5 Tips for Saving on Cat Veterinary Bills

Cat veterinary bills can really add up over the years, especially as some cats can live into their twenties! Here are some tips to help you save money on your cat's medical care.

1. Take Good Care of Your Cat

It makes sense that if you keep your cat fit and healthy, you'll pay fewer veterinary bills. After all, if your cat doesn't get sick, you'll only need to see the vet once a year, for the annual check up (don't think that your cat doesn't need an annual check up just because he doesn't seem to be sick. Annual check ups can help catch emerging medical problems before they get too serious).

Feed your cat a healthy diet. Your cat's diet should consist of both canned and dry food. That's because cats don't drink a lot of water; if they lived in the wild, they'd meet most of their hydration needs by ingesting the blood and bodily fluids of their prey. Domestic cats, especially tom cats, can develop kidney and urinary tract problems if they're not fed canned food regularly, because of the lack of liquid in their diet.

2. Play with Your Cat

Cats need exercise too. Exercise supports their immune systems, to help them fight off illness. It also keeps them fit, so they're less likely to suffer from health problems associated with obesity. Exercise can help prevent joint problems like arthritis, because it promotes joint movement and lubrication; it also keeps your cat's mind sharp and helps keep him feeling happy.

The best way to exercise your cat is to play with him regularly. If you can't spend time playing with your cat, buy a moving toy that can entertain him for you.

3. Keep Vaccinations Current

Cats are vulnerable to a number of illnesses, like rabies, feline distemper, feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus, that can cause serious illness and even death. These illnesses are entirely preventable through vaccinations. If you keep your cat's vaccines current, you're eliminating the possibility of having to spend money to treat contagious illnesses.

You can even save money on your cat's vaccinations by getting them from your local animal shelter, Humane Society or SPCA. These organizations often provide discounted vaccinations. But make sure you follow their vaccination schedules diligently; if you miss one, they may not allow you to continue, and then you'll have to pay more to get them from the vet.

Some vets may give special promotions on cat vaccinations, especially against rabies. Watch for these in your local newspaper or ask vets in your area.

4. Get Your Cat Spayed or Neutered

Getting your cat spayed or neutered eliminates the possibility of unwanted kittens that have to be cared for, and it also eliminates the chance of complications during pregnancy. Furthermore, it protects your cat against reproductive ailments. Unless you're planning to breed your cat, have him sterilized.

5. Shop Around

You might have a particular vet that you like, and that's okay. But if you really need to save money on vet bills, shop around among the vets in your area. Vet rates can vary significantly and you might find that the prices are a lot more reasonable elsewhere.