Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Not so Free Kitten!

The Dude at about 1 year old

Occasionally people will comment that cats are expensive at the shelter and it would be cheaper to just get a free kitten on craigslist. Our cute little Lebowski was one of 8 free kittens that a coworker's son found at his new house. The Dude was 2.5 lbs and about 2 months old when we stopped at the vets' on the way home. Our "free" kitten's first visit to the vet cost $264.57!

The Dude abides.

My coworker said that the little punk had "sand fleas", like they were less of a problem than regular fleas. If by sand fleas she meant big honking fleas on steroids, the Dude had them. This meant we needed to buy 3 months worth of flea control for him, plus another 3 months each for our 2 indoor cats at home so they wouldn't catch the fleas. He also had worms and was tested for FeLV/FIV, which was luckily negative.

The second visit 21 days later for his rabies vaccine and distemper combo vaccine included another $45 exam fee, for a total of $93 dollars. Then he needed to be neutered, which was another $100, which included an overnight stay at the vets. This was 6 years ago, and many less expensive spay and neuter programs are now available; a listing of Massachusetts options is available at the Massachusetts Animal Coalition website.

 Our free kitten was up to $457.57 by the time he was 6 months old! Admittedly, the vet hospital we were going to at the time was a lot more expensive than our awesome current vet, but it still would have run about $300 for the same care.

Serina and the Dude

Serina was about a year old when we adopted her from Stray Pets in Need. She was spayed, FeLV/FIV tested, up to date on rabies vaccine and distemper combo vaccine, flea, tick and worm free and only $95.
I'll take the "expensive" shelter cat pricing over the "free kitten" any day!


  1. People still get cats from the shop? Why they no adoptings?:(

  2. And how can peoples thinks that cats frm the shelter is expensive?! Cats frm the store is expensive...

  3. Shelter animals and rescues when one can always. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  4. You gots a good point there guys. "Free to good home," except for all the vettings! I wish there was shelters for all homeless dogs. Even catses.


  5. We adopted Hades for $50 and Braylon for $140 but guess who ended up needing way more vet care? Yep, Hades! Hades came from the shelter and Braylon from a foster-based rescue so she was already in good health.

  6. Score one for the punks! This point has to be hammered home every time some complains that shelters "charge" too much for their animals. Bravo.

  7. At 6 months old, the shelter wouldn't let June come home with us until she was spayed. We got a free laproscopic spay with her adoption fee. That would easily have cost us 3x what the adoption cost. Plus, the shelters here give coupons for a first "well animal" check up free, as long as you take the dog in within a month or so of adopting them.
    Definitely a better deal than a "free to good home" puppy.

  8. I don't know how anyone can say shelters charge to much, considering how long some animals are in shelters and in that time they need feeding. Plus before you adopt they're vaccinated, spayed or neutered and health checked. And the shelters have to rely on donations to survive.

    The expensive dogs are the ones off puppy farms who need a lifetime of medical treatment.

    1. I know, I still don't understand how the puppy farms/mills are allowed to stay in business. I think a lot of people still don't understand where the puppies at the places that have "30 or more different breeds" come from. They don't realize that the $500-$1000 "purebred" dog with papers might be badly bred by someone more interested in the money than the long term health of the dogs.