With the rising cost of living, we are all feeling a little strain on home finances. Most responsible cat owners have budgeted for the financial commitment of welcoming a pet long before the pitter-patter of furry feet enters their home.
However, even the most forward-thinking could not have seen the extra pull on our purse strings we are experiencing lately, with many of us re-visiting our monthly budgets we have brought together our top money-saving tips for cat owners.
Weight management and diet- once a month pop your cat on the bathroom scales. Being overweight can contribute to a multitude of health problems including diabetes, skin disease, heart disease and putting extra strain on their joints, particularly in those with arthritis. This can really affect your cat’s quality of life, not to mention increase your pet's medical bills.
Simple steps such as weighing out your cat's daily ration reduce food waste and overfeeding. When using a feeding guide remember to use your cat's ideal weight as a starting point... By using some of your cat’s daily dry diet as treats you can save money and excess calories! Investing in a slow feed puzzle bowl for cats is a fantastic way to support a healthy weight regime while allowing your cat to use their natural instincts and adding mental enrichment at mealtimes, making them challenging and fun.
2. Give your cat a monthly exam - Look for any discharge or redness from the eyes and nose. Note any discharge or scabs in the ears. Check the skin for any scabs, wounds, hair loss, or fleas and ticks. You will need to gently part the fur to do this. Run your hand over your pet to feel for any lumps, swellings or sore areas. Check for any broken or overgrown nails.
This monthly check allows us to spot signs of any problems earlier, and early intervention and diagnosis often have more positive outcomes. In the case of lump removal, surgery on a small lump can also cost less than a complicated removal of a large mass.
3. Look after your cat’s teeth - Our cats can suffer from a whole host of oral care issues: rotten teeth, diseased gums and oral tumours to name but a few. It may shock you to know that 80% of cats over the age of 3 years suffer from dental disease! The sooner we spot any potential problems, the sooner treatment and intervention can begin. If you are not sure where to start take a look at our dental care blog. Remember, failing to record dental checks could negate your insurance if you make a future claim.
4. Beware of a false economy - have you heard the saying ‘buy cheap, pay twice’ well this can easily relate to pet products too. Sometimes what can appear like a good deal can be far from ideal for your pet. Cheap diets maybe not be much more than poor-quality protein and filler, cheap toys may not be safe and cheap cat litter could be a poor quality, overly scented nightmare for your cat. The last thing anyone needs is an unexpected vet visit for tummy upsets or surgery to remove a foreign body or urinary problems.
5. Insure your cat - another monthly outgoing may seem counterintuitive but this one could be one you can’t afford to leave out of your budget. There is no NHS for animals!
Did you know you are more likely to claim on your pet insurance than your car or home insurance policies?
In 2019 the average pet insurance claim amount was just below £800, ongoing treatment for chronic illnesses can run into thousands of pounds per year. Our best advice would be to do your research, and take out a life cover policy before your pet has any existing health conditions. This avoids exemptions on your policy.
6. Learn the basics of home grooming - for example, by learning to clip your cat’s nails at home you can avoid the cost of visiting a groomer or vet clinic. You can watch our claw clipping tutorial via our YouTube channel.
Keeping on top of coat care can reduce the need for dematting, especially in cats. Invest in a good brush or comb, whichever is more suited to your pet’s coat and spend a few minutes a day warding off those troublesome tats.
7. Pet-proof your house - Thankfully, most owners these days are well informed on the danger of toxins such as Lilies or antifreeze…but what about the lesser-known toxins around your home? One of the most common emergency calls to vets is the ingestion of a toxin, take a look at our feline toxins blog to make sure your home is safe. Prevention is certainly better (and more cost-effective) than cure. Pet proofing your home can hopefully avoid your boisterous Bengal or munching Maine Coon from coming to any harm.
8. Monthly health care packages - Monthly plans are quite commonplace at clinics these days. SimplyCats offer such a scheme to our clients, allowing them to budget monthly for routine preventative measures such as vaccinations and worm and flea treatments. These schemes not only spread the cost of preventative care but often offer discounts too! You can read more here.
9. Make your own enrichment toys - how many times have you spent a fortune on a new toy or bed for your cat, only for them to shun it in favour of the box?! Save your pennies…there are a host of enrichment ideas you can make at home (also doubles as craft time for the kids) Here is an idea for you to try;
DIY Cat Hidey House - Battersea cat and dog shelter shared this great idea for a cat bed. Tape down the flaps of an old cardboard box, and slide a t-shirt over the top leaving the neck as a doorway. Secure by knotting the bottom of the shirt. Tuck the sleeves inside themselves to tidy up the look. Put a comfy blanket inside and if possible place somewhere high for the purrfect lookout spot!
10. Keep up to date with all regular vet visits - prevention is better than cure and vaccinations, anthelmintics and neutering can go a long way towards reducing health concerns. Not to mention including a thorough examination by a veterinary professional. Our handy blog includes pointers on how often your cat should visit a vet.
We hope you have found our article helpful, if so why not share it with your friends? As always, if you have any concerns regarding your cat’s health please contact the clinic team.