Frugal Pet Care



I’ve had my (baby) cat for about five years. I got him while I was still in school, which meant I did not have a lot of money to play with. He’s been healthy and for the most part happy (he’s a bit mean at times). I’ve set aside money in my budget for him and it has worked so far. Now that I’m married and my husband has adopted my cat, there are two people looking out for him.


Having a pet is not cheap, so if you’re struggling to make ends meet and want a pet, please wait. Even though there are ways to cut some expenses down, it cost money to take care of an animal.

Find a good and affordable veterinarian

If you’re low income, consider speaking to your local animal shelter. Some of them have clinics with reduced fees for vet visits and commonly used medications for lower income families. Also ask around for more information on vets in your area. A good vet can save you money if they can diagnose the problem early.

Also don’t be afraid to ask the vet if you can workout a payment plan. Some are willing to work with you if you’re upfront.

Consider a healthcare plan for your pet.

PetSmart also has the Banefield clinics which are supposed to be affordable to most people. They also have a monthly health plan that covers many common appointments. I haven’t used it, but my sister swears by it.

Keep your pet up to date on vaccinations.

Some cities sponsor events that offer vaccinations at lower than normal costs. Take advantage of such programs.

Vaccination Recommendations for Cats

  • FVRCP(Panleukopenia, Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Chlamydia)
  • Rabies
  • Feline Leukemia (FeLV)
  • FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis)

Vaccination Recommendations for Dogs

  • DHLPPC (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza, Corona combination)
  • Bordetella (Internasal)
  • Rabies
  • Giardia
  • Lyme

Play with your pet

By exercising with your pet you’ll:

  • Keep your friend healthy
  • Bond with him/her
  • Get some exercise for yourself in

There are a lot of cheap toys you can buy to keep your pet entertained. My cat is addicted to his 99cent mice. Remember, though, your pet’s best companion is you. Don’t just buy toys, interact with your furry friend.

If you have a dog, taking him or her out for a walk is good both physically and mentally for them.

Groom your pet yourself.

Keep their nails, teeth, ears, and hair clean. My cat isn’t exactly a fan of when I use the fine tooth comb for his hair, but he loves when I use the wider toothed comb because it’s like a massage. You also save some money.


Being frugal doesn’t mean being skipping on vet visits and buying low quality food (which in turn can aid a pet in gaining weight and developing other problems). It means saving money in case a serious problem comes up and you don’t worry about paying the light bill or your dog’s surgery.


Please be responsible and only get a pet if you can afford the basic care.

Where to find more information on reducing your pet care expenses

In case you want to compare and find some more information, here are some other posts on the topic:

Do you have pets? How many? How do you take care of them?

I’m curious to see how many people are pet-owners.

Photo Credit: fweez





7 Responses to Frugal Pet Care

  1. Muahahaha….

    Okay, nevermind that. I have 2 cats of my own, but then my mom dumped 2 of the family cats on me, so now I have 4. I’d really like to go back down to 2. Two rats, which I wish I hadn’t got, and a 75gal aquarium with a bunch of fish. They number in the teens, which makes such a big tank kind of empty, but I plan to add more sometime.

    How do I take care of them? Well, I already have everything I need for the fish, from back when I was splurging like hell on my credit card. The rats are pretty easy. One thing I never buy cheap on is cat litter – I’ve had too many bad experiences with cheapo litter, it just isn’t worth the little bit of savings. Food, I buy the biggest, cheapest bag I can find that isn’t store-brand.

  2. Jake, my friend started with one cat and now has four. You’re right about cat litter. Good cat litter is not cheap. Which kind do you use? I’m using the crystals and it is a big improvement for us. We also went ahead and bought a ‘igloo’ cat litterbox.

  3. Aaaaahh!

    I used to use the crystals, and swore by them at the time. Now, I’ll never use them again. If you don’t dump it out often enough, the cats just stop using it. Plus, having to scrape out those saturated, caked on crystals at the bottom… eck. Plus, the copious amounts of dust generated when pouring the crystals in – I had to resort to this one time to deal with the ammonia smell from emptying the old stuff out and the dust from pouring the new in:

    I currently use Tidy Cats for multiple cats, in the big ole buckets. Was using the blue buckets, which are supposed to have better clumping power, but now that I’ve tried one of the red buckets, I’ve found it clumps even better.

    Whelp, I’m off to buy cat food… they’ve been awful rowdy all day from starvation.

  4. I have pet insurance. The health care plan through Banfield actually doesn’t cover any accidents or illnesses. It’s there for the wellness care (Vaccines etc). It’s the UNEXPECTED vet bills that are impossible to budget for. I’m enrolled with Trupanion, they have the best coverage but you have to enroll your pet when they are a puppy or kitten. Then you get $20 000 of coverage over their lifetime for accidents/illnesses. I now have peace of mind.

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