5 Ways Your Pet Can Earn You Money

Staffordshire terrier sits in office chair at a modern working place.
Photoboyko / Getty Images/iStockphoto

The furry friends and family members in our lives are truly priceless. After all, how can you really put a dollar amount on the sweet kisses to your cheek you get from your loving pup or the warm purr on your lap from your cuddly kitty?

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But we all know that with social media, entertainment, and the internet at large there are a ton of ways to make money with our animal companions. In fact, some pet owners have even become millionaires thanks to their dog or cat!

Obviously, most of us who own a pet will end up spending a hefty chunk of change on them — and that’s OK! Because at the end of the day, pets don’t need to make us money when they give their love for free.

All that being said, there are a few surprising and unique ways that pet owners have generated a sizable income for their very cute, very adorable, and very lucrative animals. Check out several ways below.

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Social Media

The big money maker when it comes to pets — to no one’s surprise — is building them their own social media accounts. Pets do the posing, humans handle the rest, and cha-ching! Money in the bank.

Nikki Hess is the founder of Cat Lady Academy, as well as the cat mom to a black rescue feline named Manny — who has over 53,000 followers on Instagram, as well as a big presence on Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, and Reddit.

“Our most consistent source of income comes from Instagram,” Hess told GOBankingRates. “We typically earn around $170 a month from that. That’s about $120 from Reels bonuses and $50 from subscriptions.”

Not a bad monthly take-home for a cat listed as a public figure and known online as “Instagram’s coolest Halloween cat.”

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Brand Partnering

The social media blitz is just the start for many pet owners, most of whom use the popularity and newfound fame of their pet to generate buzz for corporate or branding partnership opportunities.

“I earn money through Manny’s social media from brand partnerships (with brands such as Fresh Step), selling Manny merch (stickers, t-shirts and more), and through Instagram itself via the Reels bonus program and subscriptions,” mentions Hess.

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“Our biggest source of Manny-related income comes from paid brand partnerships,” Hess continues. “However, we are very selective about who we partner with, so we don’t accept every partnership we’re offered, even if the money is good. The most we’ve earned from one partnership is $1,700.”

Personal Businesses

Pets aren’t the only ones who can take the spotlight. Many times, owners use their pets’ stardom to parlay the creation of their own businesses. Usually, these companies are related back to what their cat, dog, bird, rodent or lizard has gotten all the attention for in the first place.

“My experience turning Manny into a social media superstar inspired me to create my business,” says Hess. “I sell personal coaching and online resources to help other cat owners start or improve their cats’ Instagram accounts.”

Since starting the Cat Lady Academy, Hess’ company has been featured on Buzzfeed, Side Hustle Nation and Millie.

Art Competitions

Not all animals are bred or brought up to be works of art, but maybe yours could inspire your inner creativity and bring out the artist inside of you. Why not find out and make a little cash in the meantime? 

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ArtistsNetwork offers the Best in Show | Pets Art Competition where pet owners of all kinds have the opportunity to share their “creative portrayals of cats, dogs, lizards, birds — all pets (and all painting and drawing media).” 

Open to any artist in the U.S. as well as internationally, prizes are offered up at $1,750 in cash for Best In Show Winner, $750 cash each for Top Dog, Top Cat, and Other (any animal that does not identify as a cat or a dog) placements, as well as a one year free Artists Network Membership, which usually goes for $99.99.

Free Giveaways

Sometimes it’s not about generating extra income or racking up millions of followers. Oftentimes, pets might be able to save you some dough just from all the freebies they get for being celebrities.

“We also receive more than just money–we’re at the point where Manny basically eats for free!” Hess exclaims. “We have partnerships with our favorite cat food brands where we receive cat food in exchange for posting social media content about these brands. We get over $200 worth of cat food every month from these partnerships.”

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