But when it comes down to the latter scenario and pet owners are forced to choose between substantial vet bills and the life of their furry friends, dog owners are willing to pay around $7,000 more than their cat-owning counterparts.
That's according to a new survey by LendEDU, which found that dog owners say they're willing to spend up to $10,725 to save their pets, while cat owners say they're only willing to spend up to $3,454.
The divide doesn't hold true for those who own both a cat and a dog, though. Owners who had both say they'd be willing to spend up to $10,200 on a cat and $10,392 on a dog on average.
However, regardless of species, pet owners are willing to go the financial distance. Americans spend a collective $44 billion per year on pet supplies. Individual dog owners put an annual $2,033 toward their pets on average and cat owners fork over $1,042, according to LendEDU.
But pet emergencies don't have to rack up outrageous vet bills. The best way to mitigate costs is to sign up for pet insurance long before Fluffy ever gets sick. Take it from CNBC managing editor Jenna Goudreau, who paid $7,000 to save her cat Bubbles.
"Looking back, I wish only that we'd had the foresight to purchase pet insurance when she was young and healthy," Goudreau writes of the experience. "With typical premiums of about $25 a month and payouts of around 80 percent of medical expenses, we would have contributed about $1,600 by the time she started having issues and might have saved as much as $4,000."
However, "I've never regretted spending the money," she says.
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