Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: July 26, 2023 by Crystal Uys
The joys of sharing life with a cat are limitless. Cats have an amazing ability to provide us with love, fun and play, while also bringing many important health benefits into our lives from relieving stress, preventing allergies, calming our nervous system and more. While these independent animals can be considered a low maintenance pet, caring for one is still a major commitment. Too often, we hear from veterinarians across the country about instances of pet parents struggling to balance the care their pet needs with what they can afford. While millions of Americans choose to share life with a pet, the true cost of ownership has historically been incredibly vague.
With this in mind, Synchrony released the findings of its first-ever “Lifetime of Care” study earlier this year as a way to inform pet parents about the true lifetime cost of pet ownership, and help them prepare for unexpected costs.
The True Cost of Caring for a Cat
The research revealed that pet parents spend as much as $55,000 during a pet’s lifetime and that an estimated 30 million households in the US today will face an unexpected pet expense that will cause them to worry about their ability to pay for their pet’s care. This is especially true given current economic uncertainties and inflation, which can put even more stress on pet parents.
Through our Lifetime of Care research, we now know that the lifetime cost of care for cats can range from $15K-$45K, and cat owners can expect to spend between $960-$2,500 in the first year alone.
The study also uncovered that nearly half of cat parents underestimate the cost of caring for their pets. Additionally, approximately half of all pet parents who thought they were financially ready for unexpected pet expenses, were not, and would consider a financial solution dedicated to financing care for their pet.
Getting In Control of Your Budget
For more than 20 years, CareCredit has been a valuable financing option for all types of veterinary services, treatments, and diagnostics, giving pet owners peace of mind that they are ready to care for their pets throughout their lifetime. CareCredit is recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association and is a Preferred Partner for the American Veterinary Medical Association. CareCredit is currently offered in more than 24,000 veterinary practices across the U.S.
Pet parents looking for a flexible way to pay for their animal’s care can quickly see if they prequalify for the CareCredit credit card in real time (with no impact to their credit score) and apply on any smart device, in a veterinary practice, or over the phone. A credit decision is immediate and if approved, they can use their account to pay their veterinarian immediately. Pet owners can select from short-term and long-term financing options including deferred interest if paid in full within 6,12,18 or 24 months and reduced APR with fixed monthly payments for 24, 36, 48 or 60 months. Additionally, CareCredit offers a user-friendly online calculator that makes it easy for pet owners to quickly estimate monthly payments based on available financing options.
What About Pet Insurance?
The truth is, four out of five pet owners will face an unexpected vet bill in their pet’s lifetime.
“With cat insurance from Pets Best, cat parents can have peace of mind knowing they’re protected, so they can focus on making the best decisions for their cat. Pets Best policyholders can select from plans that can cover accidents, illnesses or routine care, all customized to fit their pet’s needs and their budget, as well as get treatment from any veterinarian of their choice with access to easy and accurate claim processing.
Pets Best policyholders also have access to a suite of digital capabilities including a 24/7 emergency pet helpline to connect directly with veterinary professionals for pet health related questions and advice. Customers can file claims, make adjustments to a policy, add pets and access claim status and details online or through their mobile app.”
– Melissa Gutierrez, SVP & General Manager at Pets Best Insurance.
We all know the old saying, “knowledge is power”. Our goal is to empower cat parents to gain a deeper understanding of what to expect financially upon bringing home a new cat. In turn, we can provide them with flexible and affordable payment solutions, including pet health insurance from Pets Best and pet care credit cards like CareCredit, that are available to help them provide a Lifetime of Care for their pet.
Featured Image Credit: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.