This article may include affiliate links. If you make a purchase, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
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
Great advice – we tell people all the time to feed the best food you can afford, but more importantly, read the ingredients and avoid over-processed ingredients and additives. We will be releasing our SlimKitty Food Database soon and that will help.
Christine Paul says
Our kitties now have canned food added to their mix, i figured they needed just as much care as the doggies 🙂
M. K. Clinton says
Pet food can really run the gamut on cost. One of my cats contracted F.U.S. from eating only dry food for his four years. It has been thirty years and hopefully dry cat food has improved to prevent this but i’d still be sure to add moist or canned food on occasion.
Playful Kitty says
I agree with the idea that buying better food means needing less of it. It is sort of like choosing between purchasing fast food or a healthy steak dinner. Eating better can also save you money in the end in litter (eating good food means less waste) and medical bills.
Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady says
Thanks for sharing! This was a great post and very informative!
I think more people need to read the labels before giving the cheapest food to their pets!
That’s such great advice! We try to feed our kitties the best stuff possible — doing so can help keep them healthier in the long run.
The Island Cats says
These are some good tips. We agree, sometimes it’s better to invest in a quality food. It will save money in the long run.
Andrea @ This Pug Life says
I help people with this all the time at the pet store where I work. They’re often surprised to find out that our “expensive” grain-free foods are actually about the same price when you consider that you have to feed half as much to get the same amount of nutrition!
There are lots of affordable, good quality foods out there – you definitely don’t have to break the bank.
The P.A. always gets us the good stuff, so we’re furry lucky. Plus she says that cheap pet food is false economy, as we turn our noses up at it and walk away – thus the cheap food isn’t cheap as it ends up in the bin and the normal/regular food needs to bought as an extra thus equating to a bigger outlay!
So the motto in our house is, buy us what we like and save! MOL
Fur Everywhere says
These are great tips! Before I had to start feeding prescription food, I used to feed my kitties California Natural. I found that feeding a natural, high-quality diet, while more expensive per bag, lasts longer than the cheaper brands because it’s more filling for the kitties and it’s healthy for them, too. 🙂
We kitties are very lucky – my human never looks at prices when she shops for cat food! She is frugal in other ways, but when it comes to us, she throws all that out the window.