Frugal pets – part 2

I’m on a mission to determine exactly what everything we do costs us. I’m starting with the FF cat. I can tell you now that over the years he has cost us a fortune, but pays us back tenfold with love and snuggles 🙂

In 2015 he cost us $1,141.29+ ($488.10 in pet insurance, $486.19 in vet bills (after insurance claims) and $167 in catty hotel bills, plus food which is absorbed in our weekly shopping bills). In a previous post I analysed the costs of cat food and pet insurance and investigated ways of reducing these costs. In this post I’m looking at vet bills and catty hotel costs.

Vet costs are really dependant on what our cat does – lots of fights and illnesses equals lots of cash. We haven’t found a vet we really like where we now live, so I have no problem changing to a new (cheaper) one. I called a highly regarded clinic near us and found out their costs for annual vaccinations (which are due soon) are around 12.5% cheaper than our current clinic ($104 instead of $119). Not having his annual vaccinations is not an option – we want to do all we can to make sure he’s healthy and he also needs them to stay at a catty hotel.

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FF cat exploring his new surroundings

I tend to think that catty hotel costs is a ‘holiday’ expense rather than a ‘cat’ expense and factor it into our holiday costs, but it’s worth reviewing here.

Previously we’ve had neighbours look after the cat while we’re away, but this only works for a night or two – any more and it really affects FF cat (and his catty Mummy worries that he’s lying injured under a hedge somewhere).

We’ve visited a lot of catteries where we now live and haven’t found one we love. The first catty hotel we tried cost $15 per night, but when we dropped him off they weren’t that great on security (i.e. not shutting / locking doors behind them as we moved through the cattery) and the bedding didn’t look too clean. Then we tried one at $23 per night but they too weren’t great on security and had a water feature which ran constantly – surely that’s annoying after a while? The last one we tried was $17 per night, beautifully clean, bright and airy but only had an inside run. There is one more I want to try at $15 per night. If only we could ask FF cat which one he preferred, but he remains shtum.

We were only away 9 days last year (although more this year and potentially next year), but with a difference of up to 8 bucks between the highest and lowest charges, that would be $72 per year saved.

The verdict

  • We’ll buy the preferred branded cat food on special, and non-branded otherwise.
  • Pet insurance….stays the same. To change would save money but leave us under-insured and it’s just not worth it.
  • The cheaper vet is booked for FF cat’s annual vaccinations.
  • The cheaper catty hotel is booked for our next trip away.

The potential savings are probably a couple of hundred dollars over the course of the year, depending on the vet visits (hopefully few!) and amount of time spent in the catty hotel.

How do you save on pet bills? Do you have insurance or is it a big waste of money?

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