many bells down

How much would you spend on your pet?
February 24, 2006, 9:04 pm
Filed under: Animals, Business, News

honey.jpgAs someone who recently spent over $1,000 on surgery and care for my dearest cat Sugar – and who is hearing, with increasing frequency, other pet owners who won’t hesitate to do the same – I found this article (an oldie but still goodie) quite interesting.  According to the article, pets are a $12 billion industry in America.

The pet health care industry is driven by free-spending empty nesters who spend money on pets instead of children, according to analysts. Some of them are baby boomers whose kids have left the house, while others are young professionals without children. Many of these pet owners treat their animals as humans. The pet health care industry, which closely trails human care in levels of technological advancement, is becoming more and more capable of accommodating pet owners seeking treatment for life-threatening maladies.

“I think 10 years ago you couldn’t even get this kind of care,” said Daniels, the William Blair analyst. “If you had a dog with a tumor, they used to just let the tumor grow and put the dog to sleep. But the human-animal bond is growing.”


“I think there’s always going to be a group of people who are willing to do that, especially as you get more empty nesters,” said Wang. “In those households, the pet takes on incredible importance as a member of the family and people are willing to shell out incredible amounts of money to keep them healthy.”

When my cat got hit by a car and broke her pelvis, the vet gave us these options: We could let it heal on its own, or she could get surgery.  I took the surgery for a number of reasons.  First, even if the break could heal on its own, I would have no way of knowing what affect that would have on her – would she have a crippling disability and be in pain for the rest of her life?  Someone (a callous, insensitive jerkface) suggested I put her to sleep.  Um, no.  Would you put your child to sleep if he broke his leg?  Of course not! So surgery it was. 

I wholly subscribe to the belief that animals are a part of the family.  All of my animals (like Honey, pictured above right – isn’t she a cutie?) think that they are people.  Honey and the cats sleep in bed with me, eat at least part of what I eat and have more toys than than I’m going to buy my children.  But in the end it’s all worth it – these animals bring us not only joy, but a huge number of health benefits: Reduced stress, lower blood pressure, etc. 

Yes, the surgery was expensive.  But as a responsible pet owner who loves my cat dearly, money is just money – and the companionship she gives me is worth every penny. 


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