/ Cat ownership costs - what are they / do people insure or not?

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ksjs - on 02 Nov 2012
Currently considering taking on a cat that needs re-homing. She is 5 years old, chipped and neutered. Cost is unfortunately a consideration as my financial state isn't the most robust.

I think the thing I am most aware of is vet bills. She will need annual innoculations and obviously things might go wrong health-wise. Is people's view that insurance is generally wortwhile or a waste of money (I had heard there were lots of exclusions in policies)?

Aside from vets, the only other costs I can think of are:

Food
Kennels

and then one-offs like:

Collar
Bowl
Bed
Changing owner details on the microchip
Fitting a catflap

Any others that it's worth taking into account?

Thanks!
Tall Clare - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to ksjs:

Hello

Both of ours are insured - I think the thinking is that if you start insuring them young, it's cheaper as they get older. Might be wrong on that though.

You haven't taken into account the cost of a serious catnip addiction. Oh, and toys :-) And a scratching post! (all of these are either cheap or pretty much one-off costs (the scratching post in particular).
Phil79 - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to ksjs:

Our two aren't insured. Chipped, registered, innoculated etc.

Its a bit cold hearted, but if they were seriously ill or needed something doing that was a massive expense then we would probably have them put to sleep. Seems to be lots of exclusions anyhow and its an expense we can't afford.
lynda - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to ksjs: As an FYI, your insurance will not cover the annual injections check up.

However I would definitely always get insurance (the Petplan has a good reputation, we are with Sainsburys and they have been very good to us).

Vet bills if your pet gets sick can rack up alarmingly. Dyno (my cat) almost died last year, he pulled through with the amazing care at the Glasgow Uni Vet Hospital, if we did not have the insurance, he would have cost us over 4000 (needed surgery and inpatient care on their ICU). The insurance thing is up to you though, its a what if. Be aware as your cat gets older he/she will require more care: Sambuca never needed anything until she was quite a bit older and developed kidney problems.

As for the extras, the cat will not use the bought bed, he/she will use your bed, clothes, sofa, laptop...
Best to have 2 bowls, one for food and one for water.
Toys: can be as expensive or cheap as you like, Dyno likes balls and he goes crazy for a laser pointer but is equally happy with scrunched up paper

Hope this helps
MG - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: I think the main costs are sofas and carpets. Other things are incidental really.
pepperpot - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to ksjs:

We have two.

I think the regular jabs cost about 30-40 per year.

Both are fussy eaters and only eat a particular (bloody expensive) type of Whiskers at about 4 for 12. Even so with one pouch per day each, plus Aldi biscuits (dead cheap) and I recon food is no more than 40-50p per day.

Loads of toys, collars and stuff on ebay so all that is cheap. Don't bother with a basket; we have one but they both prefer a couple of old fleece blankets we have.

Never changed details on a microchip, but I can't see that being more than a few pounds.

DO get insurance. We didn't and when one came home with a broken hip we ended up spending just over 800 for vets bills. The vet did us a cash deal too!!!! That scuppered a trip to Kalymnos for me!!!! Grr.

We don't have a cat flap. They go out for a few hours each day. Keep her in the house for a couple of months and only let her out when shes hungry and feed her as soon as she comes him. This way she associates coming home when you whistle with food. We let ours out in the morning and evening and they pretty much come back whenever we call them now.
Toby S - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to ksjs)
>
> Hello
>
> Both of ours are insured - I think the thinking is that if you start insuring them young, it's cheaper as they get older. Might be wrong on that though.

Is that in regards to monthly premiums? Not the case for me I'm afraid. When we first got His Royal Fat Lazy Gingerness he was about 4 per month to insure. He's now closer to 10 per month after 7 years. Seriously thinking about setting up a seperate savings fund and putting the money into that instead!

To the OP:

I spend 3.50(ish) on wet food which lasts two weeks and about 5 on decent dried food which will last a month. Occassionally I'll get him treats so say about 15 a month on food.

Litter costs are negligible - about 5 every few months - he shites in next doors garden most of the time :-)

Insurance at the moment is 10p/m.

Then factor in toys, scratching posts, bowls etc and you could reasonably expect to pay in region on 30 per month.
Cuthbert on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to ksjs:

I had an old cat who got ill when I was away in Austria. I got friends to take her to the vet and when I returned she didn't make it unfortunately but the bill was 739. I had no insurance.
lynda - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Toby S: agree with Toby on cost of insurance. Dyno started out on 5 a month when he was 2 which has creeped up over the years. He is now 22 a month, but that is to be expected.
Tall Clare - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Toby S:

Ah - sorry, what I understood was that it will now be, say, 10, as opposed to 15 if you started insuring him now. If that makes sense. As I say, might be complete bunkum. Ours are insured anyway.
MG - on 02 Nov 2012
Interesting numbers here. We have 2 with no insurance and so far (7 years) no major vet bills. So currently about 1000 up. I'd better tell them that if they are iller than that, they are done for!
Tall Clare - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to MG:

It's an interesting one - I think what fells a lot of people is the sudden big bill and the difficult decisions.

We've already used insurance for one of ours this year, when she got into a fight with a rat.
Tall Clare - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

Or maybe it was a stoat/weasel-type animal - I can't remember. Infected leg. Grim.
Toby S - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> It's an interesting one - I think what fells a lot of people is the sudden big bill and the difficult decisions.
>
> We've already used insurance for one of ours this year, when she got into a fight with a rat.

Fortunately ours is a coward so fights are not an issue. He's scared of his own shadow most of the time... and blackbirds, the terrify him for some reason!
Fraser on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to ksjs:

Haven't had any of ours insured over the years - bit of a mistake - 3 were always in the vets, the other 3 were tanks.

Add in litter tray and litter costs, if they don't 'do the great outdoors'. No pun intended!

Food: in my experience, this is where your big bills will lie, depending on the cat in question. Salmon, tuna, shrimp etc can be quite costly. A favourite tinned cat food will remain so for a few months if you're lucky - only a week if you're not.

Don't forget cattery costs for holiday time, unless you have friends or neighbours who can do the necessary and look after it while you're absent. 'Welcome home' presents can also be expensive and do nothing assuage your guilt for leaving or reduce said cat's resentment at your departure....or return, delete as appropriate!
hokkyokusei - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to ksjs:

Don't pay insurance, just put a fixed amount of money away yourself each month.

You'll want to buy a scratching post. Otherwise the cat will find one for itself!
rousse - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to hokkyokusei: That approach is fine until your pet gets something requiring a serious operation; or something that needs ongoing treatment, like diabetes. Then you'll find treatment like a scan will go through your savings immediately. We had insurance and even with that, we'd claimed our limit for our local vets costs alone. Going to the Vet College for a big operation and follow-up treatments cost me so much I'm only just now paying it off after 3 years (this is for a big dog, mind, but a friend paid nearly 3000 for treatment for a cat. It still died).

In addition to that, ours got attacked by a German Shepherd and needed an operation (of course, emergency vets). And got kicked in the face by a horse and needed a 1000 root canal operation after he snapped a canine.

We are about to get another dog. I'll be getting the most expensive PetPlan policy available...

rousse - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to rousse: Oh, to the OP, I think exclusions tend to be for pre-existing conditions; or known conditions for some breeds. This encourages you to get a policy early and stick with the same provider.
nniff - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to ksjs:

Our mog is insured, with Sainsbury's. However, the dog's insurance with the same company went mental at the last renewal and he's now insured with Insure and Go for a quarter of the price for the same cover. I expect the cat to follow suit. Our cats have always been vet's bill free, but nevertheless.....

A cat flap means that a neighbour can easily feed the cat while you're away. As far as I can tell, the cat couldn't care less, as long as someone tips some food into its bowl. Ergo, no cattery bills. Also no cat litter bills (or stink) after the first few weeks.

Scratching post - essential carpet and furnture preservation device.

Collars and bells - to try and stop the damn thing slaughtering anything smaller than itself. It managed to get a pigeon through the cat flap the other night. That's with 4 bells on its collar - the world's first Morris dancing cat! It manages to lose them on a regular basis, although the all elastic ones are best.

Food - fussy eaters. I'm sure we could do it cheaper - it eats biscuits happily and gets two pouches a day - and no it's not fat - it must be all that hunting. It seems to be permanently starving.

THat's it for us, bar vaccinations - around 70/year. The last time was entertaining - it included recovering the cat from a ledge 7-8 feet up in the vet's consulting room. One seriously pissed off mog.
Fraser on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to nniff:
> (In reply to ksjs)

> A cat flap means that a neighbour can easily feed the cat while you're away.

Do you have very small neighbours? ;)


> ... recovering the cat from a ledge 7-8 feet up in the vet's consulting room.

Reminds me of a tale: one night I went out to hunt for one of my own cats who'd not come in. Ages later I found him, apparently stuck on top of a neighbouring flat roof - no idea how he'd got up there or how he could get down. Went back into my flat and got a very long plank of wood, which I laid against the roof, which I hoped would encourage him to come down. Turning round, I saw him sitting next to me, staring up, as if to say "Okay....so what are we looking for here?"

ads.ukclimbing.com
lynda - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Fraser: you've got to love cats for this sort of thing.
ksjs - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: We have a new sofa so I'm sure this will be fine as a scratching post (not!)

I had a cat from a kitten when I was younger and carboard boxes, hands (mine) moving around under sheets of newspaper and a ball of foil or a cork on string seemed to be the best toys known to cat!
ksjs - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Phil79: Think you're far from alone in this view.
ksjs - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to lynda: Dyno - excellent name! Thanks for post.
captain paranoia - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to lynda:

> Be aware as your cat gets older he/she will require more care

As with humans, end of life care gets very expensive. A friend's cat is on its last legs, and vet's bills are running into thousands of pounds. I've suggested the 'kinder approach', trying to be dispassionate about it. But if it were my cat, I don't know what I'd do; I sobbed like a child when I found a big ginger tom dead in the garden a few months back (hit by car), and had to take it back to the keepers. And that wasn't even my cat.
ksjs - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Fraser: Very good :)
ksjs - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to ksjs: Thanks all for replies.

Quite a range of views on the insurance question and sounds like a scratching post is indispensable though I have a feeling this may be one of those things that, despite its presence and user-friendliness, will be ignored in favour of your best rug / brand new carpet / expensive sofa etc!

It seems that the majority are in favour of insurance and it makes sense over time though shopping around and being clear on exclusions is worthwhile.

Trangia - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to ksjs:

Being uninsured might present you with an agonising life or death decision in the future. Not a situation most pet owners ever want to find themselves in, so think hard - just how hard could you be if it ever came to it?
Trangia - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to captain paranoia:
> (In reply to lynda)
>
> [...]
>
> But if it were my cat, I don't know what I'd do; I sobbed like a child when I found a big ginger tom dead in the garden a few months back (hit by car), and had to take it back to the keepers.

I know how you feel. I have to go round to my ex's to euthanise her fish* when they get sick, because she can't face doing it. I hate doing it and it always leaves me feeling bad and that's just for a fish!! Much worse a pet like a dog or cat.

*Before we split they were both of ours, but she got custody....

nniff - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to ksjs:

The key exclusion to avoid is the 'one year from first symptoms' clause. THat's like getting a mild headache and then one year and a day later when a brain tumour is diagnosed, finding out that you are covered neither for the cost of the diagnosis nor the treatment. Of course, when you originally phoned to enquire if you're covered, they say 'yes' but when you go to the vets three days later, you're not.

Not that there is a scar there or anything. Utter, utter b....ds. DBI, if anyone's interested. I wouldn't use them to insure something that lived next to them under the stone.
oddtoast on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to ksjs:

Insurance sounds like a good plan because you never do know with vets bills but to show the other sign of the coin my cat, who died this June, died peacefully at the grand old age of 22 with only 3 trips to the vet in her whole life.

She was a neutered outdoor/indoor cat, not insured, no regular injections, fed by a neighbour during holidays, sometimes had a cat flap depending on where we lived, wouldnt wear a collar, not chipped cos never occurred to us.

Only cost was food, (good quality makes a difference, or just meat, they are carnivores so don't give em cheap grainy crap = feline junk food) worming tablets, a cat bed and a hell of a load of love :)

Good luck if you go for it :)



Fraser on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to ksjs:

> ...sounds like a scratching post is indispensable though I have a feeling this may be one of those things that, despite its presence and user-friendliness, will be ignored in favour of your best rug / brand new carpet / expensive sofa etc!

Spot on! There is a very clear feline reverse psychology in existence. Example:

Rule of cat #17: any item bought by owner specifically for a cat (eg scratching post) will be ignored by cat. Any item cat is not allowed on or near, will be appropriated by cat and used as cat sees fit. The item is not owner's - it is cat's. It always was. Any owner-attempt to consciously use reverse cat psychology strategy will be obvious to cat (before owner has even thought about it as a ploy) and appropriate ancient feline art of 'double-reverse' action will be taken.

You would do well to remember this and accept it. Cat always wins.

Exceptions: none recorded to date.
LastBoyScout on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to ksjs:

Single biggest expense so far was the catflap, about 60ish - it reads the chip and will only let our cat in, so others can't harass her or steal her food. Had to get her re-chipped when it moved inside her and no longer triggered the sensor. Needs a set of batteries every 3-4 months (the flap, not the cat).

Tried a collar, but she kept pulling them off, so we gave up after the last one vanished.

Vaccincations are about 40 a year - some cats can react to them, which ours did this year and cost us another 40 for an appointment and cat equivalent of Calpol to bring temp down.

She gets fed whatever is on offer - quite likes Felix and Hills, but goes through phases of turning her nose up at something, so we just cycle round a few brands until she likes it again.

She's not insured, that I know of - we may consider it. In my past, I wrote the claims processing software for Sainsbury's pet insurance - they've probably moved on from then by now.

We don't use kennels - we have a few people to feed her when we're away.

She hardly sleeps in her basket in the kitchen, apart from if it's cold when she comes in - kitchen door is shut overnight, as she sometimes brings mice in. She has adopted the spare bed as hers.
bridgstarr - on 02 Nov 2012
We don't insure ours and only take them to the vets if they are very bad. If the cat has coronary artery disease or needs a hip replacement, then I remind myself that it is just a cat, and I would probably be better off giving the money to charity and spend 50 quid saving another cat from euthanasia at the cat sanctuary.
I think if you are more sentimental (no bad thing) the you could spend a fortune.
RockAngel on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to ksjs:
> Currently considering taking on a cat that needs re-homing. She is 5 years old, chipped and neutered. Cost is unfortunately a consideration as my financial state isn't the most robust.
>
> I think the thing I am most aware of is vet bills. She will need annual innoculations and obviously things might go wrong health-wise. Is people's view that insurance is generally wortwhile or a waste of money (I had heard there were lots of exclusions in policies)?


Never had any of my mogs insured though I really wish I had with Max. Hes cost me a fortune over the years for stuff at the vets. hes now 17 and on 2 tablets a day for an overactive thyroid. Jess seems to be doing ok and shes 15. I saved up what i would have put into insurance for them in case of emergencies.

> Aside from vets, the only other costs I can think of are:
>
> Food
I spend a small fortune on catfood but they are on a senior diet now. Seeking out a reasonbly priced senior catfood every now and again, because they get bored with the same brand after a while, is the challenging part, especially as they like Morrisons or asda senior catfood and there isnt either of those shops anywhere near here.
> Kennels
always swapped petsitting duties with my mum so never had to put them in a kennels. dont think theyd cope with it. Max likes to be with people, all day.
>
> and then one-offs like:
>
> Collar
can get them quite cheap, but find somewhere that does tags cheap too as they lose collars
> Bowl
2 bowls are needed, about a pound each.
> Bed
how can one small cat hog a whole double bed?! they dont sleep in a special cat bed, oh sorry, I got that wrong, yes they do, its my bed!
> Changing owner details on the microchip
> Fitting a catflap
never had a catflap fitted. I am the doorperson who opens the door and waits for them to decide its actually too cold/wet/windy/snowy, etc for them to not go out and look at me as if it was my idea they wanted to go out.

You'll need a litter tray and litter too. they vary in price but my 2 used to like the covered ones but now they dont.
>
> Any others that it's worth taking into account?
>
> Thanks!

Cats are really needing homes now. so many are just abandoning them. If i can manage to apy for food and vet bills on a very low income then other people can. Its just being crafty with your pennies


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