Photo: Jill Krasny
In the summer of 2009, I adopted a kitten from an animal shelter, and it was love.It was also TNT to my savings account! In the not-quite-three years since Hooligan joined my household, the horrible, adorable beast has cost me over $5,500.
Itemized, that’s $4,550 in vet- and health-related costs, and around a grand for everything else.
Here’s the thing: I read that thing about expensive dog surgery (is it worth it or not worth it?), and I am firmly in the camp of “not worth it.”
In fact, my personal limit has always been that I won’t spend over $2,000 at a time on Hooligan’s vet bills—anything more than that, and the little mongrel is going to go hang out on the proverbial farm.
But the $5,500 over the course of three years didn’t happen all at once, and was not something I budgeted for, or thought about. Because sometimes the bills don’t tally up to thousands of dollars in a day.
Sometimes they accumulate slowly, in wince-worthy-but-not-bank-breaking increments, and you don’t realise how much you’ve spent until you begin to ask yourself why you haven’t been able to make much headway with that savings account.
During the adoption process in 2009, the shelter lady asked me to estimate how much a person will typically spend on a cat in the first year of pet ownership. I thought about it for a hot minute, and wrote $600.
That’s about $30 a month for food, litter and the like (generous, I thought at the time!), plus the initial supplies, and some shots or whatever (vaccines, check-ups, what have you). Cats are cheap and easy, though, right? They’re the low-rent, no-hassle version of dogs.
Sometimes I want to go back to 2009-version of me, and slap her across the face.