Cat adoption: What are the costs?

So you want to bring home a new cat or kitten. But beyond buying a litter box and the latest (coolest) cat toys, what costs should you be anticipating for your furry new friend?

When looking at adopting, “Kitten Lady” Hannah Shaw tells Fox News that people should turn to shelters instead of choosing free kittens from maybe neighbors or classified ads, because when getting a kitten through a shelter, early preventative care should be part of the adoption fee, which can vary from shelters to shelter and typically range from $40 to $75, according to the ASPCA.

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“Look at an adoption fee as such a gift,” she said. “Ideally you’re taking home a kitten that has all of its preventative care when you adopt from a shelter. When you try to get a free kitten, they don’t have those shots.”

“A free kitten is an expensive kitten,” she added.

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Shaw said those considering adoption should ask questions about the adoption fee, and make sure it includes all of their vaccinations, deworming, and any testing. And for follow-up shots, the Kitten Lady said those don’t have to be so expensive — you can check online for resources on low-cost vaccine clinics in your community.

Shaw emphasized proper nutrition and preventative care as two other big considerations of people adopting animals —and both can cost some money.

“I definitely believe that prevention is important and is something that is easier than waiting until problems arise,” Shaw said. “You want to make sure [the cats] have all of their cat and kitten shots, and are up-to-date. Think of it like you would for a human baby. Kittens need booster shots and vaccines. Cats should be going to the vet at least once a year for a check-up.”

“Cats receive far less veterinary care than dogs,” she cautioned. “Because cats are very stoic, people do not always understand or recognize disease in their cat. Recognize what your cat looks like when healthy and what happens if anything goes wrong.”

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One way of ensuring your cat stays healthy, Shaw said, is through proper nutrition. The Royal Canin pet food partner said pet parents should check to make sure they are feeding their cats age-appropriate, high-quality food.

“You want to know you’re feeding them something appropriate for their age,” Shaw said, adding that she feeds her kittens Mother and Baby Cat food from Royal Canin.

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“There’s definitely a financial commitment,” Shaw warned, though that should not deter people from welcoming a new fuzzy feline into their family.

“Right now is a very great period to adopt and be bonding with an animal.”