera

Have you got your eyes on a furry feline friend to keep you company? There are 8.1m pet cats in Canada already and you might be making an excellent choice in joining the gang. A cat can be a low-maintenance, relatively independent choice of pet that can bring huge joy into your life. However, welcoming a new furry friend into your home comes with financial responsibilities that are important to think through. We’re here to help.

Before we get into some specifics on the costs of cat ownership we'd love to advocate for pet insurance for all cats (and dogs). Budgeting for unexpected pet costs like large veterinary medical bills can help bring some predictability to household budgets and, most importantly, keep your cat happy and healthy. If you live in Canada, get a pet insurance quote from PHI Direct to protect your pet

How much does a cat cost in Canada?

The obvious first cost of owning a cat is buying your new furry friend. You can certainly get rescue pets for very low prices or even free, but if you’re set on starting fresh with a kitten, you’re generally going to be spending around $150 in fees even from an adoption shelter. If you go through a breeder, pet shop, or private seller, and especially for a pure or rare breed cat then the costs can be much higher.

Average annual cost of owning a cat

After buying your kitten, you’ll want to know how much of your household budget will be getting spent on them year after a year. According to Statista the total average cost of owning a cat in Canada in 2021 landed at around $2,542 a year. Now that might seem like a lot, but when you look closely at costs like food, vaccines, wellness treatment and pet insurance in Canada, the costs can add up. It’s also worth noting that in the first year of owning your cat, when it’s still a kitten, your costs are going to be different and can be higher too.

Average cost of owning a kitten

Owning a kitten for the first year of its life will indeed be slightly more expensive than the average cost of owning a cat going forward. With a new cat or kitten, you will be incurring several “one-time costs”, meaning that there are some things that you’ll have to pay for in the first year that should never come up again.

The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association states that the average cost of raising a kitten in its first-year lands somewhere between $3,091 and $3,231. First-year costs are driven up by one-time expenses like having the kitten neutered or spayed, administering vaccines, and installing a microchip, which is common practice to help you and your furry friend get reunited if they get lost. Other one-time costs that come with getting a kitten include things like getting them a bed, bowls, and a litter box, which should hopefully last you most of the cat’s lifetime going forward.

Kitten with right paw in the airPhoto by Alvan Nee from Unsplash

Yearly cost breakdown - cat food cost per month

So, when we look at the $2,542 that you’ll be spending on your cat every year, one of the primary costs that you’re thinking of is probably food. Of course, the prices of different cat foods will vary between brands and styles, such as dry vs wet, but this is an average cost. Yearly, you’re likely to spend around $544 on cat food, meaning that your average spend per month will come to somewhere around $45.33.

Yearly cost breakdown - veterinary care costs

After paying off a year's worth of food, there are still some large items unaccounted for in your yearly spend on your cat, much of which will be taken up by veterinary care. In total, you can expect to spend around $1,148 a year on vet bills for your cat, which we’ve broken down below in a simple table.

Treatment Cost Per Year
Parasite Prevention $135
Exams & Vaccines $175
Wellness Profile & Blood Work $135
Fecal Exams $51
Dental Cleaning $652

(source OVMA)

Pet Insurance

One important cost to consider will come in the form of pet insurance. Pet insurance policies vary in terms of price and coverage and not all of them will be right for you and your pet. Doing extensive research to find a plan that works for you will be beneficial. We at PHI Direct offer affordable pet insurance with new condition coverage. Most pet owners can budget for those smaller ongoing, and expected treatment costs (like prescriptions, annual check-ups, and vaccinations). PHI Direct is designed to help protect against the larger financial hits involved in diagnosing and treating unexpected illnesses and accidents.

You can get up to $5,000 or $10,000 of annual coverage for the most common pet medical expenses at a truly reasonable price.

Yearly cost breakdown - other essentials and costs

Along with the money you spend on food and veterinary care, there are of course other essential costs to bear when owning a cat. With things like collars and toys, you’re going to be spending around $45 a year in total, although some years may be cheaper and others may cost a little more, depending on the durability and quality of your first purchases.

When it comes to litter you can expect to spend around $195 a year, while a license to own a cat (imagine such a thing) will set you back around $15 a year.


Inflation is worth covering in this article since it's increased significantly and is a somewhat unpredictable factor on pet costs in Canada. Veterinary costs have seen large increases in the last 2 years, sometimes over 10% per year, and pet basics like food, treats, toys, grooming supplies etc have all increased in price too. Planning for these costs will help to ensure a happy life for your pet and protect your household budget too. 

Final thoughts

If you’re still wondering “how much does a cat cost per month?”, at the average rate of $2,542 a year in Canada, you’re going to spend around $211.83 a month on your feline companion. Budgeting for unexpected expenses like large medical bills can help bring predictability to household budgets and, most importantly, keep your kitten or cat happy and healthy! Utilizing pet insurance in Canada can be a powerful tool in protecting household budgets and our feline friends. 

Featured Photo by Lloyd Henneman from Unsplash