Monday, May 1

Pet Value

Okay, this isn't going to be a huge post about how to save all kinds of money on your pets via all kinds of strategies. It's just a few anecdotes that may help you look at things differently, or not, depending upon how you do think about those things now. So, with that out of the way...

I have two pets. They are left over from a relationship that eventually failed to turn into a marriage, although that is a long story suited for some other blog entirely, the gist is that while I love them, I never would have gotten them if left to my own devices. Luckily, for me and for them, they are currently my family, so they are somewhat spoiled.

When I go to the pet store to buy food or litter I see a lot of fancy toys. Since my pets are cats, things like fake mice, fluffy balls, balls with bells in them and things like that catch my eye, on their behalf of course. So, from time to time I will pick something up and see if they will be inclined to play with their new toy.

I have to report that for a long time the fake mice were a hit. I'd wake up with one by my feet in the mornings... and over a few days the little fake ears and tails would be chewed off with glee and false ferociousness. However, their latest fancy is the small multicolored fluff ball with bits of what appears to be a foil like substance squeezed in there as well.

Eventually all the toys figure out that the best hiding space is under the couch, where they can cower out of reach from prying paws. From time to time when the place is looking bare I'll grab the broom and root around under the couch with the handle. The cats recognize this tactic and it's a veritable field day as all sorts of long lost favorite toys are once again revealed to the light of day!

However, at the same time, there is absolutely no need for me to buy any of these toys at all. Every time I go to the grocery store and crinkle up a the receipt the cats will come running. If I throw the receipt they will chase it and bat it around for a while. Similarly, while there are all kinds of fancy cat beds for sale, my cats are more than happy to curl up into an appropriately sized empty box. If those are in short supply, all I have to do is lay out some clothing and before you know it there will be a cat laying there.

So far, at about seven and eight years old, neither of my cats has ever been introduced to catnip and they are still very playful. They'll chase me around the house, or vice-versa, from time to time. They "play laundry" whenever I try to fold and stow my clothes. They chase all my receipts, drop toys beside me when I'm trying to play on the computer, and otherwise cavort like little freaks whenever I'm trying to concentrate on something.

The moral of the story is that a happy cat is a healthy cat, whether or not you are spending tons of money on toys, sleeping arrangements and special foods. Your cat needs play and exercise, which doesn't cost a lot of money, but it does take a bit of time and attention. If you can spare your pets some time and attention, they might be able to spare you some extra veterinary bills in the long run and leave you with a few more fond memories when their short allotment of time is eventually up.

Besides, treat them well and I'm sure they say good things on your behalf when your time is finally coming to an end as well.


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Mom2fur said...

Something that makes my cat Melody go bonkers is the plastic ring you pull off a milk jug. She is so easily entertained!
I planted catnip in my back yard and my cats just love it.

Anonymous said...

You mention a short span of life, but cats, like all of us (and for the same reasons - better nutrition and health care - are living longer. My daughter's cat is 18 and though an old fella now, still enjoys his life. Yesterday he was playing like a kitten. He is the second cat we have had that has lived so long.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have had usually 2 cats at a time for 45 years and even when living on our 42' boat at times. They were indoor cats and lived to be 17-21 years old. I adopted a male Siamese 1 year ago and he is the most lovable cat I ever had. I have planted catnip in my fenced in garden and had many cats visiting and rolling around in it. But, since I love wild birds, I put the catnip in a hanging container and kept "mooching" cats out.

Sari said...

my housemates cat just loves paper... crinkle some up and toss it by him and he goes nuts. the problem is the two dogs who now have learned that paper=playtime. hah.