Did you know that three in five households in Australia now have one or more pets? Aussies love our pets so much, we spend over $12.2 billion a year on pet products and services. The average dog owner spends nearly $1,500 a year on their pup, and that’s without even taking in to account fancy food, designer accessories, or vet emergencies! The list goes on – check out this handy Moneysmart infographic for more stats.
Thinking about getting a pet, but worried you won’t have the budget to give your new furry (or scaly, or feathery…) friend the best in life? It’s good to be financially responsible and plan ahead. Too many people rush in to pet ownership without considering the long term financial side of it. Budgeting for food, vet bills, accessories and other costs is part of being a responsible pet owner.
Cats can be much cheaper than any other pet, both up front, and in the long term. So if you’ve already got a lil’ purr machine at home, you can pat yourself on the back. Here’s why.
1. If you’re renting, you might pay a lower pet deposit
Many rental properties that allow pets also require an extra deposit to cover any damages that the pet might make. These deposits are often higher for, say, a large energetic dog than they are for a cat. This is because cats usually create less damage to the walls, floors and fixtures – if any at all. (Unless they’re like one of these little guys…)
2. The adoption fees are often lower
If you’re adopting from a shelter or rescue group you may pay a lower adoption fee for a cat than you would for a dog. Shelters often run specials on adoption fees too, especially for older cats, or during particularly busy seasons. For example, the RSPCA in Victoria doesn’t charge an adoption fee for senior cats .
3. They don’t eat as much
We can’t guarantee that your new feline pal won’t develop a taste for expensive fancy tinned food, but in general, cats eat less than dogs. This means you won’t spend as much to keep them fed. According to a report by Animal Medicines Australia, the average cat eats $576 worth of food a year . And that’s not just bargain basement stuff either. That’s just $11 a week. And if you’re like the 8% of cat owners who buy some of their cat’s food from the butcher, you could save even more.
4. They could help you save on pest control
Speaking of saving money on food… If your cat is a good mouser/ratter, they could save you a lot on pest control over the years. An exterminator could charge you at least a couple of hundred dollars per visit, and may use poisons or equipment that are inconvenient to say the least. No worries; even just the smell of your cat can repel most rodents, which recognise it as a predator. And not all cats are predatory monsters; some love nothing more than a cuddle and some food out of a tin or a bag. In fact, some have been known to be real pushovers…
5. They don’t need to be walked
If you’ve got a busy lifestyle with an unpredictable schedule, your cat won’t mind – they don’t need walks or supervised exercise, like dogs and other small animals do. You won’t have to spend money on a walker (or even a daycare!) if you can’t make it home in time, and you’ll be able to say yes to invites, overtime hours and more without feeling guilty.
The other side of this is that owning a cat could give you just as much of a health boost as a dog you’ve got to walk every day. One 20-year study suggested that cat ownership can reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke by more than 30%. Even their purrs can do wonders; cats purr at a specific frequency range that can help improve joint mobility after injury. So even if you have to shell out a bit for that fancier food, you’ll get it all back in spades – with unconditional love.