If you have pet
Insurance, see If
you can adjust
When finances are tight, it’s easy to
think of pet insurance as fat that can
be trimmed from your budget. But
that decision could cost you more
than you would save. My “day job” is
with Trupanion, so I asked the company’s chief veterinary officer, Kerri
Marshall, D.V.M., for her thoughts.
“Pet medical insurance is especially
important when you are on a limited income,” she said. “Some of the
most common claimed conditions
can cost hundreds to treat, including
vomiting ($350 on average), foreign
body ingestion ($950 on average), and
urinary obstruction ($610 on average).”
By keeping your insurance intact, “you
can avoid making the choice between
going into debt or euthanizing your
pet solely for economic purposes,”
Marshall told me. Some pet insurance
companies offer the option to adjust
your coverage until your finances
improve. Call your carrier to ask about
ways to save money on your policy.
vaccInatIon or spay/
Almost every city and region has
cost-saving options for responsible
cat caretakers who want to protect
their furry friends from disease and
not contribute to the pet overpopulation problem. Call your local shelter
or check the Internet for information
about programs in your area. Spay/
neuter clinics often require reservations; plan ahead because appointments fill up quickly.
Pet Pantries 101
A pet food pantry, like a food pantry for people, is a place where
low-income individuals can pick up free food, except it’s for their
furry friends. Most pet food pantries are operated by animal shelters
and rescues, but other organizations that run food pantries for people
may also collect donations of pet food and supplies.
Many pet food banks require that recipients meet income guidelines in order to qualify for support.
Pet food pantries’ donations come from a variety of public and private sources. Pet food manufacturers donate products that are nearing but not past their sell-by date, and area businesses may conduct
pet food drives. Grants from foundations and contributions of cash or
food by individual donors are also vital.
Here are a few of the national organizations that have programs
designed to help pet food banks. Check your area for local programs.
Banfield Charitable Trust gives grants to nonprofit organizations,
such as human food banks and emergency hay banks, to purchase
pet food for their pet-owning clients. Visit banfieldcharitabletrust.org.
The Petco Foundation operates a food bank collection program in
its stores nationwide. The pet food donations are then given to local
food banks to assist people in financial crisis. Visit petco.com.
The Save Our Pets Food Bank started in 2008. Its initial mission
was to help pet owners in the Atlanta region, but the organization’s
founders soon realized that there was a huge need for pet food assistance beyond its own area. Save Our Pets decided to offer guidance
and support to other nonprofits; since then, it has helped to launch
more than 300 pet food banks across the U.S. Visit saveourpetsfood-bank.org.
Want to set up a pet food bank of your own? The Animal
Shelter Tips website has information about how to get started and things to consider as you make your plans. Check it
out at animalsheltertips.com/pet_food_bank.html.
Know a national food bank we missed? Email us at catster
JaneA Kelley is the author of the award-winning cat advice blog Paws and Effect
( paws-and-effect.com) and a contributing writer at catster.com. She is a longtime
shelter volunteer and supporter, and currently serves as the secretary and director
of social media for Diabetic Cats in Need, an organization that helped save the
life of her own diabetic cat. Find her on Instagram, on Facebook and Pinterest at /
pawsandeffect, and on Twitter at @pawsandeffect.
If you’re In dIre straIts, don’t be
ashamed to go to a pet food pantry.
More and more organizations are starting to understand how important our
pets can be when it comes to getting us through tough times. As a result, many
food pantries also collect pet food donations.
Unemployment is a real drag, but remember that no matter how terrible things
seem, your cat loves you unconditionally. She doesn’t think any less of you because
you lost your job. She probably wouldn’t care if she had to sleep in a refrigerator
box as long as she was with you. Hopefully, you can take heart from that.