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How Much does it cost to Rescue a Cat?


‘Hi, there is a stray cat,’


In order for people to find us we have our social media and website presence. Obviously both play various parts in our day-to-day but for first contact our website can be the best place for people to click on to and get contact info quickly.

Cost for hosting and domain rental works out at; 21p per day.


Sometimes it can take multiple calls before we get through to someone. Sometimes we never reach a person.

Costs include line rental, plan costs, extra charges for out-of-plan calls, mobile charges, etc.

Approximately £2 a day for mobile and landline.


Often we need to email to get the exact details - not always, but often. This could be to get photos sent or get a more accurate location when the address isn’t available.

For email we have a free email account and a paid plan for our own personalised emails.

Approximately 30p per day for all email accounts.

Admin Staff Time

Before we even go out or take an animal in we have to have people running behind the scenes; this includes setting up the mobile, landline, website and running them. It involves having someone on the other end of the phone/email to respond. We are very lucky to have all of these costs covered by volunteer time.

If we were to pay however, we could be looking at potential costs of £450 a week between website setup, maintenance, answering calls and responding to emails.

So approximately £65 a day for admin staff.


So, we’ve got the details of the animal in need, we now need to get there. Again, we are lucky that for many cases volunteers will use their own vehicles and will not claim expenses on their time or fuel. With current fuel costs, that is a massive gift to the sanctuary.

But if we had to pay; on average most of our cats come from within 40km of the sanctuary (there are outliers but the bulk are within this range). For a volunteer travelling that distance and back again, that equates to 80km - costing £8.64 (according to a fuel calculator set at £1.90 per litre and the car doing 50mpg). In many instances they could do multiple trips, especially in the situation of multiple cats, or with trapping as it can be a lengthy process of baiting, setting traps and waiting. According to the current approved mileage rates for cars and vans are 45p per mile. That works out at approximately £22.

So approximately £15 for travel expenses on average.

Rescue Staff Time

Like the admin time and the transport, our rescue staff are here on a voluntary basis but if we had to pay them we could be looking at potentially £150 a day. When trapping, some of our volunteers are out from first light until after midnight. It is entirely case by case. Some cases we just need an animal picked up; in general this is just as long as the journey takes. As we would be requesting staff drive to collect (either in their vehicle or our own), we may be required to cover their time. For a 50 mile round trip the fastest time would be approximately 50 mins.

So approximately £10 per rescue at a minimum rate.


Now the cat is in our care, we need to feed it. We feed a mix of wet and dry food.

Approximately 60p a day per adult cat.


This is another one people expect but often don’t realise how much can be involved. We will break this down further. There is also a long list of further costs involved in the cases where the cat isn’t well or needs further care.

Wormer and Flea treatment

We source the cheapest option we can, but this can be a case by case for the particular cat. Sometimes a spot on treatment is better than a liquid or granule. We take advice from our vet in most cases.

Approximately £3 per cat.


This is something we don’t do with every cat but with any we have concerns with.

Average test £46 per cat

Pregnancy Scan

We don’t always scan for pregnancy, often we can tell immediately and if not the vet can. Sometimes there are uncertainties or queries though.

Average £42 per scan.


For some people they don’t see the point but just like for our dogs, and potentially more so, it’s important to microchip your cat.

Average £6 per cat.


Vaccinations are another thing people don’t always feel are required for their cats. We don’t have a hard set rule that new homes must vaccinate but we do ensure that all cats leaving us have started their vaccination course.

Average £46 per cat.


We don’t need to go into much detail here.

Average £35 per cat.


All our rescued cats live indoors while in our care before they find new homes. So they are all litter trained. Cat litter comes in so many varieties and qualities. For the most part we like the dust free wood pellet litter but some of the cats also have preferences.

Average 55p a day per cat for wood pellet cat litter.


Now for many of our cats their bedding is all donated. Whether new or used the cats don’t mind as long as it’s clean. So, there are two areas to consider for bedding. First is the purchase of the bedding (if we couldn’t get some donated), and then there is the washing and cleaning. For some of the recent arrivals there is a lot of washing and cleaning; between fleas, learning to use the litter tray and in general just being dirty from living rough. On average the recommendation is to wash cats bedding at least once every two weeks.

Time for some real maths now… it costs us approximately 34p to run our washing machine for an hour. This is the cheapest we could get for the Farm/Commercial Account. It can take a full load to wash a duvet case, blankets and towels etc used to make up one bed. We have solar panels which do offset the costs a little but we won’t factor them into this calculation.

So, 34p to cover electric for the washing machine, 19p for washing powder/detergent/tablets, and a further 70p for the dryer (unless we can air dry which isn’t always possible with the weather).

Approximately 9p a day to cover washing / Or £1.23 per wash.


Another area that is obvious and yet often hidden is the cost of housing the animal. In most cases our cats are assessed in large crates which can be set up wherever suitable; even in a foster home. For this exercise we are only looking at the sanctuary costs because each foster home set up is different. There is the depreciation of the building itself, the maintenance, the electricity, the heating, lighting and for those hot days we may have fans on. All our small animal areas also have a radio at minimum.

The costs for the above are harder to calculate given the shared spaces. We can look at the cost of a good sized crate for housing though, which is around £80. We also need to provide a bed, litter tray, food and water bowls as a minimum.

So outlay of around £95 (although will have multiple users over years).

Cat Care Staff Time

We are back to staff time and this is an area where we actually have some paid staff but only for part of the time, the rest of the care is carried out by volunteers. On average every cat will get time for handling, assessment, tidying, cleaning, grooming, feeding, cleaning litter tray, etc. There are different thoughts on how long a cat needs daily, but we need to look at what we can also realistically give.

Approximately £1.60 per day for 10 minutes direct care.

Advertising for New Homes

We now have to advertise for new homes. We advertise on social media and our website. We have a digital application and a paper application for people to choose from. Again we are back to website hosting costs - but sometimes we also have to boost posts on social media when we are not getting any interest in animals. This is a paid advertisement to increase the number of people who see it. The minimum is £1 a day. We could spend £10 on an advertisement and still get no potential homes. Volunteers opt to spend their own money for boosting which we are grateful for. We are also grateful we don’t have to do a lot of advertising.

Potentially £1 per day for advertising.

Applications and Home Check

Our entire cat rehoming team is voluntary; so those who do the simple admin of processing the applications to those who contact potential homes, arrange visits, do home checks and so on are all done by volunteers. If we did have to pay for their time however we would be looking at potentially £10 a day, with home checks including travel expenses too. We rehome all over Northern Ireland, with the team taking on the responsibility of sharing the load as much as possible.

Potentially £25 per cat for home check and application processing etc.

How much does it cost to rescue a cat?

For many of these previous headings we do not spend this money, we save where we can, we make use of donations, this includes donations of non-claimed expenses, and we rely heavily on our wonderful volunteers.

But how much does it really cost to rescue a cat? There are the potential costs of around £301.49. How much of that we actually need to pay depends on donations, volunteers and of course the cats themselves.

For some people it costs everything to rescue a cat, they put their entire life into it. For some it’s priceless, they don't see the cost just the cat in need. For us at the sanctuary we are much of the former, while wishing to be the latter. We wish we didn’t need to put a price on things, but we cannot do these things for free. We do as much as we can while giving everything we have.

How much does it cost to rehome a cat?

From us? £70. No hidden costs, no ‘it costs us this, so you pay this’. It’s one price fits all. Not all cats will have had all of the above - for example, kittens who are rehomed before they are old enough to be spayed or neutered are the responsibility of the new home regarding costs.

If we included every cost and had to pay for everything we would be out potentially £230 per cat.

So how much does it cost to rescue and rehome a cat? It costs the sanctuary approximately £230.00 (as long as we can find it a new home)!

“So… there’s a stray cat…how can we help?”


Don't forget our upcoming Crosskennan Charity Dinner Dance this November to celebrate 25 years of saving lives. Celebrating the people who have helped and the animals they have saved!



Help us to help them!

Please, CLICK here to Make a Donation (PAYPAL)!

Make a one off donation on our website CLICK HERE!

Or you can send a donation via bank transfer to

Sort Code: 950202

Account Number: 31184288



If you want to get stuff delivered to us you post it directly to: Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary, 26 Crosskennan Lane, Ballynoe, Antrim, BT41 2QY

Or send us an email to to arrange a drop-off of donations!

Did you know you can send grocery deliveries to us too? Just let us know in advance, and you can do a ASDA, Tesco's, Sainsbury's Online delivery and get it dropped off at the sanctuary. We can make use of so much from your local supermarket, from fresh fruit and veg, to frozen peas and sweetcorn, fresh chicken, ham, liver, washing up powder/tablets, dish soap, bleach, disinfectant, toilet rolls, dog food, cat food, birdseed... The list could go on forever!

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