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NOTE:  This post is meant to be for fun only – please enjoy it as such!

Younger generations seem to be opting for pets rather than children in larger numbers than earlier ones.  So…I decided to do a little research to see which is more economical.  Turns out the millennials may be on to something!


Be they veterinary, or human, medical costs are expensive and only rising.  Gone are the days of $50.00 vet or pediatrician visits.  Hello to dropping at least $150.00 whenever visiting a medical professional.  Here is the breakdown:

Veterinarian bills over the lifetime of a dog – approximately $22,000

Veterinarian bills over the lifetime of a cat – approximately $18,000

Pediatric Bills for a child up to the age of 18 – $12,024 plus vaccines at $3,150 = $15,174.  Or you can spend (in case something extra is needed) $34,895.00 for insurance, which will, of course, require a co-pay.


Since we’re only talking about raising a child to the age of 18 here, education through public school, is very cheap.  (Not free, since there are always the extra costs, plus the mountains of fund-raising wrapping paper you have to buy.)  Private school is insanely expensive – I’ve seen prices as high as $35,000 for one year of kindergarten.  At any rate, we’ll assume public school.

Child – $4,000 figuring a cost of approximately $300.00 per year from age 5 to age 18.

Dog trainer –$400.00.  This is for basic training, assuming a dog has not come to you with horrible habits.

Cat Trainer – yeah, right…..$0.00.  Such a creature does not exist.


White cat laying on a table being scratched.



Not surprisingly,

kids win hands-down on this one, although cats are not far behind.

The average age of complete toilet training is 3 years for kids. After this age, accidents are extremely rare and generally due to illness.

Cats are litter trained by 4 months of age.  Accidents, although rare, have many causes:

  • Don’t feel like it.
  • Litter box is dirty.
  • Litter box has been moved to a place he doesn’t approve of.
  • Illness

Dogs are generally completely housebroken by 9 months.  Accidents can occur at any time due to:

  • It’s wet outside.
  • It’s cold outside.
  • Illness



This one is where the dog shines.  Dogs are generally loving, trusting individuals with a vast tolerance for human foibles and eccentricities.

The statement that dogs have owners and cats have staff couldn’t be more accurate.  Cats are aloof, and tolerate, sometimes with barely concealed contempt, their owner’s habits and personalities.

Kid’s attitudes vary widely with age and disposition.  As a general rule (although individual members of the species may vary), a baby ranks at a +3 on a five point scale for temperament; a toddler at a negative 2; a child from 4 to 10 can, and often does, rise to a +4.  From 11 to 18, it’s a wild, downhill ride, with a tween ranging from -2 to -4, and a full-blown teenager sometimes dropping to a negative 8.



Children shed the least, and, since their shedding is similar to their parents’, causes the least concern.

Dogs (particularly breeds with second coats).  You can often knit a second dog with what comes out when you’re brushing your first one.  Dog owners, however, will happily tell you that dog fur is a fashion accessory.  (So is spit-up from your baby, but you wouldn’t walk down the catwalk to showcase it.)

Cats – Medium.  Tolerable levels for everyone except those individuals with allergies.



The average cost of a child’s toy is $62.00.  And, as the child gets older, costs only go up.  Figuring eight toys for Christmas, three toys for birthdays, and three more random toys gifted throughout the year this comes to a staggering total of $850.00 per year or $15,300.00 between the ages of 0 and 18.

Dogs often have a nasty habit of tearing their toys to pieces. If you have one of those, you can expect to spend about $360.00/year or $3,600.00 over the lifetime of your pet.

Cats are much more reasonable when it comes to amusement.  Many will be happy with a free box or crinkly bit of paper.  Still, if you’re going to purchase cat toys, figure $60.00/year or $720.00 over a lifetime.



For all three species, this is a huge variable.

Generally speaking, if you don’t buy the high-end dog food, dogs can be fed for about $600/year, or $6,000.00 over an average lifetime.

Cats are pickier than dogs, but, because of their generally smaller size, win this competition hands-down.  You can feed an average cat for about $188.00 per year or $2,256.00 for a lifetime.

Kids are expensive here.  The average food budget for a child is $2,534.00/year which translates to a whopping $45,619.00 from birth to 18.



With children, this is a constant through all 18 years.  Management requires nagging from parents, or complete capitulation to do the work themselves.  The third option is to ignore the mess completely – less stressful, but prevents the adults from having company over for the next 18 years.

Most of most dogs mess has to do with housebreaking incidents.  This requires a rug shampooer and a bit of patience.  There is, however, another type of canine who delights in tearing up paper, toys, furniture, or trash.  (Remember the dog in Christmas Vacation.)  This can get costly, but doesn’t interfere much with visitors – everyone loves a “rascal” pooch.

Cats are pretty low maintenance in this regard.  Requires litter box cleaning and maintenance, occasional vacuuming for hair.



I have to say that I was shocked by the outcome of this study – being a confirmed dog person – but facts are facts.  Apparently, we should all own cats!


TOYS 0 3 2
FOOD 0 3 1
MESS 0 2 0
TOTALS 9 22 14


This was all in fun – hope it gave you at least a chuckle or two!  And please share this post on Facebook, Pinterest, or whatever social media you enjoy – thank you!

To find your perfect furry friend, check out the national shelter and rescue directory here.

little girl with dog licking her face

Cat Photo by Yerlin Matu on Unsplash

Dog Photo by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash

Little girl playing with bubbles
Little girl playing with bubbles