When it comes to pet insurance, many pet parents automatically think of dogs before any of their other animal companions. While pet insurance is undoubtedly an excellent option for the family dog, it’s just as essential and effective an option for the family cat. Some cat parents may think that pet insurance isn't necessary for their purr monster. After all, he’s an indoor cat, so what could go wrong? Unfortunately, much more than you may think. Here are the top four reasons why your indoor cat needs health insurance.
1. Indoor cats are still at risk.
A common misconception is that only indoor-outdoor or outdoor-exclusive cats suffer from injuries. Sadly, that’s not the case. Indoor-only cats are still at risk for plenty of illnesses and diseases, as well as for accidental injuries that may occur around the house. Anyone who owns a cat who thinks he can defy gravity has had experience with at least one sprained paw or a broken leg.
Being indoors doesn’t protect your cat from acquiring any of these common feline medical conditions: gastrointestinal upset and disorders, diabetes, thyroid abnormalities and disease, heart disease, kidney disease or failure, urinary tract infections, and cancer. The Animal Cancer Foundation estimates that 1 in 5 cats will develop a form of cancer in their lifetime. Diabetes affects at least 2% of all cats. Thyroid disease is one of the most common medical conditions in cats ages 4 - 20. Additionally, most cats will need some form of dental surgery at least once in their lives.
Veterinary appointments and treatment for conditions like cancer add up quickly. Having an insurance policy on your cat can help make expensive treatment manageable and affordable for you and your family.
2. Pet insurance is cost-effective for cats.
Pet insurance policies are cost-effective for cats, far more so than for dogs. The reason for this difference is because cats tend to have fewer accidents and illnesses than their canine counterparts. Even so, that doesn’t mean that cat accidents and illnesses don’t happen; they certainly do. The positive of this truth is that cat insurance is highly affordable.
Many pet insurance companies offer two policies for cats: ones that cover accidents, and others that cover accidents and illnesses. The average price of a basic plan for coverage of accidents and illnesses is about $29 per month; or about the cost of one night’s takeout or around four lattes a month. From that perspective, you can see how cat insurance is affordable.
When is the best time to get an insurance policy? Anytime will do, but if possible, when your cat is still a kitten. Insurance coverage for cats is typically based on age, location, and breed, just as it is for puppies. The younger your cat, the lower the premium. Even better, as pet insurance companies don’t cover pre-existing conditions, by enrolling your kitten in a policy before any medical conditions present themselves, you will have coverage for any future diagnoses as he gets older.
3. Cats are experts at hiding symptoms of illness or disease.
You may think this all sounds well and good, but your cat never gets sick, so you don’t have anything to worry about. Unfortunately, many cats are stealth-level experts at keeping physical discomfort out of cat parents’ sights. For example, if your cat is suffering from a urinary tract infection, he may only strain instead of yowl when he tries to urinate in his litter box. Unless you are right there watching him, you may not know there is a problem until it has become a far larger and more complicated --- and dangerous --- condition.
Cats probably hide the effects of illness as an inherited survival trait from the ancestors days in the wild. Additionally, the symptoms of many diseases and illnesses can be subtle and manifest themselves in ways that even the most observant cat parent may miss. Your cat may begin sleeping a bit more than usual or not coming up to greet you as is typical. You may dismiss this as “cats being cats,” when it may be a sign that your cat is unwell.
Many pet insurance policies will help cover veterinary visits, including unplanned or emergency calls; so, if you think your cat is acting out of character, you can get him looked at right away without worrying about the cost.
4. Treating cats is just as expensive as treating other pets.
Even though cats may not visit the veterinarian as much as dogs do, their treatment costs just as much if not more. Take the ingestion of a foreign object, such as a string or small toy or a rubber band. Ingestion of foreign items is a common and potentially deadly condition that many cats experience. Surgery to remove the object can cost between $855 - $1,300 --- and that doesn’t include the pain medications and hospital stay (especially overnight) that the condition will require. Expect to pay nearly $800 for a one-time veterinary visit for a cat with diabetes and almost $11,000 for long-term diabetes treatment.
Approaching cat ownership with the mindset that the cat will not be as expensive as a dog can change quickly if your cat becomes ill, develops a disease or suffers an injury. A pet insurance policy can help you handle astronomical bills for your cat and his care without putting you in a position of having to choose between your livelihood and your beloved feline friend and family member.
Consider a pet insurance policy for your cat
Keep your cat healthy and plan for the future with a pet insurance policy that allows you to budget for whatever comes your --- and your cat’s --- way. Whether it's a leap off the coffee table that didn’t go the way your cat planned or a serious condition like kidney disease, having pet insurance on hand can make an already stressful and anxious time more bearable.
If your cat doesn’t have health insurance, get a free, personalized quote. Review your company and plan options, and choose the one that’s best for you and your cat. Just because your cat is indoors doesn’t mean he can’t become sick. Be your cat’s best advocate and sign up for a pet insurance policy today so you can enjoy years of purrs to come.
- Animal Cancer Foundation. (2019). FAQs. Retrieved from https://acfoundation.org/faqs/
- Eckstein, S. (2012). Diabetes in Cats: Symptoms, Diet,Treatments, Causes, and More. Retrieved from https://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/feline-diabetes-symptoms-treatments-prevention-diet
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. (2017). Hyperthyroidism in Cats. Retrieved from https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/hyperthyroidism-cats
- Stephens, C. (2018). Dental Surgery for Cats. Retrieved from https://pets.thenest.com/dental-surgery-cats-9512.html
- Stephens, J. (2020). Pet Insurance for Indoor Cats? Retrieved from https://cattime.com/cat-facts/how-to/200-pet-insurance-indoor-cats-jack-stephens
- Wamala, Y. (2020). Average Cost of Pet Insurance: 2020 Facts and Figures. Retrieved from https://www.valuepenguin.com/pet-insurance/average-cost-of-pet-insurance
- Texas A&M Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. When is your cat hiding illness or injury? Retrieved from https://vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk/when-is-your-cat-hiding-illness-or-injury/
- American Veterinary Medical Association. (2020). Feline lower urinary tract disease. Retrieved from https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/feline-lower-urinary-tract-disease
- Ward, E., Panning, A. (n.d.). Ingestion of Foreign Bodies in Cats. Retrieved from https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/ingestion-of-foreign-bodies-in-cats
- Indoor Cat Guide. (2018). Is Pet Insurance Worth It For Indoor Cat. Retrieved from https://www.indoorcatguide.com/is-pet-insurance-worth-it-for-indoor-cat/