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Cost of keeping a cat, and other questions

(23 Posts)
philbee Tue 25-Sep-12 10:26:51

Hello all. Just after some advice, please. At the moment we have no pets because DH is not keen on animals at all. I grew up with cats and rabbits, and I want DD to have animals around so she doesn't become nervous around animals like her dad is. We also have an annual mouse problem which means I spend about a month putting down poison (ugh), and filling in gaps. I'd rather have a cat to keep the mice away and keep us company. DD is 4, and I'm pregnant at the moment.

Is this a good time to get a cat? How much does it cost to keep a cat, in terms of food, litter, vet bills, insurance etc.? DH has recently changed jobs and we will be on a lower budget, so I know that will be one of his objections. We would try to get a rescue cat from a shelter if a small-child-friendly one was available, so it would be vaccinated and neutered already. Any opinions or advice? Thank you.

cozietoesie Tue 25-Sep-12 11:02:10

Well getting a cat may not be the end of your mouse problem. (They're not all mousers by any means.)

Neither am I sure that now is the best time for you to get a new animal in the household with you expecting another DC. There are a lot of changes for you ahead anyway and adjusting to those, a lower budget and a DH who is not keen seem like a big ask to me. (Especially thinking in terms of the cat. If they come from a shelter they just might need extra attention and be more problematic in the initial stages and could be really unhappy if you're not able to give them all the cuddles they need.)

Food for me is not cheap but I've got an elderly boy who has managed to up the ante on his food because he needs meds (and knows I want him to eat it !) so I'm not typical. Neither do I use insurance because I wouldn't get it, although vet costs haven't been dramatic, luckily. Other people could give you a better idea - but I really think you should evaluate the situation carefully before getting a lifelong commitment like a new cat. You may be better placed to consider it in a year or two - and DD will still be young enough to enjoy and get used to animals. (In fact a couple of extra years might benefit both her and the new DC. I got my first cozieboy at 9 years old and we had no previous animals in the house. I managed fine. smile )

Good luck anyway - and congratulations on the coming arrival.


tabulahrasa Tue 25-Sep-12 12:21:35

Vaccinations are about £40-50 a year, my insurance is £6.35 a month, I don't really keep track of litter, but definitely less than £5 a week and I'm maybe about £10 a week in food. Wormer is about £9 every 3 months and flea treatment is currently £20 for four which is 4 months worth.

Babies and cats aren't a fantastic mix, but do-able of course - and you need to be really careful about the litter tray while you're pregnant.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 25-Sep-12 13:12:34

Terriers are better mousers tbh, I wouldnt want a terrier around a baby though.

I've had cats who couldnt give a monkeys if a mouse is in the room.

Older cats are cheaper ime, they've had all their accidents (hopefully), kittens are a nightmare for getting into scrapes. Usually on a Sunday when the vets is shut.

issey6cats Tue 25-Sep-12 13:51:32

i think apart from having four cats my cats are average for costs, cat food £2.50 a week per cat, flea treatment i buy a big spray frontline which is £28 but lasts six months, worm tablets £3.50 each once evey 3 months,

dont have insurance but have a bank account for cats, average visit to vets for minor ailments such as bad eyes or ears £39 for anti Bs vaccinations £39 per cat per year ,

two of mine would mouse in the house two of them wouldnt bother ,

and as others have said maybe wait a while till after the baby is born and a bit less stressful in terms of time and your DD is only 4 so a couple of years from now she will be 6 and new baby will be 2 so both will be young and still old enough to treat potential cat with gentleness,

a young adult cat from a rescue would be ideal as not a loony kitten and rescue will know cats temprement and wether suitable with young children, and not all rescues vaccinate, the one i work at neuters and chips, flea treats and worms but dosent vaccinate

philbee Wed 03-Oct-12 17:27:55

Thank you everyone for the advice and information. I think you're right, it's not a good time and partly I'm just fed up with the mice. I thought that mice generally didn't come into houses where there were cats, but is that not the case? Would they have to be a proper mouser to have any effect on the rustling population?

The figures are very useful, thank you. I think I'll do what cozytoesie suggests and wait a few years. In the meantime I will begin a stealth campaign against DH's weird animal phobia!

tabulahrasa Wed 03-Oct-12 18:03:38

In my experience you get more mice with cats, they bring them in, don't kill them and then lose them...

cozietoesie Wed 03-Oct-12 18:17:30

Buy some traps, philbee. Then give DH the duty of loading and setting them, emptying them, and cleaning them. You may well find that after a couple of seasons of that, his attitude towards cats has changed markedly! (The fact that any future cat may be a hopeless mouser is neither here nor there. wink) Once it arrives, he'll fall for its charms.

You could try poison bait but that's down to the individual. I don't like it personally because I'm always concerned about a semi-poisoned mouse getting out and being eaten by a hunting cat - and also about the dessicating skeletons under the floor boards. It does work though and can be put in lofts/cellars/places where the DCs wouldn't ever get near.

philbee Thu 04-Oct-12 14:10:00

I'd love to do the traps and make DH responsible but he washes his hands of it all. I have got lots of poison around and they are eating it, so I hope it won't be too long now. I think they nest under the houses, so they don't tend to come out much, but the poison does worry me a bit. However remembering to check traps and dispatching half dead mice would be worse! Ugh. Will see about asking DH but I don't think he'll do it.

I don't mind the odd mouse brought in, it's the thought of an army of them all scuttling about our house leaving droppings that I find stressful. When I was little my cat used to leave a set of mouse hind quarters on each step outside our front door! A little grisly gift for us.

cozietoesie Thu 04-Oct-12 17:31:05

My on and off lodger raised himself on the streets so learned to feed himself through hunting - and thieving from open windows and local shops/takeaways. He used to bring us 'gifts' of mangled chops, half fish and spare ribs from the local Chinese!

Now is the time, traditionally, that mice come inside with the worsening weather so make a big thrust at the moment and that will help. Absolute cleanliness is essential - any crumbs around the place (and how difficult is it to avoid that with a DD) will be a feast to them. Everything in sealed containers if you can - no cardboard packets of food left around for instance. You're bound to have something they can eat but if next door has more on offer, they'll go there out of preference.

Best of luck.


philbee Thu 04-Oct-12 20:41:48

I started reading your post and thought you were talking about a person there! Kind of 'Oliver Twist' style!

Yes, am trying to keep food consumption to kitchen and back room, lots of wiping and sweeping. All our food is up on the wall already from past years. Although DH is eating pizza in front of telly now, will have to get busy with the handivac. He's had a hard day though, don't feel I can banish him!

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 05-Oct-12 18:14:43

I didnt know we had a mouse in our kitchen until the cat jumped into a cupboard and killed it. Only time ever hes been told good boy for killing something.

Next door said they had moles, lying bastards. How do you have moles with no molehills?.

LynetteScavo Fri 05-Oct-12 18:22:57

My cats (or at least one of them) have been brilliant mousers. When we moved into our current house the drive and back patio became littered with little dead mice. Never seen any since, though.

Iv'e never had insurance, so the cost has been quite low. But now one of my cats is old and ill, and I'm paying £30/£40 pw atm in vets bills (who knew it coast £18 to take a cats blood pressure?!)

cozietoesie Fri 05-Oct-12 18:25:47

Depends on the vet, Lynette. Mine are real reasonable - and I haven't paid insurance on the senior boy for 5 years since I had him so I'm still just about ahead.

StrangeGlue Fri 05-Oct-12 18:33:29

I have three and they cost c. £50/mth food and £260/yr vets they pooh outside.

I don't both eith insurance as I'm yet to find one which covers a cat over 8 (when initiating policy) or for more than a year with the same illness (many policies time limit how long you can claim for one illness which is crap for cats as they get anything they tend to get things like diabetes, thyroid issues etc in later life) policies also tend to have a £50 excess (no use for absesses or steroud injections) and don't cover vaccines, worms or fleas or anything underlying/known of prior to getting the policy so they basically cover a cat for being hit by a car. Put money in a savings account instead.

But, back to the questions cats cost me roughly £287/yr each but that's likely to rise when they get old.

Titsalinabumsquash Fri 05-Oct-12 18:34:11

issey6cats do you mind me asking how you feed yours cats for £2.50 each per week? Just interested in what you feed them and how much, I ask as I have 3 cats currently racking up obscene food bills because they are constantly by the food bowl meowing for food, all are wormed and everything too.

OP, our cats are rubbish with mice, they bring them in then leave them alive to run around in the house.
I would never mistreat or do anything to harm my cats and they are pampered felines by anyones standards but I get no joy out of them anymore, every week poses a new stress/hassle but maybe I'm just doing something wrong.

LynetteScavo Sat 06-Oct-12 00:13:14

If I only feed my cats sainsburys own brand 12 pack of tins, it would cost £3.50 a week each. But I sprinkle some Iams on the top, so it costs a bit more.

Floralnomad Sat 06-Oct-12 00:19:26

My DMs cat costs an absolute fortune, is a full time house cat with gastric issues . Gets through about £12 of prawns a week , specialist cat food at £1 a sachet which invariably he leaves , has fresh chicken ( must be freshly cooked ) at least twice a week. Tons of cat litter and he will only use the tray if it has Catsan in it . He's a completely spoiled brat ! Her 2 dogs cost very little in comparison as they share a tin of food with a bit of biscuit on top.

LynetteScavo Sat 06-Oct-12 00:22:47

The advantage flea drops (which are the only thing I've found to work) and worming drops aren't cheap. It's another couple of £ per week per cat, I think.

QuietTiger Tue 16-Oct-12 13:27:41

Am ROFL at the cats keeping mice away.

We have 9 and they seem to think that union rules mean no mousing in the house. Either that, or the mouse that lives (ironically) in the cat-food cupboard is a super breed of indestructible ninja mouse!

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 16-Oct-12 14:25:23

Well, thats just like cats to form a union.

Bring in a load of scabs (terriers) to do the job.

We had one in the cat food cupboard too.

TimrousBeastie Tue 16-Oct-12 15:08:15

asking the same thing as titsalina- issey what do you feed your cats? i have two and they easily cost me £10-15 a week to feed

MissFoodie Wed 17-Oct-12 10:15:07

I have 1 cat, but easily costs £40-50 a month, between food, insurance (£13), frontline (£7);
I refuse to give him cat food that does not look like food, so buy most of it from zooplus - however, he is not a greedy cat, so 1 small tin does 2 meals, he also has biscuits but never finishes the bowl.
He goes outside so no cat litter required but I have had expenses like microchip flap as well as zillions of toys, basket, scratching post, brushes.....! grin

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