Foreclosures and the recent economic meltdown have made it difficult for pet owners to continue to provide for their pets. As a result, animal shelters are experiencing an influx of pets. Wayside Waifs animal shelter in Kansas City has had 32 pets enter their shelter because of financial issues. This shelter has also had 79 animals come in because their owner’s lifestyle has changed, and 193 pets were surrendered because their owners were moving. Although cutting back on your overall expenses might be out of necessity and not choice, there are some ways that you can help keep your pet during these difficult times.
One way to cut back on your pet expenses is to eliminate the toys, treats, clothing and other accessories that spoil your pet. Keep in mind that your pet needs food, water, shelter and love. Give your pets natural treats like carrots and be creative by turning common household items into toys. For example, cats love string and tin foil balls, and dogs can chew on tennis balls or fetch Frisbees.
It’s important to provide your pet with well-balanced food, but some brands and organic/natural kibble choices can be more expensive. If you are unable to continue to buy these types of food, slowly switch your pet over to a less expensive brand that will still provide your pet with essential nutrients and protein. Also choose to give your pet water from the faucet instead of purchasing bottled water.
When it comes to cats, litter gets costly since you have to change it often. Make sure to buy clumping litter so you can sift out the clumps to keep the clean litter fresh. If you can find time to remove the clumps on a daily basis, you will not have to remove the entire contents of the litter as often. An alternative is to teach your cat how to use the toilet. With consistency and patience it’s possible, and it can eliminate your need for litter.
If you find that you are still unable to meet your pet’s needs, consider asking a family member or friend take care of your pet until you get back on your feet. This option is better than giving up your pet for good. Unemployment is temporary, so see if someone close to you can care for your pet for a few months.
Facing your financial problems is challenging, but it’s even harder to give up a part of your family. There are still animal shelters out there that can take over caring for your pet, but do the best you can to reduce your pet costs so you don’t have to lose your loyal companion. During these difficult times, it’s comforting to have a cuddly friend by your side.