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