I had this crazy idea the other day while watching my cat sun herself on our carpeted floor. She depends on us to care for her, so why can't I claim her as a "dependent" on my 2018 tax forms?

I know. Some of you reading that are already laughing - but it's TRUE! Think about how much money you're spending keep a roof over your (and their) head, feeding them, and (depending on what kind of pet you have) a variety of other supplies.

We treat our pets like part of the family. Americans spend around $70 billion dollars a year on pet supplies. Why not claim them as a "dependent" since they're (usually) not employed?

TSM Rochester / cat

Turbo Tax has an answer for that. They explain, "Although the IRS doesn’t specifically spell it out, it is tacitly implied that dependents — at least for taxation purposes — must be human.  So, unless your little furry friend is considered a business expense, like a guard dog used to protect your business, or he can be claimed as a medical expense like a seeing eye dog, you can not claim him as a dependent."

The government looks at it like this: pets (specifically) don't pay taxes - so why are they (or their owners) getting incentives?

It's a bummer. It seems unfair. I know.