Is it cheaper to own a cat or a dog?

Unfortunately there is a financial barrier to owning a four-legged friend that not everyone can overcome. There are a lot of budgetary considerations to make when buying a pet. From insurance and medical care to equipment and treats, owning a cat or dog comes with a lot of costs. This wasn’t helped by the pandemic which saw the cost of some puppies increase by as much as 134%. In fact, a recent YouGov survey found that 70% of pet owners were worried about the cost of caring for their pet. But is it cheaper to own a cat or a dog?

But it appears that no matter the cost, people just can’t get enough of their pets. There are reported to be 10.2 million pet dogs in the UK according to the PDSA, and 11.1 million pet cats. The PDSA estimates that over the course of your dog’s lifetime, you could be spending as much as £30,000. The figure is slightly lower for cats, ranging between £12,000 and £24,000. Let’s take a look at how the costs break down.

Getting a pet

As you might expect, the cost of rehoming a pet is much lower than buying one – particularly when it comes to dogs. A puppy varies dramatically based on location and breed and can set you back anywhere between £500-£3,000. In comparison, Battersea Dog & Cats Home charge £250 to rehome dogs under 6 months old and £175 for older dogs. A kitten can cost from as little as £10 to as much as £5,000 for specialist breeds. On the other hand, rehoming a cat from Battersea costs £125 for kittens and £95 for cats.

Insurance costs

Insurance costs for dogs can vary depending on the behaviour and size of your chosen breed, as well as the level of cover you choose. But Compare The Market puts the average cost at just over £120 a year. When it comes to cats, MoneySupermarket gives an average cost of £230 for kittens, rising to £450 for cats over 5 years old. 

is it cheaper to own a cat or a dog

Vet visits

Trips to the vets can soon add up, especially if you don’t have insurance. A check-up, or consultation, could set you back £30-£40 a time. The Association of British Insurers say that the average pet insurance claim was £817 in 2020. 


The cost of keeping your pet well fed can vary dramatically depending on the size, breed and activity level of your pet. But insurer NimbleFins estimates the annual cost of dog food to be around £300 – or £25 a month. Battersea Dog and Cats Home calculates the monthly cost of feeding a cat to range from £20-£55.

There are many other costs involved that we haven’t mentioned, including the price of toys, vaccinations and neutering as well as regular treatments like worming. 

In total, Battersea Dog and Cats Home estimates the total cost of cat ownership per year to be £888. The PDSA determines that a dog might cost you between £600-£960 depending on what size and breed they are. 


Fri Aug 26 2022