Cutting Costs for Kitty
Britain is renowned as a nation of animal-lovers but, in these cash-strapped times, there are fears this could change as households tighten the purse strings to cope with the credit crunch.
General costs such as cat food, toys and litter, along with potentially expensive vet fees, can make owning a pet seem pricey but here are some top of our top tips on how to cut down the cost of caring for your feline friend.
- Get a cat from a rescue centre rather than buying an expensive pedigree or getting a kitten from a private home. Stourbridge, Dudley & Wyre Forest Cats Protection always have a selection of felines who desperately need a new home. They have all been health checked, had at least one dose of vaccination, been neutered (if they are old enough), treated for parasites - and they will also have been microchipped.
- Take out pet insurance. One of the simplest ways for a cat owner to manage unwelcome costs is by taking out insurance which could save hundreds of pounds in the long run. By adopting a cat from us you’ll receive FOUR WEEKS’ FREE insurance.
- Keep jabs up to date and regularly treat your cat for fleas and worms. Not doing so could prove a false economy when your cat’s health suffers.
- Get your cat neutered as it reduces the risk of cats fighting, roaming and passing on disease through bites, saliva and sexual contact. If you need to neuter your cat and cannot afford the cost, we may be able to help (call our neutering line on 0844 8518 for more information).
- Take some time to look at your cat's environment from a cat's perspective to reduce the risk of stress-related diseases (such as obesity, skin disease, lower urinary tract disease, inflammatory bowel disease) which may otherwise require repeated trips to the vet. For example, separate your cat's food and water bowls to encourage him to drink more. Put a litter tray in a quiet private location (away from food and water) which your cat can access with ease. Make sure your cat has somewhere to hide when he's feeling anxious where he can rest without being disturbed, or overlooked, particularly by other cats.
- Bedding doesn't have to be expensive either. Use unwanted cushions, old jumpers, towels or blankets: as long as they're soft and warm your cat will settle down comfortably. Try inverting a cardboard box & fitting it inside another one of a similar size to form a cosy enclosed bed – they're great for winter nights in cold indoor areas like garages.
- Make appropriate and inexpensive toys to allow your cat daily opportunties to exhibit his natural hunting behaviour. Try making ‘pull & pounce’ toys with household items such as corks attached to string, woollen pom poms or ping pong balls. They often love scrunched up newspaper or paper bags too! If you grow your own cat nip (Nepeta) your cat will really appreciate your efforts! For ideas visit the Cats for Kids section on Cats Protection’s website at www.cats.org.uk.
- Help to save your furniture by making a safe and appropriate scratching post. Try using the back of hessian-backed carpet fixed into a wooden frame which you can then secured to a wall. • Form a cat-sitting circle for when you’re away on holiday. The cost of using a cattery or a pet sitter can be expensive so if you can find like minded friends or neighbours who also have pets, you can help each other out.
Branch coordinator, Pauline Hollyoak said: “We always have lots of cats in our care who are in need of loving homes and we want people to realise that owning a cat doesn’t have to cost the earth. The benefits they bring in terms of companionship and fun are priceless.”
For further information, please contact Stourbridge, Dudley & Wyre Forest Cats Protection on 0844 884 8520.