Free Cats and Kittens

There is no such thing as a free kitten. There will always be costs associated with adopting a cat, be it a free kitten from a friend, a cat from the shelter or a purebred from a registered breeder. How much these costs will depend on many factors.

Shelter cats will cost a small adoption fee (usually around $150), but the cats will have been desexed (spayed/neutered), vaccinated, wormed and quite likely microchipped, saving you the expense.If you adopt a free kitten, more often than not you will have to take care of the desexing, vaccinating etc. The cost of this will be more than the adoption fee you’d pay at the shelter.

Estimate of costs

Shelter kitten

Cat (microchipping, desexing and vaccinations already covered) $200
Total outlay $200


‘Free’ kitten

Cat $Free
Desexing (depends on the sex, females cost
Microchipping $50
Vaccinations x 3 ($50 x 3) $150
Total outlay $350


As you can see, once you have paid for necessities such as desexing, vaccinating etc., you have paid more money for the free kitten than you would have from a shelter kitten.

In addition, most shelters will offer a health guarantee for a limited period as
well as support.

Is desexing necessary?

Absolutely, every day, thousands of cats and kittens are euthanised because there just aren’t enough homes for them. As pet owners, we all have a responsibility towards animal welfare and not contribute to the overpopulation of cats. There are health benefits too.

Female cats:

  • Mammary cancer – The third most common tumour found in cats. Extremely low chance of developing this if the cat has been spayed prior to her first heat.
  • Pyometra – An infection of the uterus. At best, if caught early it can be treated, at worst, it can lead to death.
  • Tumours of the uterus and ovaries.
  • Stress – Caused by constant calling can weaken the cat’s immune system.

Male cats:

  • Testosterone is known to weaken a male’s immune system. Desexing your tomcat will reduce the level of testosterone in his system, thus strengthening his immune system.
  • He will be less territorial, and therefore not get into as many fights with other cats in the area. Less risk of injury.
  • Entire males are at risk of developing testicular cancer
  • Both males and females permitted to breed at random are also at risk of contracting FIV or FeLV.

Entire males (and females) are likely to spray. Cat spray is extremely pungent. Most cat breeders keep their stud cats in a separate cat enclosure because of this problem with spraying. Generally, females don’t spray, but it’s not unheard of. It’s more likely to happen in entire females.

Do I really need to vaccinate my cat?

Yes, cats are at risk of several diseases which can be life-threatening, which include:

  • Feline enteritis (also known as feline panleukopenia or feline distemper)
  • Feline respiratory disease (also known as cat flu)

Other vaccines available:

  • Chlamydia
  • Feline leukemia (FeLV)
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
  • Rabies

Speak to your veterinarian about what vaccines your cat requires.


If you still decide you would like to adopt a free kitten just bear in mind that kittens should not leave their mother until they are at least 10 weeks of age. Not only does the mother cat provide the kitten with the basic necessities it needs such as food (milk), love and warmth, but she also teaches the kitten how to behave.