I love animals. I have a bunch of furry critters living with me, four cats and two dogs (Yeah, I know it’s a bit insane). But unfortunately, after adopting all my darlings, I realized that pets hold you back in a number of ways. For me, it’s totally worth while, but if you are thinking of adopting a pet, you should consider all the ways they might hold you back.
How Pets Hold You Back
I do love having my full menagerie, but I would be remiss if I wan’t honest about how they hold me back. Let’s be real, pets do hold us back. Not only is their basic care expensive (see below on how much I pay just for freaking food!), but there are always emergencies that tend to cause an arm and a leg.
But the costs are not the only ways that pets hold you back. Finding affordable housing and even just getting away for a weekend is harder when you have pets.
The Basic Cost
First, let’s talk about the cost of having a pet. I have two big dogs, and they eat a lot! I spend about thirty dollars a month on dog food just to keep them fed. Cat food and kitty litter for four cats gets expensive too, I spend about seventy dollars a month just on that! That’s one hundred dollars of my monthly grocery budget gone, just on the pet food and litter. That’s a lot of money!
I also get topical flea medication for all my little ones. One four pack of advantage is just over forty bucks! It breaks down to about ten dollars per treatment, and with six sweeties in the house, that’s sixty more dollars a month.
So just the basics of pet ownership put me back $160 per month. That’s nearly two grand a year that I could be saving for my future goals! But that’s a drop in the bucket compared to some of the others ways that pets hold you back. Even just one can cost you tons of time and money.
Yes, veterinary care is a basic. But I don’t consider it a basic basic like food and shelter. Either way, my angels are on wellness plans that includes all of their shots, dental cleaning, and unlimited office visits. The plans cost about $55 a month though, and with six babies that really adds up – to $330 per month to be exact.
So now I’m spending almost $500 a month just take care of my flock. That’s about $80 per pet, it you just have one. But they are kind of like potato chips, who can have just one?
It’s not just traditional vet care that gets expensive. Pets get sick and they get hurt. I spent over four thousand dollars in one year alone on my favorite cat’s vet bills after he had an accident. The accident cost him his leg, but not his life. And I’d make the same decision again, even though it was incredibly expensive.
I took another trip to the vet this year when one of my cats was pooping blood. Five hundred dollars worth of tests just to put her on some de-worming medicine. I got everyone else in the house de-wormed too, just to be on the safe side. And who knows how they even got worms in the first place – there were fleas in my Savannah house when I first moved, but I eradicated them pretty quickly. Not quickly enough to avoid the worms though I guess. Or they ate a cricket or something. Who knows with them.
Other Ways Pets Hold You Back
Pets hold you back in tons of ways that don’t include your wallet as well. Even having just one can have a drastic affect on your lifestyle. They can prevent you from living where you want to live and going where you want to go. You have to make sure their needs are taken care of in everything that you do.
The main way that pets hold most people back is with housing. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a rental that accepts one baby – much less six? It’s nearly impossible! The whole reason I bought a house in Savannah rather than renting is that I couldn’t find any place on such short notice that would allow my sweeties to live with me.
Moving to Pennsylvania was even more difficult. I was only trying to bring two of them with me initially since I found people willing to watch two cats and the dogs. I’m so thankful for that help – the move would have been impossible without it! But even with only having the two cats, my options were very limited. No one wanted a roommate with cats. And most landlords hate them. I was lucky to be able to find a short term room who allowed them, but it was only after tons of searching.
Even when you get lucky enough to find a place that does accept pets, you’re going to have to pay a pet fee. This usually comes in the form of a non-refundable deposit and an extra “pet fee” every month with your rent. With so many people in the U.S. owning pets, I don’t understand why it’s so difficult to find housing that allows them.
Traveling with pets is a huge hassle, whether you take them with you or leave them at home. Cats don’t travel well in the first place, so I definitely don’t recommend bringing them with you. But if you are going to be gone for more than a few days, someone will need to take care of them. Dogs travel better, but also need more attention. They can’t be left alone for a few days. You have to find someone to watch them even for a short weekend trip, or take them with you and find lodging that will accommodate them. It can really be a hassle either way.
My Fire Goals
Do you guys remember that post I wrote a while back about my Fire goals? If you don’t you can read it here, but if you do, you’ll remember that a lot of my goals revolve around traveling the world. Unfortunately, long term world travel just isn’t feasible with six pets.
But, there is one goal that I can achieve with them, and that’s living the RV life! I can load up all of them in the trailer and take them with me while I journey throughout the United States! It’s true that taking them with me on this epic adventure will be more difficult than embarking upon it alone, but it’s worth it to find a way to achieve my goals while taking care of them.
My pets may hold me back, but I love the little guys with all my heart. And, it’s not all negative. They do a whole lot to improve my life too! Read this to find out the many ways that having pets enrich your life, before deciding against adopting. I think the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Do you have pet? How has having them held you back?
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.