How much does it cost to own a cat or dog?
We love our pets here in the UK. We’d even go as far to say that we’re animal obsessed! Just under half (49%) of all adults in the UK own a pet, research from YouGov and the PDSA shows. And you can probably guess which two animals come top of the list of our favourite furry friends. That’s right – cats and dogs!
One quarter (25%) of adults are proud owners of a cat, meaning there’s around 11.1 million of them in the UK. Dogs follow closely behind, with 24% adults owning one – at an estimated population of 8.9 million.
Giving a cat or dog a home
Needless to say, owning a pet pooch or puss is a huge responsibility. It requires a lot of commitment, so isn’t a decision to be taken lightly.
But if you really believe you can give a cat or dog a loving, caring home – whether you buy from a rescue centre or get a puppy or kitten from a trusted breeder – then you and your furry friend could have a very happy life together. In fact, owning a pet has a number of health benefits, such as…
- They keep you fit and active
- They’re great company (for you and your kids!)
- They make you feel safe
- They can make you more sociable
- They can lower your stress
The cost of owning a pet
Many people who already own a cat or dog will tell you that you simply can’t put a price on owning a pet. But still, it’s really important to consider the lifetime cost of having a cat or dog before you buy one. That way, you can be sure your pet won’t end up putting too big a strain on your finances.
It’s not just the cost of buying the cat or dog and then feeding it. You also need to bear in mind the cost of things like toys and bedding, unexpected trips to the vets, pet insurance, and even doggy hotels or catteries when you’re on holiday.
When it comes to insurance, Go Get It has teamed up with a range of some of the best, specialist pet insurers on the market. We carry out pet insurance comparison on behalf of pet owners to find them the best deal on cover.
Which is more expensive to own – a cat or dog?
As you’d probably expect, dogs cost more over their lifetime than cats. The Money Advice Service explains that cats cost at least £12,000 over their lifetime, though it’s more likely they’ll cost closer to £17,000. Some breeds could end up seeing you pay as much as £24,000 for their upkeep during their lifetime.
To compare, dogs come with an average price tag of £21,000. Although, some dogs – especially large pedigree breeds – could end up costing owners a staggering £33,000.
The Money Advice Service has handily broken downs the costs associated with owning both a cat and dog.
The average cost to buy a cat or dog
Cats don’t cost a lot to buy. Purchase a standard domestic kitty from a trusted breeder or rescue centre and you can expect to pay around £50 to £150.
But if you want to get a specialist breed, then prepare to part with a lot more money. Maine Coon and Russian Blue breeds cost around the £1,000 mark, while Bengal, Savannah and Asherah breeds – all leopard and domestic cat hybrids – could set you back tens of thousands of pounds.
Dogs vary significantly when it comes to how much they cost to buy, given that there are so many popular breeds to choose from. But to give you an idea, pooches from a rescue centre or trusted breeder can cost around £50 to £150, similar to domestic cats. You can expect to pay a little more for popular hybrids (like labradoodles) and small breeds (like pugs) – around £1,000.
Bigger pedigree dogs and rare breeds can cost several thousands of pounds. Apparently, the most expensive dog in the world is a Tibetan Mastiff who lives in China – his owner paid in the region of an eye-watering £1 million for him but then again, you can’t put a price on love!
If you want to buy a pup or kitten, it’s really important to do your research beforehand. Although new dog breeding licensing guidelines came into force in 2018, unfortunately, many ‘bad breeders’ still exist in the UK who raise puppies and kittens with little regard for their health and welfare. Animals bought from these type of breeders are more likely to develop health issues over their lifetime.
You can do your bit to promote breeding best practice by making sure you buy a pup from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder, or a kitten from a breeder signed up to the GCCF Breeder Scheme. These schemes help to ensure your future cat or dog has been given the best possible start in life before you take over looking after them.
Feeding your furry friend
Whether you own a cat or dog, food is something you don’t want to scrimp on, as you want to make sure your pet enjoys a healthy and balanced diet. It’ll cost you between £100 and £200 a year to feed your cat, depending on the food you buy.
Naturally, the bigger the dog, the more they’ll cost to feed. You’ll need to budget around £200 to £400 a year. Again, there are lots of cheaper options available, but they might not contain the most healthy ingredients, and may be bulked out with things like oats.
Whether you’re buying cat or dog food, always check the label to make sure it’s packed with high levels of nutritious ingredients like real meat. Remember, the most expensive brand doesn’t automatically make it the best or the healthiest.
Buying pet accessories
Kitting out your home for your kitty will involve buying things like bedding, bowls, litter trays and toys. These initial basic expenses are likely to cost in the region of £200 – but you should expect to pay more for buying premium accessories like fancy scratching posts.
On average, you’ll be looking to pay somewhere between £200 and £400 for the basics your doggy needs to feel at home in your house. This will cover things like bedding, leads, toys and food/water bowls.
Trips to the vet
Whether you’re a cat or dog owner, a trip to the vet can be extremely expensive. And because these visits are sometimes unexpected, you may not have that kind of money saved up. This is why many pet owners choose to protect their pet and their finances by taking out quality pet insurance.
According to the Money Advice Service, surgery can cost in the region of £1,500 for cats, which is around about the same amount it would cost to fix a broken limb on a dog. But you could end up paying thousands of pounds for treatment of long-term illnesses and more serious conditions. For instance, chemotherapy can cost £5,000 for dogs.
If you’re buying a pup or kitten, you’ll need to budget for vaccination costs. A round of initial jabs for cats and dogs costs around £100, then £50 for the yearly booster.
Other average costs – cats
Neutering/spaying – £100
- Cat microchip – £15-£20
- Flea and worming treatment – £5 per month for flea treatment, £15 every three months for worming treatment
- Cat grooming – £20-£35 per session (pedigree and long-hair cats are likely to need more grooming)
- Cat flap installation – £10-£50 for the cat flap, £30-£60 for installation in a single-glazed window/uPVC panel, £200-£300 for installation in a double-glazed window
- Cattery – £5-£10 per day (for either a stay in a cattery or for a pet sitter to visit your cat)
Other average costs – dogs
Neutering/spaying – £60-£180 (bigger dogs could cost a lot more)
- Dog microchip – £15-£20
- Flea and worming treatment – £10 per month for flea treatment, £10-£15 for worming treatment every three months
- Dog teeth cleaning – £100-£200 for a full clean and descale, £400-£500 for tooth removal or more serious dental work
- Dog walker – £10 per hour on average for a dog walker, but much more for a day-care service
- Boarding kennels – Around £17 per day for a kennel, and around £25 a day for a live-in pet sitter
It’s worth noting that dog microchipping is now a legal requirement. Don’t get your pooch chipped and you could be fined up to £500.
Should I get a cat or dog first?
So, you’ve decided that you want (and can afford) to welcome a new addition to your family. The big question is: cat or dog?
A lot of people claim to either be a ‘cat person’ or ‘dog person.’ But if you’re a cat and dog person, here are some things to bear in mind when deciding which pet to give a furever home.
- Dogs crave their owners’ attention. They’ll miss you when you’re at work and will want to play the second you get through the door. If you don’t like the sound of this, then you’re probably best off with a cat.
- Cats are far more independent, but some people would say a downside to this is that some aren’t very loyal. If a neighbour feeds them better food than you, you might not see them for a couple of days! Dogs, on the other hand, make the most loyal companions.
- Dogs can get lonely, so if you’re not at home that much, it may be fairer to opt for a feline instead. The same goes if you’re regularly away on business or are lucky enough to go on several holidays a year!
- If you love nothing more than getting out in the great outdoors, a dog can make the ultimate adventure buddy – especially active breeds like collies, labrador retrievers and Siberian huskies.
- A dog will need to be walked come rain, shine or hail. On the other hand, if you’ve got a cat flap, it’s down to your puss whether they brave it outdoors or stay indoors curled up on the sofa.
How much does pet insurance cost?
The price of pet insurance depends on so many factors, it’s impossible to give a definitive figure. To give you an idea, though, Go Get It provides dog insurance from £4.62 per month and cat insurance from £3.49*. Our pet insurance comparison service ensures you get the cover you and your pet needs, for a price that’s right.
If you’re lucky enough to own a cat and a dog, Go Get It can also arrange multi-pet cover. Having just one insurance policy will be easier to manage, and many of the insurance providers we work with offer discounts for covering multiple pets.
Is pet insurance worth the cost?
Pet insurance is a no-brainer for many pet owners, particularly given the high costs associated with trips to the vets, treatment and medical procedures.
Having cover in place will give you peace of mind that if your cat or dog becomes unwell or injured, you wouldn’t be left with sky-high medical bills you may not be able to afford. Leaving you to focus on nursing your pooch or puss back to full health.
Why choose Go Get It pet insurance?
Go Get It is the UK's only dedicated pet insurance comparison website that allows you to compare policies from leading UK providers to find the perfect cover for your cat or dog. Here are some of the benefits of getting your pet insurance with Go Get It:
- Puppy and kitten cover from eight weeks old
- No upper age limit
- Range of cover options, including accident only and lifetime cover
- Discounted multi-pet policies
- Cover from £1,000 to £10,000 per year
- Cover for overseas trips
- Dentistry cover
- Cover for speciality diets
- Complementary medicine
- Emergency boarding
- Third-party legal liability (dogs only) up to £2 million
* 10% of customers achieved this price for Accident Only insurance based on www.gogetit.insure between August - October 2018