Pets are such an important part of so many of our homes, but pets are not cheap! Here are simple ways to save on the cost of a cat (I adore dogs too, but I have cats so this post is on them). These money saving tips are epic if you want to get a cat without going broke.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
How to Save on the Cost of a Cat
Oh, my kitties, I love them so much! Kitties plural, as I still count my cat Bunny even though she died a year ago. Mouse (my other cat, of course you could tell by the name) and I miss Bunny and I sometimes have to remind myself that I just have one cat now. The cost of a cat has definitely decreased since losing Bunny but I would happily pay lots of money to have her back.
Other than being great pets for almost everyone (biased cat owner here), cats are an ideal pet for apartment owners and single, working people since they are allowed by many landlords and can handle being left alone for long periods of time. They are also great pets for people who don’t like going out on cold winter days – no daily walks required.
Cats are also easy to obtain for free; for example, a litter of kittens once crawled into a friend’s neighbor’s downspout, which is how my friend got her two cats.
It’s not surprising that a lot of people on tight budgets decide to keep a cat, and it’s also not surprising that many of them are quickly daunted by unexpected bills! Here are a few suggestions for saving money as a cat owner.
Related reading: Extreme saving hacks that will save you lots of money
4 Tricks to Save Money on Pet Expenses
Owning a cat (or living with a cat, since cats are too independent to be “owned!) is not inexpensive. There are cat food costs, the cost of cat litter, vet bills, cat toys, and more. The monthly cost of a cat can add up quickly if you’re not careful.
1. Feed your cat low magnesium food to save on cat costs long-term
Buy the food that says “urinary tract health.” It is significantly more expensive than the cheap, house-brand food AND will save you hundreds of dollars in vet bills, medications, and carpet cleaning. Choosing to purchase low magnesium food will significantly reduce the cost of a cat throughout their lifetime.
A friend’s bad experience taught me this tip on saving money on the cost of a cat. When my friend and her husband got their first two cats, they were poor college students living paycheck to paycheck. So, of course, they did the “smart,” “practical,” “money-oriented” thing, and bought the cheapest cat food possible.
Soon their poor three-pawed cat was urinating and defecating all over the apartment! The smell was nauseating, and it took lots of time and chemicals to clean. Luckily, there was a day when she decided to urinate on a pillow in front of my friend’s very eyes. She saw that what came out was entirely red. It looked like she was bleeding rather than urinating.
They quickly took their cat to the vet and found that she had magnesium deposits in her urinary tract. Cats with this problem exhibit behavior issues, going anywhere but the litterbox. This is understandable, since each time they urinate, it is painful. They are desperately trying to change variables, hoping that maybe urinating somewhere different won’t hurt as much – the poor kitties! The vet prescribed medication, as well as a change in diet.
My friend and her husband fed all their cats a special diet ever since, and happily, their cats have never had that health issue.
2. When you adopt a kitten, have it checked out by a vet and tested for worms
If you adopted a new kitten, it might well have worms. Gastrointestinal parasites including worms are very common in cats, with up to 45% of cats having these parasites (poor kitties, and also eww).
Getting this cat health problem treated early will prevent a lot of heartaches and save you much money on vet bills. Left untreated, subsequent vet bills can add a lot to the cost of a cat.
3. Grow your own catnip
It’s no secret that cats go crazy over catnip.
Most cats would prefer catnip over any toy you could buy them. Instead of spending money on new catnip-scented toys that lose their scent after a week, save money on cat costs by growing your own catnip.
Catnip is a relatively easy herb to grow indoors or out.
You can start it from seed or buy a plant. Either way, keep the plant properly watered, and mist it often to keep it from getting eaten by bugs.
Your cat will appreciate having some home-grown catnip rubbed on toys.
4. Save on the cost of a cat with cheap cat toys
Cats love to play in empty boxes and paper bags, especially if you have more than one cat.
My cats used to love to “fort up” in an empty box and defend it as the other cats mount a siege. The also love bits of paper and string.
You can spend a lot of cute, colorful cat toys, but trust me, your cat would rather play with the things you are probably throwing away. You don’t have to spend a penny to keep your cats entertained.
Final Thoughts on the Cost of a Cat
If you want to adopt a pet, it’s so important to first make sure you can afford one.
You really don’t want to put yourself into a bad place financially, or even go into debt to afford a pet.
The cost of a cat or a dog or any animal isn’t just the upfront costs you pay to take the animal home. You have to factor in cat food costs, the ongoing cost of cat litter, vet care, toys, a cat carrier, grooming tools for their nails and fur (side note: this is the best deshedding brush for cats, and you gotta love the name!)
You might also have to pay someone to come in and feed and care for your cat when you go on vacation. If you need a pet sitter, an affordable option is Rover – you can save $10 on a booking using this link.
Side note: If you want to make extra money and you love pets (you must if you’re reading this post!), you can sign up for Rover to be a petsitter or dog walker. Get paid to play with puppies and kitties? Yes please!
Bottom line – there are lots of ways to reduce the cost of a cat, or of any pet. But make sure you can afford a pet for the long-term before you decide to adopt.