If you’re like most people with a cat, you’re likely always trying to figure out how to save money on cat costs. You want to give your kitty the best life possible, but you don’t want to break the bank in the process. Fortunately, there are a variety of things that you can do to save money when caring for your cat.
Some may work better for you than others when it comes to your lifestyle and cat care preferences. Still, it’s a good idea to look at all your options before deciding which to employ and which to overlook. Here are 16 smart ways to save money as a cat owner this year.
Top 16 Ways Cat Owners Can Save Money
1. Make Spaying or Neutering a Priority
One important thing that you can do to save money as a cat owner over the years is to get your pet spayed or neutered as soon as possible. Even if you keep your cat indoors, they could get outside and mate with another cat, which could result in kittens that must be taken care of.
Cats that are in heat are likely to try and escape their homes whenever the opportunity arises in order to find a mate, but spaying your cat can eliminate this problem. Male cats that get out and mate may result in a mother stray sticking near your home with her kittens, which will be your responsibility — and caring for kittens can be extremely expensive!
2. Consider Investing in Pet Insurance
While pet insurance will cost you a monthly premium, it’s usually less than the cost of a cup of quality coffee each day, and insurance can save you literally thousands of dollars if your cat ends up being injured or becoming ill. Pet insurance doesn’t cover preventative care, but it will help cover the costs of unexpected situations, like the need for X-rays, a hospital stay, or necessary treatment for a serious illness.
Most pet insurance companies cover up to 90% of the costs of emergency veterinarian care, depending on the type of copay and specific coverage options that you choose. There are many reputable companies that offer quality pet insurance that you can count on.
3. Don’t Skip Regular Checkups
Preventative healthcare for your cat can help save you money on veterinarian costs as time goes on. Regular checkups will help ensure that problems are caught before they become too expensive to handle. For example, make sure your kitty is regularly dewormed and treated for heartworms. The same goes for vaccinations. Fortunately, all your cat’s preventative care can be administrated during regular checkup appointments.
4. Never Delay Treatments
When your cat does have a health problem or injury, it is best not to delay treatment, as the longer you wait, the more money it will likely cost to fix the problem. It might be easier said than done when you’re on a budget, but figuring out how to get a hundred dollars for treatment now is much easier than trying to figure out how to get a thousand dollars for the treatment due to delaying it.
So, if at all possible, finagle your budget to get treatment as soon as possible, and you can save yourself money and enhance your peace of mind when it comes to your kitty’s health and your budget. Don’t hesitate to ask the vet about a payment plan, so treatment doesn’t have to be postponed.
5. Always Comparison Shop
When it comes time to buy your feline family member new food, bedding, toys, or anything else, take the time to comparison shop. Contact two or three different stores in your area, and check out online outlets for the products that you need so you can purchase the products for the best price.
You might not even need to leave your home. Just call the stores near you to request a quick price check. This might only save you a couple of dollars on certain products, but it will likely save you a decent chunk when buying more expensive items. Any money that you save will add up throughout the year, which can be used to support your cat’s needs in other ways.
6. Create Homemade Cat Toys and Scratchers
A fun and effective way to save money as a cat owner throughout this year and beyond is to create homemade cat toys and scratchers so you can avoid having to buy them. Virtually any toy found in a store can be recreated at home. If you’re even a bit creative, making homemade toys and scratchers can be a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend your downtime.
Homemade cat toys and scratchers can hold up just as well as commercial options, and they can be customized to meet your cat’s personal play style and scratching preferences. There are DIY cat toy options that include things like wands, balls, and enrichment centers. You can also create unique homemade cat scratchers made of cardboard.
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7. Make Cat Treats From Scratch
Every cat enjoys getting treats now and then! There are plenty of commercial treats to invest your hard-earned money in, but the cost can add up over time. Making your own cat treats at home can cost a fraction of what commercial treats cost. Furthermore, you can control exactly what goes into the treats, so you can ensure that they are nutritious.
8. Put Together a Grooming Kit
This tip is especially helpful if you own a long-haired cat. By putting together and maintaining a grooming kit for your feline, you can skip having to pay a groomer. A good set of hair clippers, a pair of nail clippers, cotton balls, and a fine-toothed comb should all be part of your grooming kit. Make grooming a priority at least twice a month, and take care of developing tangles immediately so you can avoid the need for professional services.
9. Change Your Cat Litter Habits
Changing your cat litter habits is a smart way to save money on cat caretaking. First, if you are not already using a clumping litter, consider switching to one. This makes it easier to clean out the litter box without having to change all the litter in the box; this way, you use less litter over time.
Another thing that you can do is sift your cat’s litter more often to keep it clean longer so you don’t have to change it as often. If you currently sift it once a week, start doing it daily. If you already do it once a day, start doing it twice a day. Start your new sifting regimen when you put a new load of litter in the cat box, so you can keep track of how long it takes until you need to change the whole box again. This will give you an idea of how much litter you’re saving throughout the month.
10. Portion Out Food During Mealtime
Instead of free feeding your cat, portion out their food during mealtime. Doing so will help you manage the food so you’re not wasting money on overfeeding your cat and having to toss the excess. It will also help ensure that your kitty does not become overweight, which could negatively impact their overall health and well-being.
All commercial cat food products come with feeding directions to follow to ensure that your cat gets proper nutrition. You may have to weigh your kitty to properly follow the directions. If you’re in doubt, your veterinarian should be able to provide you with a feeding guide to follow based on things like your cat’s specific age, health, and activity levels.
11. Buy When the Deals Are Hard to Beat
When you find an awesome deal on things that you regularly buy for your cat, like food and litter, it’s smart to consider buying it even if you don’t need it at the time. If you wait, you may end up paying a significant amount more for the products. A 10% discount on a product probably won’t make much of a difference. But if you can save 20%, 30%, or even 40% on something, it would be well worth buying and saving for later.
12. Keep Your Kitty Inside the House
Keeping your cat inside the house as much as possible is an effective way to ensure that they don’t get hurt in a fight or accident and that they don’t become infected with any diseases by coming into contact with other animals. Avoiding these problems can save you money on veterinarian services because you won’t have unexpected bills to pay for.
13. Utilize Old Clothes and Blankets for Bedding
Most cats enjoy curling up in a cozy bed when it’s naptime. Since cats sleep a great deal during the day, it’s important to make sure they have access to at least one bed that they can call their own, even if they have access to your furniture and human beds. But you don’t have to buy a cat bed to make your cat happy. You can use old clothing and blankets to create bedding that will soothe and comfort your kitty day and night.
Just pile an old blanket or some clothing into a corner, and let your cat get comfortable on the pile. Alternatively, you can stuff a pillowcase with old clothes, and tie the end closed to create a more commercial-like bed. You might be interested in making a no-sew DIY bed using items that you have sitting around the house or garage.
14. Make Time to Play Every Day
Taking the time to play with your cat for a few minutes each day will help keep them in shape and prevent them from becoming overweight. A cat that doesn’t exercise regularly has a higher risk of developing serious problems, like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and depression.
Exercise is important for mental stimulation and high quality of life overall, and playtime with your cat offers the perfect opportunity to bond and become closer to one another. Simply throwing a ball for your cat to chase, dancing a toy wand around for them to bat at, or playing chase around the house is enough to get your kitty’s blood pumping and release all their pent-up energy.
15. Avoid Kennels While Away From Home
Try to avoid sending your cat to a kennel when you go on vacation or away on a working trip. The costs will add up quickly and could really put a dent in your budget. That kennel money could be spent on ensuring that your time away from home is safe and comfortable. Instead of using a kennel, recruit a neighbor, friend, or family member to take on the job of watching over your cat until your return.
Your cat will feel much more comfortable at home than they would in a kennel, as everything is familiar to them and all their belongings are there. Whoever you recruited to care for your cat would only need to go to your place once a day for feeding, watering, playtime, and a general check-in. Your kitty should be able to take care of themselves for the rest of the day.
16. Consider Bartering With Community Members
A great way to meet your neighbors and create a support group of sorts for cat owners while saving yourself money on cat ownership is to start bartering with people who live within or near your community. Maybe someone bought a bunch of cat litter from Costco and wants to trade a bag for a bed that your cat no longer uses.
You might have an abundance of wet cat food that your kitty doesn’t like, which can be traded for another kind of food or item that someone else’s cat can’t use. Place flyers in your community, and utilize local forums and social media sites to connect with others who want to start bartering cat items. Your list of members should grow over time, which will make your program better and better.
This is everything that you should know about how to save money on cat costs! It’s just a matter of determining which methods are going to work for your particular situation both now and in the long term. Your lifestyle and needs may change as time goes on, so it’s a good idea to consider your money-saving options a few times a year to determine whether you should adjust your plan.
Featured Image Credit: Steve Buissinne, Pixabay