Is it Cheaper to Own a Cat or a Dog?

Choosing a pet can be a difficult decision, especially if you and your family are split on what you would all like to care for. Some enjoy “mans best friend” and would love a dog for company and cuddles. Others prefer the feisty felines and would prefer something with nine lives (urban myth apparently!) that can be both cute and crazy at the same time.

So, if it has boiled down to a choice between the two, a determining factor will often be the cost. How much will it make a dent in your bank balance to feed and look after a car or a dog?

We looked and found that in fact, they were both fairly similar in annual expense. Lifetime expense can be much different though. A dog potentially costing you £30,000 whilst a cat can set you back just over £20,000 in its lifetime.

Let’s have a look at how that expense builds up!


How much does it cost to buy a dog or cat?

The first expense you will need to set money aside for is the purchase of your cat or dog. With roughly 12 million pet dogs already companions of loving families in the UK and close to 11 million cats causing havoc in households, they certainly are not in short supply.

Luckily, now with us out of the lockdown era of Covid-19, costs for both cats and dogs have stabilised a little. When the pandemic was at its peak, the need for company was so much higher that prices rose by as much as 134% in some cases.

These days though you can expect to pay more realistic amounts although, this can still be quite expensive.

When purchasing a dog, you can expect a puppy to set you back anything from £300-£3000 but if you were to go to a shelter you could pay as little as £150 but it can be as much as £300. Puppies being more expensive than the older dogs you may find.

Cats on the other hand can be extremely cheap, or extremely expensive. Some people will sell kittens for as little as £10 but if a specific breed is being advertised, do not be surprised to see the cost rise to thousands. If collecting a cat from a protection centre, prices will vary depending on where you go but as a guide, £80-£150 will ensure you can pick up a cat to take home.


How much is pet insurance?

Pet insurance is one of those expenses that you wish you could avoid but really shouldn’t. Much like when getting insurance at home or for your car, various factors are considered. With cats and dogs, these will include, breed, age, health and so on. Policies can be bought annually or on a lifetime basis with the contents varying from basic accident and injury to max benefit. Current rates indicate you could pay approximately £130 per year for a cat to be insured and £270 for a dog. These can fluctuate and as the animal gets older the prices will increase due to the increased risk potential.


How much does it cost to feed a dog or cat?

Both dogs and cats can have big appetites and even though your cat may venture outside to snare a mouse, it will still want to enjoy a few meals at home after a day full of adventure. Cat food, both dry and wet varies in cost but offering your car a mixed diet of all the food it needs will cost, on average, £40 per month.

When it comes to dogs, all of their meals are provided by you, and whilst you may want to throw some scraps into their bowl every now and then, good nutritious dog food is the best option. Larger dogs obviously require larger portions, and therefore more expense, so taking all into account, you should budget for £50 per month.


How much does it cost to vaccinate a dog or cat?

Vaccinations for your pets are extremely important without them you can say goodbye to any ideas of pet travel. Vaccinations are not covered by your per insurance so do need to be factored into any budget. Some are annual and some are one-off but always check with your vet for what the requirements are.

With dogs, especially puppies, you will need to look at vaccinations for things such as kennel cough, Leptospirosis and more. These will cost around £50, perhaps a little more and will be administered in a series where all are given. The annual boosters will then be less. You can expect a cost of about £40 for those.

For the feline friends of ours, a cost of around £70 is expected for their first and second course of vaccinations. When it comes to boosters for your pet cat, you would be expected to pay £40-£50.

The prices for these vaccines do largely depend on the vet and the location so before being too deterred by the prices here, contact your local vet for an accurate price for your area.


Of course, there are other things you can factor in such as toys, bedding, clothing(!) and accessories such as leads and collars. On the whole, those share more or less the same prices. So now it comes down to the decision if you factor in some of the prices we have talked about and the potential regional variations you could see a cat cost you as much as £900 per year, a dog, on the other hand, could be as low as £600 but as high as £1000 or more.

The choice is yours!


At PBS Pet Travel, we love dogs and cats, in fact, they are an office favourite with many of our team owning one or both! There are times though when you may be away from your pet, but we want to keep that to a minimum, that is why we are the leading experts in pet transport. Want to take your dog abroad? No problem. Need to secure an animal health certificate or organise cat travel? Speak to us.

Our years of knowledge and experience mean we can help with any advice and facilitate a smooth transport of your beloved pet. Get a free quote today and see how easy it is to take your pet with you, no matter where you are heading!