Budget Drama: Expensive Cat Food Edition

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Love how she takes you on her journey with her own pet. Who wants to pay for expensive cat food if they don't have to?

Some of you may remember our kitten saga from 2016. Dog-Cat is officially not a kitten anymore. She’s a massive Maine Coon. She’s so big that the vet initially thought she was male. (Don’t worry–he figured it out quick.)


  • Has decimated one cat tree.
  • Climbs onto the highest shelves and ledges.
  • Knocks everything over as she jumps around because she doesn’t seem to understand how huge she is.
  • Helps our child as an emotional support animal.
  • Will claw open the food bag if we don’t put it in the closet.
funny cat pictures

Srsly. This is how she sleeps.

The girl likes to eat. Despite what the picture may lead you to believe, we do regulate how much she consumes. When we give her a bath, you can really see how lean she is.

Okay, “lean” might not be the right word. But she’s definitely not overweight. She has an insane amount of dense fur–even for a Maine Coon.

If she had her way, though, she would eat all day.

Royal Canin Cat Food

When we first got her, she was eating some primo, though expensive, cat food. After losing Chaton Frugality, we wanted to make sure Dog-Cat was extra healthy. Plus, she had just moved here from another continent, and was a little bit stressed out. So we kept her on the food she was used to for a while.

Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Kitten Food

Current price per pound at Petco: $2.89

After a bit, financial fatigue set in. She had adjusted to her new environment, so we decided to try switching her onto another food.

The Cat with the Sensitive Stomach

You wouldn’t think a cat who is constantly attempting to eat off of our dinner plates would have a sensitive stomach. But apparently, she does. This food is actually a really great brand, but our cat’s body chemistry didn’t agree with it.

Natural Balance Indoor Ultra Premium Chicken Meal & Salmon Meal Formula Dry Cat Food, 15 lbs.

Current price per pound at Petco: $2.53

We felt really bad for her. Also, cleaning the litter box was a less fun task than usual.

Nulo Cat Food with Probiotics

In order to help her get her digestive system back on track, we opted to get a food with probiotics in it. It worked like magic. The only downside was that we were now at a more expensive price point than when we started.

Nulo Cat & Kitten Grain-Free Dry Food

Current price per pound at Only Natural Pet: $3.58

We went through a few bags of this before deciding she was stable. It was time to get the budget under control.

Affordable Cat Food from Purina

Finally, we threw our hands up in the air. Maybe cheaper wasn’t worse. We’d give a lower-priced brand a shot, and if it made her sick again, we’d switch back to the expensive stuff.

Oddly enough, the Naturals version of Purina is currently a tiny bit cheaper than the regular stuff. Go figure.

Purina Naturals Cat Chow Adult Cat Food, 13 lbs.

Current price per pound at Petco: $1.15

Luckily, there has been no illness months after switching! She’s as ravenous as ever, and our budget is a lot happier.


Have you ever gone through budget drama thanks to your pet? Share your story in the comments!

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8 thoughts on “Budget Drama: Expensive Cat Food Edition

  1. Done by Forty

    Our pups are on Royal Canin and the stuff is not cheap, especially at the rate our two Golden Retrievers eat. We’re sticking with it at the advice of our vet, but I’m sure they’d be fine on other foods.

    Overall, our thought is that it’s not really a huge expense (about $50 a month for the two of them) and it might help us avoid some other, more expensive medical stuff over a lifetime.

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      Shoot. Can you tell I’m new-ish at this mammal-ownership thing? We have a vet appointment in a few weeks. I’ll be sure to ask if what we’re doing is okay. Royal Canin is pretty dang expensive, but if we have a pet, we want to be doing right by her health.

      She hasn’t put on any serious weight (she’s always been pretty large–not fat–just large), which I’m reading is one of the biggest concerns. But there are others, so I should check.

      She must eat a ton—she can go through a bag by herself in a month haha. My sibling adopted a Maine Coon, too, and she’s pretty skinny, but eats like teenage boy.

  2. Lily @ The Frugal Gene

    We have our pupper on Purina’s natural brand. Canin is so expensive. But they’re always pushing for it as the vet’s official brand. For dog food, it’s 2x as expensive…like 35lbs for $80. Grace eats better than me then!!!

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      Like your vet specifically or all vets? Is there compensation involved?

      I’m questioning all my decisions now!

  3. Sarah | Smile & Conquer

    Our cats have always been easy to feed (aka they’ll eat anything and everything that is put in front of them and nothing has made them sick), but one of our dogs is another story. He has food allergies and a sensitive stomach so I think we’ve been through just about every brand imaginable trying to find something that worked. We used to feed him the Natural Balance food, which worked pretty well for him but was so expensive.
    We’ve since switched him the Costco Nature’s Domain food and it is basically magic…very reasonably priced magic. They also have a cat version too and ours devour it. If you’re a Costco shopper I would recommend it. It’s a lot higher quality than many of the big brands out there and costs about the same.

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      Oooo I’ll have to check that out. I don’t have a membership, but have plenty of people I tag along with every once in a while. 😉

  4. kay ~ the barefoot minimalist

    You are so fortunate! I love cats, especially long haired cats, but I’m super allergic. Anyhooooo, glad you found a more affordable solution. Pets are crazy expensive, that’s for sure. Give her some extra pettings for me, would ya? 🙂 ah-choooo! 😛


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