With many of us feeling the pinch when it comes to household budgeting, feeding your cat may be one of the expenses that you want to cut down on.
Cheap Isn’t Always Best
There are a number of budget cat food options available on the shelves, but buying the cheapest possible cat food may turn out to be a false economy. As carnivores, cats need a diet high in protein and with the right balance of fats. The cheapest cat foods are often bulked out with fillers, carbohydrates and grains that don’t cater to a cat’s specific nutritional needs.
You cat is likely to become hungry more quickly the higher the carbohydrate content of his food, so you’ll find he’ll actually end up eating more overall. The results of this are, at best your cat will gain weight, and at worst his overall health may suffer. In the long-term it doesn’t pay to compromise on good nutrition.
This isn’t to say that all low priced cat foods are carbohydrate-rich and uneconomical, but it’s essential to understand the complex nutritional and dietary requirements of cats, and look carefully at the labels when you buy to make sure you’re giving your cat the right balance.
Read the Labels
Reading the labels on the cat food you buy isn’t just essential for making sure it’s nutritionally suitable for your cat, you may also be surprised about how much of it you actually need to feed him. Different brands or varieties of cat food will often have different calorific content and nutritional values, so you may find that the recommended portion sizes differ between brands.
How much you feed your cat is also going to be influenced by your cat’s individual needs including their age and activity levels. If you’re not sure how much you should be feeding your cat, it’s always best to talk to your vet.
Read the labels closely to help you to compare the cost of different cat food varieties and recommended portion sizes. Based on the feeding guidelines on the packet, how much food will you need to give your cat at each meal? You can then determine the total number of serves in the packet, and figure out the actual cost per serve. With this information it is then much easier to figure out which brand of cat food is better nutritional value and a better buy.
There are a number of ways to shop smarter, when you’re doing your everyday grocery shopping and when you’re buying food for your cat.
Comparing prices at different shops is a great way to make sure you’re paying the best price possible. Online comparison sites are great for this, and you can often check the prices of your cat’s favourite brand at both retail and online shops (many now offer free shipping). Shopping around for the best price saves you money and in the long-term will even save you time, especially if you opt to buy online with free delivery.
Instead of buying your cat’s food from the supermarket, why not consider buying in bulk or buying direct from a pet products wholesaler. Online pet product wholesalers have the added bonus of delivering straight to your door. If you have a local wholesaler in your neighbourhood, it’s worth stopping by to see if they sell direct to the public. There’s no harm in asking, right?
If you always feed your cat the same brand of cat food, make sure you sign up for their newsletter or join their Facebook page. Many of the pet food brands or larger pet stores offer exclusive discounts and savings coupons for their loyal customers.
Whether it’s a temporary tightening of the belt, or a long-term cost saving goal, our advice is to not just think about what’s best for your budget; but think about what’s best for your cat within your budget.
What tips do you have for feeding your cat on a budget?
Image: Daniel Oines via Flickr