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Puppy Love: something money can’t buy…or can it?

cost of kitten
Adorable, and oh so expensive.

Love, hugs, good friends, walks in the woods….The best things in life are free, right? Well, maybe. If you’re an economist at heart, you tend to see the dollars and cents in pretty much everything.

So recently when my girlfriend and I were debating the merits of moving in together, I, the incorrigible economist, pointed out that my apartment complex is a pet free one, so she should extend her lease 3 more months until mine expires, and then we can get a new place for all three of us. As Kai Ryssdal likes to say, “when we ran the numbers”, we found that little bundle of joy kitty cat of hers was going to cost us an extra $3,000 in rent over the next few months, not to mention all the cool cat products that we are inevitably going to spend on. Also the cost of getting back and forth between our houses, and the resulting carbon emissions that could both be eliminated if we lived together. (I told you, incorrigible economist).

In addition to the environmental damages often caused by pets, the cost of pet ownership is higher than many think. The upfront costs are low enough, but the hidden costs like these and the recent recession in the United Kingdom have led to record abandonments of pets, according to the Pet Bureau, with the RSPCA re-homing more than 60,000 pets in 2011 alone. Of course, the cost of pet ownership doesn’t even register when compared to the estimated $1 million cost of having a baby, but it’s not exactly an apples to apples comparison.

Here’s a fun infographic about the costs of pet ownership from our friends at Baines and Ernst, a debt management and relief company in the UK.

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Written by Scott Cooney

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride.


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