Keep your cat happy and healthy with these budget friendly tips #BudgetLiving

I have partnered with Apartment Guide to serve as an Official Apartment Guide Pet Blogger. As an official blogger, I will be sharing articles filled with tips for living on a budget.

Last week I wrote a post with some free and budget friendly tips to keep your dog happy and healthy. You can read that post here, http://www.shescribes.com/2012/03/keep-your-dog-happy-and-healthy-with-these-budget-friendly-tips.html.

Today I would like to share with you some of my tips and ideas for keeping your cat (or in our case cats) happy and healthy.

Unlike dogs, cats don’t necessarily need to go outside to get exercise. We have five cats and they are all strictly indoor cats. They are allowed to hang out on our balcony. We live on the top floor so there is no chance of them escaping. They get to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine and we get to enjoy knowing that they are safe and sound and not at risk for getting run over.

Even though cats don’t have to go on walks, they still need exercise to stay in shape. Otherwise they will get overweight and that puts them at risk for serious health issues.

Cats love to climb, but living in a condo (similar to an apartment) our space is limited. If you do have a spare corner in your home I would recommend a “cat tree”. Cat trees are NOT budget friendly. In fact they are very expensive. You can however find one for a great price, or even free. Check with your family, friends and neighbors to see if they have one they no longer need. You can also check with your local Freeshare/Freecycle group or Craigslist. We have a small cat tree that was a hand-me-down. Ours is small (only enough room for one cat). One day when we can afford it I would love to get one big enough for 2-3 cats at a time.

Cat trees offer your cat a place to climb and jump, both great forms of excercise for your feline friend.

Another fabulous way to give your cat a work out is to pick up a laser. I found them on sale after the holidays for $1.75, so I picked up a few. CATS LOVE LASER LIGHTS! My cats go crazy for it. Since you control the light you can make them chase is as fast or as slow as you want them to. You can also make the light go over furniture or up the wall, making your cats jump and stretch to reach it. With the laser I can literally tire out our very active kitten in about 10 minutes.

If you don’t have time to sit there with the laser I would recommend the Bolt from FroliCat. We’ve gone through two of them over the years. It’s an automatic laser toy that you simply press the on button and the toy makes the laser go all over the place for your cat to chase. It’s shaped like a bowling pin. Our dog Espn LOVES it too.

Here is a video I did years ago of Espn with the Bolt from FroliCat.

Sadly we used them so often they would eventually die out.

Another toy that is sure to make your cat go crazy are those toys that have things dangling off the end of a stick. I’m sure you have seen them before. They look like this.

You do not have to purchase one (although they are budget friendly). You can make one yourself with a thick stick from your backyard. All you need to do is tie on some smaller cat toys, or even some ribbon or features, on to the end of it. Then all you need to do is wave it around in front of your cat and they will jump and try and catch the things that are dangling from it.

The great thing about this toy is that it takes up very little space. When you are living in an apartment or a small condo like I am you need all the space you can get. A toy like this can be stored inside a closet or cabinet.

One of the most inexpensive (FREE) toys you can give your cat (and can be stored or recycled when no longer needed) is a simple cardboard box. I have five cats. As soon as they see a box, no matter how big it is, they all want to play with hit. They climb on it, hide inside, and even sleep inside it. My kids jokingly say “If I fit, I sit”, when referring to the cats and boxes. Our one cat Anakin is a rather large cat and he will squeeze himself into the tiniest box and sleep in it.

When our kitten Bella was smaller she used to love to sleep in a tissue box. I think that is what started her on wanting bigger boxes. 🙂

The above picture is more recent. The plush lamb is Bella’s favorite toy. Her name is Lambie. Bella will actually walk around our home carrying Lambie in her mouth.

The great thing about boxes is that they are usually free. My cats play with the boxes that things are delivered to me in. Sometimes I toss toys inside the boxes for them to play with. Other times I cut holes in the boxes to give them something else to do with the box. The great thing about boxes is that when you cat has lost its interest in the box simply store it away or recycle it. That way it doesn’t take up any room at all.

Cats are simple creatures. They can find amusement in the tiniest things such as the plastic ring you pull off the cap of a gallon milk jug, plastic bottle caps (like the kind you get off a bottle of water), old socks tied up into a knot, plastic or paper bags (make sure you are watching them the entire time if they are playing with a plastic bag!), pom poms, a piece of paper crinkled up into a ball and small balls, to name a few.

The #1 thing you need to do for your cats, aside from fresh food, water and a clean litter box, is to provide them with toys and activities that will engage them, encourage them to explore their cat instincts like prowling and pouncing, and provide them with physical activity. If can do all that then you’ll have a happy and healthy kitty. 🙂 Best of all you don’t have to spend a lot of money (if at all) and you won’t have to give up valuable space in your home.

Here is an example of a happy kitty. LOL!

Do YOU have any budget friendly tips to keep your cat happy and healthy? I would very much love to hear from you if you do. I have five cats so I welcome your tips and ideas.

Here are some other great pet related articles that you might find useful.

–   Time for your pet’s next haircut or nail trimming? Find pet grooming services that fit your budget with these ideas from Apartment Guide: http://www.movingtoday.com/find-great-grooming-services-for-your-pet.

–   What do you need to know when you rent an apartment with a pet? http://www.apartmentguide.com/blog/?p=351.

–   What to do before and after you bring home your new pet? http://www.apartmentguide.com/blog/?p=1191.

The Apartment Guide has many more articles about pets. They also offer tips on how to make the most of your space, as well as having a pet on a budget.

For more articles you can check out www.ApartmentGuide.com/Blog and www.Movingtoday.com.

Also, if you’re ready for a whole new space or are looking to move, Apartment Guide has floor plans, features photos and tips to help you find the perfect pet-friendly apartment community.

For more great tips “like” Apartment Guide on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/ApartmentGuide) and follow them on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/AptGuide). They are even on Google+.


* Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. have partnered with bloggers like me as Official Apartment Guide Bloggers. As part of this program, I have received compensation. They have not told me what to purchase or what to say about the products used, and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family and "mini zoo" consisting of five cats, a dog and a Goldfish. Kimberly is a teacher's assistant for a Kindergarten class. When she is not working or blogging, Kimberly enjoys taking photos of nature and hanging out with family and friends.


  1. Maryann D. says:

    Your cats are adorable. They do find interesting ways to entertain themselves. My cat always enjoyed playing in plastic and paper bags! The laser lights are so much fun for them too. I found feather toys were great, but I had to replace them often.

  2. Another cheap cat toy can be made by wadding up junk mail or reply cards from magazines. My cats love to chase them around.

    If you have any socks hanging around the back of your dresser drawer, because they’re missing a mate or have a hole in them, stuff one of the socks with (a) other socks (b) wadded up paper or (c) pretty much anything. Sprinkle in a little catnip or toss in a bell, if you like. Knot the end tightly. Voila! A “stuffed rat” for the cat to play with.