Nearly half of all cat owners underestimate the cost of providing a lifetime of care for their pets, according to a new study entitled “Lifetime of Care”. The research, conducted on behalf of Synchrony’s pet and vet financial solutions, CareCredit and Pets Best Pet Insurance, surveyed 1,200 pet owners and 100 veterinarians, and revealed that seven out of ten pet parents consider their pets as members of the family, yet nearly half underestimated the lifetime cost of care, which ranges from $15K-$45K for cats and from $20K-$55K for dogs.
Furthermore, the study found that approximately half of all pet owners who thought they were financially ready for unexpected pet expenses, were not, and would consider a financial solution dedicated to financing care for their pet. This is especially concerning given that the American Pet Products Association reports that 90.5 million U.S. homes now include a pet, and in 2020 alone, $103.6 billion was spent on pet care.
The Lifetime of Care research revealed that cat owners can expect to spend between approximately $960 – $2,500 in the first year alone. This includes spaying/neutering, vaccinations, pet supplies, food and health insurance, and end-of-life expenses.
“Cats are beloved members of the family. They bring so much joy to a household and as pet parents, it’s important to return the favor by making sure they have the care they need to live happy healthy lives,” said Jonathan Wainberg, senior vice president and general manager, Pet, Synchrony. “There are millions of cat parents in the U.S., yet the true cost of caring for a cat has historically been a little vague. Our Lifetime of Care study serves as a helpful tool to prepare prospective and current cat parents, and includes an exhaustive list of cat expenses.”
Wainberg went on to explain that the study’s goal is to help pet parents understand what to expect financially, and to provide them with knowledge of the flexible and affordable payment solutions that are available to help them provide a Lifetime of Care for their pet, such as pet insurance like Pets Best, and pet care credit cards like CareCredit.
Veterinarian and veterinary industry leader, Peter Weinstein of PAW Consulting, agrees that this study is important to help pet parents balance the care their pet needs with what they can afford. “This new study provides us a comprehensive look at the true costs of pet care so we can arm our clients with the information and financial solutions they need to care for their pets for a month, year and an entire lifetime.”
CareCredit has been a valuable financing option for all types of veterinary services, treatments, and diagnostics for more than 20 years. It is recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association and is a Preferred Partner for the American Veterinary Medical Association. CareCredit is currently offered in more than 24,000 veterinary practices across the U.S., and provides pet owners with peace of mind that they are ready to care for their pets throughout their lifetime. Pet parents can prequalify for the CareCredit credit card in real time (with no impact to their credit score) and apply on any smart device, in a veterinary practice, or over the phone. They can then select from short-term and long-term financing options including deferred interest if paid in full within 6,12,18 or 24 months and reduced APR with fixed monthly payments for 24, 36, 48 or 60 months. Additionally, CareCredit offers a user-friendly online calculator that makes it easy for pet owners to quickly estimate monthly payments based on available financing options.
Pets Best Pet Insurance offers pet owners a way to have peace of mind that they’re protected, taking the financial worry out of owning a pet, so they can focus on making the best decisions for their cat or dog. Pets Best policyholders can select from plans that can cover accidents, illnesses and routine care, all customized to fit their pet’s needs and their budget, as well as get treatment from any veterinarian of their choice with access to easy and accurate claim processing. Pets Best policyholders also have access to a suite of digital capabilities including a pet helpline, a 24/7 emergency helpline that gives policyholders access to veterinary professionals for pet health related questions and advice for free. Customers can also file claims using their smartphone, make adjustments to a policy, add pets and access claim status and details online or through their mobile app.
Together, CareCredit and Pets Best offer a complete financial solution that may suit the needs of pet owners. With four out of five pet owners facing unexpected vet bills, having access to these services is invaluable. The Lifetime of Care study provides pet owners with a comprehensive look at the true costs of pet care, so they can make informed decisions about the care of their pet and be prepared financially for any situation.