Hello. Tessa asks a question about frugal cat ownership. I'll jot a few notes down, and if anyone else has any frugal tips, please feel free to add your comments.
I am assuming you have already discussed this new addition with other family members, and the adoption might go ahead. The best place to get a cat is from a rescue/rehoming centre. You will have another mouth to feed so there is food to buy. Cats are fussy eaters, I have three and they all eat differently. I have dry food out 24/7 so they can graze when they like. Water next to it. I look for out of date cat food at the market, if I find it cheap I buy several bags at a time. At the moment they eat Whiskas dry and Perfect Fit dry. What I can't find in the market I get from the discount stores and look for offers. Home Bargains, B & M, Poundstretcher etc. It doesn't matter if they go off the dry food that you get, it can be put away for a while and brought out at a later date, in the hope that they might start eating it again.
Wilko's are generally more expensive except if they have an offer on. Supermarkets are expensive as well, unless on offer. I would never buy cat food from a small local shop, or small Co op, or any of the smaller convenience stores. Too expensive.
Wet food. The cheapest way is probably buy it in tins, but if you only have one cat the food will go off before you get to the bottom of the tin and you end up throwing it away. I don't buy tins for that reason. Pouches are more convenient, though not good for the environment. My cats won't touch the cheap own label pouches. Some cats will, though in the beginning it's trial and error.
Try your cat on the cheaper food first, all well and good if it eats it, but you might have to go up a level and get something better. There is a bit of snobbery around cat food, some people will only buy the most expensive. If you do that be prepared to pay more. My new boy Oscar is getting picky, he is turning away from Whiskas and Felix. I feed mine indoors so he has to come in for it. He sometimes sniffs at it and walks straight back outside again. He will do this several times until the food has gone off and I bring something else out. Sometimes I don't offer an alternative so if he is hungry he has to eat what is there.
Vet fees are expensive. Ask around for recommendations from friends. Some people routinely get their pets inoculated, I don't. I might have been lucky with the cats I have had but they rarely show signs of illness. Except of course Heidi, but her problem is under control and thankfully the tablets are not expensive.
The rescue should have neutered the cat you are getting. It will need flea treatment, again I don't do that routinely. It depends if your cat is going to roam around the neighbourhood, how likely is it going to come in contact with other cats who may have fleas. Shop bought flea treatment is not much good, the vet will have more up to date stuff. More expensive but it works. I do spot on, on the back of the neck, as and when I think they need it.
Cat litter. I have three trays in the house, in the winter they all get used. In the summer not so much because they spend time outdoors. I prefer the clay based clumping litter and get the cheapest from the supermarket Value or Basics range. I scoop out the poops, and scrape the clumps of pee stuck on the bottom and add a bit of fresh. Every so often I wash the whole tray outside in the garden and start afresh.
What are you going to do when you go on holiday? Check out cattery prices. If you are going to go down this route have a couple of short overnight stays first and see how the cat copes with it. Or make friends with your neighbour to come in and feed it.
Some people may prefer to take out an insurance to cover vet fees. My Bugsy was insured for 15 years of his 20 year life, I never needed to claim from it. I consider any years after 15 are a bonus, and if an illness is age related you have to make the decision about whether to treat, or not. Then quality of life comes into it. I now have no insurance for my three, I keep enough money aside to pay for any emergency. I know I would have to make a decision if one of mine were involved in an accident with a car. I will cross that bridge when I come to it. Hopefully will never have to. A cat across the road got run over it cost them £2000 for a broken leg. You just have to be aware that it might happen, and have a plan in place in case it does.
My carpets are ruined by cat scratching, all three do it. I have a scratching post but they don't use it. You have to live with a scruffy carpet, or contain your cat to only rooms where they will not do any damage. No need to spend money on fancy toys. Scrunched up balls of paper thrown about will amuse them. Drag a long piece of string along the floor and the cat will chase it. Be careful that you don't leave any string or thread lying about as they tend to chew on it and might swallow it.
That's all I can think of at the moment. If any readers have any more frugal tips for keeping a cat let us know in the comments. Thank you.