The cost of that free kitten

Freedom in this case comes at a price

It’s kitten season and you see them everywhere! Pet stores, humane societies, and rescues have oodles of kittens available for adoption. On Kijiji and Craigslist there are ads for free kittens free to good homes. Even that house down the street is advertising those cute fluff balls for free. Their house cat got out and now they have to deal with six little ones that they either don’t want or cannot keep.

So you begin thinking: Why pay money to adopt when there are so many opportunities to get kittens for free? Well, before your heart falls for one or two of those energetic free sweeties, you should remember what your parents have taught you and that is, nothing in life is really free. You should be aware what that free kitten is going to cost you.


Questions that you have to ask the person giving away the kittens are:

 How old is the kitten? You want to make sure the kitten is old enough to be separated from his or her mother. Most rescues and shelters insist on kittens being a minimum of 12 weeks old and at least a weight of 2 pounds. This way the kitten should be properly socialized and healthy to withstand the stress of leaving.

— Has the kitten been dewormed? You really don’t want to deal with this and it should be done well before the kitten leaves.

— Has the kitten had its first set of shots? At the age of 8 weeks, the first shots should have been done. If they haven’t been, they will be at your expense.

Those are the initial questions to ask before taking the kitten. Additional expenses that you will need to know about and you will be responsible for are: second and third booster shots, rabies shot, possible flea treatments, and the costly one—spay/neuter. Veterinary prices vary so much throughout the province as well as the GTA. A simple visit can run between $30-90 without any treatments depending on the clinic. For a spay/neuter, conservative pricing runs $200-$300 and that does not include optional pain medications, possible IV, if needed, and the protective collar to keep the kitten from opening the sutures. All of a sudden that free kitten is costing more than you had realized and you are in the vicinity of $600 and upwards.

When adopting a 12 week old kitten from Ninth Life Cat Rescue, the $195 adoption fee includes deworming, flea treatment, and the first set of shots, microchip, and the spay/neuter is included when they come of age.

Information is important to have and during kitten season you may want to refer to this table when considering that kitten on Kijiji. Now you can see why rescues have higher adoption fees and cannot afford to reduce rates on kittens or cats. As a non-profit organization, we rely on volunteers and donations/fundraisers to pay the vet bills to cover all of these costs. And these costs are only for the healthy fur babies we rescue. We have many that need additional medical help and all of this comes from our adoption fees and donations.


So next time you think about getting that “free” kitten, think about what it actually costs before making your decision. Free is not necessarily free!

Author: Patti Altridge