The Costs of a Pet

I’ve embarked on a new journey last night in which two new beings are now under my care.  They depend on me and I’ll do my best not to kill them by accident and then have to send them on to that great white place in the bathroom.  Yes, we bought fish.

I find myself curious about this relationship as I’ve never owned a pet in my life until now.   I understand the basics of the contract.  I, the owner, will provide clean water, food, light (when required) and will change your tank filter at least once a month.  In exchange, the fish shall provide in house swimming lessons for those with fins and will stare at me with those funny eyes.

My wife is trying to assure me that they won’t cost too much.  Perhaps $10/month is her estimate.  I think perhaps she is heavily underestimating the cost of the power.  After all I’ve got a 100W heater in the tank which is like adding over 7 compact fluorescent lights to the house which runs about half the time (which should cost about $3.38/month – don’t you just love power calculator from your utility company) and a filter pump that is running all the time (no wattage rating, so I’m guessing about the same as the heater).  Plus a light in the tank.  So I would guess the cost will likely be around $15 to $20/month plus my time for maintenance.

Overall I’m willing to pay the costs since I’m curious about this entire having a pet thing.  The kid currently finds the new arrivals entertaining, but I’m not sure how long this will last.  I’ll keep you posted.  By the way, how much do other pets cost a month?  I would imagine a dog or cat would have a higher average cost just by the amount of food eaten.  Thanks for your feedback.

7 thoughts on “The Costs of a Pet”

  1. Good luck…my wife and I enterted parenthood (fish) over the easter long weekend. Our 30 gal tank, fish and accessories has run us well over $1,000 so far. There are cheaper ways to do it, but even keeping our filter running with carbon, biomass, etc. is not cheap. I haven’t noticed a difference in electricity costs with the 100W heater or the pump running.

  2. In 2004 we were spending ab average of $65 per month for our cat. That was the last full year we had a cat. My favourite pets these days are the ones we see when visiting with other people. We had a bird feeder last winter I expect that cost us perhaps $100 for feed.

  3. For my 1 dwarf bunny, she is pretty cheap

    Litter: $100 a year? (with help of newspaper)

    Food: probably 4 bales of hay a year (each bale only $5 from farmer) + fruits & veggie leftovers

    Cage: costs about $50 up front (built ourselves from wiring grid)

    Joy of having a pet: priceless

  4. I’ve wanted a ragdoll cat for years, but its always been the lifestyle commitment that detered me (I move around a lot a didn’t think that was fair to a cat).

    The cost of a pet is definitely a consideration!

  5. Everyone,

    Thanks for your feedback. It’s nice to see what some different pets will cost people.


    The fish so far have only set us back about $230 in startup costs. Yet I know that number is going to go up as I go along.


    I’ve been in a similar position myself for a number of years. So when we finally could settle down for a bit we decided to start small with fish.


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