This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Shelter Animals Are Still the Pet Market's Biggest Bargain

The reward is a little tougher to parse out. On the balance sheet, it's an annual loss. Pet adoption site Petfinder puts the average annual cost of owning a cat between $300 on fairly benign years to $4,570 when something goes horribly wrong. For dogs, that cost rises to more than $500 a year in food, health care and other associated costs and upwards of $9,000 in the bleakest circumstances.

On the upside, you're saving one or more of the millions of animals euthanized in shelters every year. The Humane Society estimates that only 30% of dogs that enter shelters are ever reclaimed by their owners. That is an even more dire situation for cats, which only have 2% to 5% of their owners come looking for them.

You're also helping confirm large companies' decisions not to breed and sell pets on their owns. Two of the nation's largest pet retailers -- Petco and PetSmart (PETM) -- each adopt cats and dogs through local shelters and animal welfare groups and only house those shelter animals on a temporary basis. Shelters, meanwhile, have been increasingly effective in convincing smaller pet stores to help them adopt out their surplus residents.

Even in the worst case, where a prospective pet owner has to pay out the average cost of care regardless of where their animal is obtained, a shelter offers the best value for the initial cost. Shelter staff that are familiar with the animals they're housing and well-versed in pet idiosyncrasies -- like young, male cats' penchant for getting along better with existing groups, for example -- help would-be owners avoid further costs down the line by making an ideal match the first time around.

Must Read: Morici: Obama Budget Offers Little Relief from Jobs Drought

Combo was a bargain, but there are a whole lot of others out there like him for anyone savvy enough to invest in a shelter animal. The intangible benefits of having a feline coworker around when deadline's looming is nice, but getting a healthy pet at a discount that will keep him in kibble for months may be one of the best calls of the year.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to

>To submit a news tip, send an email to:

Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post,, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.
2 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
YHOO $32.00 0.41%
AAPL $108.52 -2.00%
FB $90.98 -1.50%
GOOG $628.77 -2.10%
TSLA $224.21 -3.30%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,897.42 -14.87 -0.09%
S&P 500 1,995.83 +15.91 0.80%
NASDAQ 4,738.5610 -52.5910 -1.10%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs