Junior and I are cat people, and we find ourselves now without a cat for the first time since he was born. After an illness that didn’t respond to treatment, we sent our 17 year-old cat across the rainbow bridge to Valhalla last year, which was a difficult time for all involved. For the most part I found that having a cat wasn’t terribly expensive (until he got sick in his older years), but now that I’m thinking of getting another, I decided to take some time to think it through.
So here it is—the cost/benefit analysis of having a cat.
- Adoption – $75
- Food & snacks – $15 a month (I buy in bulk)
- Litter tray: $10
- Litter – $10 a month (again in the bulk)
- Catnip & toys – $20 a year
- Vet checkups – $120 a year
- Carpet cleaner for the inevitable hacking and yakking: $10 a year
- Knocking things over and breaking them: (TBD)
- Water bottle for squirting the little effer when he yowls at my bedroom door all night: $2
- Bandaids for scratches: $2 a month, average
- Cat hair picker-upper / grooming glove: $20
- Allergy pills: $$0.50 per month (I love Kirkland brand OTC drugs so much.)
- Cat carrier: (already have one)
- Cat lying around and doing nothing most of the day: ~
- Cat running back and forth through the house like the devil’s on his ass: ~
- Stress increase / stress decrease: cancel each other out
- Keeps my feet warm so my socks last longer: $10 per year
- Cat pics and videos for the internet: inestimable social capital
- Purring, snuggling, playful, adorable but slightly evil bucket of love and moonbeams: priceless
And there you have it, folks, in case there was ever any doubt. Pet owners are definitely not rational!
I jest, of course. This is perfectly rational when your goal is to enjoy balance in your life. Unless I find myself in dire circumstances, I hope to always weigh the need for frugality against the joy that spending a litte bit of cash will bring to my family. The trick, of course, is to identify whether it is short-term gratification masquerading as joy. I am aware of my tendency to justify impulsive spending, and am wary of getting myself into trouble.
Getting a kitten will definitely give us a short-term boost in happiness that will eventually wear off. What happens then? In the case of having a cat, we both know that over the long term, our lives are enriched by having a fuzzy family member.
What do you think of this rationale for taking on an added expense? I know that some in the frugal living community are opposed to pets, and I’m curious about other perspectives!