We all want the best for our cats, but taking care of one is not cheap. It is estimated that the average cat costs it’s owner over £400 per year, and that’s without the unexpected veterinary costs.
Today is National Cat Day, and what better time to mark the occasion than to provide our cat-loving readers with some great ways to save money on the cost of owning their cats.
1. Keep your Cat Indoors
Statistically your cat is more likely to have an accident that will require veterinary intervention if they are allowed to roam free outdoors. Not only that, but any cat that is allowed outside to explore will need to be treated regularly for fleas and worms. You can save yourself the regular cost of flea treatment and reduce the risk of your cat getting injured or worse by keeping them inside. Most cats spend the majority of the colder months indoors anyway, so they won’t really miss out on much. Especially if you take the time and effort to build a secure cat run in your garden for them.
Note that even if your cat is an indoor cat, they will still be susceptible to catching fleas if you have other pets such as dogs that are able to venture outside.
2. Change your Cat Litter
Sometimes the cheap cat litter that you see in your nearest bargain shop is nothing but a false economy. A quality cat litter will clump and disguise odours. You don’t have to spend a fortune on cat litter to get decent quality. If you’re looking to save money then avoid the branded litter, which can cost more than £5 for 5 litres. Most of the supermarkets sell their own economy brand of cat litter which is of similar quality to the branded stuff, but it is much cheaper. For example, ASDA Smart Price cat litter is just £1.55 for a 10l bag.
If your cat is fussy, then consider buying pine pellets instead of cat litter. They are initially quite expensive but they can disguise odour for a long time and a bag will therefore last many weeks. This will still be cheaper than buying branded cat litter and disposing of it every couple of days.
Newspaper is also very handy for cat litter trays. Not only can you use 2 or 3 sheets of newspaper to line your cat’s litter tray keep things clean and make changing litter easier, but you can also add shredded newspaper to your cat litter to bulk it out and make a bag of litter go further. The same applies to any leaflets or junk mail that you get through the door.
3. Don’t Buy Cheap Cat Food
Cheap cat food seems too good to be true, and this is because it often is. You may pay slightly more upfront for the better-quality cat food, but you will save yourself money in the long run. Buying the recommended brands of cat food will mean that your cat gets all his required vitamins, which will keep him healthy. Not only will this make your vat happier but it will also reduce the risk of him becoming ill and you having to foot the bill.
To save money on branded cat food, consider purchasing the tins as opposed to the pouches. Also, take advantage of the multibuy deals that the leading supermarkets often have. You may have to pay more upfront and stock up, but your cat’s price per meal will drop dramatically.
4. DIY Cat Food and Treats
Not only is making your own cat food or treats or feeding your cat a raw diet healthier for your cat, but it will often save you money at the same time. If you’re willing to spend a bit more time preparing your cat’s meals and treats then you will usually find that it is cheaper than a typical processed diet. Cats need to eat healthy protein as well as bone matter, so if your cat’s diet contains both then it should be good for him. You can also add vegetables or carbohydrates depending on what your cat prefers. There is no shortage of information on DIY cat food recipes on the internet, so just get surfing.
5. Limit your cat’s food intake
Feeding your cat a fixed portion meal twice a day will not only ensure that he maintains a healthy weight but it will also enable you to calculate the exact cost per meal so you then know the fixed cost to feed your cat. If you want to really step up the savings, then take away any food that your cat doesn’t eat within an allotted timeframe. This will food can then be saved for the next meal. Within a few days your cat will understand that food is not available on demand, and will eat how much he needs to fuel him until the next meal time
6. Look out for a Better Deal
Just as with anything else, there are ways to save money on just about everything for your cat. Whether you are spaying your cat or getting yearly vaccinations, make sure that you take the time to shop around all of your local vets in order to get the best price. Prices can vary significantly for the same service, so arm yourself with the information you need to get out there and get the best deal. Both you and your cat deserve it.
7. Groom your own Cat
Unless you professionally show your cat, you can save yourself money by grooming your cat yourself. Cats are easy to look after and require little more than regular brushing and occasional teeth brushing and claw trimming. Invest in a decent grooming brush and other basic equipment and it will all pay for itself within a couple of weeks of doing it all yourself. Grooming your cat will also help to form a great bond between the two of you.
8. Save on vet care
Even if your cat is well, you should regularly take him to the vet for a check-up. Once a year is fine if your cat is healthy, but some cats may require more frequent check-ups. An annual check-up for your cat will cost you money, but it will save you money in the long run as it will ensure than any potential costly problems are resolved before they get out of hand. This will mean that you can budget less than £100 for your cat’s annual check-up, and will have much less chance of facing an unexpected bill that could easily run into hundreds of pounds.
9. Ensure your cat gets plenty of Exercise and water
Most cats are comparatively lazy compared to humans and other animals, which is why it’s so important to ensure that they get plenty of exercise. The best way to do this is to provide plenty of toys, obstacles and other things they can jump on and play with around the house. That way your cat will have plenty to keep him mentally stimulated and in physically tiptop condition.
Many cat owners underestimate the importance of hydration for cats. Cats tend to become dehydrated often because they typically do not drink enough water. This is because cats prefer clean, fresh and cool water as opposed to water that is at room temperature in a bowl. Investing in a fresh water fountain may save you a fortune in veterinary bills in the future, as a dehydrated cat will require a lot of medical attention.
10. Make your own Toys, Structures and Scratching Posts
One of the biggest costs of owning a cat is entertainment. Cats love to claw, shred, rip and generally destroy things. This means that most cat toys are disposable items that need to be replaced regularly. By making your own toys, structures and scratching posts you can save yourself a small fortune.
Cats love carboard, carpet, rope and wood so it’s easy to source these things cheap and combine them to make something that your cat will truly love. All you need is a little bit of imagination and the time to get creative. There’s lots of inspiration online so why not think about what your cat likes to do and make him something he will love for years to come.