Animal charity shares money-saving tips for cat owners
Cats Protection has shared its top money-saving tips to help cat owners concerned over the rising cost of living.
The UK’s largest cat charity says that as long as their basic care needs are met, cats are generally a low maintenance pet and don’t need expensive toys, bedding or equipment to be happy and healthy.
Despite this, retailers are reporting that the pet spending boom is likely to continue as they’ve provided valuable emotional support to owners during the pandemic.
“Cats are hugely important in the lives of all sorts of people, from pensioners living alone to busy young families,” said Sarah Elliott, Cats Protection’s Central Veterinary Officer. “For many of us, our pet cat is the source of great companionship, comfort and fun, especially during stressful or difficult times.
“With the cost of living rising, it’s understandable that many people will be looking at how they can make savings around the home and that may include pet care. While there are some costs which can’t be avoided – such as food and routine vaccinations – it’s certainly worth bearing in mind that with some simple measures, the expense of keeping a cat can be kept relatively low.”
Cost cutting tips include:
- Adopt don’t shop: Cat lovers can save from day one by adopting through a cat rescue charity as adopting a cat is generally much cheaper than purchasing one. What fees there are usually cover the cost of essentials such as vaccinations, parasite control and microchipping. It’s also worth remembering that moggies (the majority of cats in shelters) tend to be healthier, broadly speaking, compared to their purebred cousins and for this reason they are also cheaper to insure.
- Pet insurance: High vet bills can be incredibly stressful – make sure your cat is insured to help you cope with any unexpected costs.
- Make your own toys: Toilet roll tubes or eggboxes are perfect for making puzzle feeders to make meal times more interesting for your cat. Old socks can be reinvented into a fun cat toy – simply fill with a couple of spoonfuls of dried catnip, tie off the end and give to your cat to enjoy. A length of string and a garden cane can quickly be transformed into a fishing rod toy to dangle.
- Cosy cardboard den: Cats don’t need fancy expensive cat beds – a cardboard box and a blanket or old jumper works just as well. If you’re feeling creative, or want to give the kids a challenge, use felt tips or paint to jazz it up.
- Treats: Cats don’t need fancy treats in addition to their regular meals. Not only are they likely to expand their waistline but they can lead to a tummy upset. Instead, try taking some dry food out of your cat’s daily food allowance to offer as treats. Also remember that plain old water is by far the best drink for cats - milk and cream should be avoided.
- Going on holiday: Keeping your cat at home is the safest and least unsettling option when you go on holiday as they’re less likely to be stressed and be more content in their own environment. Rather than paying for an expensive cattery, consider getting a cat sitter – either a friend, neighbour or family member who can visit at least twice a day and make sure your cat is well fed and safe.
- DIY scratching stations: All cats need access to somewhere they can scratch to keep their claws in tip-top condition. For a cost-effective addition to scratching posts, look out for old carpet samples which are often cheaply available or even free at carpet shops.
- Heating: If you’re out of the house all day, you probably don’t need to leave the heating on to keep your cat warm. The majority of cats in the UK are moggies with thick fur and a knack for finding the cosiest spot in the house – so even if it feels chilly to you, your cat will most likely be perfectly snug.
- Neutering: Not only does it prevent unwanted kittens being born, neutering reduces the chance of cats’ picking up illnesses and helps them stay happier and healthier. For those needing financial assistance, Cats Protection may be able to help through its means-tested neutering scheme. To find out more contact 03000 12 12 12.
Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat charity, helping around 200,000 cats every year through a national network of over 210 volunteer-run branches and 37 centres.
To find out more about caring for cats, please visit www.cats.org.uk