A note to new readers: while we often delve deeply into financial topics (such as Behind the Scenes of a Happy Frugal Marriage and Well Hot Damn, Frugality Works! Our 2014 Savings Rate Revealed), we also like to keep it irreverent and downright silly. Because hey, who doesn’t need an investigative interview series conducted by a dog?! And so, I hope you’ll enjoy Frugal Hound Sniffs! If you’d prefer a more, ahem, financial independence-related post, start here.
Frugal Hound here. While Mr. and Mrs. Frugalwoods are living it up in sunny San Diego, I’ve commandeered the blog today for perhaps my most unique Frugal Hound Sniffs yet.
I’m pleased to be interviewing a human person today–Kassandra, previously of More Than Just Money. Kassandra actually does not have a pet for me to sniff, which is a very fiscally responsible decision she has made. Pets are extremely expensive luxuries and I’m grateful for people like Kassandra who recognize the major financial undertaking that pet ownership truly is. I myself cost my parents north of $900 every year, which is no small change! Deciding to have a pet isn’t a decision to make without thoughtful consideration as Kassandra will share with us.
And so, I hope you’ll join me in exuberantly sniffing Kassandra!
1) Why don’t you have any pets right now?
I adore animals in general and I have a deep appreciation for cats BUT the lifestyle that my husband and I currently lead is one where we are frequently away from home. Whether it’s travel due to work commitments or vacation getaways, I don’t think it would be fair to any animal to constantly leave them in a boarding environment. The latter along with hiring a pet sitter can be expensive. Another factor is that the majority of my friends live hundreds of miles away so there’s no one living in my city that I trust to check in on a pet at home.
2) What should people take into consideration before they get a pet?
First and foremost: that they’re truly ready to take on the commitment that is required to own a pet. Dogs need to be walked every day and tend to be very social creatures. Cats are typically more independent but still thrive on human interaction. Whether it’s a rabbit, fish, frog or a beauty like you (Frugal Hound), owning a pet is a long term proposition. If someone is not prepared to deal with the ups and downs of having a pet for many years, then they should re-consider getting one.
3) To what extent should finances impact the decision to have a pet?
I believe it should factor into one’s decision to take ownership of a pet. Many people believe that once they can afford to feed a pet and provide them with a yearly check-up at the veterinarian, that the associated costs are manageable. They don’t consider the following:
- Many animals require consistent grooming and those pet salon visits add up fast if you can’t handle it yourself.
- Animals can get into accidents and sustain massive injuries and consequently massive vet bills.
- Pets may suffer from health conditions that require long term medical treatments or special nutrition that is much more costly than expected.
Back in 2002, Piglet, aka my daredevil cat, snapped a femur in half. He tried to jump from my bed to a very high chesterfield – and failed. Piglet required surgery and wore 40 clamps for three weeks. The final bill was over $1,500!
4) What are the advantages of not owning a pet?
For us, not having a pet allows us to travel without worrying over pet arrangements. I also can’t get over how much money I save because I don’t own a pet. I don’t miss constantly cleaning up the “furbleweeds” (tumbleweeds made from animal hair). I definitely don’t miss the God awful sound of a cat vomiting a hairball. Seeing and cleaning that made me cringe every time. I am highly sensitive to cat dander so not having one has also been good for my own health.
5) Are there challenges associated with pet ownership?
Besides logistical, financial, and medical issues that can arise with pet ownership, let’s just say that life wasn’t boring. Pets come with their own personalities and if you own more than one at the same time, unless they are best buddies, prepare yourself for some drama and entertainment.
6) What pets have you had in the past?
As a child I grew up loving Winnie the Pooh and all my pets were given names of the characters on the show as a tribute.
Winnie was my Maine Coon cat. She knew she was gorgeous and dished out plenty of attitude. That girl stood up to a Doberman once and scared it away! She was diagnosed with diabetes in her final year and after two months of daily insulin injections and severe weight loss, she was still suffering immensely so we said our final goodbye to her at the age of 10.
I previously spoke about Piglet, the shorthair tabby who either thought he was a superhero character or a Cirque du Soleil act. He passed away at the age of 10 as a result of kidney disease. Piglet had a biological brother named Tigger, but he sadly died when he was 6 months old due to injuries sustained from a dog bite from an unleashed pit-bull belonging to a neighbor.
7) Do you think you’ll have pets again in the future?
I am longing for the day we will be able to have a pet because I miss having an animal to care for and enjoy life with. Until we are able to stay home on a more consistent basis, it’s likely that we won’t have any fur babies.
8) Anything else people should know about pets?
Pets are able to bring us so much joy and comfort. The gift of love and devotion that they freely offer to us is heartwarming. They should be respected and never mistreated.
Thank you, Kassandra! Pet ownership definitely should not be taken lightly and I’m thankful to you for illustrating how important it is to carefully consider in advance how a pet will work with your lifestyle and budget.
Mrs. Frugalwoods here: Many thanks to Kassandra Dasent for her insights on pet ownership. Kassandra is a freelance writer, business consultant, wife and step-mom striving to live life beyond what money can buy. Kassandra addresses topics such as personal finance, investing, self-employment and education. Her work has been featured on several prominent sites including US News & World Report and The Globe and Mail.
Are you a pet?
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