Costs for pet health care, food and other supplies continue to increase just as human health care and food costs are rising. There’s plenty of advice out there on how to save on pet care expenses. Suggestions range from price-shopping for a vet to foregoing veterinary care altogether in favor of at-home “medical” care, purchasing vaccines online and administering them yourself, and buying the cheapest food. All of this advice couldn’t be more wrong, and will most likely put your cat’s health at risk.

The following tips can help you save on cat care expenses without compromising your cat’s health:

Regular veterinary exams should be a priority

Cats are masters at masking illness. The sooner a problem is detected, the less expensive it will be to address. Cats should see a veterinarian once a year at a minimum; cats seven or older should be seen twice a year. Be open with your vet if money is an issue. Your vet may be able to offer treatment options that are within your budget, or help you develop a payment plan.

Don’t choose your vet based on price

While price is certainly one consideration, it shouldn’t be the only one, and it should most definitely not be the most important one when choosing your pet’s family doctor.

Consider getting pet insurance

Could you affordan unexpected $1000 or $2000 for a medical emergency, or even more for a chronic serious illness? If your answer is no, pet insurance may be a viable option for you. Some plans also cover routine wellness care.

Feed a species appropriate, high quality diet

Nutrition is the foundation of health. A grain-free canned or raw diet is the optimal diet for cats. For more on what to feed your cats, browse the Feline Nutrition section on this site, and find my recommendations here.

Help your cat maintain a health weight

A staggering 53% of America’s cats are considered overweight or obese. Obesity leads to serious, not to mention costly, health problems, including diabetes,  arthritis, joint problems and and torn or strained ligaments, heart and respiratory problems, gastro-interstinal and digestive problems, a compromised immune system, and increased risk during anesthesia and surgery.

Help your cat maintain good dental health

Dental disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in cats. Seventy to ninety percent of cats have some level of dental disease. If left untreated, it can lead to health problems for your cat, ranging from bad breath, dental pain and loose teeth to systemic illnesses that can be life-threatening. Learn how to brush your cat’s teeth. It’s not nearly as challenging as it sounds.

Minimize exposure to environmental toxins

Many health problems are caused by day-to-day exposure to toxic substances such as chemicals and other molecules that are foreign to the body. These toxins accumulate in the body over a period of time, often over many years. For more informatio non how to limit exposure to these substances, read Detox Your Cat.  

Have you found a way to save on cat care expenses? Please share it in a comment.

5 Comments on Save on Cat Care Expenses Without Compromising Your Cat’s Health

  1. I use a pine-based kitty litter called “Feline Fresh.” It doesn’t smell like pine and it clumps. I have one cat and a 34 pound bag lasts me over a year. It costs less than $40 for this size bag. You never again have to empty out and wash out your litter box. It does track small bits so some people may not like to use it but I have carpeting so the tiny bits that do leave the box drop off here, and they are just specks. My kitty and I both recommend this.
    Someone came into my place and was amazed because they couldn’t smell the litter box, like they did in other places which still use the clay-based litter. My box is in the bathroom so that I can easily sit and scoop so that it doesn’t get piled up and it doesn’t hurt my back bending over the box to scoop it.

  2. My vet price matches PetMeds and also other vets in the area. I felt funny the first time I asked, but, it has saved me a lot of money, and I know I’m getting quality meds, for a good price. Also ask for a multipet discount. With 5 cats and a dog, that extra 10% discount really adds up.

  3. i do agree, and i get upset with people who have the money to go out to lunch every week but won’t go to the vet even when their cat is sick. however, for people who are truly poor or have recently lost their jobs, i would suggest an online search for ways to treat different symptoms. just the other day, a woman asked me if there was anything she could do for her sneezing cat who had a diagnosis of herpes. a little lysine did the trick. also, i would ask your vet if they accept ‘care credit’, rather than buy insurance. for multi-cat households, flea treatment can break the bank. i buy revolution, profender and generic drontal from an australian company called joe’s pet meds. depending on which treatment you use, you can buy the dog size and portion it into cat doses. you need to do your research first, since not all products contain identical ingredients.

    • Thanks for sharing your tips, Catherine. Care Credit can be a great alternative to pet insurance, thanks for adding that to the list!

      I’m going to add a couple of caution statements to your other suggestions.

      Anytime you search online for how to treat any symptoms, whether it’s for yourself or your cats, please consider the source. I share some reputable sources in this series of posts:

      I do not recommend using any kind of flea or tick prevention product intended for dogs on cats. Even though the ingredients MAY be the same for some products, it’s almost impossible to accurately measure out the amount of product if you split a larger dog dose. The potential for adverse reactions with chemical flea products is high enough without adding an additional factor for mistakes. There are natural flea treatmens that work in many cases, and while they require more effort, they are much safer:

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