Anyone who has owned a cat or a dog has no doubt been drawn into the age-old debate – which one is better? It’s such a hot topic that the BBC recently aired a two-part series to try to settle it once and for all. Unsurprisingly they concluded that both were great, and it was down to the owner at the end of the day (although for the record, dogs won 4-3).
So given that comparing dogs and cats is a bit like trying to compare apples with pears, we thought we would look at the hard facts. Instead of trying to decide which one loves you more, or which one makes the better family pet, we’ve decided to judge it on the basic lifetime cost of owning one over an average lifespan.
As you will see from the table below, by cost alone, the cats have it. And let’s face it, they’re a lot easier to look after as well. But then again, if we were to calculate it by cost per cuddle, no doubt the dogs would win by a nose.
|Average Lifetime||15 years||12 years|
|Vet's fees (vaccinations and boosters)||£750||£900|
|Total Lifetime Cost||£11,035||£13,103|
Source: Based on data from www.petwebsite.co.uk and www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk (Please note, these are just the basic costs, and don’t include ‘extras’ such as grooming, kennels/ cattery, or luxury food or equipment.)
Apart from food, the next biggest cost for both cats and dogs is insurance. Arguably this isn’t an essential cost, and one that many animal owners decide to forgo – usually to their detriment. Insurers paid out an amazing £1.6 million a day last year for medical treatment for pets, with an average claim of £650 (source: Association of British Insurers). Some claims go well into the thousands depending on the breed of the animal, and the illness.
Michael Ward, Managing Director of PayingTooMuch.com said “Only around 15% of dog and cat owners have pet insurance as it’s still very much deemed a ‘nice to have’. Many of our customers call us after their pet has had a diagnosis, as they simply cannot afford to pay the veterinary bill. Unfortunately by then it’s usually too late. While it may feel like a large monthly outlay, don’t underestimate the importance of pet insurance. It could save you a fortune in the long run.”