Which is more expensive a pet to have, a dog or a cat, and by how much? Let’s play a game where we guess — no cheating! — and then we come back and actually look at the data. At that point we can also consider which is the better value.
To start with, I’m going to guess that cats are pretty significantly cheaper. They’re generally smaller; they must eat less; they require less equipment — no leashes, fewer toys — and don’t need walkers to come take them out during the day. In terms of health care, they are probably cheaper to insure, too. They’re more independent and less fun, so I assume that is reflected in what it costs to take care of them.
On the other hand, well do we remember Emily Gould’s horror story of being nearly bankrupted by her cat:
I don’t regret spending thousands of dollars on my cat Raffles, though he has been a pricey liability for years now. He has been threatening to die on a regular basis since the summer of my twenty-second year, when my parents brought him to New York because he’d been getting beaten up all over their neighborhood by cats, dogs, and maybe raccoons, coming home with infected wounds, which became abscesses, which required surgery. It was clear how he got into these situations: he approaches everyone and everything with an open-hearted friendliness, head-butting legs and outstretched palms and furniture in ecstasies of delirious affection. It’s easy to imagine this not going over well with raccoons.
Raffles contracted feline immunodeficiency virus from the fights, but that latent condition would turn out to be the least of his woes. In 2007 he became diabetic, requiring insulin shots at precise twelve-hour intervals and expensive, foul-smelling prescription cat food. He recovered from the diabetes, but soon developed a host of other expensive conditions: dental problems to rival Martin Amis’s, thyroid and gastric disorders, mysterious and terrible fits of projectile vomiting. He became so finicky that after trying all the healthy cat food brands with their cutesy flavor names (“Thanksgiving Dinner”) I gave up and started feeding him Fancy Feast, feeling the way I imagine parents feel when they give in to their toddlers’ desires to eat mac and cheese for every meal—guilty and slightly relieved, because at least it’s cheap.
What’s your take? Do hidden costs stalk all cat owners like they do Emily Gould, or do you agree with my original hypothesis and assume dogs are more expensive?
photo via Meme Binge
1. The Marketplace Reader, an “an interactive e-book … combining some of Marketplace’s best radio reporting with all the advantages of a long-form, multimedia digital magazine.” It’s pretty! It’s fun! It’s educational! It’s Marketplace. FREE.
2. The Emily Books Reader. Free download comes with an excerpt from the current Emily Books pick (Samantha Irby’s)! Additional (and back) editions are just $9.99 for a book and supplementary essays (price slash from the original Emily Books price of $13.99)! For more on Emily Books, Emily Gould spoke to us last year. I basically downloaded ios7 for this and only this app. FREE, then $9.99. But for a BOOK. A WHOLE BOOK. IN A PRETTY FORMAT. ON YOUR PHONE.
Emily Gould has written a really wonderful thing about New York and class and debt and food and hot sauce and winter—it’s great and you should read it. (“It’s cold here and a lot of people are awful. Good things disappear and bad things take their place. Rich people have too much power and they abuse it. The worst men you can imagine are fucking beautiful, talented women. Young people’s idealism and energy is siphoned off vampirically by exploitative bosses. Basic things are too expensive here, and expensive things are often offensively mediocre. Like the dinner we were eating. Or maybe I just wasn’t that hungry.”)
Emily Gould has a terrifically honest post about her struggle with credit card debt and coming to terms with the fact that she is “a person who fundamentally loves to spend money.” She also walks us through her experience negotiating a settlement with her credit card company with the use of a fake uncle. Read it here.
Photo: Daniel Oines
Noting a paucity of women and POC among their engineers, Uncle Google has decided to give us a boost.
Google is paying for three free months for any women and minorities interested in tech to expand their skills. While Google is also offering the same vouchers to the women in attendance at its annual I/O developers conference this week, the search giant has released an online application that’s available to women everywhere. Google says its available vouchers for women number in the “thousands.”
So, better odds than the #AmtrakResidency! Go ahead, ‘folders, apply and let us know what happens. Goodness knows, if you’re a woman or a POC, you’ll do better studying #STEM than moving to NYC to try to be an artist, according to the rabid attention paid to writers like Emily Gould, who have the temerity to publish books, and this sad, sobering analysis in HyperAllergic.