Most people choose a pet for reasons other than financial, but let’s look at them from a frugal point of view.
Of course the least expensive pet is none at all, but then you lose the emotional and social benefits of having a companion animal.
In many ways cats are less expensive than dogs. They don’t have to be walked, so if you’re busy or out of town you don’t have to pay a kennel or a sitter. On the other hand, cats usually require kitty litter, which can add up over the years. Cats are smart, so if you want to you can try teaching them to potty in the toilet, as described here: https://www.google.com/?ion=1&espv=2#newwindow=1&q=youtube+train+cat+to+use+toilet
The least expensive pet I’ve known was my late husband’s Amazon Blue Front parrot, Jack. She didn’t need any shots or flea treatment. She ate sunflower seeds and bits of whatever we were eating. She pottied on newspaper or junk mail. Very affordable pet, and very engaging and personable. Large birds can be expensive to buy. To get one for less, contact local vets, they may know someone who needs to rehome their bird. Also check Craiglist. I got Jack a bird mansion for $89 on eBay that the pet store wanted $400 for.
Birds are flock animals, so if they’re going to be alone all day while the people are at work, please get more than one.
Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.