How to Save Money as a Cat Owner
While owning a cat is significantly less expensive than owning a dog - particularly a large-breed dog - the lifetime cost of keeping a cat may still be high enough to surprise you. Once you factor in the purchase price of your cat as well as feeding, boarding and veterinary expenses you could be left with a lifetime cost between £3,000 and £12,000. This estimate may seem outrageous to you, but if you think about all of the daily, weekly and monthly expenses associated with keeping a cat you will realize just how quickly these costs add up.
Rather than cutting out routine veterinary care or switching to a low-quality food to save money, think about a few alternative methods to save money as a cat owner. If you are smart about it, you can cut the cost of cat ownership while still keeping your cat happy and healthy.
Save money on cat toys
If you have owned a cat before you probably know that virtually any item can be used as a cat toy - cats are just as likely to be amused by the plastic ring from the lid of a milk jug as they are by a £6 feather wand or catnip mouse.
To save money on cat toys all you need is a little bit of creativity and a few household objects. Try making your own feather wand by attached strands of yarn or string to the end of a pencil or cut strips from an old rag or t-shirt and braid them into a rope.
Cats love toys that make noise, so try filling an empty pill bottle with beads or a plastic water bottle with beans for your cat to bat around. Even something as simple as a wadded-up piece of paper can become a source of amusement for your cat - you just have to be willing to look around for ideas. There's definitely a few pounds to be saved on cat toys alone!
Cut costs feeding your cat
Cats eat a great deal less than dogs but high-quality cat food can still be very expensive. Do not be tempted to cut costs on feeding your cat by switching to a lower quality food because this could actually end up costing you more in the future.
Low-quality foods use fillers like grain to bulk up their products, but this could lead to digestive problems which may require veterinary care. Instead of switching products, consider looking online or in your weekly paper for vouchers or special deals to save money on your favorite brand.
You can also shop online to find the best deals in your area. If you want to go a completely different route you might also consider making your own cat food using raw ingredients like fish, shrimp and poultry.
Homemade cat foods can be very nutritious and, in many cases, can end up costing you less than commercial foods. Regardless which option you choose, you should also be wary of overfeeding your cat because not only may this lead to increased food costs but it can also be unhealthy for your pet.
Read our tips on saving money on cat food for even more useful tips!
Money-saving health tips
After the first year, many cat owners avoid taking their cats to the veterinarian as a means of saving money. Though this may indeed reduce the cost of cat ownership for a period of time, it could have severe consequences down the line.
By avoiding routine veterinary care you could miss a preventable or easily-treated condition that may end up requiring surgery or another expensive treatment if not treated right away.
If you are concerned about the cost of veterinary care for your cat, think about purchasing a cat insurance plan. These plans are designed to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses and they can be customized to suit your needs as a cat owner.
Shop around for affordable pet insurance plans and look for a veterinarian that will accept the plan or switch to a vet who offers the same experience and services for a lower fee than your current vet.
Other tips for saving money as a cat owner
Though cats are much more self-reliant than dogs and they can be trained to use a litter box rather than going outside, there may still come a time when you need to go away and leave your cat at home.
Rather than hiring a costly pet-sitting service or taking your cat to the kennel, consider asking a friend or neighbour to check in on your cat in exchange for a meal or a returned favour.
If you are wondering how to save money as a cat owner you may be surprised to find out just how easy it really is - all it takes is a little creativity on your part and perhaps a little extra effort to do a few things on your own. If you are willing to think outside the box, however, you can end up greatly reducing the cost of cat ownership.