AIBU to think that pets are a luxury?

(137 Posts)
E320 Sun 31-Mar-13 14:57:13

prompted by a post on another board.
Do people also factor their cost (food, vet's bills, insurance etc.) into the monthly budget or even the weekly shopping (food)?

cazboldy Sun 31-Mar-13 14:59:00

don't know about luxury as such - some are expensive, some can be inexpensive

(think goldfish or thoroughbred horse!)

We have lots, and yes, costs (including vets etc) all factored into monthly budget.

livinginwonderland Sun 31-Mar-13 15:00:15

it depends on the pet. goldfish, hamsters, etc. not so much, but things like dogs, horses etc, yes.

kinkyfuckery Sun 31-Mar-13 15:00:35

In as much as children, food, clothing etc is a luxury. I factor the cost of our pet into our household budget.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Sun 31-Mar-13 15:01:09

I would say that are are a non essential item that only those with spare disposable income can afford.

JollyYellowGiant Sun 31-Mar-13 15:02:46

Our fish cost very, very little.

But yes, if we were hard up we wouldn't consider getting a dog or cat due to the expense.

RainbowsFriend Sun 31-Mar-13 15:02:55

YANBU, this is one of the reasons we are not getting a dog, despite me really missing having a dog sad

MiniTheMinx Sun 31-Mar-13 15:05:56

There are some on here that say children are a luxury and it would seem IDS agrees.

Yes pets are expensive but its a quality of life issue isn't it. Pet expenses are factored into the monthly budget here but then I am not having to justify how I spend my income.

Mrsrobertduvall Sun 31-Mar-13 15:06:45

Animals can be expensive.
Our cat is cheap as chips...about 3-4 boxes of catfood a month.
We don't have pet insurance for her...her annual checkup is aout £35.

cazboldy Sun 31-Mar-13 15:09:24

and it's a case of priorities too

for instance I go without eating out often, new clothes regularly and haircuts etc to pay for my horses.....

Dh's friend was shock at how much they cost..... but then I pointed out how much his dw spends on having spreay tans and nails done, new shoes and clothes monthly, paying to wash her car instead of doing it herself, fancy candles, etc etc and he decided I was cheap in comparison! grin

Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-13 15:10:05

YANBU. Pets are expensive. Food, booster jabs, flea and worm treatments. Plus you need insurance/money put aside for if the animal becomes injured or unwell. And £9 a day for the cattery. In multi-animal households you are talking a lot of money, I don't know how some manage it.

dashoflime Sun 31-Mar-13 15:10:05

I don't find a dog that expensive tbh. The cheapest dry food is not much extra on the shop and vets bills are a rare occurance (one scrap with a car and one attack from another dog in 10 years and counting)
Also worth considering that walking a dog is a very cheap and enjoyable form of exercise.

our pets are inexpensive the boy has African land snails, large bag of soil lasts ages the odd cattle fish and fruit and Veg we already have. ditto dds fish a tub of food once a month.

float62 Sun 31-Mar-13 15:16:40

What about lonely people, possibly the elderly or only children and those who may have anxiety problems and get solace and pleasure from their animals? YABU.

Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-13 15:19:00

But they have to be able to afford to look after them properly float. Some people I have seen on RSPCA type programmes go without food to feed their animals. That's not right.

Yes, if you get them now (which I wouldn't)

However I have 3 elderly cats and an elderly dog - 2 without insurance as they were too old when I rescued them - they cost over 4000 last year in vet fees (not including the 2k covered by insurance for an illness the dog had)

There will be no holidays until they've all died - they all deserve a good life, it's not their fault that vet fees have risen out of most people's reach in the last 17 years

Fleecyslippers Sun 31-Mar-13 15:20:25

My monthly pet insurance payment is less than the cost of a packet of cigarettes.
I combine cheap as chips dog food with mid price stuff, i use empty milk cartons etc to make her toys and she's an absolutely integral part of the family. As a lone parent, i feel much safer at night since we've had her - she'd actually lick a burglar to death but she does bark if anyone comes near the front door.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 31-Mar-13 15:20:33

I dunno. To me, a 'luxury' is something that you have while you have spare cash but is the first thing to go if times get tight.

I don't think you can treat a pet that way.

Fair enough to not get one if at that time you know you cannot afford one (like kids grin ) but if at the time you can afford it and you get it based on that fact and then later on your circumstances change, I don't think it's reasonable to see the pet as a luxury item, one that can be given up.

It's more of a responsibility than a luxury, once you actually have it.

Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-13 15:20:41

The reason I have Sparkling Cat is because her owner couldn't afford to keep her any more. That's why she was at Cats Protection.

My pet insurance for one cat, one dog is £85 a month.

It has gone up every year and it would not be possible to shop around due to age and existing conditions.

Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-13 15:22:21

Yy to what Hecs said. Taking on a pet knowing you can't afford it is different to a change in your situation once you have the pet. But Sparkling Cat's owner must have been unable to keep her.

HappyMummyOfOne Sun 31-Mar-13 15:24:14

Of course pets are luxuries, nobody needs them but they can be nice to have.

Peoples ideas of essentials vary wildly, lts of things i consider luxuries are seen as bare essentials.

Mrsrobertduvall Sun 31-Mar-13 15:24:47

£85 a month???
Bloody hell.

cazboldy Sun 31-Mar-13 15:26:51

Laurie Vets fees are ridiculous - my dog cut her leg, thought it needed a stitch or 2, so took her to the vets. Offered to stay and hold her, but they said they couldn't do it straight away and didn't know when they would get round to it hmm

they decided to put her under anaesthtic incase she snapped - (which they later said she hadn't done when they looked at the cut! and anyway they could have called me to hold her/ muzzled her) anyway, the 3 stitches, plus the anaesthetic (which she didn't need!) cost me £245 - I argued over the blood tests they also did without asking me which would have been a further £62..... she had only had some 3 months previously when she had a different op.

I think insurance has a lot to do with bumping up fees - the first question they ask is are they insured. And that's only so they can charge a lot of money.... which they of course also end up charging non insured customers -Plus it no doubt pushes up the cost of insurance too!

Rant Over grin

I am sure it prevents some people from doing what is best for their pets sad

MrsRajeshKoothrappali Sun 31-Mar-13 15:29:01

Yes, but they do enhance my life!

I spend about £20 a week on cat food and cat litter, when we were skint I just bought cheaper/own brand stuff.

I'd be very sad without them.

float62 Sun 31-Mar-13 15:30:04

Yes Sparkling I do agree with you, but mostly that would be describing extreme situations I think, where people may have general probs with budgeting their money (for a variety of reasons), too many animals or don't have the right conditions to keep the type of animals they have. I hold my hands up to being an animal lover myself, so I'm biased, but they do bring so many people so much pleasure. Our dog is one of us, we love him and he loves us, priceless.

crazynanna Sun 31-Mar-13 15:30:42

Inclusive of food,litter,insurance and immunisations, my cat costs me no more than £10 per week...cost of a bottle of wine. Value for money...certainly!

Our dog costs us about £30 a month (insurance and food).

Granted, we could do with a spare £30 a month at the moment, but I would find it very hard to give her up. She is a big part of our family - she is a rescue dog and still very timid and shy. She's a great burglar alarm though!

toboldlygo Sun 31-Mar-13 15:31:47

Goldfish are very expensive if cared for properly - they require very large volumes of water and high rate filtration systems. The cruelty involved in small tanks and bowls is unbelievable.

I spend a lot of money on my dogs because they are also my hobby - we compete in sled dog racing and dog agility - but their basic costs are not massive. Insurance, raw food, vaccinations etc. for two medium sized dogs is less than £100 a month and budgeted for. They replace other luxuries like clothes, holidays, dining out etc.

Admittedly the horses are expensive but there's still a huge variation there - anything from a pony living out in a shared field compared to a competition horse on full working livery at a top facility. We don't have a horsebox or anything, just happy hackers, and their day to day costs aren't huge. Again, we choose to prioritise this over other things and live in a rented hovel so we can afford it.

Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-13 15:32:52

Yes, I couldn't imagine being without Sparkling Cat float. I definitely think cats pets enhance peoples lives and are good for the DC.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 15:44:30

Yes, they are a luxury, in the same way that so many of our possessions are.
But I'd give up the phone, the tv, the laptop, the dishwasher, the central heating and a lot of other luxuries before I even considered not having the cat.
It's factored into the family finances.

I reckon my dog costs around £45 a month to keep, if I add up food, insurance, vaccs, worming, flea treatment, toys, kenneling, equipment etc over a year. Yes, he is a luxury, but he's also a member of our family and a hell of a lot less expensive than another child.

Parker231 Sun 31-Mar-13 15:54:04

Our cat is part of the family - we wouldn't get rid her anymore than we would get rid of the DT,s - she is cheap compared with a pair of teenagers (and causes less mess and noise !)

Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-13 15:56:08

That is so true Parker. I sometimes think Sparkling Cat gives a better return on our investment than the 13 and 11 year old DSs.

EMUZ Sun 31-Mar-13 15:58:09

My goldfish are fairly cheap to maintain now the tank is set up. Hamster is toilet trained grin so its spot cleaning, he eats my veg trimmings, hamster food and bits of chicken etc
Horse - um perhaps not so cheap grin but I went for 6 years without any horse contact and I couldn't do it again

EMUZ Sun 31-Mar-13 15:58:47

Posted too soon. So I don't really count fish/hamster costs just horse ones

mmmuffins Sun 31-Mar-13 15:59:12

Pets are a luxury, yes. I have a spread sheet for my finances and there is an "animal" section, in which the cats, chickens, and horses (I don't own, just ride) have their columns.

I have just gotten a placement as an apprentice, and one of the considerations for accepting was whether I'd be able to afford my cats (answer, yes, if I give up every other luxury smile).

I think you need to make sure you have enough money to care for your animal properly - if you will have to feed your pet bog-standard food, wont be able to provide enrichment, and wont be able to afford the vet, then you shouldn't take the pet on.

LynetteScavo Sun 31-Mar-13 16:02:05

Well, children are a luxury, but you don't just get rid of them if your circumstances change and you can't afford them any more.

My cats have always been quite cheep, until this year when one, at the age of 15, has had a medical problem, and is now on medication. I've been told she could have more tests, and go on more medication, at great cost, which may prolong her life by a couple of years. I don't think I can afford the luxury of possibly prolonging her life.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 31-Mar-13 16:03:31

My two dogs were a Luxury when they joined the family (and well budgeted for at the time) but they are expensive responsibility now - not only has the household income dropped by 80%, but their insurance has crept up year on year and so they are easily the biggest household expense after the mortgage (more than the utility bills!).

We are now at the point where we have given up everything we can - if things get any tighter financially, then we may have to make some hard decisions sad

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 16:11:47

Cat costs £20 a month to insure, we started when he was 5 and it's for life, so now he's old and expensive, he's covered for ongoing medical conditions.
Around £20 for the special renal diet, but that lasts about 5 weeks.
Worth every penny.

TheSecondComing Sun 31-Mar-13 16:12:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 16:13:41

You'd dump a pet before swimming lessons? Do you have a pet, TSC?

zukiecat Sun 31-Mar-13 16:14:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-13 16:15:15

Getting rid of Sparkling cat would be like rehoming one of the DCs. She is a family member. sad

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 16:15:31

I suppose one of the differences for me is that I was a child of the 60s, and many of the items considered essential now I grew up without. Likewise paid activities.
So it's not such a trauma for me to consider reverting to a simpler era in my life.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 16:17:05

Oh, and although my children are from the 90s, they'd feel the same. smile
OH still lives like he's in the 60s, so no change.

crazynanna Sun 31-Mar-13 16:17:45

I would teach my dcs to swim myself and keep the cat.

My dcs being able to swim with the aid of a paid instructor will not keep those pesky mice outta my kitchen wink

ChoudeBruxelles Sun 31-Mar-13 16:18:08

Not a luxury exactly but I do have to factor in expenses for our 2 dogs and 2 cats. Wouldn't swap them though I would rather go without something else

badguider Sun 31-Mar-13 16:18:47

Choosing to take on a new pet is a luxury.

BUT, caring properly for one you already have is an essential. You can't opt out of it once you have it.

TheSecondComing Sun 31-Mar-13 16:21:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Montybojangles Sun 31-Mar-13 16:26:31

Not sure they are a luxury exactly. For some people (particularly elderly or isolated individuals) they are their only companion, a living breathing furry friend who stays by them and loves them. They are good for reducing stress and blood pressure levels when stroked.

I factor in the pet costs each month, food, insurance, flea/worm treatment, it all adds up, but the old girl is worth it, she is part of my family.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 16:26:32

Different priorities then, which is fine.
Sounds like not having a pet is a wise choice for you.

E320 Sun 31-Mar-13 16:30:28

Oh, I would love a dog and could afford one, plus have room, garden, places to walk etc. etc. but sadly I am away from home so much that is it just not possible.

babybythesea Sun 31-Mar-13 16:30:35

I think it's one of those things where you are either an animal person or you are not.

I am. I've always (until recently) worked with animals, and because I was working full time with them my collection was limited to hamsters and fish. I wasn't around to look after anything else properly and I had my 'fix' at work.

Now, I am at home full time and I have a dog. I'd go mad without animal contact - it is just part of who I am.

We don't have much money, but then neither of us smoke, I don't drink alcohol and DH only has a four pack of beers every couple of months, and we don't go out to eat, ever - the last take away we had even was over a year ago, so I'm guessing we spend quite a bit less than others would spend on those sorts of luxuries. In fact, I mostly drink squash or water. I don't even splash out on coke or other fizzy drinks!!

I'd rather do that, it's no big deal, and have enough left to pay for dog food and insurance than drink 'nicer' drinks, or get take aways on a regular basis, and not have the dog around.

I'd also quite happily give up the TV before giving up the dog, if it came to it.
If you are not really that bothered about animals, you will never understand.
We went away for six weeks over Christmas, to see DH's family overseas. I missed my dog with a physical ache by the end of it. It is part of a lifestyle choice - the walking etc is all part of the enjoyment for me, rather than a responsibility and a chore, but I also find that after a few days of no animal contact I start to almost crave the feel of their fur under my hand, or the joy I get watching and playing with them, or the peace they can bring. You will either understand and 'get' that animals are more than a luxury sometimes, or you won't.

Corygal Sun 31-Mar-13 16:33:55

Mr Cory, my fat tabby, is essential to me - and reduces my heating bills no end (sits on head).

sydlexic Sun 31-Mar-13 16:35:02

I am definitely not an animal person. I would never expect anyone to get rid of a pet if their circumstances changed, they were unemployed. It is a living thing not an inanimate object.

babybythesea Sun 31-Mar-13 16:38:09

TSC: And if we had one, andi couldn't afford holidays (due to cattery bills) and dance lessons/cinema trips because we had a cat I'd wonder whether my priorities were right tbh.

Which is fine for you.
I reckon we go to the cinema about once a year if that. I like the cinema but I don't really notice not going - sometimes a film will come out that we really want to see and then we'll go "When did we last go??? How long has it been???" (We went to see the Hobbit - before then, we went to see the Lorax with dd, and before that, it was the last of the Lord in the Rings!) It just isn't something either of us are that fussed about. We're far more likely to want to go to the beach for a walk with dd and the dog.

Holidays - we're lucky. My family are also all dog mad (we are unusual in only having the one!) so we have an army of people ready to look after her but to be honest, unless we go to visit DH's family overseas, we only holiday where we can have the dog with us. Hire a cottage in the Lake District that's dog friendly, or in Norfolk, or somwhere similar.
So again, it's a non-issue. Neither of us feel as though haing the dog stops us doing anything we want to. And dd certainly doesn't go without.

BlessedDespair Sun 31-Mar-13 16:39:04

He's a very big, time consuming responsibility but yes he (the dog) is budgeted for especially as he requires special, expensive food due to allergies :-)

WestieMamma Sun 31-Mar-13 16:39:35

My dog is essential, but then I have AS so he plays a very important role in getting me out of the house and giving me emotional support. I'd go without heating before I'd go without my dog.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 31-Mar-13 16:41:20

TSC I'm fairly sure my DD is better off being told to put a jumper on if she's cold than she would be being told that the dog she can never remember life without has been euthanised because we can't afford him sad

TheSecondComing Sun 31-Mar-13 16:41:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sparklingbrook Sun 31-Mar-13 16:43:18

I'm sure if I asked the DC if they wanted to be cold or get rid of Sparkling Cat they would put another jumper on.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 16:43:56

It's about material possessions over emotional enrichment in some cases.
What is the important stuff in your life and what are your options?

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 16:45:18

Didn't say heating, said central heating. DD is a student, and she's managing fine with jumpers and duvets. We have a real fire and hot water bottles if we need to cut down on the gas.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 31-Mar-13 16:46:22

nebulous Definitely - in our case, we sell stuff to maintain the emotional side of our lives. Thing is, we're rapidly running out of 'stuff' to sell sad

babybythesea Sun 31-Mar-13 16:46:51

TSC - I would agree if that was your last choice.
But most of us are saying there are loads of other things we'd give up first before giving up the animal. You mentioned a trip to the cinema - well that for me is a real luxury that would definitely go out of the window before giving up a pet.
The 'put a jumper on' comment didn't imply to me that NDM would never turn the heating on, but that it wasn't going to be turned up to 24 degrees just because someone complained, or that it wasn't going to be switched on all day but for a period in the morning and evening. Which isn't exactly cruelty to kids!

infamouspoo Sun 31-Mar-13 16:47:33

they probably are but my mum, on pensioner tax credit had 3 dogs. They were her companions. One died last year but before it went it cost £5000 at the vet! (too old for pet insurance). She had to borrow this money off of her wealthy sister and is paying it back at a tenner a week and keeping the heating off. Given my mum is over 80...
So she still has 2 and worships the ground the mutts shed fleas on, puts them first in everything. I really dont get it myself but they make her happy if even poorer. I know she spends a fortune at the vets as the PDSA is too far away to get too for a frail old lady on the bus.

HesterShaw Sun 31-Mar-13 16:50:49

Depends entirely on the family. If someone is depressed or lonely or infertile, a pet can be pretty bloody essential sad

To me it's like asking AIBU to think children are a luxury?

babybythesea Sun 31-Mar-13 16:53:11

It's also about defining luxury isn't it?

I'm sure that there are people on here who don't understand any I would have a dog but who smoke, and who don't define the cigs as a luxury but a necessity.
Or who always include a bottle of wine in their weekly shop.
Or who always buy a newspaper, or a particular magazine (whether daily or weekly).
Or who go to the gym.
Or who buy at least one new item of clothing every few months.
Or who own fancy gadgets (mobile phones, ipads etc).

I don't do any of the above (although I do hae a mobile - it cost me £10 three years ago and can only make phone calls and texts. I also do have a laptop - we were given it, it is about 7 years old and has a big dent in one side where we dropped it. Still works though). Those are life's luxuries to me, and I don't need them or miss them. The money someone else spends on those things goes on my dog.

babybythesea Sun 31-Mar-13 16:54:16

*don't understand why I would have a dog

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 16:54:20

NADM, that's a very tough position to be in. I remember being at a point where I was selling books to buy food, and that was hard. No dependents at that time though.
It's why it's worth going for an insurance company like Petplan, we insured the cat when he was younger and now he's old, he's claiming back.

midastouch Sun 31-Mar-13 16:54:56

I think YABU i wouldnt say they're a luxury exactly they are usually much cheaper than children!
My dog as part of my family, she has a condition called PLE i and is now very expensive we get through prescription food, £8 of cottage cheese and at least 14 eggs a week for her, she is very expensive now but to keep her alive and healthy i happily go without.

People who live alone sometimes need the company. Im undecided about whether homeless people should have dogs.

CandyCrushed Sun 31-Mar-13 16:55:09

I don't understand people getting a new dog if they are really skint. It does seem a bit irresponsible as they can be expensive.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 16:55:24

Makes sense to me baby, it's how you use the money you have.

midastouch Sun 31-Mar-13 16:58:18

NotADisneyMum can you not get help from the PDSA?

TheSecondComing Sun 31-Mar-13 17:00:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 17:03:26

It's a different lifestyle TSC, mine seem comfortable with it.
Plus, being an Aspie family we tended to avoid the delights of soft play for running free on the Downs and along the beach.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 17:05:32

I wonder if your children miss the delights of having an animal companion in their lives, TSC?

ENormaSnob Sun 31-Mar-13 17:07:30


I think they are a luxury albeit not one that can be easily disposed of.

I love animals, especially horses, but I don't own one at the minute due to financial constraints.

Snog Sun 31-Mar-13 17:08:03

They are an expensive commitment ime rather than a luxury.
Our (recently rescued) cat has cost us a fortune in the 5 months we have had her - well over £1,000.
Her monthly running costs are about £70. Plus one-off costs for cat sitting, vaccinations, teeth cleaning etc etc. I increased my hours to full time just before we got her and wouldn't have had a cat if I hadn't had a lot of new money coming in.
My mum doesn't insure or vaccinate her cat and it costs her far less - just the cost of cat food really.

RatPants Sun 31-Mar-13 17:08:09

Urgh, mine certainly aren't. Mess, expense, hard work.

But they are technically DH's, I wouldn't keep pets if it was up to me.

zukiecat Sun 31-Mar-13 17:10:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 31-Mar-13 17:13:27

Thanks midas unfortunately because we have some income, we're not eligible for PDSA help, even though our income doesn't match our outgoings!
I'm a bit touchy about this at the moment - the ancient dog clippers packed up today, which will be another expense; they are a breed that needs clipping/trimming regularly and regular trips to the groomers are just a distant memory!

Budgiegirlbob Sun 31-Mar-13 17:15:03

YANBU, pets are a luxury, we have a dog, a budgie and three fish. The budgie (so far) has been cheep -lol- but the fish have been amazingly expensive and difficult to set up. The actual fish were cheap (£4.50 for 2) but to get the tank set up properly was difficult and dear. Tank, filter, gravel, toys, nets, gravel pump, brush, food, a never ending supply of chemicals to test levels, treat and condition water etc, I was surprised at much it has cost so far, but once it's up and running it should be quite inexpensive.

The dog is very expensive and definitely a luxury. Food and insurance alone cost £50 a month, plus de wormer, boosters and flea treatment. We have an excess of £80 for insurance, and he's been to the vet several times, especially in the first two years. He caught kennel cough and had to be kept in at the vet for a few hours on a Saturday (out of hours) and the bill was £900, so glad he has insurance.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 31-Mar-13 17:17:47

TSC Most families sacrifice the luxuries you mention, or others, in order to have subsequent children (planned or otherwise). Do you think all DCs are better off as only children - or is it ok for DCs to miss out on extras in their lives in order to enjoy sharing their life with a sibling?

Tortington Sun 31-Mar-13 17:17:59

Tories should add petfood to alcohol and cigs on his crusade to reform the underclass cogs in the capitalist machinery

midastouch Sun 31-Mar-13 17:18:33

sorry you're struggling Notadisneymum i do know how you feel!

Snog Sun 31-Mar-13 17:20:16

I absolutely think it's good for a homeless person to have a dog if they want to since a dog can provide you with warmth, affection, love and a reason to carry on.
I personally don't think I would buy a dog if I was struggling for money - but if I was lonely or depressed then maybe I would.
I don't think you can decide that poor people should not have pets if this is what the OP is hinting at.
I do however think that adults should take responsibility for their dependents be they children or animals.

TheSecondComing Sun 31-Mar-13 17:22:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 31-Mar-13 17:25:26

The boys - the three: £1000 pa insurance, circa £300 pa on flea drops, worm drops and vacs, £1500+ on food, £250 pa on emergency vet treatment - insurance excesses (sometimes more). £150 invested in a micro chip cat flap last year. £200 - £300 on the Cat Lady when we are away. Notwithstanding £60 on a new laptop charger for dd last week, because the lad the terrible chewed through it.

Three I think are a luxury but the first two came as brothers (and no, I don't think they are easily affordable) and the third arrived when neighbours moved (he had been "living" here for the previous 18 months).

The insurance I'm not sure about. One has been accident prone and has cost £3,500 in the last five years (amputated tail and life threatening poisoning - and off to the vet on Tuesday because he has a bleeding paw), the other bro has just developed diabetes, so I think it has paid for itself.

Having said that, they are our "boys" and we all love them and wouldn't part with them for the world. The wine, the beer, the mobiles, the cleaner, would all go first so they aren't really a luxury - more a lovesusry.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 31-Mar-13 17:26:14

Thanks midas despite everything , I'm still much happier now than I ever was when luxuries were possible!
We're not a rock bottom yet,by any means smile

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 17:28:27

Bit like small children then, TSC. grin
One of my relations is a helicopter/neurotic parent of the finest sort. Staying with her was a trial, so I understand that you may be feeling a little subjective at the moment.

milktraylady Sun 31-Mar-13 17:31:15

I occasionally cost out the "cost per cuddle" of my cat- food, litter, insurance, meds etc.
And she's still worth it (currently snoring on my knee smile)

Liskey Sun 31-Mar-13 17:36:03

We've had an expensive weekend with our cat (& thought we'd lose her on Friday). We had to get her to the emergency vet on Friday at 05.30 which was £160 call out to start with then put on a drip, blood tests and finally found a kidney problem - total bill over £400+ even without pet insurance we'd pay that as the cat is a loved family member who adds to all our lives.

issey6cats Sun 31-Mar-13 17:41:02

i have cats and a dog, i put some money in a bank account each month for vets fees and so far have not had to spend much over the years certainly less than insurance would have cost, i got my pets when we were a two ibncome household and now i am on my own i wouldnt dream of getting rid of or rehoming them if i have a crap hours work week i just eat cheaper food ,batch cook, go without biscuits and treats that week so they get fed, but overall 4 cats and 1 dog cost me about £8 a week so they are not that expensive to start with, i buy large spray bottle of frontline which costs £30 once every six months and worm stuff costs about £6 every 3 months

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 31-Mar-13 17:41:15

Is she pulling through?

Liskey Sun 31-Mar-13 17:45:14

Yes our cat is back home now being spoiled rotten with tuna and cuddles and allowed to sleep anywhere she chooses!

CandyCrushed Sun 31-Mar-13 17:58:33

Do other posters think it irresponsible to get a new dog if you are skint. I think it is. The costs are so long term and unpredictable that I don't think you should get a dog unless you are financially secure. It is easy to cut down on other luxuries (wine, mags, sky etc) if you have a rough patch but you can't suddenly stop paying for a dog once you have one.

This RSPCA Press Report details the huge rise in abandoned pets.

midastouch Sun 31-Mar-13 18:01:22

Of course its irresponsible to get a dog when you're skint. When DP was jobless for 4 months we went to the PDSA twice both times we saw people with puppies going there for there first injections, its not on and i dont think the PDSA should do it!

NotaDisneyMum Sun 31-Mar-13 18:02:20

candy Yes, I do.

If I'd known when I got my dogs (2 years apart) that I'd be made redundant 5 years later (and be divorced by then too) I wouldn't have got them (especially the second; she's a rescue).
Unfortunately, my crystal ball wasn't working so I had no idea that the public sector would be culled to the extent it was! wink

babybythesea Sun 31-Mar-13 18:10:07

TSC: you might be ok not going to the cinema or on holiday or doing soft play or whatever, I wonder if your kids feel the same?

Well, at the moment she's four so she doesn't know any different, and the one trip we did to the cinema was a disaster - she got bored quickly so we're assuming that for the next short while at least that's something she doesn't mind missing.
We do go on holiday - we just tend to stay in this country.
Instead of soft play, we go to the beach - she is just as happy with a bucket and spade digging in the sand as she is jumping in a ball pool. And we have free parks nearby for slides etc.
It will no doubt change as she gets older, but then again it might not, and she might also be able to balance out the pros of having a dog versus the cons of not going to soft play!
I might equally well ask do your kids miss the chances to run on the beach or in the woodlands throwing balls for the dog to retrieve, and do they miss the chance to use the dog as a pillow while reading, and to hug the dog because they are pleased to see her when they get home from school?

DreamingOfTheMaldives Sun 31-Mar-13 18:11:02

Our dog costs us £25 per month pet insurance and £25 per month in food. I could get cheaper food if I needed to. Worming and flea treatment costs probably £5 per month.

If I got rid of my dog I would be £55 per month richer but my life would be so much poorer. What he has brought to our lives over the last few years I cannot put a price on. He is part of the family and his costs are factored in to the monthly budget. I would eat the cheapest beans on the cheapest toast every night before I would get rid of him.

Although he may cost £55 per month, he is a good source of free entertainment - we much prefer going out walking for the day now we have him. The walks with a dog are so much more enjoyable than without a dog.

babybythesea Sun 31-Mar-13 18:15:19

And can I also add, the things I would class as luxuries (wine, cigarettes, trips to the gym, new clothes for me) are things for me. DD does still go to soft play from time to time, although I'd prefer to take her to the beach, she still gets treats in the shopping basket - and she gets a dog! If money is tight, I sacrifice things. Not DD. It's my choice to own a dog but DD still gets the benefit!

babybythesea Sun 31-Mar-13 18:18:00

And yes I agree it's irresponsible to get one until you can look after it properly, whether that's in terms of finance or time or whatever.
Which is why i waited more than 10 years before finally bringing the hound home. Same as I waited to have dd. Can't control what happens in the future though.

TheSecondComing Sun 31-Mar-13 18:18:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JollyBumps Sun 31-Mar-13 18:18:29

Our fish are properly cared for and have an appropriate size tank. They cost very little because after the initial set up (about £250 I reckon) they only require food and heating.

They do get cleaned out regularly but our water isn't metered so it just costs us a little heating oil to heat the water we put in the tank.

Our filtration system will require to be replaced next year and this will cost us at least £50 but maybe up to £100.

So really, the costs are minimal.

float62 Sun 31-Mar-13 18:18:38

Great to see so many pet lovers here and sorry for those that can't have one but want one and those having a struggle to keep theirs. I think there is a strong correlation between this (pet lovers) and the niceness of all the posts on this thread.

babybythesea Sun 31-Mar-13 18:27:08

Going to the beach / on long walks is some thing we can ( and do) do regularly. I like to go for a long walk and then for a cup of tea in a cafe or some cake or pint and plate of chips. Not everywhere thankfully let's dogs in.

I've yet to be sat next to a staffie at the cinema or a lurcher at soft play (thank god) the two activities are not things you can do with a dog. Thankfully. We can and do make MCC use of the local water park, river, park and the dam at Lymm, choosing to wander round there regularly.

Our son is asthmatic, even if I wanted a dog or cat we couldn't have one, plus I hate dealing with shit tbh.

Which is all fine. I'm not sure I understand. I'd like to point out I can also go for the cuppa afterwards - the dog can sit in the car for the time it takes to drink it so having one doesn't prohibit me from doing the things you mentioned, any more than not having one stops you from walking on the beach. I also go to soft play (when i can't get out of it) - the dog stays home. No biggie. Same, when we do go to the cinema, applies there. It might mean i can't stay out for an entire day from early morning until late evening but to be honest I can't remember when we last came up with something we wanted to do that having the dog stopped us doing.
As I said, for me, having a dog is a big part of my lifestyle and something that is important to me and not so much a luxury - I certainly don't find I'm constrained by her presence, and if I don't go to the cinema so much to pay for her, I don't miss it, and dd certainly isn't deprived.

TheSecondComing Sun 31-Mar-13 18:34:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

infamouspoo Sun 31-Mar-13 18:46:17

Is not going to the cinema being deprived then? Ive never been and I'm ancient as the hills. I reckon I must need counselling or something grin for my evil parents! As an adult I just hate the thought of sitting with countless others while they eat and chomp <hate eating noises> so I've avoided the place. DS3 tells me its hugely overloud too.
Mind you, I will admit to not liking dogs very much. I like chickens. They lay eggs and you can eat them wink

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 18:46:52

We've got a cat. No walks on beaches.
More snoring on lap.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Sun 31-Mar-13 18:47:29

TSC - you suggest that babybythesea is happy to do walks on the beach but maybe her kids are not and would prefer to do soft play etc. Perhaps your children would prefer to have a pet to love, look after and play with rather than the thing you choose for them.

I grew up with pets and if I'd been asked 'go to the cinema once a month or get rid of the dog/cat' I know which I'd have picked - my furry mates without a shadow of a doubt.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Sun 31-Mar-13 18:49:14

That should have said cinema once a month or KEEP the dog/cat

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 18:50:05

We can afford a pet, and food and shoes and the cinema and everything.
If times were hard, we'd cut down on a lot of things before the cat was in the deal.
I think that's all most of us are saying, TSC.

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 31-Mar-13 19:01:19

What DD would rather have:

New clothes - nope
shoes - nope
meals out - nope
cinema - OK
theatre - OK
musical - yes
Ghastly music - yes
school trips - some
Party - maybe
Theme parks - yes
Dog - yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

She can have everything except a dog. She is 15 and beyond herself with desperation. DS would love one too. They will both have left home in three years and guess who isn't taking it for walks twice a day - now or then. Guess who looks after dd's cats?

Oh god, how would the cats take it?

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 19:04:31

Why doesn't she look after her own cats?
Our cat is really DS's, he feeds it, loves it and deals with the litter tray. Only thing I do is the medication, because he's too soft. smile

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 31-Mar-13 19:13:15

Coz I'm soft and needy and they luff me best because I feed them.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 19:14:33

Fair enough. smile
So get a dog only if you want one and are prepared to do everything.

babybythesea Sun 31-Mar-13 19:23:39

TSC: Sorry baby, I misunderstood, I thought you said you couldn't/ didn't do the cinema because you were skint? And prioritised pet ownership over spending cash on your kid/heating.

We'll never agree on this one. I said people prioritising pets over leisure for their kids was ballsed up priorities financially. You've said you prefer to walk down the beach with your dog than do stuff kid orientated (dog walking is a chore IMO) it is your choice, not necessarily your kids though is all I am saying.

We are skint and so cinema is one of the things we don't do. But at the moment, as I said, DD is only four and the one cinema trip we tried wasn't successful, so it's us that have our leisure dictated by the dog rather than her at this point.
Soft play - we do from time to time but she's just as happy at the beach and that's free and dog friendly. We don't eat out really, but eating out for us would involve getting babysitters so DD isn't missing out by us choosing not to do this either, or by us not eating a chinese every week. The sacrifices I make are just that, as far as I can see. Mine. No visits to the gym, no magazines or newspapers, and I would far rather have my dog than do this kind of stuff. And why is walking down a beach with your dog not kid orientated? I'd have said playing on a beach is one of the most kid orientated things you could do!

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 19:24:49

'I'd have said playing on a beach is one of the most kid orientated things you could do!'

Absolutely. One of our favourite things for years.

crashdoll Sun 31-Mar-13 19:37:21

When I got my dog, my financial position was much more comfortable. Hopefully, after my degree, I'll be in a better financial position again. I made a commitment when I got him and I will sacrifice for him because I chose to have him. Before I developed an illness that affected my mobility, I adored walking him. It was certainly not a chore. We explored places I never knew existed and I've lived in the same area for over 20 years. Fortunately, I have a supportive family who walk him but when they can't, I pay for a dog walker. That's just the way the cookie has crumbled.

I would not choose to get a dog now given my financial position but I have him now and his welfare is paramount. Imagine the outrage if I posted on here that I was rehoming my dog because I chose to leave my job and go to university. (Not that I would ever do this!) I'd rather pay for his pet insurance and decent quality food and go without. I don't care if I'm judged for this. It's my choice. It was my choice to get a dog, knowing that good health and good finances were not a given.

ChoudeBruxelles Sun 31-Mar-13 19:48:42

Our first dog was ds's 5th birthday presents. He went without pretty much any other non-dog related presents to get his beloved dog. We inherited our other dog when my mum passed away and it's nice to think that we are looking after him for her - rather than putting him in rescue kennels.

We go to the cinema but usually go to kids am at vue which cost £1.50 each and I take a bag of sweets with us rather than buy pop on there.

He enjoys us all going for walks as a family - given the choice of zoo or something else tomorrow he asked to go for a bike ride (the dogs will come too).

TSC you clearly aren't a dog/cat person and prioritise other things - which is fine. Others make different choices.

D0oinMeCleanin Sun 31-Mar-13 19:50:16

For some people they are not a luxury. My very ill and depressed father has four dogs, three of his own and one end of life foster. He never meant to have four, he only ever wanted one, he just accidentally collected the rest.

Before he got the first dog he would sleep for days on end, rarely washed, rarely left the house, never spoke to anyone etc.

He now walks for two hours a day, has a whole new group of friends and has to get out of bed to see to his dogs. He can't afford them, per se, but we have an unspoken agreement whereby I pay for any emergency treatment the dogs might need so they save on pet insurance. I also help out with other essentials such as replacing the PC he needed to keep going the business he set up in order to fund his dogs.

Those dogs have literally saved his life.

We are fortunate in that we can afford my dogs without going without, we have a great network of people who provide holiday care for us, although Devil Dog ends up in kennels sometimes, depending on how many arch nemesis he has collected through the year and whether there is space anywhere where won't end up eating or being eaten by another resident dog, we are never short of carers for Whippy or fat cat. I'll happily leave them alone to go to the cinema (not so much soft play, but that is more because I despise soft play) and cab leave them for whole days occassionally knowing that my Dad will come round and walk them for me half way through the day.

We are going away in August, Whippy will be going camping with my parents, Devil Dog may or may not go into kennels, depending upon whether his latest enemy at the foster co-ordinators house finds a home between now and then. We are away again in Sept, that will be more difficult as I will need to fund kennel space for my Devil Dog and two of my Dad's, the other two have their own dedicated babysitters and Whippy can go to our foster co-ordinator, so that weekend could potentially cost me another weeks holiday, but they're worth it to us. The neighbour will feed fat cat and the fish.

SillyTilly123 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:55:39

I have a large aquarium (50 + fish) a cat and a dog. I'm not sure what they cost as I get stuff as I need it, don't really budget but if I was not able to afford them anymore, I would get rid of the fish (emotional attachment not as strong with them, though I'd be gutted) but I would never ever consider getting rid of the cat or dog. I would get rid of my car before them (that's the biggest expense we have at about £130 a month)

My dds all love the dog (they're indifferent to the cat as he doesn't do much) and if I said to them we will have to either get rid of the dog or no (whatever) I know they'd choose the dog. (I put whatever as tbh my kids don't do regular things -even before we got the dog- we might go to softplay one week, swimming the next, day at the fair/beach or some weeks we will do nothing more than visit friends)

midastouch Sun 31-Mar-13 21:29:26

Thats really lovely D0oinMeCleanin smile

We arent particularly well off but i dont feel that having dogs means my DCs lose out, we may not go to the cinema, soft play but to be fair who wants to? or go on holiday but they have DVDS they get plenty of xmas and birthday presents, we go out in holidays to places that are free or using tesco rewards. Dogs dont have to come everywhere with you they are fine home alone for a few hours.
We would be a lot better off in terms of money but i certainly wouldnt be happy without my doggies and my DCs love them too!

SandraSue Sun 31-Mar-13 21:33:18

I think they're as much a luxury as children are. Some people want chiödren, some don't. Some want pets, some dont. smile

MaybeOrnot Sun 31-Mar-13 21:39:08

I was going to say,pets and chidren...both luxuries.

portraitoftheartist Sun 31-Mar-13 21:53:11

People can choose what they spend their money on. A cat costs very little, the majority of them have no vaccinations or insurance or cattery costs. You can feed the cheapest food and most will still live a vet-free life for 15 plus years.
A small dog costs a bit more but, again, you can buy the basics or the absolute best. It's up to you.

HesterShaw Sun 31-Mar-13 22:05:58

Ha ha ha would that that were true

<stares balefully at accident prone, obese, hypochondriac moggy>

extracrunchy Sun 31-Mar-13 22:06:31

They are a luxury in the sense that they incur inessential expenses.

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 31-Mar-13 22:23:29

But here's a big but ............the year before we got our first two boys we had to get Rentokil out twice because rats had gnawed into the house. We live near the river and it is a locational hazard. We still have to have poison trap things laid outside but haven't had a whisper of one indoors - or any mice for that matter. Bear in mind that a Rentokil visit is £270.

EricBloodaxe Sun 31-Mar-13 22:31:44

How do you define luxury? Yes, my dog does need to be fed and does incur the odd vet's bill (so far less than £100 a year) but, she is a totally loved and hugely important part of our family. Because of her we all walk for at least 2 hours on Saturdays and Sundays and other days too when we're on holidays. I also walk her for at least an hour Mon - Fri. Luxury no, exercise machine and mental health provider, yes. smile

Luxury - no.

Commitment -yes.

You're taking on a living thing. The lifespan of that particular thing defines the amount of forward thinking you need to have before getting it.

babybythesea, I love your posts about owning a dog on this thread, you've said it all, for me smile

Corygal Sun 31-Mar-13 22:50:01

I pay for fat tabby Mr Cory's food. He pays my Rentokil visits, heating at night, and blood pressure pills. I owe him loads of money.

maninawomansworld Thu 04-Apr-13 15:42:48

Yes they are a luxury, if you can't afford them don't have them.

If you fall on hard times and already have a pet that costs a fair whack to keep then it's horrible and much less clear cut than simply getting rid of the pet.

Much like kids really... (apart from the getting rid bit).

Failedhippy Thu 04-Apr-13 17:10:54

yanbu, we have a dog and it has considerate cost implications, for 2 months running we have had a visit to the vet each costing £70, that on top of a decent quality food, pet insurance (the excess is £100 so previous 2 trips not covered), weekly dog classes and a recent home visit from a dog trainer due to a behavioural issue. I would definitely say its my luxury. The children and I would be lost without our dog...DH not so much!

ThePlatypusAlwaysTriumphs Thu 04-Apr-13 17:21:33

I am a vet, and I do think animals, while a great thing to have, are a bit of a luxury item.

Some people have mentioned vet's bills as being "ridiculous", but to be fair, I don't think that's true. The cost of drugs and other aspects of running a surgery (eg heating/ lighting/ water) has risen. I have my own practice and don't make anything like my friends who are lawyers/ bankers/ accountants (I earn about half they do, and work far more hours) I don't really mind- I do my job because I love it, and always have.

But it breaks my heart when I have to euthanase an animal because owners can't afford to treat it. Most times it's not even as though I could treat it and do it for nothing- treating would mean referral for MRI scans etc which cost £££. Other times it is due to behavioural issues that may have been helped/ avoided by consulting a behaviouralist, but owners are unwilling/ unable to spend the time or money required. sad I often see these owners back with their new puppy the next month.

I know people mean well, but taking on a pet you can't afford is not always the best thing for the animal. You may be stopping it from going to a home where they could afford insurance for that £4000 spinal surgery that would give it another 5 years or so of life. Or where they could afford painkillers to allow it to be pain-free for the last couple of years of its life. Seems to me lots of people take on animals on the basis of what the animal can bring to them, and not thinking about what they can give the animal. And please don't say "love"- love doesn't cure broken legs or rotten purulent teeth!!

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