Recently, I read about a family who spent $1,000 to de-cat their backyard so that their two cats, whom they consider full members of the family, cannot escape into the outside world. Can walk out.
And that’s not all. Their cats also have lots of cat furniture, and they regularly dine on cat food that costs north of $7 a pound.
You might even spoil your pets. There are many ways to save money on pet care.
For example, you can feed them expensive food, but make sure you buy it on sale. And then buy enough to last until the next sale. Instead of paying big bucks for furniture or bedding, make them yourself. There are plenty of methods online for those willing to try.
Here are some other ways to save money on your pet.
When choosing a pet, it’s wise to think beyond intelligence or breed. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a large dog will likely need a $225 annual food allowance, while bird food is only $75 a year. Fresh bedding, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, adds up to $415 per year, while a self-cleaning cat will only cost you $165 per year for litter.
Here’s another surprising fact when you’re considering which pet you’ll adopt: recurring annual exams and vaccinations run an average of $210 to $265 for dogs and $160 for cats.
Adopt instead of buy
Breeder prices for dogs are many times the cost of adopting from a shelter. Sure, adoption will involve costs and fees — but they’ll be minimal, plus you’ll save a life.
Stores like Petco, unlike every supermarket on earth, have loyalty rewards programs. And they have sales. You must be a Loyalty Club member to receive the goods. It’s worth the effort to join. In fact, join several of these programs so you have options. Then check out the sales, and take full advantage of every opportunity to save.
Feed your pet all human food approved and recommended by your vet or other pet professional. Animal Planet says that cooked carrots, steamed broccoli and eggs are safe and healthy for cats to eat — and much cheaper than cat food.
Pet food storage
Some pets are picky about what they will eat. I don’t have a cat, but I’ve learned that cats refuse to eat if they’re too old because they’ve been abandoned. No matter what pets you have, keep an eye on their expiration dates. Refrigerate as needed, and even consider freezing pet food, especially if you’re able to stock up on goodies when they go on sale.
SPAY and NEUTER
According to blogger and pet owner Lynn Penzo, the decision to spay or neuter has several implications. Spaying or neutering is better for your pet’s health, saving you money in the long run.
Neutered male dogs live 18 percent longer than neutered dogs, while spayed female dogs live 23 percent longer than their counterparts.
Unpaid cats damage furniture and carpets by spraying urine on them to attract men. Uninformed dogs can become violent, resulting in injuries or even lawsuits, if they attack people.
There’s also the obvious cost of not fixing these pets: dogs and kittens.
Unexpectedly, vet bills can be the most expensive part of owning a pet. Insurance is definitely an option, but choose wisely. Like all insurance, pet insurance is a gamble. It is likely that you will spend more on monthly premiums over the life of your pet, if your pet remains healthy.
Can’t pony up those big monthly premiums? Create your own insurance. Commit to depositing a set amount of money each month into a special savings account you set up for pet health care. Never leave. If your pet needs expensive care, you’ll have money to cover the cost. And if not, you’ve built a nice nest egg.
Mary invites you to meet her. EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is fully archived with links and resources to all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments.”Ask Mary” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary is the founder of Hunt. EverydayCheapskate.coman affordable living blog, and author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.”
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