Cats vs dogs: Study reveals which pet costs owners more

Study also finds 12 per cent of people love their animal more than their partner

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The Independent Online

The debate over which animals are best – cats or dogs – is likely to continue forever, but the cost of having one has been settled.

Dogs cost nearly twice as much as cats in their first year, a survey has revealed, with owners spending an average of £4,791 on the animals and their food, insurance and equipment. Cats cost their owners around £2,455 in the first year. 

However, the costliest four-legged creature to own is a horse, which cost an average of £12,654 in the first year, according to research by Nationwide Home Insurance.

Rob Angus, Nationwide's head of general insurance, said: "Owning an animal can be extremely rewarding, but a very expensive experience. Given a pet is for life, it's important to plan ahead and budget for the potential costs involved, otherwise animal ownership could turn into a financial headache."

Cheaper alternatives are fish, at just £769 in the first year, or rabbits at £1,802. Just over half of people saved up before buying a pet to cover the initial cost of the animal and associated items. 

But 38 per cent of people dip into savings to cover the ongoing costs of their pets, and 9 per cent use a credit card.

However, it is very much worth it for some owners: the survey also found 12 per cent of people said they loved their animal more than their partner.