This week after sending our hard-earned nickels and dimes to Uncle Sam, and reading about the state of the economy, I worry about the cost of care for our fur-kids. Have y’all been tightening your belt and making do with fewer luxuries? Eating at home instead of going out? Renting a DVD or waiting for HBO release instead of heading to the movies? Letting the lawn get a wee bit more shaggy between mowing to save on the cost of gas? Staying in town instead of traveling on vacation? What about your pets? I’ve heard from many cat and d*g owners that they’re cutting back on standard care and putting off those yearly check ups, making the monthly flea meds stretch to six weeks, and looking into home-cooking-kibble and do-it-yourself treatments when possible. Cat owners are the worst culprits, I think, because our kitties are so darn stoic we may not recognize they have a problem until something’s seriously wrong. And that can be dangerous. There are some ways to cut corners, of course. One way I do this is with what I call “cheap thrills.” Forego the pricey store-bought cat toys and catnip. Grow your own catnip--it’ll be more pungent and effective than the dried stuff that’s been on the shelves over the winter. A plain empty paper bag also gets Seren’s motor running. Just be sure to cut off any handles or cats can get caught. Toss a Ping Pong ball into the empty bathtub and watch the kitty bat it round and round. That keeps you from having to fish it out from under the refrigerator time after time. Does your cat adore feature toys? Or those fabric pom-poms? Go to the craft shop. You’ll find packages of all kinds of features, and bags full of pop-poms for the price you’d pay for one fancy cat-tease at the local pet supply store. What other types of cost-saving pet tips do you practice?
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