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A Major Investment: The Costs Associated with Cat Ownership

The expense of owning a pet is probably the most overlooked consequence of any pet-owner relationship. Advances in pet care, especially in the development of pet foods and medical research, have caused ownership costs to increase over the last 10 years. Since it’s not likely that this trend will reverse itself any time soon, potential “pet parents” should consider their finances before taking home a new pet.

While it is certainly not necessary that a house cat have a diamond collar or a Wedgwood china food bowl, all owners need to provide the basics of professional medical care, quality food, and adequate shelter. The only other necessity for a responsible owner to provide is love – and that’s free.

Be certain that you know all the costs associated with cat ownership and what you can do to ensure you cover those costs. Costs can vary widely depending on where you live and specifics associated with each individual pet.

Initial Costs

One of the first things you should do when you bring a kitten home is to introduce him to his new veterinarian. In fact, as soon as you know when you are going to pick up your kitten, schedule an appointment. This is the first and best step in caring for your kitten’s health and well-being.

Also, be aware of the costs that will come with these vital, early-life appointments. Your kitten will need a physical exam, feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus testing, deworming, parasite protection, and vaccinations — beginning at six to eight weeks of age and every three to four weeks until 16 to 20 weeks of age.

Lifetime Costs

If you average the cost of a cat over her lifetime, the dollars add up to a surprisingly high amount. The actual bottom line, though, is the happiness you and your pet shared together — even those times when a pet might have soiled an expensive Persian rug or destroyed a priceless Ming Dynasty vase.

Still, it is instructive to know what the actual costs are over a pet’s average life span. Forewarned is forearmed, so to speak — you can plan your short-term and long-term budget better. Knowing the cost will help you plan ahead to keep your pet healthy and happy. On average, the total estimated lifetime cost for an outdoor cat is $2,445 to $4,150. For an indoor cat, that number jumps to $8,620 to $11,275.

Cat Care On a Budget

Can you spoil your cat AND save money? Yes, you can. If you’re like most people, you’re working hard to make your money work as hard as you do, but you’d still like to enjoy the fruits of your labor. When it comes to pet care, you really can do both — but only if you know what corners to cut and how to get the most for your money. Problem is, many people don’t.

While we’ve long recognized in human medicine that preventive care works better — it’s less expensive, and less painful — than dealing with preventable illness or injury, too few cat parents pursue wellness care for their cats. But educating yourself about wellness care and working with your veterinarian to provide your cat with it really will save money in the long run. It’s the best place to start saving, in fact, even if it costs you on the front end.

Do the Best You Can

We get it. Sometimes, the budget gets really crunched. And, with the current financial situation not looking any better in the near future, we thought we would give you some easy and effective ways to save money for your cat.

We aren’t going to give you a recipe at how to make your own cat food, but some ideas you might not have thought of before or some things you may have forgotten about.

Resources for The Costs Associated with Cat Ownership

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