When I was growing up, everyone in my neighborhood had a dog. No, I’m not exaggerating. While adding a furry friend to your home might sound like a great idea, pets can get expensive very quickly. According to the American Kennel Club, the average cost of owning a dog in 2015 was $3,085! While very few regret their decision to adopt a furry friend, most pet owners aren’t considering the potential costs of owning a pet either. If you are considering adopting your own furry friend, there are many costs to consider. The cost of bringing an animal into your home go far beyond the adoption fee. Here is a breakdown of the TRUE cost of owning a pet, based on how much we have spent on Midnight. Your prices will likely be higher, as we were able to get some of our supplies for free.
Word to the wise, cats are picky. While you might be tempted to just get the cheapest thing for them, it’s not always the best idea in the long run. They also require at a minimum: litter box, scratching post, carrier (if not already provided), bowls, food, and toys.
You can find cheap litter boxes on Amazon, and I’ve even seen some at the dollar store before; this litter box is just $7! Depending on your personal preferences, you might not want an uncovered litter box just laying around your home. This is the litter box we got for Midnight. It features two nesting pans and a sifting screen, easy to clean plastic, and features a locking lid and carrying handle.
I cannot stress to you enough the importance of purchasing a scratching post for your cat. Without a scratching post, your cat WILL tear apart your home. We live in a one bedroom apartment and we have three for Midnight. Cats need a place to trim their nails, and believe me, the lack of a scratching post will not stop them. Before you purchase your own, ask around to see if anyone has one that you could use. Since both my roommate and my dad’s cats weren’t using one of the scratching posts they had, we were lucky enough to get them for free! My dad later purchased a cat tower, which included a scratching post, for his grand kitty as a housewarming gift.
When we adopted Midnight from the Humane Society, they let us keep her carrier. This is not usually the case though. Most pet stores will let you borrow a carrier to take home your furry friend, but you are expected to bring it back. You want to make sure you get a sturdy and durable pet carrier. Trust me, the first time you take your pet to the vet you’ll be glad you have one. I recommend staying away from the fabric carriers until you know how your pet will handle the carrier experience. When looking for a carrier, you should make sure they can be securely latched, have good ventilation, and can hold the weight of your pet. This pet carrier is a great example of the kind you should be looking for.
There are plenty of cheap options for cat food available. In my opinion, you should always splurge on food for your pet. We get Midnight Authority Mature Cat food, which will cost us anywhere from $20-$30 for a bigger bag. Talk with your vet about what your pet needs in their diet, and search for a brand that your pet loves and meets those requirements.
Total: $275 per year
You might think it’s odd to find toys under the necessary category, but it’s here for good reason. If you’ve ever owned a dog or a cat then you know that when they get bored, they get into things. To keep your pet entertained, get them a few toys to play with. Midnight’s FAVORITE toy is this fish on a stick toy. Whenever she wants you to play with her, she will carry it in her mouth to you and start meowing. You can find 99 cent mice and more for your cat at pet stores or even the dollar store.
If you are considering adopting a pet, the most important expense you need to be aware of is vet expenses. Taking your pet to the vet is expensive, and if all goes smoothly it will happen once a year. Find a vet that you trust, and more importantly, who your pet trusts. Midnight loves her vet, and is extremely calm whenever the vet needs to look her over or trim her nails. A rough estimate for Midnight’s annual checkups is $100 a year.
Within the first month of having Midnight, I had to take her to the vet 4 times! Sometimes emergencies happen, and when they do you will likely need to take your pet to an after hours clinic. When Midnight hurt her knee, her vet bill (just for the after hours vet) was $136. After that, she required a number of visits to a regular vet to give her pain medicine. The medicine alone cost us $50.