Reducing the cost of cat caregiving? A discussion.

The cost of living has gone up dramatically in the UK and other countries. There is high inflation. The biggest inflationary prices are for gas and electricity thanks to that megalomaniac Putin. Cat owners will want to try and save money by cutting down on household expenses across the board which might include cat caregiving costs. I’ve spent the first 30 minutes of the day thinking about how to shave off some of those household costs and I’ve come to the conclusion that it is much easier to save money on household costs OTHER THAN those costs relating to cat caregiving. The key is this: as gas and electricity is so expensive, small decreases in usage makes for substantial savings. The sharp increase in gas prices affects the world as price set internationally.

Thinking about this has drawn me to the conclusion that turning down the central heating thermostat by 2°C (21 to 19) may, under the current high cost of gas, save around £800 annually or the equivalent in US dollars. This should allow people to keep on caring for their cat to the usual high standard and put aside any idea that they might have of surrendering their cat to a shelter. Note: I am referring to typical family homes. I realise that in some homes costs have been reduced to the bone and I have great sympathy for these people.

Cutting heating costs is more effective than cutting cat caregiving costs
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Cutting heating costs is more effective than cutting cat caregiving costs. Image: MikeB

You can reduce the cost of cat caregiving but only by so much before you get to the point where you might damage your cat’s health and make them miserable which would result in veterinary bills and which totally undermines any savings you might have made. It is also a potential abdication of a cat caregivers solemn obligations ?.

Cat litter

For instance, in a very crude sense – and I’m not suggesting people do this – you can save all your cat litter costs by allowing your cat to go outside and go to the toilet outside. Problem fixed. The cost of cat litter is around £20 or $20 per month. So, this works out at about £240 a year. But this is a dangerous ploy as the outdoors can be hazardous for cats. It depends on many factors. Under the right conditions it can be okay.

You can buy cheaper cat litter but you’ve got to be very careful because some cat litters a very dusty. Your cat might inhale the dust and become ill leading to vet bills and far greater expense and a lot of distress. I don’t think you can skimp on cat litter and any case you’ve got your preferences and so has your cat and you don’t really want to change this. It might be possible to save a few pence by removing urine and faeces more carefully ?! This would reduce waste of useable cat litter.

Cat food

Cat food can cost between about £20 and about £55 monthly depending upon the quality which works out at between around £200-£600 annually. Perhaps the cheapest way to feed a cat is to buy large sacks of cheap dry cat food and you put your cat on this diet and nothing else. That’s cheap but is entirely the wrong thing to do. I don’t believe a cat owner can skimp on the quality of cat food. The higher the quality, the better the health of the cat and you want to maintain your cat’s health even looking at it from a strictly financial point of view. In any case, it is the job of a cat owner to do their best to keep their cat healthy and happy. I don’t see any margins in reducing the cost of cat food which must include some wet cat food.

Vet bills

Veterinary bills are a major expense and you can help to reduce the possibility of your cat becoming ill and requiring a vet visit by taking proactive steps. This is good cat caregiving and it is common sense. There’s nothing clever about it. It means providing, as mentioned, the best possible cat food. It means observing your cat to check for differences in behaviour which may indicate a health problem. You can check for oral health for example. If you act earlier, you can save money through reduced veterinary bills. It means brushing your long-haired cat daily to prevent matting. Sometimes matting can get so bad only a veterinarian or a cat groomer can fix the problem. You can avoid that potential bill through proactive steps.

And flea combing every day is vital as it helps to monitor the situation regarding fleas. Fleas can cause flea bit allergy which is a serious problem requiring a veterinary visit. Eliminating fleas from the home is a great step towards saving costs on vet bills and it keeps your cat happier. Fleas are probably the greatest health hazard. And poor oral health is in the top 10 health problems.

As mentioned, you can’t skimp on health costs. There are some basic aspects of cat caregiving which cannot be skimped and health is so fundamental to happiness and it is so fundamental to the obligations of a cat caregiver that corners cannot be cut in this aspect of cat ownership. In my opinion. I respect the opinion of others.

Pet health insurance

You don’t need to pay for a cat health insurance policy which might cost around £24 a month. It is far better to save £24 pounds a month and put that money into an allocated savings account. When you have reached about £500 you have a nice little nest egg to pay your next veterinary bill if needed. And you have no administration costs to pay. You are not putting your money into the pockets of greedy insurance company executives! So, drop that insurance policy and start saving instead. It takes self-discipline. If you don’t have it, don’t do it.

Cat sitting or boarding

The next one is a tough one. Don’t go on holiday. You will save money on a cat sitter which might cost you £140 or the cost of a boarding cattery. You will save on the cost of the holiday. Saving the cost of a holiday might pay for an entire year’s cat caregiving.

Cat flap

If you’ve adopted a new cat and you are thinking of installing a cat flap, you don’t strictly speaking have to do that because you can open the door to let your cat out and open the door to let your cat in. The only problem is that you have to be around all the time to do it. So, this method only really applies to retired people. But cat flaps cost about £40 and the insulation might cost at least £100 or more when done professionally. You don’t have to pay those costs in a strict sense. Or, of course, you keep your cat inside all the time which will also avoid cat flap costs. But there is a hidden problem with this. There is a much greater obligation on cat owners to entertain their cat or to make sure that their cat is entertained and this is going to cost some money, potentially, and in time.

Household expenses

The point I want to make is that it is much easier to save money on household expenses other than cat caregiving expenses particularly now that we have very high gas and electricity costs. As the costs are much higher the savings can be much greater too. If, for example, you turn your thermostat down by about 2°C and put on a jumper and a thick dressing gown (!) you might save around £200 annually or the equivalent in US dollars. Note: I am presuming that the thermostat is turned down from 22 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius of from 21 to 19 degrees Celsius.

But that was under the previous cost of gas and electricity. As the costs are about four times higher today than before the savings should be four times as much as mentioned at the top of the page. That’s a very easy step which can be carried out at a stroke and is not a great hardship to wear extra clothes inside your home during the winter.

Or you can turn off the central heating and use a single cheap electric fire. And you can turn off the radiators in all the rooms that are not used. You could turn off the fridge! And, instead buy food daily and it eat all during that day. This is workable in winter as you could store the food outside! And another thing, people can start to eat everything they buy. There is an enormous amount of food waste in developed countries. If people ate everything that they bought they would save hundreds of pounds annually.

You might have heard about this. Rather than leaving your appliances such as television on standby as nearly everyone does all year long, you can turn them off at the mains. It is said that you might be able to save up to £100 or the equivalent in US dollars annually by doing this. So just by turning down the thermostat by 2°C and unplugging devices can save you £300 annually. You can’t achieve those kind of savings in reducing cat caregiving costs.

As a cat caregiver myself, I will look at all expenses OTHER THAN cat caregiving expenses to save on household costs.

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Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
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FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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