Budgeting for your new feline friend
Rachel Mulheron, Director, helpucover
Often thought of as a low maintenance pet, in reality, cats need a lot of care and attention. Did you know the average lifetime cost of owning your furry friend is actually around £17,000? So if you’re thinking of getting a cat, you need to make sure you carefully budget for it in advance.
Here are some of our top tips to help you prepare for your new arrival:
Finding the cat for you
If you’re looking for a pedigree kitten, make sure it is a certified 5-generation pedigree and registered with the GCCF or TICA. This ensures it is a true pedigree, from a reputable breeder and has been bred in the best way to reduce chances of underlying health problems.
You can also adopt kittens or adult cats from your local animal shelter. This can be cost-effective as the cost of spay/neuter, first vaccinations (and sometimes microchipping) is usually included in the adoption price, which means you save on some of the up-front costs.
Buy toys and bedding from a charity shop
When buying a cat you will need to purchase necessities such as a cat bed, litter tray, collar and scratching post, which could cost up to £200.
However, your cat’s amenities don’t need to be expensive. Car boot sales and charity shops provide cheaper alternatives. Similarly, rather than buying purpose-made blankets and towels, recycle your own older things – your cat won’t know the difference!
Have your cat spayed or neutered
Ensure you don’t end up with more mouths to feed by having your cat neutered. The average cost for a male castrate is between £30 and £40 and the average cost for a female spay is between £50 and £60.
If you are in need of a little financial assistance, you might be able to get a subsidy for neutering. Cats Protection offers financial assistance to full-time students or people on means-tested benefits.
Food and litter are one of the biggest expenses you’ll encounter as they need replenishing regularly. An average cat eats around one 400g can of food per day and you will need to clear the litter tray at least once daily.
Buying pet food and litter in bulk can cut costs by as much as 50 percent and generally speaking, the bigger the food packages or litter, the cheaper it will be. Look out for special offers, as this sometimes makes smaller packs cheaper.
Buy pet insurance
One of the most expensive parts of pet ownership can be when it falls ill or has an accident. A typical vet’s bill is now about £300.
Pet insurance covers you against some of the costs of emergency vet trips, as well as offering a payout if your pet needs ongoing treatment. Vaccinations can be expensive too, but if your cat falls ill with something it could have been vaccinated against and you don’t have insurance, you could end up paying far more.
Budget your cats into holiday plans
If you plan on going away, you’ll need someone to take care of your beloved cat. Catteries can charge between £6 – £10 per night so be sure to budget for this when planning breaks.
You could possibly save costs by asking friends and neighbours if they are happy to look after your cats while you’re away. Make sure they are experienced in looking after animals though and offer to return the favour when it’s your friend’s holiday and help each other out.