There are lists of the best cities for retirees, the best places to be single, and the most affordable cities, but no one seems to ask how the kittens feel.
However, spending data suggests that Arizona might be the best place. According to a recent analysis of transactions by spending analysis firm Bundle, Scottsdale, Ariz. is far and away the city with the highest average spending on pets, at $47.88 per month. The next city, Durham, N.C., is nearly ten dollars behind, at $38.13. Three other cities in Arizona also make the top 10: Tucson, Chandler, and Phoenix.
The analysis, which looked at the 100 most populous cities in the U.S., also finds that two cities in North Carolina, as well as cities in Texas, Virginia, Colorado, and Tennessee are among the biggest spenders on their pets.
|City||Average Monthly Pet Spending|
|Colorado Springs, Colo.||35.75|
|Virginia Beach, Va.||33.75|
Plenty of factors influence pet spending, particularly the type of pet in question. On average, basic expenses like food and medical care for a medium-sized dog run nearly $695 a year, on average, per American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals figures—and that's not even counting costs for collars, crates, and spaying or neutering. According to the ASPCA, a cat is slightly less expensive, but still runs an owner $670 per year. Meanwhile, the average cost of caring for a fish, the cheapest pet the ASPCA lists, is $35.
Whether residents of a particular city spend a lot or a little on pets, spending on pets is growing nationwide.
Americans are expected to spend almost $52.9 billion on their pets in 2012, up from nearly $51 billion in 2011 and nearly $48.4 billion in 2010, according to the American Pet Products Association. The largest chunk of that spending, $20.5 billion, will go to food, while only around $2 billion will go to purchasing the actual animals. Expensive, trendy pet products can also push pet spending higher. According to APPA, products like self-flushing litter boxes, "green" foods and toys, and upscale clothing were all among the 2011 top pet product trends.
Danielle Kurtzleben is a business and economics reporter for U.S. News & World Report. Connect with her on Twitter at @titonka or via E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.