Love your cats, save your money: Tips for the frugal feline lover

For the frugal family, any pet may seem like a splurge. But for the true animal lover, a home without our furry companions is just not an option. Fortunately, there is a middle ground. Cats can actually be very affordable pets, with only a bare minimum of needs that require any amount of money. Before we get into the ways you can save money on your feline friend, there are a few notable places that you should not skimp.

First and foremost is your cat’s health. All cats should be spayed or neutered. If this is too much of an expense for you, adopt a cat that has already been altered. If you have an outdoor cat it is especially important that she gets regular vaccines and uses some sort of flea prevention. If you have an indoor cat, you should still keep her up to date on the minimum shots. All cats need their teeth cleaned regularly. Spending a little bit here and there to maintain your cat’s health will save you big in the long run by preventing serious illnesses. Many cities have charity organizations that will provide regular vaccinations for a reduced price.

The other place you don’t want to skimp is on pet food. You should always buy from a reputable brand. Dry food is much cheaper than canned and is absolutely fine for your pet. If your cat never tastes canned food, she will be perfectly content with the dry variety. While it is most cost effective to select the most affordable brand, try not to let coupons sway you from your choice. Changing your cat’s food frequently can upset her stomach. Instead, look for coupons for your specific brand of pet food, and visit their website occasionally for other promotions and special offers.

Now that you have the basics taken care of, you can really let your frugal creativity run wild. There is no need to spend money on a fancy cat bed. Chances are, your cat sleeps wherever she likes anyway that she won’t deign to sleep in the plush furry bed you’ve selected for her. If you want your cat to have her own special place to sleep, put an old pillow or blanket in a basket. Cat toys are another place where it won’t matter if you buy a special toy or create one yourself. Fill a small scrap of fabric with some stuffing and catnip and you have the perfect homemade cat toy. For the very frugal, the catnip can even be grown at home.

If you’ve visited a large chain pet store lately you probably noticed the elaborate kitty castles going for a few hundred dollars each. If you want your pampered pet to have that same luxury,

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