They say money can’t buy happiness, but there sure are a lot of things you can buy that contribute to your mental well being. Unfortunately having money tends to lead to excessive worry about accumulating more money and more possessions.
In my case, I’d have to say my best investment has been my two cats, hands down, or should I say paws down? No I have not exploited my pets putting them in commercials or turned them into the new youtube stars. Instead they help bring me happiness on a daily basis. They just have to jump up in my lap or run to greet me at the door to bring a smile to my face.
Animals just have a way of loving unconditionally and being a reliable companion that is always there. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but they seem to sense when are you feeling down and make a point of giving you some attention.
I think I must’ve got my love for animals from my dad. My parents divorced when I was still quite young and I primarily lived with my mom. Unfortunately we were always too busy to have any pets, as proven by the short lives of the baby turtles we had for a while. Sorry little turtles! My dad on the other hand lived in the country and always had multiple animals. He always had a dog or two and usually cats, but at different times he also had a horse, goats, rabbits, pigs, chickens and even turkeys.
While many of these animals helped provide for his family, you could tell there was more to it than that. He had a sentimental connection with all his animals and he always treated them very well. The turkeys may have been the exception, since they’ve got a face that not even a mother can love. Damn those things are ugly.
Of course, not everyone should run out and buy a pet or two for instant happiness. There can be a lot of extra costs involved and animals deserve to be treated well. Here are the most obvious expenses associated with owning a pet:
Pet Food – The biggest expense of pet ownership is often the pet food required each day. When you add up the price of all those bags of dry food or cans of wet food, it can be staggering. My cats are spoiled and prefer to have dry food throughout the day and then a bit of wet food for breakfast and dinner. Some cats get by with just dry food or just wet food, but I love my cats and it is tough to break their routines once they become habit. I like to give them treats occasionally too.
Veterinarian Bills – When you first get a pet, you need to take it to the vet for immunization shots and a checkup. This helps prevent any common sickness and ensures he or she doesn’t have any health issues that need to be addressed. If it’s not done already, certain animals should be spayed or neutered. Most pets also need annual checkups and additional shots. Once your pet gets older, more expensive medical procedures may be required.
Pet Entertainment – No you don’t need to bring your pet to the movies or pricy dinner dates. Cats and dogs in particular get restless though. They like to have some kind of toys to relieve their boredom. Some toys like a tennis ball or a fake mouse don’t cost much individually, but you can be sure your pet will try to tear it apart as quickly as possible. I also have a cat house for them to climb up and perch upon. This provides entertainment and stops them from clawing other furniture. One of my cats is a catnip junkie too. You should see his eyes light up when he thinks some is coming his way.
Pet Litter – Unless you have a pet that does its business outside, you usually need to buy some type of litter. This makes the waste disposal easier and masks some of the smell. At first I was using the gravel style litter, but it was messy and cost a lot. Upon the advice of VOKRA (Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association), I switched to wood pellets for litter. Not only was this a more natural solution, but it was also much cheaper.
Grooming – Not all pets require grooming and sometimes it can be done at home. It depends on what kind of pet you have. With my cats, I handle the grooming myself, but I still bought a decent brush to avoid hairballs. Some pets need extra grooming that is best done by a professional. You don’t want your pet’s fur to get all knotted up causing pain. If you live in a warm climate, your pet might need a summer haircut to keep him cooled down.
Different animals come with different expenses. There are other things to consider such as training, shelter, transportation cages, identification microchips, leashes and more. Furniture may even need to be replaced more frequently. It is almost as expensive as having a baby.
So before jumping into pet ownership, ensure it can actually fit in your budget comfortably. You will probably become so attached with your pet that you won’t want to skimp on any of these things.
Also, try to get your pet from a local animal shelter or animal rescue organization. It will be cheaper and you will be helping an animal that desperately needs a home. If they don’t find a home quick enough, many are put down. Avoid breeders unless you can be sure that they put the animals ahead of profits. Since many areas have unacceptably weak animal treatment laws, some breeders treat their business like a sweatshop. Such animals are kept in very sad conditions and the parent animals get pushed beyond their limits. Not all breeders are run like this, but would you rather overpay for a purebred or rescue an animal that is just as adorable and lovable?
I am interested to know what kind of pets you have. Feel free to leave a comment about your pets and how it affects your finances or daily life.