Are you thinking about getting a pussy cat? If so, do you know how much it’ll cost to keep them fed, entertained, happy and healthy?
Here’s our guide to the cost of keeping a cat.
How much does it cost to buy a cat? We got our latest rescue cat, Steve, from a local shelter at a cost of £70, which covered his injections, spaying and micro chipping. Paying for spaying, inoculations and micro chipping yourself costs a lot more.
Obviously a pedigree animal can cost a great deal more but Steve (pictured above in the sink!) is just a moggy…
Apparently there’s much less demand for black cats as there is for other colours, so you can take your pick of homeless black pussies, a lovely thing to do if you want to adopt a furry person who needs a loving home.
Here are some local cat shelters, all of which are always in need of kind new owners.
City cat shelter: www.citycatshelter.com
Lost Cats Brighton: www.lostcatsbrighton.org.uk
RSPCA Brighton: www.rspca-brighton.co.uk
Kitty in the City: www.kittyinthecity.org.uk
Cat Welfare Sussex: www.catwelfaresussex.com
Cheap cat food has a lower meat content, not as good for their overall health as premium, meat-rich foods. Premium foods are more expensive but your cat will need to eat less of it, so it works out about the same in the long run.
Our three cats eat a tin of food between them per day, plus a bowl of dry cat biccies. Obviously you can pick cat food up in any supermarket or corner shop, but here are some specialist local places to buy cat food.
Any good pet shop in the city will be able to give you good advice about everything from cat diets to beds, toys, flea and tick preparations and more.
A. Coombes pet shop, 19-21 Baker St, just off the London Road
Pets Corner, at the Garden Centre at the top of Elm Grove
Pets Corner Hove: petscorner.co.uk/hove
Pets at Home, Unit 4A Goldstone Retail Park Old Shoreham Road, Hove
Unlike dogs, most cats don’t need a special bed. Our cats Dave, Steve and Molly have crazes. One week they’ll sleep on the sofa, the next week they’ll regard it with utter contempt and take themselves off to sleep on the bathroom rug, or the stairs.
You can buy a lovely cat bed, or a woolly hanging bed that you fix over a radiator for supreme warmth, but bear in mind they might go off it pretty quickly. A folded soft blanker or old towel usually does the trick, and costs a whole lot less.
If it wriggles or wiggles, a cat will chase it. You can buy special cat toys but it isn’t really necessary. They’ll chase and ‘kill’ bits of string and wool, crumpled up balls of paper, ribbons, twigs and leaves from the garden, anything that moves in mysterious and interesting ways!
Cat treats are cool, as long as they’re good quality. Ours adore Catnip treats and Dreamies. I often fill an old sock with Catnip, which they adore licking, throwing in the air and ‘killing’. If you’ve never seen an animal on a ‘high’, it’s a sight to see!
Our Steve loves playing with water. All he needs to keep him happy is for us to turn a tap on for him so he can sit and grin under the drips. Silly thing.
Our cats love being brushed to remove extra hair. We bought a special cat grooming brush for a couple of quid, which seems to do just fine. Obviously you don’t need to bath cats – they clean themselves perfectly well, and spend a lot of their lives grooming their fur. For cat grooming accessories, visit your local pet shop.
Vets are expensive whether you have a hamster or a Great Dane. Cats need annual injections, especially important if they spend time outside and regularly meet other cats. Cat Flu is a killer, but jabs help prevent it. And FIV, the feline version of AIDS, can be prevented by inoculations too.
Your local vet should be able to advise you about the annual costs for injections and regular health checks.
It’s best to choose a vet close to your home, since cats don’t like travelling much at the best of times, never mind when they’re ill.
Cats are prone to fleas, especially when they spend time outdoors and interact with other cats. Cat flea and tick preparations are really expensive but essential to keep your pussies flea-free and comfortable.
Can you afford it? They’re almost always cheaper online than going to a shop or buying from the vet, so always shop around.
If you can’t afford to pay for emergency veterinary care, pet insurance comes in handy. How much does it cost? It depends on the age of your cat and its state of health.
Just make sure you choose cover that provides lifetime pay-outs for serious diseases and conditions, not just payments for a year or six months. If your cat becomes diabetic, for example, they’ll need treatment for life.
How often do you go on holiday? Cattery costs can mount up and most cats, being very territorial and fond of their own space, dislike being sent away from home.
Instead, you can use a cat sitting service, where someone trustworthy comes into your home to feed your cats while you’re away.
Your vet should be able to recommend someone, and you can always telephone or visit the website to find out in advance how much it costs.
Animals at Home: animalsathome.co.uk/CatCare
Brighton Cat-sitters: brightoncatsitters.co.uk
Toto Cat Feeding: cat-feeding.com
Yes, you can have your cat photographed by a pro. But the biggest challenge is getting them to stay still.
Cats don’t obey orders, but if yours is an obedient type there are a few professional pet photographers in the city.
Brighton Pet Photography: brightonpetphotography.co.uk
CWP Photography: cwp-photography.co.uk/Pets
We have three cats buried at home in our garden, but the city has at least two pet cemeteries, perfect if you don’t have outdoor space.
Raystede pet Crematorium: raystede.org/peaceways/
Brighton Pet Crematorium: petcrematorium-petcemetery.co.uk
Sussex Pet Crematorium: www.clpets.co.uk
The RSPCA website is packed with excellent information about cat ownership.
Member since: 5th July 2012
I'm Kate Naylor, a Brighton and Hove-based freelance copywriter with more than twenty years' direct marketing experience.