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Free kittens? Not quite

February 18th 2019

Author: Sarah Butler

When you see a kitten being advertised as “free” either online or in your local newspaper, it’s important to understand that free doesn’t actually mean free.

While you may pay nothing to receive your new adorable little kitten, you may need
to spend hundreds of dollars in the first days and weeks, and thousands over their lifetime. So, before you go and answer that ad for a ‘free’ furry companion, ask yourself if you can really afford the commitment.

In their first weeks of life, kittens require three vaccinations from six weeks of age, and there are also desexing costs to consider. Microchipping, which is a legal requirement in some states, can cost approximately $50 as well.

Ongoing costs, while more affordable and easier to spread out, can still be something worth considering. Parasitic medication is a monthly to three-monthly cost, while annual vaccinations and boosters can be around $70 per year as well.

Food, toys, and bedding are equally as necessary for your furry friend too. Toys can help to
keep them active and entertained, while quality food is crucial for maintaining their health. For nervous cats, having their own bed may be an investment you make early on.

A ‘free’ kitten can also end up costing more than one you can purchase from a shelter, which has already had a health check, vaccinations, flea and worming treatment, and desexing. Adoption gives these kittens a second chance, so check in with the RSPCA or a similar local establishment.

Most importantly, make sure you are ready for the responsibility and commitment of owning a cat. They don’t stay cute and cuddly kittens for long, and while they can be your best friend for life, they also rely on you to make the right decisions for their health and day-to-day needs for
many years to come.