The feeding and the cost of ownership of cats
In this article we are going to take you through the costs associated with owning and feeding a cat.
Most prepared ‘complete’ cat foods come in tinned or dry varieties or both and can be fed exclusively; it is a matter of personal preference as to which you use.
Dried, ‘kibble’ types of foods tend to be better for cat teeth and dental health by helping keep tartar from building up. Although these look quite bland to us humans, they are designed to be very tasty for your cat. If your cat is sometimes a little picky with his kibble, add a little warm water to it which will often release the warm meaty smells and make it taste even better.
The advantages of dried food is that it can be cheaper than tinned/sachet foods and can be bought in bulk (useful if you have several cats) and it can help dental hygiene as it reduces tartar building up. Dried foods are available to suit every stage of your cat’s life, as well as varieties for specific disease conditions. It is important to ensure that the cat has easy access to a good supply of fresh water.
Some cats prefer wet food, particularly those who are picky eaters, as it is smellier and tastier than dried food. The disadvantages are that wet food is bulky to carry, has 70-80% moisture, cannot be left down as it goes off and it produces more recyclable rubbish.
Both tinned and dried varieties of food will have feeding guides on the side and you should always check the packaging information when you start to feed your cat new food. The guide is exactly what it says, it is a guide, and not a set of rigid instructions. Some cats may be fed as per the guide and lose weight, whilst others may gain weight. The amount fed should thus be adjusted to the individual cat to maintain the ideal body weight. It is suggested you weigh the dry food on kitchen scales for accuracy.
Cats should generally be fed on an ad hoc basis with food available all day so they can graze. However, this may not be suitable for all cats, as some can be greedy and uncontrolled access to food can lead to weight gain. Obesity in cats must be avoided as it can be directly responsible for diabetes and some forms of liver disease.
It is very important if you decide at any point to change your cat’s food to do it slowly and gradually, as any sudden changes can result in stomach upsets.
Also it is important that your cat always has access to a fresh and plentiful supply of water.
Feeding over a cat’s lifetime is a large part of the costs of ownership, but there are of course other costs associated with keeping a cat.
• The actual cost of the cat in the first place if applicable
• Yearly vaccinations
• Cattery fees
• Neutering and microchipping (one off costs)
• Worming and flea treatments
• Monthly pet insurance premiums
• Miscellaneous costs such as cat beds, toys, bowls, collars etc.
These are just some of the costs involved, but becoming a cat owner will make you a cat lover for life and it will all be worth it!