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With the rising cost of living, find out how to look after your cat on a budget with our top tips and cheap hacks

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, cat owners may be worried about how they will afford to keep their cat with the rising cost of living.

brown-and-white cat asleep

“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 for cat owners

1. consider adopting 

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.

2. Get pet insurance

High vet bills can be incredibly stressful – make sure your cat is insured to help you cope with any unexpected costs.

3. Make your own toys

Toilet roll tubes and eggboxes are perfect for turning into puzzle feeders to make mealtimes more interesting for your cat. Just hide some of their dry food inside and let them hunt it out. 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.

brown tabby cat sat inside cardboard box

4. Create cardboard dens

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.

5. Bargain treats

When buying cat food, look for companies that do a subscription service with a discount for regular orders, making it easier to budget, or buy in bulk to reduce the cost per serving. There’s no need to give your cat fancy treats in addition to their regular meals. Not only are they likely to put on weight 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.

6. Holiday savings

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 will 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.

7. 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.

black-and-white cat lying under green blanket

8. Cosy and cheap

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.

9. Get them neutered

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, we might be able to help through our means-tested neutering scheme.

Find more advice for taking care of your cat during the cost-of-living crisis.

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