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How Much Does It Cost To Own And Keep A Cat In Singapore

It can cost more than $30,000 to keep a pur-fect cat companion for life

Curious, independent, and above all, adorable, cats are one of the most popular pet types in the world. The earliest signs of cats being domesticated can be traced back to Cyprus approximately 9,500 years ago. Unlike dogs, cats are still closely linked to their wild counterparts. In fact, most domestic cats’ lineage can be traced to Felis Lybica (the scientific name for African Wild Cat) which looks almost identical to our furry companion.

This feral linkage could explain the cat’s unique nature of being independent, and self-sustaining which makes it an equally adorable companion to dogs with lesser physical commitment.

Regardless, for those of us who are looking to keep one of these furry companions, it is important to note that pets require long-term commitment. Apart from loads of love and care, cats do come with financial and physical responsibilities.

Here is an overview of the costs you will need to incur for keeping a cat in Singapore.

Read Also: How Much Does It Cost To Own And Keep A Dog In Singapore?

Licensing Your Cat

With effect from September 1 2024, all pet cats must be licensed via the Pet Animal Licensing System (PALS). To be eligible for licensing, cats must be micro-chipped and owners have to complete a free online pet ownership course.

Between 1 September 2024 to 31 August 2026, all cat licences will be issued for free. Afterwards, owners of unsterilised cats must have their licenses renewed annually (up to a period of 3 years), while new owners of sterilised cats can either choose to pay for a one-time license or renew their licences.

One-Year Licence Two-Year Licence  Three-Year Licence  One-Time Licence 
Cats below five months of age $15 per cat
First three cats and/or dogs Sterilised:
S$15 per catUnsterilised:
S$90 per cat
S$25 per catUnsterilised:
S$165 per cat
S$230 per unsterilised cat S$35 per sterilised cat
Fourth and subsequent cat S$180 per cat
A reduced licence fee of S$15 for the fourth cat/dog
S$325 per cat
A reduced licence fee of S$25 for the fourth cat/dog
S$460 per unsterilised cat/dog S$460 per sterilised cat
A reduced licence fee of S$35 for the fourth cat

In order to enjoy the reduced licence fee, the cat has to be sterilised and adopted from an animal welfare rehoming partner.

Initial One-Off Cost For Cat

#1 Cost To Adopt Or Buy

Based on our personal needs and preferences, we may choose to either purchase or adopt a cat.

For purchasing a pet, to ensure proper ethical breeding standards are abided by, do verify if the breeders or shops are licensed by the Animal Veterinary Services (AVS). Depending on the breeder, pedigree, and country of importation, purchasing a cat could cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, exclusive of additional importation charges if any.

In contrast, adoption fees can range from $0 to upwards of $150, depending on the breed, health condition, and age of the cat. If you are interested to adopt a cat, here are 5 places for pet adoptions.

Interested cat owners should also check against the “Buying a Kitten Checklist” by NParks to assist potential owners in choosing a compatible and healthy cat.

Read Also: How Does Pet Insurance Policies Work In Singapore?

#2 Sterilisation

A cost that is not always covered by shelters or pet shops, sterilisation can cost about $200 to $300. Generally, it is more expensive to sterilise female cats compared to male cats.

#3 Microchipping

Update: Microchipping your cat has now been made mandatory from 1 September 2024, with a two-year transition period till 31 August 2026.

Typically, kittens are microchipped by 12 weeks old. Hence, most shelters and breeders would have already factor in microchipping charges. By inserting a permanent identification chip, it allows for easy traceability in the event our cats are lost.

The cost of microchipping a cat is about $70 and can be done at most vet clinics. It is a useful feature as it contains the owner’s contact information and even a brief medical history of the cat.

#5 Cat Proofing Your Place

As feral and curious creatures, cats do have a higher tendency to explore both inside and outside of our homes. Cat proofing is essential for containing our furry companion at home in a safe home environment. This would help us be considerate neighbours while ensuring the safety and well-being of our pet.

On cat proofing, it is important to ensure that areas cats should not wander to are well barricaded and that there aren’t any high element objects that can be easily tipped over. Meshing up the house for any possible openings would help also prevent our cats from wandering out.

Cat proofing is an important requirement for shelters when it comes to reviewing their adopters. For more information on how to cat-proof our homes, do visit Cat Welfare Society.

A meter and a half of plastic mesh with cable ties would cost about $20 which can be used to cat-proof our home openings.

#6 Initial Vaccinations

Initial vaccinations are another typical cost covered by shelters or pet shops. Cat owners should request to view the relevant vaccination certificates to verify and ensure the vaccines have been administered.

In the event that our cats are not vaccinated yet, the vaccination can be handled by most vet clinics which would cost anywhere from $50 to $60 per shot.

Recurring Costs For Cat

With a life span of about 12 to 18-years, there is an upkeeping cost in order to ensure the well-being of our furry friend.

Recurring Vaccination: As a pet owner, it is important to keep our pet’s vaccination card. According to SVA feline vaccination guidelines, upon finishing the kitten’s required vaccinations, owners should follow up with their annual boosters for the core vaccines. For non-core vaccines, indoor cats should still be examined to determine if they need their relevant shots.

The cost of each vaccine ranges from $30 to $60 for each shot.

Dry food and treats: In general, dry food such as kibbles does provide sufficient nutrients. Additional food varieties and treats should be given in moderation so as to maintain the health of our pets.

If you are planning to treat your feline companion, wet food, frozen raw food or fresh ingredients from the market could be a potential meal combination with kibbles. The cost of these additional food varieties can increase a single meal cost up to $4. There are also popular pureed food sachet treats that can cost up to $1 per packet depending on the brand and variety.

A month’s worth of kibbles on the other hand can cost about $100, depending on the brand, type, and quality of food.

Grooming: Cats are generally more well-kept and can self-groom well. However, depending on the breed, grooming would remain an essential service.

For a basic cat grooming session, the price can range anywhere from $50 to $80. A monthly session would be recommended to keep our pet’s nails and coat healthy.

Medical and dental: 

Medical and dental fees, though expected, are still a costly responsibility to bear.

A basic medical consultation can cost about $50, without any additional medication or services. On average, owners can expect to spend about $75 to $300 per vet trip depending on the complexity of the case. In the event of a surgery, the bill can exceed thousands, especially if it includes hospitalisation.

On the other hand, basic dental and scaling services can cost about $300 for a single session. If the cats’ teeth are not well maintained, tooth extraction may be required, and the cost of the extraction would depend on the complexity of the case.

Cage, leash, toys, protective cover for car: Due to their feral nature, providing high element refugee spaces and cat scratching pillars are essential for cats.

A common misconception is that the cost of toys, cages and leashes are one-time expenditures. However, cages, toys and even leashes should be changed once every few years due to wear and tear.

For those of us without personal transport, having a good cage is essential to bring our feline friends out for their essential healthcare visit or grooming session. However, if we do have our own vehicles, getting a seat cover can be useful in preventing fur and claws from damaging the seats.

Read Also: [Price Comparison] GrabPet VS Private Pet Transportation Providers

Managing The Lifetime Costs Of Looking After A Cat

Based on the calculations above, the first year of owning a kitten cost, inclusive of initial and yearly recurring costs, amounts to about $2,530.

This cost is computed without the initial payment for adoption or purchasing a cat.

Cat’s Cost Amount
Initial Cost Sterilisation ~$250
Microchip ~$70
Cat Proof House ~$20
Vaccination ~$45
Yearly Recurring Cost  Vaccination Booster ~$45
Dry Food ~$1,200
Grooming ~$900
Total For First Year ~$2,530

The average life span of a cat is about 15 years. With the yearly recurring cost coming at about $2,145, a lifetime commitment to our feline companion can cost about $32,560 in total. The above costs only cover the basic upkeeping cost of a cat. Additional cost incurred from medication and accidents is not included in the calculation but owners should set aside a financial buffer for any emergency. The size of the emergency or medical fund should be anywhere from up to $1,000 to $5,000 to help afford a minor surgery and hospitalisation.

This article was originally written on 20 Apr 2021 and has been updated with the latest information.

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