An older man sitting with his cat

Savy Seniors: How to Budget Having a Cat in your Golden Years

Baby boomers are retiring in record numbers, which leaves people deciding what they should do with their free time. Many people are retiring at age 65, which gives you a good few years to enjoy the rest of your life. A lot of seniors who live alone during their golden years love the companionship cats offer their owners.

People in their golden years often prefer the freedom of not having to worry too much about looking after their pets, worrying about their declining health after a certain age, and some live in a facility where it may cost to own a pet.

But while cats are easy pets in those regards, they still have costs associated with them, and a lot of people underestimate those. It is wise to look at your budget and see if you have room for expenses that will potentially come up in the future. In this article, we will discuss how to budget having a cat in your golden years.

How much does it cost?

In another article, we listed all the expenses that a typical cat owner will have, and we discovered that the required budget is highly variable. You can expect to pay $40 per month for the bare essentials, but luxury spending and extra healthcare can easily bump that up to $100 per month.

Read the full article here: How much does it cost to own a cat?

A typical cat will have a life span of 9 to 15 years, so owning a cat for an entire lifetime cost you at least $5000, but likely much more. When it comes to pets, money matters because it influences both the type and quality of care that the cat will receive.

Planning and budgeting for your furry friend’s wellness care, preventative medications, food, and emergency vet visits make it less of a financial burden on you. Owning a cat is a luxury and a privilege, so you must treat your cat like such.

How to prepare your budget

The first thing to ask yourself is whether you can spend between $50 and $100 a month on essential supplies and healthcare. This price includes various things your cat will absolutely need:

  • cat food
  • litter
  • medications
  • flea and tick preventatives
  • vaccinations​

While there are always cheaper versions available for every product, opting for low-quality food and healthcare could potentially have dire consequences in the future. For example, malnutrition as a result of an unbalanced diet can eventually result in chronic health conditions that will require a lot of money to treat.

Planning your budget ahead will prevent nasty surprises like unexpected medical problems from lack of care or inadequate food.

Another factor that results in costs depends on what part of the country you live in. Some parts of the country have a higher cost of living than others, so that you may pay more for food, medications, and vet care.

Not every breed is the same!
Certain cat breeds require more attention and care than others. It is therefore highly advised to do some research ahead of time to see which breeds are a good match to your situation.

For instance, cats like the Abyssinian and the Bengal are very active and need lots of stimulation and exercise to be happy. As a senior, there’s a good chance these things will become harder for you to provide over the next ten years.

Know before you go

Before adopting or buying a cat, know the costs associated with them and your estimated monthly cost. Prospective owners should know their available financial budget to ensure they give their cat the best care it needs. Cats require time, energy, and attention as well. “Know before you go” is the best saying to keep in mind, so you do not fall in love with a cat and do not have the proper resources to take care of it.

Still not sure? Have a look at the pros and cons of owning a cat as a senior


Owning a cat can be costly. Setting a budget before you shop or adopt can help you determine if you have the financial ability to give a cat the life they can enjoy. Cats have costs associated with them and need the proper care. Cat owners should approach owning a cat with their eyes open regarding budgeting for a cat and the time commitment associated with owning one.

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