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A Cat’s Guide to Frugal Living

by Terrye

When your owners turn on the TV and all they see is bad news about the cost of everything hitting all time record prices, they tend to get a little testy. And it’s only going to get worse for the foreseeable future. Almost every last one of them is focusing on how to stretch their budgets just to put a meager meal on the table instead of their mandatory duty of petting us as we lounge around in their laps.

Things are getting so desperate that they are extreme couponing, stocking up when sales on staples come around and buying less of the ‘fluff’ items. More people are turning to reusing and recycling. Folks are even starting to try their hand at growing their own food and perform their own maintenance on things they used to spend lots of money getting other folks to fix for them.  So, what is the esteemed family cat to do to help out when their people opt for a frugal lifestyle?

1. Generic Cat Food.  You watched your family go from steak and potatoes to store brand macaroni and cheese that even the dog turns his nose up at. Then the big bag of veterinarian approved dog food is replaced with an industrial sized tub of “dog kibble.” You know it’s only a matter of time before your “Finest Friskies” is replaced with humble and classless “cat food.”

You stare at the ingredients and although they are vaguely reminiscent of the brand you are so keen on, they do nothing for your palette. Licking the bag gives you as much satisfaction as eating the contents but with less gas. Be sure to express your gratitude to your people with a few chords of “Cat Fart Fever” the next time you happen to be napping in one of their laps.

2. Cat Litter. The wonderfully fresh scent of the outdoors would slowly rise up every time you scratched at the kitty litter with your little paw. It was almost a delight to use the indoor facilities instead of the neighbor’s flower garden. However, this new indignation makes you want to hold it and wait for the dog to whimper at the door so you can relieve yourself on the master’s favorite lawn chair. Garden sand. Really? Where is the humanity?

3. Staying Warm. Now that everything is so expensive, the two-leggeds have cut back on the wonderful warm, crackling fires that everyone enjoyed sitting in front of. Now to stay warm, you have to coax a couple of old blankets from the female. When it’s really brisk, she takes them from you and you’re forced to cuddle with the tick target. If your friends ever found out, they’d take away your feline card.

4. Kitty Treats. You know once the kibble hit the trail, the treats weren’t far behind. But honestly, how much could a little can of treats really hurt the budget? Master said you had to kiss those kitty treats hasta la bye bye! That’s easy for him to say, he’s still drinking his coffee with cream and sugar and you can’t even get a bowl of left-over cereal milk. You’d go on strike but you don’t think they’d notice the difference.

5. Do it yourself Vet checkup. You were due for your yearly shots, but the missus was informed that vet trips will no longer be on the agenda until further notice. Instead, the mister has instructed the children that all of your future medical needs will involve them cracking open their Doc McStuffin’s doctor’s bag. And they have been given explicit orders that band aids are to be applied sparingly and only if there is gushing blood. Don’t you just feel so loved and appreciated?

6. Kitty Christmas.  Kitty is too depressed to even comment. Anyone have a tissue? Used is fine. He’s starting to adjust to life as a pauper.

7. Cat Toys. A cat must play. It’s in your nature. So, you better not even think about cutting those out of my drab existence. Tin foil balls are fine. And shiny. But you have to draw the line at recycled toilet paper rolls and homemade cat costumes made from hand me down doll clothes. No, he means it. He’s NOT playing dress up kitty.

8. Dumpster Diving. You’re not proud of this one, but you would be amazed at what the neighbors throw away. And if you get to it before the raccoons or the guys in the big, noisy truck, you can actually supplement your kittiness with the simple things like tuna fish and chicken. Just remember, it’s still good until it’s hit the ground twice.

9. Growing your own cat nip. Ok, this one might not be such a bad notion. Sometimes that store bought stuff has a slight after taste to it and it tickles your nose, driving you to run around the house like you’re half crazed because you can’t rub your nose. And you’re not about to ask that dog for help. But this fresh stuff, oh la la! It’s there 24/7 and you don’t have to bother anyone to get it for you. Yeah, you’re starting to like this idea. Bring on the fresh, organic stuff!

10. Lounging. With all the added work your humans have to do now; gardening, DIY projects, cleaning, etc., there is less time for loafing around and petting you into a coma. So you’ve decided to sacrifice some of your idle time and show them how things are supposed to be done. You know they’ll appreciate your efforts and you’ll serve as a good example for that lazy, good for nothing mutt. Who are you kidding, cats don’t volunteer for housework!

Hopefully, the economy will turn around within the life-cycle of your average house cat. Otherwise, that old tom cat will be telling his grand kittens all about the good ole days when he dined on moist gourmet cat food from a can. And he had his very own heating pad for those cold winter nights, none of this cuddling with the flea bag dog for warmth crap. And he wasn’t expected to earn his keep by prowling the estate, looking to evict rodents and freeloading birds. At least it hasn’t come down to the neighbors eying him with imagines of cat stew for Sunday dinner dancing in their undernourished minds.

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