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Pet Care » Buying Your Cat

The Cost of Cat Ownership

Feline Finances to Budget For

Little Boy Many people become so excited about getting a pet that they forget to consider the financial costs that go hand in hand with being a responsible pet owner. We're not trying to take away from this exciting time in your life, nor are we trying to put a price on your furry feline friend's life. We're simply trying to be the voice of reason.

We'll keep it simple and not overwhelm you with actual numbers, not because your mind has become too clouded with visions of your new bouncing bundle of joy to fully comprehend what we're telling you, but simply because many costs will vary by location. We'll let you track down the exact dollar figures to aid you in budgeting better. What follows then is a general discussion of expenditures that potential new cat owners should consider.

What's it going to cost just to get kitty home?

The obvious starting point is the purchase price of your new cat. Any decent pedigree cat should command a higher price than the cats up for adoption at the local shelter. Pet store fees will potentially fall somewhere in between. If you're trying to stick to a tight budget to have more money available for such things as health related costs, consider opening your home to one of the many cats that are often listed as being free-for-the-taking in the classified section of your newspaper.

Regardless of where you plan to get your cat, you might want to have a pre-purchase exam conducted by the veterinarian of your choice. It's better to pay some money prior to taking your potential new cat home, only to discover that you got more than you bargained for in the form of an unhealthy cat.

What other costs might I eventually incur?

While at the vet's office, you should ask about their fees for such services as spaying and/or neutering, general check-ups, dental work, nail trims, vaccines, and potential after-hour emergencies. Your vet might also be able to provide you with cost information about pet insurance, boarding, grooming, and over-the-counter medications like flea and tick control products. If they can't, try tracking down such fees by contacting local kennels, consulting pet stores, looking through pet catalogues, or searching online.

What costs will I definitely need to include in my budget?

Food will obviously be a main expense for any pet owner. Such costs can be as wide-ranging as the selections available; the market literally has something for everyone these days - canned, dried, raw, home-cooked, organic, prescription, you name it, and it's out there. Do your homework and decide ahead of time just what type of a diet you'll be feeding your kitty.

Your new friend will need the necessities of such things as food and water dishes, grooming tools or an occasional visit to the groomers, a litter pan and a lifetime supply of litter, and a carrying crate. You might also want to budget some additional "entertainment" fees for the occasional luxury items like toys, a bed, a windowsill seat, and a scratching post - something that might turn out to be more of a necessity than a luxury item for some cat owners.

While there are many fees associated with owning a cat, they're generally cheaper to own that a dog. You can be sure that they're cheaper to own than a horse! All kidding aside - for additional information about the costs of pet ownership, visit www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=petcarecosts.

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