UK “cost-of-living crisis” may undermine cat and dog ownership

NEWS AND COMMENT-UK: There is a lot of media attention in the UK on the so-called “cost-of-living crisis”. I believe that the word “crisis” is the wrong one because I don’t think that it is a crisis. There are price rises but the impact of those rises can be counteracted through sensible living. And one of the biggest drivers of inflation in the UK, the cost of oil and gas, has been counteracted by a massive giveaway by the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer.

“It is easier to save costs in human living expenses than in pet care” – MikeB

Tips and tricks to providing high-quality cat caregiving while minising cost
Tips and tricks to providing high-quality cat caregiving while minimising costs. Image: MikeB from Pixabay image.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

RELATED: Tips and tricks: high-quality cat care at the lowest cost – This earlier article explores in quite some detail where expenses can be shaved off in caring for a cat. There are some areas where you can and should save money and other areas where it pays to buy the best.

Personally, with that giveaway I expect to be in the black with respect to expenditure on gas and electricity over one year. What I mean is I spend less on gas and electricity in one year than the amount of money that the government will give me to help deal with the increased cost of those utilities. As usual, this government has been far too generous but not everyone will agree with me and there are, of course, in genuine cases of hardship. I fully understand that.

But the issue here is whether the increased cost of living in the UK is going to impact cat and dog ownership. It will bring home to people the cost of keeping a cat or dog. In good times these costs are just dealt with as incidentals but if money gets tight people might start looking at the average annual cost of £1000 to keep a cat according to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Or, the possible lifetime cost of keeping a large dog and about £30,000.

These are real numbers and they have an impact. From a personal standpoint, I think that I spend more on feeding my cat than I do feeding myself 😎. High quality cat food is expensive. And it is the only type of food that you should give your cat.

The cost-of-living crisis won’t affect cat and dog ownership in those homes where they genuinely relate to their companion animal as a member of the family. But it might affect those homes where the relationship is more tenuous and where the owner is ambivalent about being a companion animal caregiver.

Cat ownership
Cat ownership is about a mutually respectful relationship in which both benefit. Photo: Figo Pet Insurance.

Easier to save costs in human living expenses than in pet care

Is it possible to save costs in pet care? I don’t think that there is a lot one can do to be brutally honest. If you have pet health insurance, you could stop that and save money by running your own pet healthcare insurance program. I would definitely advise that.

RELATED: Pet savings account to pay for self-insurance

As mentioned, I don’t think it is a good idea to downgrade food quality. This may backfire in saving money in the long-term with increased veterinary bills.

You might argue that keeping your cat indoors full-time will save money because they are less likely to be injured or pick up a disease from another cat outside. There may be some truth in that but the problem here is that if you keep your cat indoors full-time, they are more likely to become obese. Indoor cats don’t have the opportunity to exercise unless their owner plays with them and unless their owner has created an environmentally rich environment for their cat companion.

I strongly feel that owners of indoor cats do not enrich their environment enough or at all and they don’t play with their cat enough or at all. Cats respond by sleeping more. They pleasure eat sometimes. Obesity can cause Type II diabetes in felines and other health problems such as arthritis. Type II diabetes can cause nerve, kidney, liver damage to name three possibilities.

One website states that if you buy dog and cat food in bulk you can save money dramatically. I guess what they mean is you can buy large bags of dry cat and dog food. I get it. I do already buy large bags of dry cat food but my cat predominantly eats wet food. And you can’t save money when buying wet cat food in bulk. You just buy more but it doesn’t cost any less. And as it is a given today that the mainstay of a domestic cat’s diet should be high quality wet cat food, I don’t think that you can save a lot of money by buying bulk dry food.

I think that it is unwise to cut down on veterinary expenses by which I mean you don’t take your cat to the vet when you need to. This is a breach of the agreement between cat and person in any case.

You can cut down on fancy toys and things because they have a limited lifespan and you can make your own which are just as effective. Cat scratching posts are obligatory and the best one is the one that will be use the most. It’s bigger and more expensive but it will help to stop damage to furniture.

RELATED: Homemade Cat Toys

One thing you could do to help save damage to furniture which might lead to buy new furniture is to protect those areas where cats like to scratch using over-sized double-sided tape which you combine Amazon.

RELATED: How do I stop my cat scratching the carpet and furniture?

I would argue that rather than trying to save money in caring for your cat or dog, it is simpler to save money by reducing human living costs. You can reset your central heating thermostat down by 1 or 2 degrees and wear warm clothes, for example. You can stop buying prepared meals from the supermarkets and prepare your own. You don’t even need to cook which will save on gas and electricity.

You can take a look at your smart phone contract and reduce usage. If you like drinking alcohol you can cut back on it or become teetotal. Alcohol is very expensive and it is easy to accumulate £1000 of costs annually in buying wine. If stop drinking alcohol, you could save £1000 a year which would more than make up for the increased cost of living in this country. I know that you want to have some fun and wine makes you happy. But you can learn to be happy drinking a nice cup of tea with a bit of really tasty cake. And there’s no health problems with sensible eating compared to the inherent health problems and drinking alcohol.

Can you think of anything else? If so, please leave me a comment. I would be most appreciative!

Below are some pages on cat ownership.

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