A friend of mine recently added a new cat to her family. Let’s call her Joan for this little story.
Jack had been a half-grown homeless cat that hung around her neighbourhood all winter looking for handouts from kind hearted souls. Joan and her kids started feeding him on the front porch whenever he came around. They tried to convince Joan’s husband that they should adopt Jack. Clearly he had no place else to go. Her husband protested that they already have 2 adult indoor cats and adding a half grown outdoor cat wasn’t fair to the older cats. He was firm on his decision.
Several weeks later, Joan’s daughter was volunteering at the animal shelter and there was Jack. She called Joan begging to let her adopt him. Being that Jack is an all black cat, how was she sure he was the same cat? He was picked up on her very street, the daughter replied.
So there is begins. The “free” cat from a few weeks before is now a cat in the shelter. Adoption cost $125. But it didn’t end there. The other two cats are declawed and Joan and her husband have just had new carpets installed and purchased new furniture and decided that Jack must be declawed too. Another $300.
The “free” cat has now cost $425 (approximately) before he’s even come through the door. But it hasn’t ended there. He’s a young, frisky half grown cat. He has a lot of energy and needs a lot fuel. Their pet food bill has effectively doubled. The other two cats are not happy with sharing litterbox facilities and now there are two litter boxes which has upped the sanitary costs. I’m sure the price-tag attached to this “free” pet is going to continue to climb over the next dozen years or so.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love pets. I am a pet owner (two cats) myself. What I’m pointing out here is that “free” rarely is. If you’re prepared for the expense involved in pet ownership they can be wonderful members of your family and I highly recommend it but I also want to caution that “free” always comes with a price. In this case the price of adopting the “free” cat at the shelter (which included neutering and microchipping).