Our furry friends make life just that much better

Shanghai Daily staff are making an interesting showcase of their beloved pets while revealing the secrets of how much they spend on the treasured. Let's have a look!

Andy Boreham, • New media

Pet: dog 

Sex: female 

Breed: Pomeranian 

Name: Buding (Pudding) 

Age: 3 months old 

Average spending: 300 yuan/month

Andy Boreham / SHINE

Buding is a Pomeranian that, at the moment, looks more like a ball of snow! I lose count of the amount of things I’ve bought online for Buding, from pee pads to treats to toys to eye drops to a dog toilet to little steps so that she can climb up and down from my bed. Since I’ve only had her a month, I’d have to say that the biggest purchase was when I got talked into buying supplements to add to her food that promise all sorts of benefits.

In total, I ended up buying six cans of different powders that purport to make her fur healthier, keep her breath fresh, kill harmful bacteria in her gut, and a bunch of other things. In the end, though, the powders just give her diarrhea and now I don’t use them anymore. They cost me a grand total of 1,500 yuan which, in retrospect, was a total waste. Regular costs, apart from food and consumables, include a professional groom every two weeks and daily stays at doggy daycare (up to 50 yuan per day). But hey, that’s the price of having kids!

Wu Huiqi • Administration

Pets: a dog and a cat 

Sex: both male 

Breed: French Bulldog and Canadian Hairless 

Name: Harley and Beerus 

Age: both about 1 year old 

Average spending: dog 1,400 yuan/month and cat 1,100 yuan/month

Wu Huiqi / SHINE
Wu Huiqi / SHINE

My dog Harley was born on December 26, 2017 and he is a French Bulldog.

My cat, on the other hand, is a Canadian Hairless. He was born three days later than the dog. We named him Beerus.

Hayley is of good nature and likes to sleep, while the cat is a vivacious little thing that is curious about everything.

Although they fight for the sofa space all the time, they cooperate as well, especially when they sweep down the food I put on the desk so that they can share. Also the cat would drink from my cup and the dog would sharpen his claws — with my sofa.

The daily expenses include their food, nourishment, toys, vaccines, cat litter and the medical bath for the dog’s skin. I spend about 2,500 yuan on them monthly. The most expensive item I have bought for them is a cat tree. That costs me 2,800 yuan, but Beerus likes it very much.

Li • Anlan, Features

Pets: two cats 

Sex: male and female 

Breed: Domestic Shorthair

Name: Jupiter and Leda 

Age: 2 years old and 10 months old

Average spending: 1,500 yuan/month

Li Anlan / SHINE

My spending is mostly on food. Jupiter is on canned and freeze-dried formulas, while Leda is now switching from canned to a raw diet. On average, I spend 1,200 yuan on cat food every month, including the occasional snacks and dietary supplements.

Feeding higher quality foods can reduce health problems. The money saved on food is likely to go into medical bills eventually.

I save around 4,000 yuan a year from veterinary visits. If the cats are healthy, the annual spending is likely to be under 1,000 yuan per cat, but when they are sick, diagnosis and treatment of diseases can be costly. I once spent 1,600 yuan when Jupiter was diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis. That included blood works, fluid infusion and medications.

I don’t buy fancy pet toys and beds because my cats actually prefer the paper boxes they come in. I spend less than 200 yuan on cat teasers and catnip toys every year. These are really cheap on Taobao.

Wang Xinzhou, • New media

Pet: cat 

Sex: female 

Breed: Domestic Shorthair 

Name: Dickie

Age: 3 years old 

Average spending: 500 yuan/month

Wang Xinzhou

My cat’s name is Dickie. She is about three years old. In 2016, my friend left her with me while he went on vacation. When he found out that I really liked her, he gave her to me.

All these years, Dickie has been one of my best friends. However, keeping a cat costs money. I feed her with imported cat food, which is a little more expensive than domestic ones. With cat litter, toys and others, it costs me about 500 yuan per month. The most expensive thing I’ve bought for her is an automatic cat litter box, which costs more than 1,000 yuan. However, it is not easy to use, and Dickie prefers a normal litter box anyway.

Dickie is not among those rare breeds. But for me, it’s worth spending the money on her to make her happy, as she is one of my best friends.

Lorra Liu Taoying, • Marketing

Pet: cat 

Sex: female 

Breed: British Shorthair 

Name: Feifei

Age: 14 months old 

Average spending: 1,500 yuan/month

Liu Taoying / SHINE

My cute female cat Feifei is 14 months old now! She was only one month old when my friend gifted her to me. She’s my first pet cat. I had a Teddy puppy before.

It is not easy to raise a kitten. We spend a lot of time with her to ensure she gets a better life. As a newlywed couple, we see her as our daughter. Watching her grow gives us much sense of achievement, like many other parents.

I once had a Teddy puppy, which is completely different with the kitten. Their characters and ways of feeding have little in common. Dogs and cats show affection to owners differently.

A dog is more like a man in love, who is affectionate and loyal. While the cat is like your first love, and needs all your care.

Feifei is born weak, with skin disease. She needs more daily hair care and nutritional supplements that cost more than regular feeding.

Among all the things she uses, the most expensive is her nest, which has a remote temperature control, worth 799 yuan. Other costly things include her food, canned food, snacks, toys, vaccinations and monthly spa treatments. We spend about 1,500 yuan monthly.

Zhang Long, Features

Pet: cat 

Sex: male 

Breed: American Shorthair 

Name: Muli (Oyster)

Age: 16 months old 

Average spending: 900 yuan/month

Zhang Long / SHINE

I have had Muli for more than a year. Most of the money we spend on Muli is for cat litter, supplements, and imported cat food, fish jerkies, and canned cat food.

Usually, I spend almost 600 yuan on Muli’s food, including supplements and snacks. Occasionally, we spend few hundred more on cat’s clothing. We also got him a nice cardboard cat house, a fancy cat bowl, a water fountain, and a large cat toilet.

We have only taken Muli to the vet once to check for a possible eye infection and vaccination, which cost us 1,500 yuan. We might take Muli to visit the vet again as he has sexually matured, and he has been acting like crazy around the house, like chewing our phone cables and scratching the sofa incessantly. Our monthly spending on cat food and supplements is around 600 yuan, 100 for cat litter, maybe 200 for miscellaneous cat-related stuff, and 100 or 200 more saved for vet visits.

Huang Yixuan, Business

Pet: cat 

Sex: female 

Breed: Domestic Shorthair 

Name: Zizi

Age: 2 years old 

Average spending: 800 yuan/month

Huang Yixuan / SHINE

Zizi joined our family a year ago and she’s now nearly two years old.

My spending on cat food is about 500 yuan every month on average, including canned food, freeze-dried formulas, and sometimes homemade food such as chicken or fish. As she is really a greedy-guts, occasional snacks are also indispensable to her.

Nutritional supplements, toys and other daily necessities including cat litter cost around 200 yuan per month. I at first bought her some fancy cat toys, but it turned out that she prefers “stealing” some weird stuff such as cotton swabs, cable ties and my earrings to play with.

I bought an automatic pet feeder which can be controlled remotely to ensure her regular dining as I sometimes get home late. Together with a water fountain and a self-cleaning cat litter box, they cost me about 2,000 yuan.

I took Zizi to the vet for vaccination and then about once every three months for regular check.

Yang Yang, Supplements

Pet: cat 

Sex: female 

Breed: Ragdoll 

Name: Snow Baby

Age: 1 year old 

Average spending: 550 yuan/month

Yang Yang

My cat Snow Baby was born in a snowy day in 2018 when Shanghai embraced its first snow for years. She is now one year old. I bought her a luxurious cat house that cost 2,460 yuan this year because currently I share an apartment with others and my cat’s home range is limited. With the cat house, she can jump as she wishes and her living standard is good. People might think the house a bit costly, but I want my cat to know I am doing my best to raise her, just like many parents.

Other spending that adds up includes boarding fees charged by a pet store when I am away from the city on my annual leave and medical bills. A local pet store charges 80 yuan per day during my one-week annual leave and I spent over 400 yuan on an ointment and a spray once there was a small rotten spot on my cat’s hip.

Zhong Youyang, • New media

Pet: chinchilla 

Sex: female 

Breed: Grey, Shorthair 

Name: Xiao Hui

Age: 5 years old 

Average spending: 160 yuan/month

Zhong Youyang / SHINE

My pet Xiao Hui is a chinchilla (usually called ‘Totoro’) and is almost five years old. The Totoro is the cheapest type of chinchilla, which costs around 900 yuan in the market. If she were a long-fur chinchilla and black, the price would soar to 28,000 yuan. She obeys some of my commands, like “don’t jump, stay where you are,” while I do the cleaning. However, she likes peeing everywhere! She will even stand on her food bowl peeing just to make sure her long furry tail doesn’t get wet! Every morning and evening I have to clean up, which usually takes me an hour in total.

She can only take dry baths. I buy one kilogram of natural dust every two months, which costs 40 yuan. She will roll and play in the dust which helps remove moisture, oils and odors from her fur. She is a vegetarian, so the cost of her food, like hay and Mazuri, is relatively cheap — only about 40 yuan per month.

The largest costs are boarding fees and electricity. When I go away on annual leave she needs to stay at the pet store, which usually costs 25 yuan a day. I need to turn on the air-conditioner 24 hours a day in summer to keep the temperature below 25 degrees Celcius, because chinchillas are very sensitive to temperature.

Shen Ke, New media

Pet: cat 

Sex: male 

Breed: Ragdoll 

Name: Zorro 

Age: 2 years old

Average spending: 1,000 yuan/month

Shen Ke / SHINE

My spending on cat includes dry cat food, nutrients, canned treats and other necessities like cat litter, cat scratchers and cat teasers. I send him to a regular pet shop about once a month for a bath, hair trimming and nail cutting, once every three months for deworming. I haven’t had him castrated yet as he seems still quite “calm.”

I think raising a pet relieves a lot of pressure from people like me. I’m a 35-year-old who works in media industry. After a whole day of work, I also need to take care of my 8-year-old daughter when I return home, helping her with homework. Before going to bed, playing with Zorro makes me feel refreshed.

Also my daughter loves Zorro, too. I think it’s also good for her to learn how to take care of animals, learn to be a friend to him, which is good for her psychological health.

Yang Wenjie, Features

Pets: two cats 

Sex: male 

Breed: Domestic Shorthair/Longhair

Name: Momo/ Lulu 

Age: 2 years old and 18 months old

Average spending: 1,000 yuan/month

Yang Wenjie / SHINE

We adopted Momo and Lulu — both meaning “stroking the cat” in Chinese — in 2017.

The cats came for free, but not their daily consumption, which includes food, snacks, toys, cat houses and medical costs like vaccine and physical checks. We go to Pet Expo every year searching for the right treats for them to stay happy and healthy, although they quickly get bored of toys and house.

I bought them costumes, but then I gave up using them. Cats are free souls!

The monthly cost is no more than 1,000 yuan, but a sneeze or cough of the cat will hurry us to the hospital, where checks cost 800 yuan with the vet will say afterwards “don’t worry; just give him more water and enough rest.” They did cost me 1,200 yuan over the Spring Festival holiday when I left them with the store for pet care.

But I find that Momo and Lulu can be easily satisfied with several paper boxes and a laser pointer. And the most expensive thing with cats is that when you have one, you want another one.

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