February 2009 Issue

Pet Care on a Budget

Here are simply ways to save money on caring for your cat. This includes regular veterinary care. We explain why.

With the economy stumbling, the prospect of hundreds of dollars a year in cat care may seem daunting. But donít worry: There are plenty of ways to defray the cost of owning a cat without compromising your petís well-being. In fact, some of the most effective strategies will actually benefit your cat. As Jodi Korich, DVM, director of Partners in Animal Health at Cornell Universityís College of Veterinary Medicine explains, "One of the best ways to save money on your petís health is to pay attention to early disease detection and preventive health care." Just like oil changes and preventive maintenance result in fewer repair bills for your car, she says, regular check-ups and early intervention will save you money in the long run. Dental hygiene tops Dr. Korichís list of money-saving health care. Dental disease is the most common malady cats suffer, afflicting fifty percent of all cats. Learning to brush your catís teeth at home can make a tremendous difference in your catís oral health. While itís not easy to become an expert at cat-brushing, it costs little and can save a lot. Early intervention is equally important. Because you know your cat better than anyone, youíre in the best position to spot subtle changes that might indicate a medical problem. Donít ignore something small in the hopes that it will go away because the cost of a cure gets larger the bigger the problem gets. Make it a habit to examine your cat weekly for things like missing hair, skin bumps, tearing eyes or excessive drooling. Keep an eye out for changes in your catís routine, such as a change in appetite or bowel habits.

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