Have you looked into the cost of having a cat? If you want to be a responsible cat owner, you must realize that there are expenses involved. If you would have trouble meeting these obligations, it might be better if you did not get a cat.
On a tight budget you may need to be willing to make some sacrifices for the sake of your cat. If your budget is small, but you truly love cats, there are some options.
Basic Needs That Must Be Met
Food of the highest quality you can afford: Read labels. No fillers such as cereal, grain, or corn; no animal by-products; high protein food
A safe environment: Unless you are in an area where outside danger is minimal, it is best to keep the cat in. If you are patient, you can train it to accept a harness or a leash. Or, you can build a catio so the cat can have its own safe enclosed space outside.
Spay or neutering at your vet’s: It is better to reduce the kitten count unless you are breeding cats for show. There are too many homeless cats. Best not to increase that number.
Since unneutered males tend to spray to mark their territory, that in itself is a good reason for neutering. Also, the unneutered male cat is apt to get into fights which could result in vet bills for injuries.
Necessary core vaccinations, done by your vet: There are a number of vaccinations available. Rabies is one that is required. Others may be dependent on different factors. Ask you vet to help you decide what vaccinations your pet will need.
Emergency care if the cat is sick: These are all expenses you must be prepared to pay. Otherwise, you should reconsider having a cat.
Costs of Cat Care
Your costs will vary depending on your location and on the size, age, and general health of your cat. Here are some estimates:
Quality Food: $15 to $25 per month. You’d spend more for one good meal in a restaurant.
Litter and Litter Box: (price varies) You could pay anywhere from $6.00 to $200.00.
Scoopable litter will last a long time if you just scoop out and throw away the clumped pee or those tootsie-roll-looking pellets your cat leaves behind. You can get a large bag to last for a couple of months.
Spaying or Neutering: A one-time cost. Look for a low-priced spay or neuter clinic. The cost there might be as low as around $50.00 for a neuter and around $70.00 for a spay. This cost is minor if you can avoid charges for treating wounded males or aborting unexpected pregnancies in females.
Core vaccinations: Cost will vary depending on the risk to your cat and your state rabies laws. Look for a low-cost clinic. Expect around $80.00 in charges for the complete first-year vaccinations.
Annual Vet Exam: If you get a thorough exam, including dental as well as a blood profile, it will run from $100.00 to $200.00.
Emergency Care: There is no way to estimate these costs. However, one thing you can do is sign up for veterinary insurance, which will cover many emergency costs.
Where Can You Compromise On Care Costs If Money Is Low?
–>Buy the least expensive premium foods and buy the larger bags of dry food.
–>Cat litter: In an emergency, you can substitute for litter Purina’s “chicken crumble” at around $10 for a 50-pound bag. You can also reduce litter costs by buying the biggest bags available.
–>Ask for payment terms from the vet
–>Borrow from wherever possible. Enroll in Care Credit in the United States and Canada, for interest-free loans for up to one year for veterinary emergencies.
–>Pawn or sell possessions. Sell things you don’t need at a yard sale or online.
–>Barter: Offer your skills to the vet in exchange for his services. For example, you could clean the office, scrub holding cages, or paint rooms. You could pet-sit or baby sit, or you could trade skills such as massage therapy, computer repair, haircuts — any number of services you could perhaps provide.
–>Vet expenses: Sometimes such things as core vaccinations can be done at home, especially if you have more than one animal. However, do not attempt to vaccinate at home unless you are completely familiar with the process.
At one time when I lived in the tiny village of Ouzinkie, a vet visited and gave vaccination supplies to those who knew how to give them. I had a friend at the house who knew the procedure.
So, we brought home the vaccinations for one large dog and three cats. The dog was no problem, but the cats were another story.
My big male kitty was fine. However, my two “tamed” feral young cats were not near as easy. We put the timidest one in a pillowcase and did her shot.
Now, the last small cat had watched the whole process and wanted no part of it. She ran and hid. Then two humans, a dog, and two cats chased her around the house, in mutual agreement that, if all the other animals had to go through the process, she did too.
We pursued her from hiding place to hiding place, until all at once she simply disappeared.
We looked everywhere. Finally, I happened to walk over to the large bookcase in front of the windows. I looked over the top, to see behind it. There was my cat. She’d gone under the shelves, then climbed up one shelf and flattened herself against the books. Looking underneath, we couldn’t see her. Clever kitty! However, not quite clever enough, as she, too, got her vaccination.
Irresponsibility has yielded some very sad figures in the United States. The shelters are so full that four to six million cats and dogs are euthanized each year. Millions of others try to exist in the streets, and usually meet tragic early deaths. Don’t get a pet that you can’t care for!
One thing that you can do instead is to volunteer in a shelter. Most of these necessary facilities could not operate without volunteers. Spend some time with the cats there and you would help them. You would learn of the consequences of being an irresponsible pet owner.
You are performing a great service to these cats and you’d get some time to interact with animals who really need some loving attention.
Information for this post came from an article in www.sprucepets.com.