This article is from the Getting A Cat FAQ, posted to rec.pets.cats newsgroup. Maintained by Cindy Tittle Moore with numerous contributions by others.
Your cat will depend on you throughout its life, and with proper care may live 15 years or more. Are you willing and able to care properly for it and provide a stable home for that long? An astonishingly high percentage of cats change owners at least once in their lifetimes, and that does not count those that didn't make it out of the shelter.
Don't get a cat without prior budgeting for vet visits and other costs. Normal veterinary care includes yearly shots and boosters, tests for worms, and examination for typical diseases as needed. This will run about US$100-$300 a year. This, of course, depends on your vet and on the health of your cat. Preventive and consistent care is less expensive in the long run.
If you cannot afford veterinary care for a cat, you should not get one. Do not think that you can get a cat and never see the vet. Annual shots and examinations are a must for keeping your cat healthy; certain vaccinations are required by law in different areas.
Other routine costs include cat food, cat litter, litter pans and scoops, and other cat paraphernalia such as scratching posts and cat trees.
Most life changes shouldn't affect your ability to give a cat a good home. Some people think they must give up a cat when they move, but that's not true. It is relatively easy to move with a cat, even if you are moving cross country or overseas.
However, if you expect that you will soon be in a situation where you will have to give up your cat, consider spending time with friends' cats instead of getting your own . It can be very difficult or impossible to find a home for your adult cat if you ever have to give it up.