The Cape Cod cat food caper

Feeding a family of a dozen cats on Cape Cod
And our local merchants often match or beat the box stores

By CapeCatMan

With a family of 12 hungry felines plus a foster cat, the CapeCatMan is a thrifty shopper. On this first warm Sunday in many months, I set out to see what my dollars would buy on the Lower Cape and also at the big box store in Hyannis.

For this price comparison, we selected a few items that a cat owner would buy on a regular basis.  Specifically, we went with two kinds of cat litter and two kinds of dry cat food. Where the exact same size container was not available, we priced the item by the pound. When an items was on sale, we also show the regular price. We chose four retail locations: Agway Cape Cod (Orleans), Stop & Shop (Orleans), PetSmart (Hyannis) and Cape Maid Farms (Hyannis).

Here’s what we found when we went shopping on Sunday, March 6, 2011:

ItemAgway* (Orleans)Stop & Shop**PetSmart***Cape Maid Farms (Hyannis)
Purina Indoor Formula (16 lb bag)$11.99 (sale)
$12.99 (reg)
$12.49$12.99 (sale)
$13.99 (reg)
N/A
Science Diet Light (17.5 lb bag)20 lb value pack$41.99 ($2.10 lb)N/A$32.99($1.88 lb)$39.99($2.29 lb)
Science Diet Light (8 lb bag)$20.99N/A$19.99$24.99
Arm & Hammer Litter (20 lb box)$11.99$8.39 (sale) $8.99 (reg)$8.79N/A
Tidy Cats (20 lb container)30 lb value pack$11.99 (.40 lb)$9.49(.47 lb)27 lb value pack$8.99*** (.33 lb)N/A

This informal survey demonstrates well that the big box store does not always offer the best pricing. Stop and Shop’s sale price beat everyone’s price on Arm & Hammer premium cat litter.

Agway beat everyone on Purina Indoor Formula dry cat food. If you purchase smaller bags of Science Diet, the $1 difference between Agway and PetSmart doesn’t make it worth the drive to Hyannis – and it’s nice to support a local business when possible, though few would swallow a $9 difference on the large bag just to play nice with the locals.

Stop & Shop, PetSmart and Agway all offer excellent web sites that include their sales circular.

Cape Maid Farms web site is rather primitive in comparison even to Agway. Periodic visits to these establishments’ web sites make it easy for the cost-conscious pet owner to save money on monthly purchases.

For the pet owner with a more discriminating taste, there are many “boutique” pet supply vendors on the Cape that specialize in high end, nutritionally unique foods. We saw many of these products at Cape Maid Farms. We also visited For the Love of The Breed on Rourte 6-a at the Orleans/Brewster line, which has an impressive assortment of hard to find foods and pet care items – as well as the most congenial flame point feline greeter.

*Agway offers a preferred customer card that confers a $5 coupon for each $100 spent.

**Sale prices require a free member rewards card.

***Includes $1 “save now” instant coupon on the package.

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