Cats vs. Dogs - Which pet is more affordable?

MagnifyMoney

So you think you’re ready to bring a fluffy bundle of joy home, but you can’t decide between getting a cat or a dog?

MagnifyMoney might be able to help, at least where your budget is concerned. We broke down the costs of owning a cat and a dog, so you can decide which of the most popular pets in the U.S. you’d like to bring home next.

We didn’t just stop at determining the annual cost of kibble or Fancy Feast. 

We looked at how much a dog and cat costs in the first year of ownership — and how much each pet costs over their lifetime.

Check out our findings below.

Upfront Costs:

Cats: $125 to $635
Dogs: $197 to $1,090

The Winner: Cats

These are the initial start-up costs of getting a cat or a dog — adoption fees, accessories like leashes and food dishes, and veterinary services like spaying/neutering and vaccinations. To get these estimates, we used the latest data from Petfinder.com.

Your first-year expenses as a cat or dog owner could range anywhere from $125 to a little more than $1,000 depending on the size, breed, and accommodations your new pet would require, according to Petfinder.

Overall, you’d shell out less for a cat up front — as little as a $125 if you take advantage of savings during adoption, shop around to save on your initial veterinary costs, and use coupons when buying accessories or toys for your furball.

On the high end, if your kitty is an expensive breed or you simply like to splurge on your feline companion, you’d spend around $635 during the first year.

Recurring Annual Costs:

The costs don’t end after you bring Fido (or Fluffy) home. You should budget about $1,125 yearly on vet visits, food, boarding, toys, and grooming for a cat, and about $1,641 on a dog, according to the American Pet Products Association’s most recent National Pet Owners Survey.

 

The Lifetime Cost of a Dog or Cat:

Cats: $13,625 to $17,510
Dogs: $16,607 to $22,423

THE OVERALL WINNER: Cats

If the decision came down to your wallet, cats are significantly cheaper than dogs, costing about $13,625 to $17,510 in a lifetime, compared to dogs at $16,607 to $22,423.

We based the lifetime costs on the average lifespan of dogs (10-13 years) and cats (12-15 years).

But even though cats typically live two to three years longer than dogs, they still come out more affordable in the end.

MagnifyMoney is a price comparison and financial education website, founded by former bankers who use their knowledge of how the system works to help you save money.

KGW


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