Friday, June 12, 2020

5 Budget-Friendly Habits Every Cat Owner Should Introduce to Their Household

I am definitely a dog person, not a cat person. We had a cat when I was a cat, but I'm not a fan. I love my dog though. However, for those of you who are cat people and have a cat in their household, here's some good habits to make a part of your routine, sent in by a reader.

As responsible and worrying owners, we want our pets to have the best possible life. We often feel bad about living on a budget and depriving them of fine foods and fun trinkets. While our beloved friends don’t know they’re being deprived of anything, it doesn’t help us feeling like we do just that. And we can’t but feel like it’s too much expenditure on the other hand. However, there are tricks to go about this, harder to incorporate in weekly routines, but wiser and more cost-effective in the long run.

1. Grooming Habits

It seems at first that cats, at least, are self-sufficient when it comes to grooming. That may be so to some extent. But negligence can cost you much more than you think. It is better sometimes to do the work yourself, because if you leave it up to them, and you won’t be happy when you find out your favorite couch shredded to bits.

Cats need their claws maintained and their coat clean. Taking them to a groomer is a privilege not all can afford - and it can be traumatic for the cat as well. Their claws need regular trimming, so investing in a pair of special clippers and learning how to trim their claws at home, safely, will prove useful and thrifty in the long run.

Also, buying and planting some wheat can help them clean their gums and teeth, regulate bad breath, while also being easy on their stomach. This will prevent them from chewing on other (potentially poisonous) plants you might have in the home.

Better to get some basic home grooming habits than wait for them to damage your furniture with claws or chew away at your plants just to get their gums clean.

2. House Maintenance

Helping your cat with grooming is an extension of house maintenance as well. Especially if your cat sheds a lot of hair, your house and clothes can get covered with a thick layer of cat hair in just a couple of days.

This means washing clothes and bedding more often, hiring a house cleaner, and frequently replacing air filters. This can cause invisible expenditure when it comes to electricity as well, because a furnace or refrigerator coils clogged with accumulated cat hair draw a lot more electric energy, thus weighing heavy on your budget.

That’s why a cat hair comb is your best friend in the house, helping both your kitty and your house stay clean. Another trick is to make a cozy place for them, adding this cat bed from Pet Life to their favorite spot in the house, for example. This will keep them off your bed and furniture and keep their hair from excessively spreading throughout the house.

3. Regular Delittering

The next thing you want to keep an eye out for is the litter box. Cats are clean animals and they dislike the smell of their toilet just as much as you dislike yours. They won’t hesitate to find a more pleasant place for their needs if you neglect their litter box. And that would be quite an unpleasant experience for you!

Of course, the idea is to scoop daily and change litter regularly, but buying it so often can be quite expensive. Luckily, there are tricks to help you take better care of kitty litter and make it last longer.

Make sure that you measure the right amount of litter, filling the box with just enough to help your cat cover the waste, but not too much as they will kick most of it out of the box while digging. Secondly, you can control the waste of unspoiled litter by not shaking when scooping.

Even though you’re trying not to throw away too much, this way you actually end up spoiling the good litter with sullied clumps that fall out. This will only leave the litter more smelly causing you to change it soon after. Lastly, you can sprinkle some baking soda over the litter to absorb some of the odor after scooping.

4. Comparing Prices & Watching for Sales

This is probably the most boring part of saving, but it gets you a long way. You want your cat to have a healthy and diversified diet, not just live off of the cheapest kibble. Not only because you want them to enjoy their meals more, but because a healthy diet makes for a healthier cat as well. This way you reduce the chances of them getting sick, and a good vet is hard to afford.

Compare prices and find out which stores and products have the optimal prices, balancing the price and quality. Secondly, many stores run sales regularly and give away coupons with flyers. Don’t miss out on chances to get something favorably and make sure you buy in bulks when you do.

5. Preventing Furniture Damage

Not every damage can be avoided by grooming your cat. Sometimes they do it just for their entertainment and exercise. And you are not always there to prevent the damage, especially knowing cats are most active at night when you sleep.

Having some spare catnip always comes in handy in such situations. Especially if you already have a toy for scratching, sprinkling some catnip over it can keep them entertained for long, after which they can retire and nap.

Another way of handling this is to spray over the area that is being damaged the most with a scented mixture. This can be apple cider vinegar, although that would be unpleasant for you as well until your cat learns to keep away. Something citrus-based can do the trick as well, but may perhaps do harm to the furniture. The best option would be to mix water with an essential oil such as orange and eucalyptus. This will help repel them from causing further damage.

At first, some of these might seem like a lot of work for nothing, but over time these will prove to be very useful practices and you’ll hardly notice that they’ve become a routine. In the end, along with your budget management, with such simple hacks, you’ll improve the quality of your life and the quality of the relationship with your beloved kitty.