Friday, September 14, 2012

Of Ferals and Fixed Expenses

Earlier I went out to feed our four feral kitties. I fed three, turned the corner to feed the fourth in his accustomed spot, and my heart sank. Another one. A black male, un-neutered and thin. I fed him, though he wouldn't come to the bowl while I was out. We'll borrow a trap to have him fixed, but I don't know if he'll make it. His eyes look bad and his breathing is labored.

This sounds terrible, but I almost hope he has to be put down (almost). We've rescued many animals over the years. Several have gone to homes or to no-kill shelters, others we've kept. We have three dogs and six indoor cats. Earlier this year, ferals started showing up in the neighborhood. We joined the San Antonio Feral Cat Coalition to deal with the problem, and now are caring for four (possibly five) outdoor kitties.

As you can imagine, this is not cheap. We spend an average of $300 a month on food, litter, and treats. We buy high-quality food for our indoor pack, and I'm convinced this has saved us a lot in vet bills over the years. We haven't had a significant vet expense in well over a year (knock on wood), but I know that won't last. Two of our dogs and three of our indoor cats are seniors.

I've been working on our budget, going item by item deciding where to slash. The pet expense is fixed; no way to cut that one. So far I've cut $15 from the cable bill, and Kat and I are discussing slashing it more. That's a pitiful start, but it is a start. This weekend I'll finish up quarterly taxes, then I hope to sit down with Kat and get serious about sketching out new budget goals. Hoo boy. I'd say our biggest challenge is having slightly different philosophies for handling money, but that's a blog post or two (or several dozen) on its own.