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Can you afford to (properly) care for your pet? The answer may surprise you

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Can you afford to (properly) care for your pet? The answer may surprise you

Photo courtesy CNW Group/Petcurean When I adopted my cat Sadie from the Humane Society two years ago, an adoption counsellor interviewed me to ensure I was prepared to care for a pet. One of the questions was related to affordability, and she asked me how much I thought I would spend on food, litter, toys, furniture and medical care annually. My guess was $1,000, and I found out that was on the high side of spending. I was financially prepared to adopt a cat. And I did. One year later, I adopted a second cat. I started buying kibble and litter more frequently than I anticipated. But $2,000 annually was well within my means. Things changed this past summer when Sadie, a beautiful longhair tortoiseshell whose coat intimate s a hint of Persian, was diagnosed with pancreatitis at the age of three. It took a few months, two vets, a stool sample, a blood test and several hundred dollars to come to this conclusion. But never did I think that all that work and money would be eclipsed by the day-to-day cost of keeping her healthy. There’s no pricey prescription medication that’s bleeding my wallet dry. Thankfully, there was no surgery, either. But, while veterinary doctors aren’t quite sure what triggers pancreatitis in felines, Sadie’s symptoms (weekly if not daily diarrhea, accompanied by infrequent vomiting) indicated that it was likely triggered by irritable bowel disease. My vet advised that I immediately put Sadie on a wet-only, grain-free diet, preferably consisting of high-quality, limited-ingredient canned foods. After discovering that the majority of canned pet foods contain a common thickening agent that’s been shown to cause colitis, or bowel inflammation, I was limited to only a few options. I put her on a diet of my two favourite wet cat foods, which unfortunately are sold in $3.50 five-ounce cans and $2 three-ounce pouches. My affordable kibble days were over. Between the two cats, who like to graze and therefore have to share a diet, I now spend $9 on cat food daily, probably more than I spend to feed myself most days. Sometimes they’ll leave the food sitting out far too long until it expires, and I silently cry a little as I dispose of the stale food and appease their eager demands for fresh pâté. The lesson? Adopting a pet means you’re agreeing to ante up when the going gets tough. That’s just the price that pet owners must pay. Photo courtesy CNW Group/Petcurean
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Can you afford to (properly) care for your pet? The answer may surprise you

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