Pets are expensive. I mean really expensive.
If you’re trying to save money and reduce your spending, owning a cat or dog is a huge decision.
So is there a way to save money on pets?
You trade a huge amount of joy and pleasure of owning a pet for a lot of dollars.
So is there a way to hack your pet expenses? To spend time playing, cuddling and petting an animal without the steep bills.
There was a famous phrase that a dog is for life. Or is it…?
Before we go in to the other option, let’s take a look at the cost of pet ownership.
What are the major costs of pet ownership?
- Purchase cost
- Vet bills
- Adapting your home – for a cat that can mean a cat flap
- Food and treats
- Cat litter
- Beds, Scratching Posts, Toys
- Pet Insurance
- Boarding or cattery costs when you go on vacation
- Pet feeders if you are away from home
This is way it is so hard to save money on pets. These costs really mount up. In fact, it is estimated that the total cost of ownership of a cat is over $11,000. A dog can be even more expensive – getting close to $50,000 over its lifetime!
That’s a lot of bone.
The good news is that the cost is at least spread out over ten to twenty years, although it still grows the longer you have a pet. You’re looing at between $1000 and $5000 a year to have your companion.
And that’s if you only buy one pet!
Personal story about my own pet and how I failed to save.
We bought our cat Hebe from a shelter.
Within three weeks, the cat had been in a fight with a squirrel and needed major surgery.
Needless to say, that little kitty already cost us over $3,000 before the first month was through. This really got me interested in how I could save money on pets. What I discovered are there are a bunch of ways to get the cost of owning a pet down. Here’s a few.
How can you save money on pets?
- Get a pet from a shelter from a rescue centre or charity. The fees will be much cheaper than from a pedigree breeder. And the cat or dog will already have had its injections, checked for good health, and been neutered.
- Shop around if you really want a pedigree breed. Make sure the breeder is reputable or that pet will cost your dearly in the long run.
- Get pet insurance. As soon as you have a cat, sign them up to pet insurance and accept you will be paying until the day the cat leaves you. Aim for a high excess if you can afford it to keep the annual cost down. The insurance should only be to protect you from major issues.
- Vets will negotiate on prices, just like a private doctor. If you don’t like one vet’s bills, shop around for another.
- Cats can be fussy. Try the lowest cost pet food on them first. If they like it, celebrate. If they turn up their nose, progressively buy higher prices until you find one they will accept. Never give them the most expensive food option first!
- Dry food can be bought in bulk for a lower price. Check the use-by dates and make sure the food is stored in an airtight container.
- Compare cattery / boarding costs with having a local neighbor or friend feed your cat when you’re on holiday. Cats are very self-sufficient and don’t like other cats, so allowing them to stay at home is often a cheaper option and better for your pet.
- Avoid unnecessary toys. I know you want your cat to be happy, but honestly, most of them are more than happy with an old rug and a cardboard box or string to play with. They don’t need lots of expensive toys or equipment to make them happy.
- Avoid sweet treats. Cat’s can get rotten teeth and they are expensive to fix. Keep them away from anything with sugar content.
- Let your cat go outside to do its business. This will save you a fortune in cat litter.
So, there are ways to pull down the cost and save money on pets. But there will still be a cost.
How to save money on pets big time – have a cat or dog for free
There is a kind, generous, wonderful and very cheap way to take care of a cat or dog.
When cats are abandoned or their owners can no longer look after them, many charities work to take care of the kitties and find them a new home.
But there will be a period of time when the cat cannot move to its forever home. That’s when fostering become an important option.
Reasons why a cat is available to foster
- Kittens are often too young to be given to a forever owner. Fosterers take care of them from just a few weeks old until they are have been neutered or spayed.
- If an older cat is found abandoned, it can take weeks or months before it is adopted. Cats get abandoned for many reasons. The owners may move to a different country or pass away. The cat may just get lost and have no microchip.
- Cats sometimes need a temporary home. For example, if the owners have to go to safe accommodation to escape an abusive relationship.
What are the benefits of fostering a cat?
- All veterinary bills paid. No need to buy insurance.
- Food and litter are often paid for.
- No need to pay to buy the pet.
- Experience many different cats with different personalities and needs.
- Look after kittens that adopters are not allowed to access.
- Giving cats freedom and socialization, otherwise they would be locked up in a cage twenty four hours a day.
- Cuddles, Purring, Hugging, Cute Pictures and special moments
What are the downsides of fostering a cat?
- There will come a day when you can say goodbye. You are fostering. It is only temporary. Be sure to go into this with your eyes open.
- You will need some time to take the cat back and forth from the shelter and vets. Plan for an hour or two a week.
- Every cat is different. Some will be loving, some shy, some a little aggressive. Be particularly careful if you have other pets or kids in the house.
- You may have to keep doors and windows closed to keep your kitty from escaping.
- A litter tray in the house is essential for the cat. If you can’t bare the smell or mess, this may not be for you.
- Last minute travel may be a challenge. Many shelters let you take the cat back to the shelter when you go away. Essentially a free cattery/boarding house for the cat.
Next Steps with Fostering a cat
If you’re convinced that this may be the ideal way to get all the love and joy of a pet but without the associated costs, you need to contact your local shelter.
Fostering isn’t entirely free. You have to pay by sharing your home and offering your time and love.
Try AdopAPet.com to find shelters and reach out to them directly. Of course, you could just do a google search.
Now you’ve learned how to save money on pets, you can learn more about saving money.