Do Cat Owners Make More Money?

The relationship between pet ownership and income has been studied by researchers interested in understanding the financial aspects of having pets. Though the findings are mixed, several studies have suggested that cat owners tend to have higher incomes compared to non-pet owners. The thesis of this article is that cat owners tend to have higher incomes than non-pet owners on average. We will examine research on factors like education level, career choice, and financial responsibility to analyze why cat owners may earn more money. However, there are also limitations to these findings, as income depends on many complex variables. Overall, the evidence suggests a correlation, though not necessarily causation, between cat ownership and higher earnings.

Higher Education Levels

Research shows that cat owners tend to be more educated than the general population. A study by the American Veterinary Medical Association found that 47% of cat owners had a college degree, compared to 30% of non-pet owners (source). Other surveys have consistently shown that cat owners are more likely to have graduated from high school and pursued higher education.

There are a few potential reasons for this correlation. More educated individuals may be more likely to research pet care and feel capable of providing for an animal. Higher levels of education also tend to correlate with higher incomes, making pet ownership more affordable. Additionally, some research indicates that interaction with pets may provide cognitive and emotional benefits that complement education.

While the causality is unclear, the trend of cat owners having higher educational attainment than non-owners is well-documented. This may also contribute to common perceptions of cat owners being more intellectually inclined.

Higher-Paying Careers

Research shows that cat owners tend to gravitate toward higher-paying careers. According to one survey, pet owners in engineering and healthcare reported the highest average salaries, at $93,648 and $72,840 per year respectively (Reliable Plant). Another study found the mean household income for cat owners was around $86,900 in 2016, suggesting they often pursue lucrative professions (Statista).

Jobs in fields like finance, information technology, and management also provide above-average incomes. The costs associated with pet ownership may motivate some cat owners to seek out well-compensated careers. Additionally, the traits required for many high-paying jobs, like responsibility and conscientiousness, tend to correlate with responsible pet ownership.

Costs of Pet Ownership

Research shows that cats generally cost less to own than dogs. According to The Catflix, the average lifetime cost of owning a cat ranges from $8,620 to $26,460, while owning a dog can cost between $14,480 and $72,550. Cats require less food, supplies, medical care and other ongoing expenses compared to dogs. For example, cats can be fed high-quality dry food for around $200 per year, whereas large dogs may cost $500-1000+ to feed per year with high-quality dog food. Cats are also often lower maintenance for grooming. These lower costs make cats a more accessible option for many budgets.

Financial Responsibility

Owning a pet requires taking on significant financial responsibility. Pet owners must budget and plan for both regular expenses like food and medical care as well as unexpected costs like emergencies or damages. According to the ASPCA, the annual cost of owning a small dog averages $1, 443 while owning a large dog averages $2,008 With pets living over 10 years on average, the total lifetime costs can be substantial. This level of financial commitment encourages pet owners to be more responsible with their money. Research shows pet owners are better at budgeting and sticking to financial plans than non-pet owners. A Bank of America survey found 95% of pet owners have savings accounts versus just 78% of non-pet owners. The daily and long-term expenses of pet ownership motivate owners to save and budget in ways that lead to greater financial responsibility.

Single vs Married Cat Owners

While the majority of cat owners are married, according to research by Wonder, single cat owners also tend to have higher incomes. The data shows that 17.5% of cat owners have never married, and 22% are divorced. Though unmarried individuals may have lower combined household incomes than married couples, their incomes as individuals are often still relatively high.

One study by Data Axle found that single female cat owners had an average income of $49,200 per year, while single male cat owners earned around $62,500 annually. Though lower than married couples, these incomes are well above national averages. This indicates that even for single cat owners, having a cat is correlated with financial responsibility and higher earning potential.

Overall, the data shows that cat ownership is associated with higher incomes regardless of marital status. While married cat owners may have the highest combined incomes, single cat owners are still likely to be financially stable and earn salaries above the national median.

Gender Differences

Research shows there are some notable differences between male and female cat owners. According to a survey by Soranews24, women who prefer cats earn more than women who prefer dogs, with an average annual income of 2.38 million yen versus 2.23 million yen for female dog lovers. However, the opposite is true for men – male dog lovers have a higher average income than male cat lovers (2.61 million yen vs 2.42 million yen).

Other sources indicate the majority of cat owners are female. One report from AskWonder found that the typical cat owner in the US is a 43-year old white, married female who earns at least $37,000 per year and owns 2 cats [1]. So while female cat owners may earn more than female dog owners, male cat owners tend to earn less than male dog owners.

Generational Trends

Research indicates that cat ownership is increasingly popular among higher earning Millennials. According to one study, Millennials in the top 25% income bracket were more likely to own a cat than lower earning Millennials. This suggests that as Millennials age and earn higher incomes, cat ownership rises. The same study found that Millennials only spent 0.74% of their income on pets on average, making them the age group that spent the least on pets.

However, generational data also shows that Baby Boomers have the highest overall rates of pet ownership compared to Millennials and other generations. Over 75% of Baby Boomer households own a pet. This indicates that while cat ownership is rising among Millennials, older generations still lead in total pet ownership currently.


While some studies show that pet owners tend to have higher incomes, there are likely other factors that contribute more significantly to higher earnings.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, factors like industry, education level, and job performance have a greater impact on pay differences than pet ownership alone (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Higher levels of education often lead to higher-paying careers, so pet owners with college degrees likely earn more for that reason.

Additionally, careers working with animals like veterinarians, animal scientists, and zoologists require advanced degrees and have higher average salaries. Pet owners drawn to these careers may have higher incomes independent of their pet ownership (Unity College).

While there is a correlation between pet ownership and income level, many other factors have a more direct impact on earnings. Pet ownership alone does not necessarily cause higher incomes.


In summary, studies have found some correlation between cat ownership and higher income levels. People with higher levels of education and higher-paying careers seem more likely to own cats. However, pet ownership also comes with costs that require financial responsibility. There are some generational and gender differences as well. While cat owners tend to have higher incomes than the general population on average, there are many exceptions. Cat ownership alone does not guarantee wealth. There are likely other factors beyond income that motivate cat ownership, such as personality traits. More research is needed to understand the nuances of this relationship.

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