Cat Rescue - a different type of cat rescue - photo by -murilo-
Pet Care Costs are causing people to abandon their pets in the recession. Some people consider cats a luxury. It seems to be a basic case of survival for humans if they are giving up their cat or dog. But is it? It might be a case of using the recession and financially difficult times as an excuse to abandon a cat or dog. After all when we choose to adopt a cat we should always ask ourselves if we can do it for the life of the animal, no matter what. In the West it is highly unusual if a person is so destitute that he/she cannot look after a cat, dog or other companion animal.
Sometimes people will keep the car and get rid of the cat. Often the poorest have the most pets. I am not sure therefore if the recession is truly having an impact but some rescue centers are filling up to capacity. To compound the problem the centers are getting less money in charitable donations. This is a potentially grave situation for abandoned cats and dogs.
Anyway, is there anyway to keep pet care costs down? The biggest cost is probably food. Yet, you know, cat food, for example, is actually cheap. The quality is certainly, in general, not good. You could argue that cat food is too cheap as it encourages irresponsible people to keep cats.
Anyway, dry cat food is cheaper than wet. Although there are strong arguments that a pure dry food diet is not good (see cat food recipe or click on the cat food label on this site), it is better to feed a cheaper and poorer diet than give up your cat to a shelter as there is a very high chance that your cat will be euthanized. This is more so today than before as not only are more people giving up pets less people are adopting pets. Pure practicalities dictate that rescue center cats are euthanized. 10 million cats and dogs are euthanized each year in the Unites States alone.
Dry cat food is one answer (with plenty of water). Litter is an expense. Good litter management can minimise cost. Buying large bags is cheaper and scooping out the used portion with care and replacing with new may reduce costs if the usual practice is to use a tray and replace the entire tray. In theory, at least, there is no reason why our cats cannot go to the toilet in a prepared area in the garden. This needs to be supervised to a degree and managed as a lot of cats in the States are indoor cats. But a well managed outdoor litter using what is free, earth, will suffice.
Relative luxuries such as toys and scratching posts can be made up by hand. There is no need to buy these. Substantial savings can be made with a different mind set. Far better this way, keeping pet cat costs down to a minimum (perhaps the harder way for us) than the easier route (for some) of giving up our cat.
Update 22nd December
The cost of keeping a cat for the lifetime of a cat (say 14 years) can be near £10,000 (GBP).
Cat food over that period can amount to over £3,000. If you take out insurance the cost can be over £1,000 for the lifetime. Litter will add about £2,000, cattery charges about £1,200, vet's fees about £1,300 and equipment and toys etc a further £100.
Some of these costs can be managed however. In addition to the above, I do not think that insurance for vet's bills is money well spent. After all you are paying another business in addition to the veterinarian. What I mean is two businesses have to come out with a profit, the insurance company (and they makes lots, it's like printing money) and the veterinarian. It is all about risk. I made a post on this: Insurance for Cat Health Problems. Insurance is widely promoted especially by those on a commission. Some say it is cheaper to take out insurance. It might be and it might not be.
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