Before You Get A Pet, Determine How Much Money It Will Steal From You

When you’re looking for a pet, you’re probably thinking with your heart rather than running a cost-benefit analysis. But animal sidekicks come with a plethora of hidden challenges, including financial demands that you’ll need to make sure you can handle.

ImpulseSave gives you a heads-up to overlooked expenses pets can rack up:

* Accessories. While some of these are superfluous, such as sweaters, bandanas and fancy toys, others are necessary. Collars, leashes, crates, litter boxes and outside shelters are just some of the things you’ll find your pet needs once you bring it home.

* Medical bills. Most pets don’t live as long as people, meaning you’ll likely live through their declining years, when vet bills can really rack up. And some pets have special diet demands that can only be filled by expensive foods. There are also immunizations, regular check-ups and other awful surprises that always tend to come up when your funds dip low.

* Grooming. It takes money and time to keep your pet looking and smelling reasonably good. Some pets need haircuts or pedicures that are best done by a professionals. If you don’t have time to walk your dog and plan on enlisting a dog walking service, that’s another fee to account for.

Win At Life: The True Cost Of Pet Ownership [ImpulseSave]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Helpful moose is helpful says:

    Order some valve caps from Amazon and receive a free cat playbox(tm).

  2. Rainicorn with baby bats says:

    Electronic butterfly in a jar. Perfect office companion!

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      They’ve got a fish and a Firefly now too.

    • foreclosing says:

      Those things are really creepy. They don’t flutter around so much as maniacally bash themselves against the jar while making this horrible clicking sound.

  3. ARP says:

    My cat actually steals money from me. I found her stash of change under a rug. I think she was saving up enough money to run away…or buy drugs.

    • Reading Rainbow says:

      I actually know a friend’s cat who hoards stuff. Lots of stuff. And not just small stuff. I guess they found it trying to drag a backpack behind a bed and when they investigated they found a huge pile of stolen crap. Maybe the cat was taking the backpack so it could pack the rest.

      • superml says:

        My cat steals socks and gloves. I find them in the water dish.

        • SmokeyBacon says:

          One of my cats used to steal socks as a kitten but he has cut back on that a lot now that he is older. Although he may just have gotten better at hiding them, because there are a lot of socks I can’t find the pair of now that I think about it.

    • Applekid ‚îÄ‚îÄ‚î¨ Ôªø„Éé( „Çú-„Çú„Éé) says:

      So, a cat burglar?

      • impatientgirl says:

        There was a video that went viral last year about a cat in Seattle, Portland, Tacoma region who stole things from the whole neighborhood. The family finally just put a box by the door and neighbors would come and go through the box to find their missing items. The cat didn’t seem to care they took their stuff back, he just wanted to get them home. They had video of him in the middle of the night stealing from people’s yards and running down the street home with them. It was pretty amusing. I think the video was originally Animal Planet in case you wanna google it.

    • CubeRat says:

      My cat, when he was younger, would steal toys from other animals in the neighborhood. I’d try to find who the toys belonged to, and try to find him the same types of toys….sigh.

      However, he doesn’t steal money. I have seen cats running from people with money in their mouth. (hopefully from their people) LOL

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        my cat has stolen at least one cat toy also. she came home with a fuzzy pink and blue stuffed ball and i have no idea how to even ask “are you missing a cat toy?”

      • Not Given says:

        My cat dragged home 3 different rubber snakes, a small doll and a head from a larger doll.

    • comedian says:

      Time to get some cat handcuffs…


      I found out my cat was embezzling from me.

      Well, I found out that when I’m away, he goes to the mailbox, picks up the checks, takes them down to the bank and cashes them.


      He goes down to the bank with the checks……dressed as me

      Had the little kitty bunny ears

      And the little kitty arrow through the head

      And I wouldn’t have caught him but I happened to look under the sofa and there’s three thousand dollars worth of cat toys under there

      And you can’t take ’em back ’cause they have cat spit all over ’em.

      —- Steve Martin

    • SmokeyBacon says:

      I have one cat who has on occasion been known to steal coins (rare but sometimes) but I know someone who’s cat had a stash like that (not you – their cat is male). And I have another cat who is a jewel thief – but it has to be metal (no cheap plastic for him). I ended up making him a chainmaille toy to try and stop it but now he just plays with that and steals stuff in his spare time (which is better I guess because before it was almost like his full time job).

  4. Coffee says:

    The financial lengths that some people I know go to to keep their ailing pets alive just six months or a year longer are amazing to me. Surgeries, special medications, more surgeries, diabetes treatment, more surgeries, a revolving door at the vet clinic. Thousands and thousands spent by people who are not wealthy to begin with. I don’t know if growing up in the country, where your dog could be shot or your other animals could get eaten by wild animals, inured me to death, but I certainly know when it’s time for a pet to go.

    I know, I know…+1,000 callous bastard points.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Here Badger, let me redirect the ire with an off-color joke:

      “Why do you always by ferrets in pairs?

      Because they’ve only got enough skin to make one sock.”

    • chucklebuck says:

      I dunno – we were on what we thought was the verge of death with our cat multiple times now, and that furry little bastard that I love keeps bouncing back better than ever. The most recent time, we almost made the hard choice but decided to give a shot in the dark medicine a chance before calling it a life. Now, 6 months later, he’s back to 100% – even the vet is amazed at his recovery. Barring something catastrophic, the vet thinks he’ll live for several more years. We were seriously maybe a week away from having him put down. I guess my point is that it’s not always so easy to tell what the time is without doing a lot of tests and talking to the vet honestly and frankly.

      The downside to all this is that the medicine is pretty expensive, and we’re definitely not wealthy. But I spend a lot of money on things that bring me less happiness than the cat, so I’d probably cut those out long before I made any hard choices with him. If the vet ever told me his time had come, of course I would not attempt to prolong his life just for myself, but I don’t mind spending the money to legitimately improve the quality and duration of his life with us.

      I don’t think your post is callous, it’s just realistic.

    • pop top says:

      At that point you have to consider what is best for the animal in terms of quality of life. Yes you may love Fluffy very much and would hate for them to pass away, but going through so many treatments to prolong a life that may not even enjoy is worse than putting them down. If you animal isn’t eating, isn’t moving, isn’t doing anything really and is only alive because of a lot of extensive care, then at some point you have to do the right thing and put them to sleep.

    • t-spoon says:

      You aren’t being callous, but there is something going on there that you just aren’t getting, I think.

      It’s one thing to keep a sick animal alive for yourself, oblivious of the quality of life of the pet. That’s something most people can agree is bad.

      As somebody who lost a 16 year old dog in November and recently had to overnight rush my younger one to an emergency clinic, I know about how much care can cost and it’s fine by me. I’m one of those people for whom my pets are my kids, and when one of them looks up at you with a belly full of bone shards and whimpers in pain, I wouldn’t be able to look at myself in the mirror if I thought ‘well you’re just going to have to suffer, because they want $129 just to see you’.

      • Coffee says:

        Yeah…I’ve been very lucky (in a perverse way) in regards to pets, in that mine have died of old age or been killed outright. I’ve never had to make a difficult decision with one that is in the peak of health and suddenly needs expensive treatment, and I hope I never need to.

        I think that the next time I get a dog, I’m going to buy pet insurance…I don’t usually spring for that sort of thing, but I think the peace of mind it gives me will be worth it.

        • t-spoon says:

          I’d highly recommend it. When my 7 year old dachshund had some shards of bone stuck in her stomach, I had to take her to two different emergency clinics. We didn’t have any insurance and the first clinic charged $320, the second $500, and that’s all just for overnight general care and some x-rays, no surgery performed. We were very lucky that it was *just* $800, surgery was quoted in the $4,000 area.

          I’ve since signed up with PetPlan insurance. I haven’t had to use it yet (thankfully), so I can’t say whether the peace of mind is justified yet.

          • Kate says:

            Better yet, don’t feed your dogs bones. Especially small beef,pork or any chicken ones.

            • jvanbrecht says:


              However, it is not always so easy.. example.. I have 2 dogs, a great dane and a dalmatian.. Both of which are very adept at getting to places they should not and eating things they should not be eating.. example.. an entire bag of hershey kisses… Fortunately, for very large dogs.. the only result is sparkly poop.. which is actually kinda funny.

              Our dogs do occasionally get into the kitchen, and into the trash can which requires a foot to open. The kitchen is also blocked off, but the damn dogs know how to open things and move things out of the way and get into the blocked off areas, as it is I had to replace all our lever based door handles with round knob ones since they both known how to open doors..

              • Kate says:

                I have chickens, and a duck and a large garden. My husband put a large Styrofoam cooler out in the garden and put a couple of tomato plants in it as an experiment. After a while I noticed that the Styrofoam cooler was slowly disappearing. For some bizarre reason, all the chickens and the duck thought it was the most delicious thing possible and they all were pecking at it and eating it.

                I wondered about Styrofoam chicken poop.

    • eys says:

      The financial lengths that some people I know go to to keep their ailing elderly relatives alive just six months or a year longer are amazing to me. Surgeries, special medications, more surgeries, diabetes treatment, more surgeries, a revolving door at the hospital. Thousands and thousands spent by people who are not wealthy to begin with. I don’t know if growing up in the country, where your sibling could be shot or your other relatives could get eaten by wild animals, inured me to death, but I certainly know when it’s time for someone to go.

    • El_Fez says:

      No, not callous at all. There’s a time when the quality of life diminishes to the point where a responsible pet owner has to make the hard call. Anything beyond that is just pure selfishness.

      When I brought my cat home, I made a covenant to do everything in my power to make sure his life is all that it can be – and that includes making sure that he suffers as little as possible when the time comes. . . .

    • azgirl says:

      My cat has lived with diabetes for over 5 years.. and it has yet to bankrupt me.. I just work through everything with the vet to understand what is required and what is a “nice to have.” I have a very well controlled 18 year old cat.

      What it did take was love, a lot of patience, and the willingness to read and feed him high protein food- never dry.

      Education is the key on most things, just like human health.

  5. SpiffWilkie says:

    My 6 chickens cost me about $15/mo for feed (they get all the table scraps, too). A chick costs ~$2-5 so if one gets sick a new one isn’t far behind.

  6. whiterussian says:

    I ride my bike to then animal shelter and walk dogs. This costs me nothing.

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      Bless you. If I did that I’d have a yard full of dogs.

  7. IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

    This is part of the reason I would never own a dog.

    I had a puppy black lab on a temp basis for like 6 months and the costs were outrageous. The amount of food he went through blew my mind, and vet bills, cages, etc.

    Cats are fairly inexpensive, especially once you get through the first year and if you keep them indoors.
    I say that after dropping $60 at PetCo last night on litter, food, a new litter mat and tray…

    I have 3 cats and I’d have to estimate that between food and litter and random things, on an average monthly basis around $100.

    • Coffee says:

      You’ll save a lot of money on food if you teach your dog to eat cats, then just feed him when you see his rib bones begin to show.

    • IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

      OMG Seriously what is with my double posts only when I use Chrome….

      • Coffee says:

        I’ve noticed that you have that issue, and I have no idea why it’s doing that to you; I use Chrome and it works fine. Sucks :

    • pop top says:

      Well young animals are going to be expensive because of all the vet appointments that they need for their shots.

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      “Cats are fairly inexpensive…”


      Our (indoor) cats have had: diabetes, hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s disease, seizures, heart murmur, and a reaction to dental plaque that necessitated having all her teeth pulled.

      (And before anyone claims we were suckered by our vets, the current one is really great about discussing our options and going in-depth about the medical issues (we’re both in public health), and they were very supportive when we decided to put to sleep the cat with Cushing’s when his skin got so fragile that he couldn’t heal properly.)

      • Coffee says:

        Have you ever considered that maybe one of your cats is a hypochondriac and the other is faking ailments because it sees how much attention your “sick” cat gets?

        • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

          No, most of our cats were pretty stupid, even for cats, except for the one that had diabetes and Cushing’s, and I don’t think he could have faked those.

          • IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

            Well they’re inexpensive when they’re not sick. Just general ownership barring all those ailments.
            Sorry you’re going through all that. :(

            • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

              Thanks, Princess. I didn’t mean to make it all about me, I just didn’t want some poor schmoe thinking cats were always cheap. I think they are cheaper, especially since they require less supervision and care than dogs, giving them a big edge if you have to pay for petsitting.

        • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

          It’s not lupus, and neither is it cancer.

      • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

        The upkeep on a 2005 Calico is outrageous.

        • SmokeyBacon says:

          Whew, I am glad that my calico is a 2010 model then – the upkeep has been pretty minimal so far.

          • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

            Just wait’ll it starts making hissing noises at random times….

            • SmokeyBacon says:

              Oh, most of my cats do that (I admit I have a lot of them but I am not a crazy cat lady – I live with my boyfriend, so it is ok) – just hiss at like some invisable ghost in the air they can see and I can’t or something like that. Heck one hisses in his sleep and wakes himself up.

    • bonzombiekitty says:

      One of my cats has been expensive due to medical issues. I’ve had him about 6 months now and he’s cost me a bundle so far in vet bills. He had pooping issues, so I brought him to the vet – tests positive for giardia and while at the vet I noticed a bald spot on his paw which turned out to be a fungal infection.

      Pooping got better for a week then came back, so we went for another round of meds for giardia. Fungal infection cleared up. Two months later, pooping problems were back, so another set of tests which showed no problems. Vet says that we can either do this whole battery of tests could end up costing upwards of $1000 or do some other cheaper stuff which may not actually find out what the issue is. Of course, pooping problem goes away on its own and has been fine for the last 4 months. I’ve come to the conclusion that he takes an abnormally long amount of time to adjust to new food.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        in the course of volunteering with a cat rescue i’ve encountered 2 cats with IBS. both of their pooping issues cleared up long term with finding the right food for them and sticking to it

    • sponica says:

      PUPPIES are expensive….dogs get to be fairly inexpensive.

      once you get to the point where you’re just vaccinating for rabies every 2 years to keep the town happy, you don’t buy anything other than food (which when we buy the right size bag is only 30 bucks a month)

      my dog has cushings…and the number one reason people put dogs with cushings down is they tend to pee a lot. we found that melatonin works well to control that symptom

    • bhurt544 says:

      Wait a minute. Didn’t you state yesterday “Big dogs are disgusting and I don’t understand how anyone sees anything cute about them.” as well as “I don’t like especially the hyper big dogs that think they’re still puppies.” ? That especially describes a Labrador retriever. What are you doing with a black lab if you can’t stand them ?

      • Coffee says:

        In Princess’s defense, people who have large dog phobias frequently suffer from PTSD from one triggering event. It’s possible that she had the puppy, then something happened, and now she’s freaked out by large dogs.

        • IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

          True, it wasn’t by choice though. I have temporarily owned 3 dogs in my adult life. I’m a sucker for strays be it bunny, kitten, or puppy.

          The lab was an abandoned little guy that my ex brought home and my son fell in love with and I couldn’t say no even though I was completely against it.

          I hated that thing with a passion after the first week and 3 pairs of high heels later.

          I have had many things happen with dogs over my life. When I was 4 I pet a dog by his tail and he turned around and bit my ear nearly off. All I really remember was being brought to the ER, my mom using a Chuck E Cheese T-Shirt to stop the blood. Then the dog was put down and those people never talked to my family again and the kids teased me saying I killed their dog.

          Maybe it is PTSD. Perhaps I need therapy in order to love a dog. Or a man.

  8. IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

    This is part of the reason I would never own a dog.

    I had a puppy black lab on a temp basis for like 6 months and the costs were outrageous. The amount of food he went through blew my mind, and vet bills, cages, etc.

    Cats are fairly inexpensive, especially once you get through the first year and if you keep them indoors.
    I say that after dropping $60 at PetCo last night on litter, food, a new litter mat and tray…

    I have 3 cats and I’d have to estimate that between food and litter and random things, on an average monthly basis around $100.

  9. sir_eccles says:

    – The wife isn’t allowed in Petco unaccompanied.

    – Don’t bother with insurance, it doesn’t really cover anything

    – Agree in advance that at a certain point it is better to let them go rather than make them suffer through unnecessary (and very expensive) treatment. It’s difficult but better for all concerned to remember them in their prime rather than watch as they suffer.

    • Jillia says:

      – Haha. Was just at Petco getting stuff for the new dog last night and came to realize this about me. Just don’t tell my boyfriend!

      – Pet Insurance: It depends on the company. Different companies cover different things. No company covers pre-existing conditions. Some cover hereditary, congenital and chronic conditions. Some don’t. Some will cover something like an illness, but at policy renewal time, that illness becomes a pre-existing condition that is no longer covered.

      I work for Petplan insurance, (no, not a salesperson or anything) but they really do have a great product. All accidents, injuries, and illnesses are covered. They’re one of the few companies that cover hereditary diseases and cover your pet for life if say for example, your cat gets diabetes. It’s definitely something worth checking out if you worry about cost of treatment vs. putting fluffy down.

  10. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    yeah, i’m up to around $1200.00 for january for my dog and another $130 this morning. he’s 12 and his joints and liver are going
    he has this many pills a day

    some of them are $4 a month, some of them are $30 a month.
    plus ultrasounds, blood tests and laser therapy for his joints

    • jvanbrecht says:

      I’m about to feel your pain.. Our Dalmatian has been limping recently, although it does not appear to cause any pain, we suspect arthritis, due to that same leg being the one that was broken when he was a pup (we got him from a rescue like that). However, they want to xray and poke around, cost $1000 give or take a few bones (see what I did there :) )

      On the other hand, this month is dental month, and he needs his teeth cleaned, $800, since they have to put him under for that in the first place, they said they can check his leg for only 300 or 400 more, since the majority of the original cost to check his leg is for the anesthesiologist…

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        cold laser therapy, or K-laser – much less expensive for pets than humans. my vet offers it at $120 for 6 treatments [total, not each]
        and it’s made a huge difference. like the difference between my dog walking and not walking. like not at all walking for days on end, having to be carried outside to relieve himself.
        last week he tried to go for a jog across the vet’s lobby to sniff a little dog’s butt.
        HUGE difference for his arthritis and a complete turnaround on his quality of life

        • LuckyLady says:

          My Westie just had knee surgery, and they’re using K-laser on his joint to aid in healing. It’s inexpensive, and it works.

          Y’all should also try Dasuquin joint supplements. They are a really good brand and have excellent reviews… we just started our two dogs on them.

          • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

            he’s got currently, 23 pills per day and i have another prescription to fill.
            i think no more pills than necessary right now. not only am i running out of money fast, but he’s sick of peanut butter, cream cheese, and squishy fake sausage treats [all of which are pill hiders]

      • Kate says:

        anesthesiologist? I’ve never heard of a vet version of that – where are you taking the dog? To a vet school?

      • LuckyLady says:

        Are they suspecting a CCL injury? If so, the diagnosis can be made if the vet can do a drawer slide with the knee (stifle) joint. It shouldn’t cost any more but the x-rays might. The films will be useful in studying the anatomy of the knee if surgery is chosen.

    • dks64 says:

      My dog tore her knee in 2 spots, so I paid $5,000 for her surgery. Still owe half, but it’s interest free (24 payment of $159, paid a bit out of pocket). She’s worth it. When I decided to keep her when she showed up on my front porch, I understood the responsibilities I took on. Besides that and her food ($40 a month, or so, for Blue Buffalo), she’s not too pricey. I love her and would do anything for her. I also have a rabbit (who requires daily fresh veggies and goes through his $20 bag of quality pellets in a month – plus hay and shavings) and 3 chinchillas. They are my children. If I didn’t want to maximize their quality of life, I never would have adopted them. Bravo to responsible pet owners.

  11. pop top says:

    If you can’t afford the vet, you can’t afford the pet. And if you’re not going to bother to take your pet to the vet (regardless of species), then you shouldn’t get a pet in the first place.

    • tkates says:

      To a point. You shouldn’t have the pet if you can’t afford annual vet visits and some amount of emergency costs. However, I couldn’t have afforded the $5,000 it would have cost to keep my cat alive for another 6 months.

      • IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

        Some emergencies yes, but what it the quality of life, in your situation, for $5000 and 6 months?

        I dropped $1200 on my cat’s last night with us only in the hopes he could be saved. He passed away 3 hours after my payment was taken.
        I still don’t regret giving him that chance to live. But if someone told me that in 6 months he’d be dead even with $5k, I’m not sure that’s a reasonable expectation.
        They did tell me that he would require constant care even if he lived, but at that point I just didn’t care and couldn’t make the decision to put him to sleep. The cost, to me, was minimal to give him a shot. If another zero was added to that, I wouldn’t have had that choice. Sometimes you just have to be realistic with those things.

        • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

          Sorry for your loss, It-Princess.
          I had a similar situation a little over 2 years ago – my cat had been acting weird and not eating regularly and unfortunately by the time I could get her to the vet she had developed Jaundice.
          Perfectly curable condition, though it would’ve required a feeding tube, constant care (which I couldn’t offer with a day job) and unknown stress to her. I spent $700 just getting her examined and put down and I still don’t know what ultimately caused it. It would’ve been $2000+ to figure it out and I couldn’t afford that, nor did I want to irreparably affect her quality of life.

          • Not Given says:

            Any time a cat isn’t getting enough calories they can develop hepatic lipidosis, they can’t metabolize all the fat they are losing which gives them the jaundice and anorexia. It can be brought on by an illness or even just a change of food they don’t like. My cat was getting over an illness and taking antibiotics, he was feeling better, then suddenly took a turn for the worse. I didn’t get the feeding tube but I wasn’t working and syringe fed him until he got better. He was 6 and lived to almost 21. I had to diagnose it myself, my small town vet had never seen it, he was talking about exploratory surgery and liver failure. I found it on the internet with AltaVista and printed out the article, written by another vet. My vet started handing out business cards with an email address a month later.

    • clippy2.0 says:

      So much this. Every time I go to the dog park (the one I go to is in the college student part of town) and hear another story of people who go cheap on dog food, or complain about pet medicine, or even the simple stuff like trying to stay up to date on vaccines, it makes me want to punch someone in the throat. Seriously, it’s a living animal. You can just hit escape and start again. You need to care for it. Blows my mind how people don’t get it, that animals get sick and gasp, it costs money to get them better

    • mmbb says:

      I’ve spent less than $150 for vet services on my 12 year-old cat (and all within the first six months).

      Maybe I should get more cats since my budget allows it. Six more ought to do…

    • Potted-Plant says:

      Can I add behavior training to your post? So many people get a pet and have no clue how to train or communicate with them. A lot of what would be good pets are put down because the original owners were too ignorant or lazy to bother properly socializing them.

  12. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    I’m pretty sure I’d be money ahead if I feed our horses twenties instead of grain and hay.

  13. LightningUsagi says:

    I have 2 dogs, neither of which really gets sick or hurt, so I only have to deal with the normal preventative meds and shots. However, my Frenchie was electrocuted shortly after I got him, and has a bit of brain damage from that. Last week he had 4 seizures in one night which are probably an after-effect from the shock. I’m hoping it’s not something that I have to put him on meds for, since there’s only been the one episode, but I’m starting to worry about the bills for that.

  14. pixiegirl says:

    The only money we spend on our cats is for food and litter. The vet keeps sending us follow up post cards they are inside cats so I don’t really see the need to give them a bunch of shots outside of the ones they already had the first year(all of which was covered by the adoption agency we got them from). As far as toys go we tried that when they were kittens and they didn’t like any of the junk we got them so we stopped buying them stuff. They do however love things that aren’t toys that we already have on hand and are regular living costs for us. Like the rings on your milk jug, water bottle caps or the cap to any bottle/jar, pens, any sort of lace/string/ribbon, any kind of paper(newspaper, toliet paper, paper towels, magazines, don’t leave any important documents laying around), boxes, the list can go on and on.

    • Not Given says:

      You can track things in on your shoes that the shots would prevent.

      • azgirl says:

        We don’t wear shoes in the house, and are pretty meticulous about cleaning.. and after a certain point, many vets think the stress of bringing an indoor cat to the vet for shots outweighs the small chance they will be exposed to anything.

        Additionally, I change my clothes and wash my hands whenever I come home from somewhere.. and I never pet strange cats.. ever.

        Dont get me wrong- we got the shots for the first 3 years or so.. and then that was enough. Had 4 cats this way- lived to be 15, 16 and still have 2 that are 17 and 18…

    • K-Bo says:

      Keep an eye out for symptoms like weight gain/loss, drinking too much water, changes in behavior, walking flat on their rear paws (caused by numbness in their back legs). They can signal things like diabetes and kidney issues that affect indoor cats. Vets tend to catch them at an earlier stage when they have regular appointments. Owners sometimes don’t notice the changes, because they happen slowly over long periods of time. My indoor cat has diabetes, and he was down almost 3 pounds before I noticed the extreme weight loss (he’s a long haired cat, so he still looked to be decent size.)

  15. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    I’m certain by this point my parents have blown over $15k on various medical expenses for their cats – one had Diabetes and required insulin shots every day, not to mention the testing and vet appointments. Another was blind, required several dental surgeries, thyroid removal.. Their most recent acquisition was from the pound where they said “Oh he hasn’t been eating..” turns out that he had an impacted colon (to the point that his entire intestines were distended) and required force-feeding for upwards of 6 months while being treated for that and given time for his gut to heal. That cat alone cost them at least $6000 – on top of yearly shots and checkups for all of the above-mentioned animals.

    The most important expense that a lot of people over look however, is SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      yes, a thousand times yes.
      spay and neuter. and yes, the vet will spay your cat/dog until right up to near the end of that unwanted pregnancy too.
      don’t wait until the kittens come and dump them off at the shelter because a majority of the time ALL THE KITTENS AND THE MAMA CAT WILL BE EUTHANIZED.
      shelters don’t have time/resources to deal with all the little illnesses that come with kittens and nursing and the space to keep the litter for 8 weeks while they get weaned.

      • SmokeyBacon says:

        AMEN TO THIS! Our friend found a pregnant cat and when they took her to the shelter they told her they would terminate the pregnancy – well they thought that was an awful thing, and they had the room so they took her in to have her babies and raise them while they found homes for them all – they ended up keeping the mom and 2 of the babies (their mom took two and I took two). When I hear about people who don’t spay or neuter and who let their cats roam and keep getting pregnant (and bringing litter after litter into the world, also not spaying and neutering them) it makes me SO angry!! And seriously there are only so many cats I can have at my place – I can’t take them all (I wish I could though).

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          i’ve got two permanent cats, two foster cats and my roommate just brought her cat when she moved in.
          kitten season is here early this year due to the mild winter in my region and it’s not good. i live in the bible belt and these are people who’d think nothing of abandoning a bunch of unwanted kittens or puppies but can’t handle the idea of a feline abortion.
          spaying a pregnant cat is so much better than leaving her and her kittens under your trailer in the snow and then calling us when they get eye and respiratory infections.

          • SmokeyBacon says:

            See this kind of stuff just kills me. I have a friend in the south of the state who takes in cats and kittens who need help (got another one of ours from her – wish I had room for more) and some of the stories she has told just make me cry. I don’t understand why some people are so awful to animals but I am so glad that there are others that try to help animals that need it – there just are too many of the former and not enough of the later.

  16. BooCackles says:

    I actually knew someone (who used to work at a pound) who complained that she couldn’t dump an unwanted dog because it was microchipped. (Lovely woman…) :P

  17. aleck says:

    And then they die…..

  18. falnfenix says:

    i want to know the kind of crap food that writer is feeding their dogs. at $20/mo for four dogs, are they just buying Ol’ Roy?

    • LightningUsagi says:

      They said they’re small dogs. One bag could easily last a month for them. I buy about one a month for my 2 30-pound dogs.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      my dog eats purina dog chow – he likes it and it doesn’t make him sick like the fancy stuff. $22 a bag for a 50lb bag at sams club and that’s about a bag every month and a half. he’s a large dog so he probably eats more than the little dogs too

  19. jvanbrecht says:

    I have 5 animals (used to be 6 but we had to put down one of the cats), 2 dogs and 3 cats..

    Dalmatian and Great Dane… are freaking eating me out of the house, around $60 in food every 2 or so weeks, not to mention when they get into the cat food, which necessitates more cat food.. for which they will invariably get into again.

    2 of the cats are fine.. 1 has the will to live but we are not sure if the cost is worth the effort and quality of life (the cat we had to put down cost us $1500 and we still had to put her down 2 or 3 days later)..

    Pets are expensive.. take the $ value that rescues and what not quote you when you are looking as the operating cost of owning the pet.. and multiply that by 10.. that is probably closer to the true value.

    That also does not include the destroyed door jam my dog ate, the horse sized stable/crate for the Dane, the toys that last around 2 minutes before being destroyed… even the so called indestructible Kong toys…

    Kenneling is a HUGE expense.. my dalmatian (the rescue), does have issues, he likes to eat people, especially tall men with hats on (when I tell people to remove their hats and they ignore my instruction, they learn quickly why I told them to do so). So house sitters are out of the question (the Dane is fine with everyone.. worst case you get slobbered to death). At least he loves children, otherwise we would have a problem.

  20. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    I just saved a ton of money by switching my pet to a gecko!

  21. IGetsAnOpinion says:

    Let’s not even talk about how expensive exotic “specialists” are. Ouch! But when your ferret gets one of the common illnesses that needs surgery, you sure want that specialist to be taking care of your little one and not one that specializes in dogs and cats!

  22. LuckyLady says:

    We call it “buying dogs.” You take them to the vet for their annual checkups and vaccines, that runs about $250, you buy dogs… take them to get groomed 4-5 times a year and spend at least $100/pop, you buy dogs… teeth cleaning runs about $800 for the two of them every other year, you buy dogs… just last week, we paid about $1800 for our smaller dog’s knee surgery (he blew his CCL, the canine equivalent of the ACL).

    But we knew this when we got our dogs. They are living creatures and cost money to maintain. They’re also part of our family–they’re not humans by any means, and we don’t treat them like that, but I wouldn’t let myself suffer through the pain of an unstable knee, or gum disease or whatnot, and I’m certainly not going to let my quadruped little buddy suffer, either.

  23. tkates says:

    It is so key to maximize coupons for food and find a vet who is willing to work with you on money.

  24. daemonaquila says:

    What a useless article – I’m not sure why blogs like ImpulseSave post things like this except that they’re out of ideas and want to put up some content for their advertisers.

    The problem isn’t that people don’t understand the costs of pet ownership. Most of the people who get themselves in trouble have had more than one pet already. They know exactly what the costs – emotional and financial – are going to be. They either are sure they can make it work, and sometimes fail for good or bad reasons, or they don’t care. My neighborhoods have been full of animals that people take in, then abandon. People aren’t ignorant. Most of the time they go into pet ownership with the best intentions and with the ability to take care of an animal, but they hit a bad spot and either are unable to cope or decide that an animal isn’t worth stressing over any more.

  25. backinpgh says:

    We had a guinea pig and then had the opportunity to rescue a cat. I was worried that the cat, a “real” pet, would be prohibitively expensive. Turns out the guinea pigs were WAY more high maintenance, both financially and emotionally, than the cat ever has been.

  26. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    I wouldn’t trade our three rescue mutts for anything. Yeah, they’re expensive, but they make us happy.

    TIP: spend money on quality food and it’ll pay for itself in reduced vet bills. Check ratings here:

  27. shifuimam says:

    “If you don’t have time to walk your dog and plan on enlisting a dog walking service, that’s another fee to account for.”

    …if you don’t have time to walk your dog, DON’T GET A DOG. Get a cat, get a gerbil, get a fishtank, but for the love of God, don’t get a dog. If you don’t have time to engage your dog in the basic interactions it needs to be trained, behaved, and properly socialized, you have no business having a dog. Even a cat is borderline, but cats are far less needy as far as pet-owner interaction goes…

  28. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    Siberian Husky = Free
    Watching her destroy everything she comes into contact with = Priceless

    Total medical, licensing, etc. has been less than $500
    Food is minimal as this breed is highly efficient and eats a cup of food a day.
    Damage to property =~$10K so far

  29. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    And then there are people who would literally kill themselves if they have to put down a pet.

  30. levelone says:

    RABBITS: Unless you’re going to take the time to actually learn how to care for a rabbit and you’re willing to commit the additional time it takes to keep them happy and healthy DO NOT GET A RABBIT AS A PET. House rabbits can live 8-12 years, so don’t jump into this without doing your research and figuring out if you’re even suitable as a bunny slave.

    They’re complicated, they have distinct personalities, they’re delicate with regards to improper handling, they’re hard to train if you don’t know what you’re doing and they’re really expensive when they get sick. They are not good pets for children. A particular rabbit may be okay with a respectful child, but they may bite, kick or scratch a child who tries to play too vigorously with them, especially if they’re afraid, or a child may inadvertently kill or injure them.

    Also, don’t add to the rabbit overpopulation problem by purchasing them as Easter gifts for children. The kids will stop caring when the rabbit gets older and isn’t baby-cute and they’ll never know how to properly care for it on their own or notice signs of it being sick the way an experienced adult will. So many rabbits get donated to shelters in the weeks and months right after Easter that they can’t all be taken in. Remember:the only rabbits that kids need on Easter are the chocolate kind.

    • dks64 says:

      Agree! I have a pet rabbit who’s 9 years old and he’s high maintenance. I love him to death though and would never get rid of him. He had stasis 2 years ago and I paid $1,500 for a 5 day vet stay. I spend about $50-80 a month on his food ($20 for pellets, $20 for greens, $3 for carrots, plus hay and treats). He costs more than my dog, who eats premium food as well (not vet bill wise, my dog recently cost me 5k). My rabbit, Mason, doesn’t like to be picked up, has recently stopped using his litter box, and has decided to trash his cage every 4-6 hours (smashing poop into the ground and peeing on the floor). Not an animal you get on a whim.

  31. Szleegs says:

    We did this to the best of our ability before adopting our puppy. The best thing we did was call around to area vets and get quotes for all the “start-up” costs: all visits, shots, and neutering, and asking about any discounts. That alone saved us at least $150. We also budgeted for puppy classes, food, and any possible kenneling we would need (during holidays/vacations). We did NOT budget for wanting to buy him every toy and treat we see at the pet store! But he’s worth it :) He’s a good dog.

    Similarly, when I inadvertantly adopted two kittens in college, I worked with my vet and he gave us 30% off all the services, including neutering, and free antibiotics when one of them was sick. Now I’m so happy I got stuck with those boys, loves of my life, they are.

    Sometimes all you have to do is ask!

  32. SilentAgenger says:

    It’s been mentioned already, but it’s worth repeating: In addition to cost, also determine how much TIME your pet will require.

    Most dogs require a lot of attention. Exercise, training and general interaction (play time, etc) are key. I’m no expert, but I’ve done a few volunteer stints with the Humane Society, which was an eye-opening experience that taught me some very valuable and important lessons on dog ownership. I’d recommend it to anyone who owns/plans to own a dog (if nothing else, go there just once to attend the volunteer orientation and view some of the examples of what happens when pet owners can’t or won’t live up to their responsibilities).

    As for cost, LuvMyPet (a traveling vet clinic that visits Petco stores on a regular basis) is a good option to save money on vaccination costs. They charge half what my vet charges for routine shots, but the trade off is less-focused attention (since they’re mobile) and also sometimes long waits in line.

  33. foreclosing says:

    The butterflies in a jar are highly creepy. They don’t flutter around so much as bash themselves against the jars and make this shiver inducing clicking sound when they do.