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Resource Guide: Raise a Cat on a Budget

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Having a cat can add a priceless experience of love and companionship to your life. Unfortunately, pet care costs will still add up to thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your furry friend. Your number one tool to save money will be proper planning and preventative care.

Use these tips to save money now and in the future on food, litter, vet bills and more.

General Tips For Cat Owners

  • owner-catCat Care Essentials: From The Human Society, this article gives you the bare bones basics you’ll need to pay for your cat to have a comfortable, healthy life.
  • 9 Costs Cat Owners Budget for: Make sure to budget for your increased first year costs. Then check out the annual costs broken down by food, litter, and more.
  • How Much Per Year?: This article gives you a realistic idea of how much you’ll have to pay each year toward caring for your cat.
  • cats-eyesBudget for Lifetime Costs: Get a real understanding of how much you’ll be spending, as well as how much you should have saved for emergency expenses.
  • Money Saving Cat Care Tips: Consider buying food in massive bulk quantities to save money in the long run or making your own cat treats.
  • 5 Tips for Saving on Cat Care: If you’re free-feeding (leaving a large bowl of food out), you could save money by dispensing the food in properly portioned meals.

Cat Food and Litter

  • Save on Cat Food: Find coupons, look for rebates and sign up for rewards points to save money on cat food.
  • Buying Expensive Cat Food Cheaper?: You might be better off getting the more expensive brands of cat food. Read this article to find out more.
  • cat-eatingHomemade Cat Food Recipes: Learn how to get free meat from your local butcher to make these cost-effective cat foods at home.
  • Homemade Cat Litter: Use newspapers, wood shavings, sand, and/or other materials to create your own cat litter. Most of these are better for the environment, too.
  • Make Your Own Litter: This nearly free litter “recipe” helps avoid your cat dragging around strips of soiled newspaper.
  • How to Toilet Train Your Cat: Forego litter boxes altogether by training your cat to use your toilet. This step-by-step guide gets you started.

Toys & Comfort

  • DIY Kitty Condo: Learn how to make your own kitty condo tower and scratching post to save hundreds of dollars.
  • girl-her-catHow to Make Cat Toys: Some of these projects can be great fun for the kids. Save money by making your own cat toys from household objects.
  • 6 Easy Cat Toys You Can Make: Here are some simple toys you can make to avoid the frustration of paying for toys your cat never uses.
  • DIY Cat Window Perch: Use tools you may already have in your garage to make your cat a warm, enjoyable window seat.
  • Growing Your Own Catnip: Here are some simple tips to grow catnip in your outdoor garden.
  • How to Dry Catnip: There are several methods you can use to dry your catnip. Then simply sew or tie it up in a piece of fabric for your cat’s enjoyment.

Vet Expenses

  • happy-vet-dogHow to Save on Vet Bills: Focus on prevention to save on medical expenses, but once you’re at the vet, arm yourself with these tips to reduce the bill.
  • 10 Easy Ways to Save at the Vet: These tips help you save money by asking for multi-pet discounts or offering your skills to the vet’s office.
  • Simple Ways to Save on Vets: Ask rescue shelters for advice and look for a rural veterinarian to help save some extra money.
  • sleeping-cat-vectorCat Flea Medication: Here are some tips to look for the right flea medication which you can administer yourself at home to save money.
  • Before You Buy Cat Insurance: Make sure to read the fine print of any pet insurance policy you look into. Know your deductible, your co-pay, and your lifetime limits.
  • Pre-Existing Condition Limits: This pet insurance company’s pre-existing condition policy is standard in the industry. Know what will be covered and what won’t.

Final Tips for Saving on Your Feline Friend

By paying a little more now, you can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in the future. Make sure you get proper veterinary care at annual exams to catch health problems early enough for cheaper treatment options. Your cat will appreciate this, too, since he or she won’t be left to suffer silently until the problem is severe and expensive to treat.

Save where you can. By growing and drying your own catnip, you can make very cheap cat toys. You’ll also want to avoid spending hundreds of dollars on carpeted cat condos and window seats that your cat may not even use. Instead, make something with items you have around the house or ask family and friends for spare wood, old ladders and other materials to create your own cat-friendly environment.

Check the price of food per serving. Sometimes the foods that look more expensive per pound are actually cheaper. The quality ingredients will fill up your cat’s belly with less food. Plus, cheap foods that contain nothing but fillers might be damaging to your cat’s health, which can cost more in the long run. Remember that wet food is an important part of a cat’s diet. It can help prevent urinary tract infections. In place of canned wet food, you can use cheaper cans of tuna or create your own wet food from remnants from your local butcher.

Consider low-cost spay and neuter clinics. You’ll sometimes see sign-ups for these clinics at your local vet’s office, pet supply store or animal shelter. These events run for a time at a discounted price to help the community control the unwanted pet population. There are also low-cost vaccination clinics several times a year in most communities.

Look into pet insurance, but be sure to look carefully at the fine print. Not all pet insurance policies are created equally, especially if your cat already has a history of health problems. Know that not everything may be covered, and your co-pays and deductibles will add to the cost of the insurance, too.

Keep an emergency fund. Try your best to keep a separate pet emergency fund. These expensive medical bills can hit when you least expect it, so having some money set aside will keep your mind at ease. If you’re having trouble paying the full amount, ask if you can arrange monthly payments or help the vet’s office with painting, cleaning, and other tasks.

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