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How Much Would You Pay to Get Your Pet Back?

{ 54 comments }

How much would you pay to get your pet back?This will be a short and fun post today because I’m doing our taxes this week. Ugh, groan… It shouldn’t be that bad because we didn’t have a lot of complications last year. However, I still need to go over the blog accounting. It seems like some advertisers either didn’t send me a 1099 form or it comes in an email that goes to my spam folder. I’ll need to contact them and see if they can resend it. Anyway, I made about $29,500 online in 2016. This was our worst year since 2012, when I left my full-time job. The advertising environment was changing and it took me a while to adapt. 2017 is starting off much better and it should be our best year yet. I’ll share more details about my blogging business next Monday. BTW, I firmly believe everyone should have a blog. It’s a great way to build your brand and learn how to make money online. Anyway, let’s get back to the lighter subject. How much would you pay to get your pet back?

The $20,000 missing cat

Have you heard this story? A cat is missing and the owner is putting up a $20,000 reward to get him back. I saw this on the morning news last week while I was making breakfast, and I thought it was just a regular gray tabby. Wow, $20,000! That’s a lot of money for a cat. Why don’t you just go to the local humane society and adopt a cat for $40. There are a bunch of cats there waiting for a good home.

Due to the ridiculousness of it all, I decided to check up on the story in more detail. It turns out the cat is an exotic Savannah cat named Bentley. It’s a crossbreed between the serval, an African wild cat, and a common cat. They’ve got a gorgeous leopard pattern coat and huge ears. This goes to show you how much detail I can miss when I’m multitasking. The owner lives in Marina Del Rey, California which is right next to the famous Venice beach.

savanah catOkay, I get it. Bentley is an exotic cat and his owner really wants him back. We have a cat and we’d be sad if she goes missing, too. However, we are also somewhat used to losing a cat. 🙁 When I started blogging in 2010, we had 3 cats. Now, we’re down to just one. They got old and went off to cat heaven. It’s grievous, but that’s a normal part of life. I hope this doesn’t sound too heartless. Anyway, Lily is 16 years old and she is still very healthy. She isn’t as spry as she used to be, but she is still active and she loves being an only cat. If she ever goes missing, then I would put up some fliers and offer a reward, too. However, it’d be capped at $100 tops.

Pet Poll

So here is my question

How much would you pay to get your pet back?

View Results

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As for Bentley, I hope he gets back to the owner soon. Can he survive the mean beaches of Southern California on his own? Oh, check out the Esprit apartment where Bentley lived. A one bedroom apartment starts at $3,200 and goes up to $5,000. It must be nice to live right at the marina, but that’s really expensive. The cheapest one bedroom is about 30% more than our monthly housing cost. That’s too rich for my blood.

Anyway, the Savannah cat looks really cool and they probably make great pets. However, I like common black cats. They are beautiful and they need good homes, too. We can’t imagine our household without ours. If our last cat passes away, we’ll probably adopt another one. Cats are awesome. They are so much easier than dogs. 🙂

So how much would pay to get your pet back?

*Reader’s tip – Please microchip your pets, everyone!!!

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{ 54 comments… add one }
  • Pennypincher March 16, 2017, 4:29 am

    First thought was- a coyote got the cat. Sad but not unusual.

    Not surprised that many voters said they would pay over a thou$and to get their pet back. It’s not that unusual to pay that much to get a sick or injured cat out of an emergency vet clinic!

    Good for you Joe, for promoting shelter animals as pets and owning them yourself. Bravo!

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 8:53 am

      I’m a bit surprised with the votes. That’s a lot of money. There are so many cats and dogs looking for a good home. Why not give a new pet a home instead for a much cheaper cost… I guess I come from a culture where pets are just pets, not a family member.

  • Chad Burkholder March 16, 2017, 4:51 am

    I don’t know that I would offer a reward. I don’t like cats. The two we’ve got decided that the best way to wake us up for food at all hours of the night is to wake up our 2 yo son by paying at his door. Aggrivating!!!

    To be fair, we have 2 dogs that I would put much of a reward up for either. I love these dogs and so does our son, but I didn’t even pay for ten to begin with. You can ask my wife how much I love them, sometimes she gets jealous. But there’s nothing like getting greeted by 2 animals that are happy to see you.

    • Nicoleandmaggie March 16, 2017, 5:11 am

      We got an automatic food timer. Now they no longer wake us up.

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 8:55 am

      Dogs are a lot better than cats at making emotional connection. 🙂 They are a lot of work, though.

  • Apathy Ends March 16, 2017, 4:52 am

    Definitely would pay over $1,000 to get our dog back. Emergency fund power!

    We got him from a shelter 4 years ago and he is part of the family (and extremely spoiled)

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 8:55 am

      It’s good to have some cash for this kind of thing. 🙂

  • Wes March 16, 2017, 4:58 am

    I know this sounds bad, but it would depend on which pet. Dog, cat, turtle, fish, bird all have a different value for me, I’d pay more for our dogs and cat than I would for the bird, turtle or fish.

    I guess I’m partial to mammals.

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 8:56 am

      What’s the price for each? 🙂
      (I fixed the known.)

  • Max Your Freedom March 16, 2017, 5:00 am

    I’m not really a cat person, I prefer dogs, but I do agree that cats are much more practical. It would be really hard to do any kind of long term travel with pets, so we’ve stayed away from having any. I personally wouldn’t spend that kind of money getting one back, but I could see my daughter getting attached to a pet if she ever got one. Would be tough telling her too bad so sad, so I would probably fork it over in the end. Good luck with your taxes, I’m doing mine tomorrow ?

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 8:58 am

      Pets definitely get in the way of travel. Hopefully, the timing will be okay when we go for our around the world trip. Maybe our cat can go live with my brothers for a while.
      When our older cats passed, our son was sad, but he got over it pretty quickly. Little kids have a lot of other things to do.

  • Mike March 16, 2017, 5:02 am

    Our pets are a part of our family. I would gladly pay over $1,000 to get one back. For humans it’s easy, I’d give every last cent for my child. It’s harder to put an upper bound on a pet. Easily over a thousand, but if that limit is $10k or $20k, who knows. I guess I’d have to be put in the situation to say for sure and even then that amount would depend on a lot of factors.

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 8:59 am

      Hopefully, we don’t have to deal with that situation. Our cat has no chance to get out. We live in a high rise. She likes being indoor and doesn’t care for going outside.

  • Ramona @ Personal Finance Today March 16, 2017, 5:05 am

    We have a dog we rescued last year and my 3 year old daughter is very fond of. I wouldn’t be able to pay too much though, we’d probably stick to about 100 bucks.

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 9:28 am

      It just depends on your financial situation. $100 is pretty good. I’m sure most people would be glad to help out and receive $100.

  • Nicoleandmaggie March 16, 2017, 5:12 am

    Given how much we’ve spent on vet bills for random cats we found in our backyard…

  • Go Finance Yourself! March 16, 2017, 5:15 am

    We’re pretty attached to our dogs. I had cats growing up but never felt the same attachment to them as my dogs now. Dogs have more personality and always seemed more part of the family than cats. I could see paying $1k to get our dog back if one of them went missing. We’ve paid far more than that in the past for vet bills when our last dog had cancer.

  • ks March 16, 2017, 5:54 am

    I chose up to $40 even though zero is the right amount for me. Total waste of time, $ and effort for me. I really don’t get spending your hard earned money on chemo for pets. Would love to hear from more older non-working folks about how their younger years’ spending decisions affected what they live on now – what they would do and no do over again. What if you need that money in the future – and it could grow by a lot, given sufficient time – for your own increasing healthcare costs? Joe’s 16 year old cat’s lifespan indicates that his guardians are taking great care of him – congrats.

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 9:33 am

      I’d have to side with ks on chemo. Does it really work? How long will the pet live even if it’s successful? I guess it depends on the type of cancer.

  • Roseanne March 16, 2017, 5:58 am

    Hi Joe – I read your articles on Word Press’ Reader and just wanted to let you know that at the bottom of your Word Press article it says “Copyright © 2010-2016 “. I would think you would want to update that to include 2017!

  • Stafford March 16, 2017, 6:09 am

    I grew up a dog person, and then when I married my wife we rescued a cat and after an adjustment period, I really enjoyed having a cat. We are back to being a dog family now (Hermann the cat went to cat heaven) and I can honestly say I think I prefer cats now. I like the fact that they don’t constantly need attention and kind of just hang out and do their own thing. Very low maintenance. That said, I think $100 is about right for a reward. Certainly cant imagine anything near $20K.

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 9:38 am

      We never had pets when we were growing up because it was already difficult to take care of us kids. My wife is a cat person, though. I’ve come to prefer cats as well. They require so much less maintenance and that works well for us.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher March 16, 2017, 6:29 am

    Yeah, I can see why the reward would have to be so high due to the breed of cat. Savannah cats are super pricey and people totally will steal them. I hope the owner finds Bentley. 🙁

    The thing is, I made sure to microchip our cat, Zap, after we adopted him. If he ever does go missing, we can immediately locate him. Boom–no extra expenses needed. Please microchip your pets, everyone!!!

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 9:38 am

      I’ll put this in the main post. Go for microchip if you want to get your pet back.

  • Adam March 16, 2017, 6:38 am

    I’ve worked in the animal health field for the last ten years. It was recession-proof when everything else plumeted in ’08-’09. People value their pets like nothing else.

    If our six-year-old shepherd/golden mix went missing we would move heaven and earth to get him back. Of course this means he’s chipped, registered, licensed, and has our current contact information on his collar. 🙂 To echo Apathy Ends, that’s why we have an emergency fund.

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 9:40 am

      Interesting! Thanks for sharing. I suspected that healthcare would stay strong.

  • Mr Crazy Kicks March 16, 2017, 7:07 am

    We tend to shy away from the extra responsibility of pets. We got our chickens because we can eat them if we get tired of them. They are pretty low maintenance and I don’t think we would pay to get them back. But I do really enjoy having them, and we might be getting some new chicks soon 🙂

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 9:41 am

      That’s a great way to maximize your pet ownership. 🙂

  • Mike H. March 16, 2017, 7:35 am

    Not a fan of cats. At least, not a fan of indoor pet cats. Feral/strays can be useful; when I was growing up, we lived in a woodsy, kinda swampy neighborhood by a lake. But I didn’t see a single mouse or rat my entire childhood. So I say let ’em be wild.

    On the other hand, I’d pay a lot to get a lost dog back. Emotional connections are pretty priceless. So I definitely understand why a cat person would want their jerk pet back 🙂

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 9:42 am

      Hahaha, our cats have a lot of personality. They just don’t get in your face all the time. But, yes we had one jerk cat too.

  • Al March 16, 2017, 8:23 am

    Our toy puddle died 2 years, she spent 18 years with our family. It was difficult the last couple of years as we travel more and more and she lost her sight and ability to move around. She brought so much joy to our family.

    She was a stray abandoned dog that walk into our garage when she was 6 months old. We adopted her and she gave us 18 years of joy. Miss her.

    Good luck with the taxes. We do ours first then sent them to the accountant and double check our estimates. We have several things going from a business to investments. It amazes me how much money comes in unexpectedly to jump our tax bracket. Great time to compare plan versus actuals and adjust budgets.

  • Dividend Growth Investor March 16, 2017, 9:07 am

    Cats are awesome! Nice to see we have another thing in common ( other than the FI thing)

    I also like that you promote shelter animals. I have only heard bad things about animal breeders.

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 8:49 pm

      Cats are so much lower maintenance than dogs. We had a neighbor who has a dog, but he worked so much and was out of town all the time. That’s unfair to the dog.

  • Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes March 16, 2017, 10:36 am

    I’m not really a pet person, so I probably wouldn’t pay any reward. I’d just chalk it up to my mistake for letting an exotic cat out of the house.

    Honestly, if the cat is that valuable, they shouldn’t have just let it wander around outside unmonitored.

    Would we let a gold brick worth $20k wander around outside unsupervised? Heck no!

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 8:50 pm

      The cat jumped off the balcony. But I agree. They should have more space for the cat to roam.

  • Ms. Montana March 16, 2017, 11:12 am

    I have a sibling who owns not 1 but 2 of those cats. :/ Although I think they paid in the 3k-6k range (spayed to keep supply and demand in the sellers favor.) I try not to judge, but it’s so crazy it’s funny.

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 8:50 pm

      Oh wow, they must be rich. 😉

  • FinancePatriot March 16, 2017, 11:57 am

    Pets are expensive. I grew up with a dog, and later my brother had a cat in the house. Dogs bark and poop everywhere. Are they loyal? Ummm, I guess so, if you like sloppy tongue licks on your face that smell plain awful.

    We have a fish. He’s a cool fish. Fish are cheap. I don’t think I would pay anything to get him back, but there’s not many places he can go 🙂

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 8:51 pm

      I like fish too, but they don’t last in our household. 🙂

  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life March 16, 2017, 12:49 pm

    Interesting, I didn’t see the same recession-proof behavior in SoCal but I wasn’t in a wealthy community so while some people would always spend every last cent for their pets who were their kids, there were always people who couldn’t afford any care for their pets and had to give them up when they got sick.

    I’d have guessed that I wouldn’t spend that much on a pet but that’d be lying to myself. I regularly spend a good amount of time and money on Seamus’s health and I don’t begrudge him a cent. He’s an amazing dog and looks out for JuggerBaby and other family. If he thinks you might be in danger or unwell, he’ll always come check on you and call an adult if necessary.

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 8:52 pm

      Great! Sounds like a loyal friend.

  • Your First Million March 16, 2017, 2:24 pm

    I am working on my taxes this week also! It’a always such a pain! Especially this year as we added another rental property to our portfolio, started a second business and are now dealing with LLCs etc… things are getting more and more complicated. As much as I hate tax season, there is a part of me that enjoys doing taxes. It’s almost like putting together a puzzle… finding every deduction possible and watching my tax liability shrink little by little.

    As for the pets… I love my two dogs but sad to say they would be SOL! If they disappeared I would cut my losses at that. My wife would definitely take a different stance however lol.

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 8:53 pm

      Good luck. That’s a lot of pieces to deal with. I feel the same way about taxes. I don’t like it, but it’s a good recap for the year.

  • JoeTaxpayer March 16, 2017, 5:56 pm

    Yes, I clicked >1K, but the real question is this – If you saw the movie John Wick, did you think, “if someone messed with my dog, this response seems reasonable”?

    • retirebyforty March 16, 2017, 8:55 pm

      That response was too crazy, but those thugs deserve it. 🙂

  • Lazy Man and Money March 16, 2017, 9:16 pm

    I thought this was going to be about paying $100,000 to clone your pet. I’d look at $1000 or so for my dog. A fish would be significantly less ;-).

    • retirebyforty March 17, 2017, 8:52 am

      I don’t think it cost that much to clone your pet. However, it won’t be the same so there really isn’t any point to cloning your pet.

  • Adriana @MoneyJourney March 17, 2017, 12:05 am

    I was staring at your poll just now and I just cannot vote! It’s too weird to put a price on a family member 😀

    I’ve had many pets growing up but never had one escape until a few years ago. We left our couple of Lovebirds out on the balcony when we went to work and when we came home they were gone! I cried for days. And I wasn’t even ‘fully attached’ to them (they were new pets).

    I guess pet owners have to make sure they can both afford to take care of their pets and offer a substantial ransom in case something happens. Granted, if birds fly out the window it’s difficult to get them back, but cats & dogs can definitely be found and returned to their rightful owner.

    • retirebyforty March 17, 2017, 9:35 am

      It is a bit harsh to put a price on your pet. Hopefully we won’t have to deal with that in the future. Our cat is safe indoor so I don’t have to worry too much. 🙂

  • Fulltimefinance March 17, 2017, 5:13 am

    Count me in the 100 dollar camp. That being said I have to denote our current pet is a holdover cat from my wife prior to us meeting. I strongly dislike her cat. Not cats, just her cat. So that might influence my take these days. As I get older I view pets as more of a thing for my kids then for me. Honestly, the bigger question is if my son was crying for me to save his cat, would I spend 1k to make my son feel better. That’s a harder question to say no too,

    • retirebyforty March 17, 2017, 9:36 am

      I don’t know. I’m more of a tough love dad. Kids need to learn that life isn’t fair. Go ahead and cry. He’ll get over it pretty soon…

  • I would probably pay $500 to get our cat back. Luckily he’s an indoor only cat so it hopefully will never happen. Plus he’s extremely skittish and probably wouldn’t go to far.

  • Jason March 18, 2017, 6:56 pm

    I would be more than happy to pay over $1000 if we got our dog back save and sound (maybe not 20k). He is part of our family and as part of our family we would do a whole host of things to make him better. If he required major surgery that cost a couple thousand bucks, particularly because he is young we would do it without question. If that happens when he is 17….well that is different. Quality of life issues.

  • Doug @ Retired & Kicking May 24, 2017, 6:14 pm

    I don’t know if I could ever put a price on my dog, Jimbo. I would try whatever I could to get him back and then after that I would start offering money. I know I’d be willing to pay at least a few thousand though I hate to even think about it!

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