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Health insurance for cats

This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.

  


Member Since
01/06/2013
 
 
Purred: Fri Feb 7, '14 7:50pm PST 
I've been looking into getting insurance for my 2 cats. Recently I had to spend a lot of money on emergency surgery for my cat after he ate some thread. However, some of the ones I've looked into don't cover a lot of surgical procedure and if I'm paying for insurance I would want it to cover an emergency procedure if need be. Does anyone have any recommendations for a reputable company. Has anyone had experience with filing claims and such. Do you think it's worth having insurance versus just putting a little extra aside every month? My cats are 3 and 2 and are healthy now they just get into everything.
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Althea, PAWS

The Special,- Precious, Petite- PrinCESS
 
 
Purred: Sun Feb 9, '14 7:08am PST 
I highly recommend health insurance for companion furkids! Here's an example: Althea is an indoor-only cat (well, 99% of the time); she's 11 years old and not prone to getting into trouble. Back in mid-December, I noticed one Friday night that she hadn't eaten at all; when she didn't eat on Saturday morning, we were off to the vet. Long story short: she required 3 trips to the hospital in 5 days! The cause? An abscess in her jaw - and it wasn't from a bad tooth. We have no idea what happened, but she was an extremely sick little girl for two days. The final bill was $486 - for an abscess. I have insurance for her, thankfully. I charged the bill, and the hospital submitted the claim form. Of that $486, I paid only $165, the rest being reimbursed. I'm not sure of the exact premium, since the three cats are all different, but it's somewhere between $20 and $30/month. I miss that far less than I'd miss nearly $500!

Mordred was diagnosed by a new vet with a heart murmur that his former vet had missed. He required an ultrasound of his heart (no disease!); the cost was $450. Two years later, the cardiologist wanted a repeat just to check - another $450. In both cases, the insurance helped.

When I took him for a routine dental cleaning, the doctor discovered that Mordred had four bad teeth (resorbtive lesions) which needed to be extracted. I had had no idea that he had a problem! The insurance didn't cover the cleaning, but it did cover the extractions - and that was the biggest part of the bill.

I've given you these examples to show that indoor cats, too, can have medical problems. Remember, anything a human can get, a cat can, too - including abscesses, heart murmurs - and worse. Being kept inside is absolutely no guarantee that the cat will always be 100% healthy.

Insurance companies (well, all that I've seen) have two or three tiers of coverage; all will cover emergencies. You pay extra if you want to have routine costs covered as well. My policies cover only illness/injury, not the routine stuff. Note, however, that, although the tooth extractions were performed during a routine procedure, they were covered because they were the result of a medical condition.

Go online and research pet health insurance. There are a myriad of companies offering it. Study the information and decide which is best for you. Some have a Benefit Statement; personally, I think it's better to sign up with one that does NOT have a Benefit Statement. The premiums can vary widely, as you can imagine. Do your homework, and you'll find something that will suit you. As for putting a few dollars aside - in all honesty, do you think you could do that *regularly* and without fail? I doubt it; most of us couldn't. Things happen. "Billy's graduation is coming and I need a gift; I'll double the insurance contribution next week/month." And it doesn't happen because "next week/month," something else comes up. And on it goes. And there's this: An emergency might occur before you have sufficient funds saved up. What then?

Having said all this, I will tell you that I am NOT in any way associated with any insurance company. Many years ago, when I had a middle-aged cat with CKD, my pet sitter at the time recommended pet insurance if I ever got another kitten. (Premiums are higher to insure an older cat, cheapest as kittens.) I am SO glad I took her advice when I adopted first Mordred, then Althea.

Yes, I definitely recommend health insurance; there are too many things that can go wrong, even with an indoor cat. I, for one, don't ever want to be in the position of having to send a furkid to the Rainbow Bridge because s/he needs medical care that I can't afford; the insurance gives me the peace of mind that I won't be in that position.
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