Yes, I used the "R" word in the title of this post, but that doesn't mean I've lost hope.
Yet, with a mortgage crisis, high gasoline costs and food prices that keep going up (that cat food's starting to look tasty and at the right price), it helps to have a plan for the financial element of pet care. Here are a few tips to keep your cat from breaking your bank.
1. Semi-annual exams.
Sure, on the surface it sounds like just spending money on a healthy cat, but what looks like a healthy cat to you might be a cat that is cleverly disguising her condition. A thorough examination can save you money in the long run. Your vet can identify diseases and conditions before they become serious--and expensive to treat. By the time your cat shows signs of illness, her condition may be quite advanced and costly to correct. Consider complete blood and urine tests as well. By nature, clinical examinations are subjective. Lab work is completely objective data that can show changes long before they become visible.
In addition to this, your vet can always recommend ways to maintain and improve your pet's health.
2. Keep your cat thin.
Obesity causes many problems in cats, from diabetes and high blood pressure to arthritis and even cancer. All of these are expensive to treat and can erode the quality of life for your cat. Yet it costs very little to have your pet maintain a healthy weight. Consult with your vet to learn what your cat's ideal weight should be, and how many calories you should be feeding him. You might be surprised at the size of the portion. And get your cat exercising. Play with him, provide a cat tree for her to climb, let them run around a bit. Keeping the excess pounds off will helpl them live longer and decrease your vet bills.
3. Feed your cat premium pet food.
It might seem like a good deal to buy the cheaper brands of cat food, but vomiting and diarrhea are not fun. Many problems with the digestive track can be traced back to poor quality food. The best foods will cost a bit more, but not nearly as much as treating a GI disorder. Consult with your veterinary team to determine the best diet for your cat.
4. Consider Pet Insurance.
Pet insurance is there for two things: the unexpected and the expensive. We certainly hate to see owners confronted with the dilemma of whether or not they can afford a specialist for a serious illness. Pet insurance can really help in these situations. Many pet insurance companies offer complete coverage for all breeds. But the key is to get your pet insured before she develops a medical condition. Otherwise, your pet gets saddled with a "pre-existing condition" label, and coverage may not be available. We recommend looking at the plans that have low annual premiums and higher deductibles. Insurance for maintenance visits may not be practical, but having it in an emergency can make all the difference.