Its well known that Britain is a nation of pet lovers with dogs being the favourite and cats coming a close second. Thats not to say that other countries love their pets any less but Im writing this for the UK site, so I hope I dont offend any other people from different countries. Ive kept cats for most of life because I used to work full-time and cats were the obvious choice for a working person. They can be left alone for up to two days although I have never personally done this, but I have found that cats adapt better than dogs to their owners absence. I cannot imagine a life without my cats, I have always had two cats of the same sex and Ive lost a few throughout my life to old age and accidents. Im one of those people who grieve a lot for a few months but then I think of the joy of companionship I get from my cats and invariably I replace my lost pet.
Currently I have two cats, Sophie is an ordinary moggie and a rescue cat so Im not sure of her age but shes about eleven years old. Kira is a pedigree Ragdoll cat and shell be five years old on my birthday in March. Both are females and very precious to me, I live on my own so the affection I receive from them both makes up for living alone. I would do anything to keep them happy and healthy but I have a cautionary tale to tell for all the animal lovers out there.
Most of my cats have always been healthy and as I used to earn a decent salary I never thought about taking out pet insurance. My biggest expenditure was on vaccinations and the occasional check-up when needed. Pet insurance seemed an unnecessary expense, the majority charge about £10 to £20 per month to cover two cats and since my local vet has always been fairly good with their charges I thought it would be wasted money. When I eventually finished work because of health problems I thought my sickness benefits would cover any emergency treatment needed for my cats. I still managed the vaccinations as no insurance would cover the cost but I did try to contact the local branch of the RSPCA and also the PDSA only to discover that the nearest branches were twelve miles away from me and if I needed to take my cats for treatment I would have to find a way to take them there.
I dont have a car and I have mobility problems so asking for any help was out of the question, I just hoped that my cats would stay healthy.
Back in September of 2005 my cat Sophie started to vomit when eating dried cat food but I put it down to her eating too quickly. She was fine on the wet food but dried food is an essential part of a cats diet and so I started to worry when she began to lose weight. Initially she needed to lose weight; she had been overweight for a few years so I didnt really worry too much. By November it became obvious that something was wrong, she continued to eat well but was rapidly losing too much weight. I had no transport to take her the vets so I phoned up for advice. Sophie has a history of allergies and so I was told it could be the time of year, her allergies were always worse in the autumn months when she stayed indoors a lot and her fur would dry out where she hogged the fire. By December it was painfully obvious that something was wrong, her weight had dropped rapidly and she seemed to be in some discomfort.
I eventually got a friend to take me to the vets where Sophie was examined thoroughly and had a number of blood tests taken. Id overlooked something that I hadnt come across before; she had two bad teeth and couldnt chew her food properly. Her gums were inflamed but the vet wanted to wait for the results of the blood tests before treating her. Unfortunately the most obvious test was overlooked, the test for thyroid problems. By now it was close to Christmas and I was worried sick. A course of antibiotics were prescribed but the trip I had planned to visit my daughter in London had to be cancelled, Sophie needed me more and the tooth extractions she needed couldnt be done until the infection cleared up.
It was the second week in January before the vet would do the operation. By now I was using the services of a lady who took owners and their pets back and forwards to the vets. The charge was very reasonable at £5 per round trip as I lived close to the vets. But all those £5s added up as I was taking Sophie there every week. The bill for the blood tests and the examination came to just over £60 and the antibiotics cost a further £5. Finally the vet agreed to do the operation but Sophie had to stay in the day before to be put on a drip to hydrate her. She had the operation the following day but couldnt come home until the next day, as she still needed to be kept on the drip. At this point in time I couldnt have cared less about the cost but the final bill of £140 stretched my credit card to the limits. I had made five trips to the vets and paid £25 in cash in all, a huge dent in my benefits. I couldnt claim the train fare back I had paid for my Xmas visit so another £40 was wasted. Add to that the cost of feeding Sophie fresh cooked chicken and fish and introducing special cat milk to her diet to help her feed (she had the main canine teeth extracted and another small one), and the total cost was well into the realms of £300.
As I sit here typing this Sophie is lying by the fire cuddled up to Kira. Shes eating well now that her mouth is less sore and already I can see a huge difference in her weight and general health. Im still buying special food and milk for her, she has a thyroid problem thats borderline at the moment and her next check-up is due in a months time. She will need constant monitoring and although Im aware that I probably paid a good deal less than her care warranted, Im still going to find it hard to pay the bills.
If you have kept reading this far then you will know the whole point of the review. I could have taken out pet insurance but I hadnt looked into it properly. Id assumed that my status as disabled would have been taken into account but I didnt bank on the service being out of my reach. I discussed this with Ann, the woman who provides such a valuable service to people without transport. She doesnt provide transport to the PDSA as it wouldnt be cost effective for her and she has many clients who are like me who rely on her.
Now that Sophie has an existing condition and is over the age where most insurance companies provide cover there is nothing I can do except keep hammering my credit card. Ive checked various companies on the Internet and found a few who will cover older pets but there are none who can cover a pet with an existing health problem. Researching various companies has been an eye-opener for me. Im over fifty and my health is poor, (no sympathy please Im merely making a point), I may need to stay in hospital in the future and although I do have a neighbour who would look after my cats it isnt an ideal situation.
Pet Insurance can cover all eventualities, vets fees, boarding kennels/catteries, and transport for people who havent got that luxury (many taxi firms wont provide that service). Emergency call-out, cover in the event that a holiday has to be cancelled, cover for damage caused by a pet, death benefits and a whole lot more. I stated that my vets fees were reasonable; the price I paid for Sophies operation also covered her being on a drip, a three-day s stay and the check-up she had a few days later to ensure that her gums were healing. Throughout the experience someone kept me advised of her condition by telephone and the vet that operated took the time to explain in detail her progress. It may seem very expensive but I have heard of some vets charging a lot more, after all, there has to be the cost of overheads, the expertise of a trained vet and the nurses that stay at night to ensure a beloved pet is cared for properly.
Im now looking into the cost of insurance for my pedigree cat Kira, Ive visited a number of sites and since Im over fifty I can benefit from such sites as Saga. Direct line offers a competitive rate and will cover an older pet. Many offer discounts for two pets and you choose between ranges of cover. Prices start from as little as £2 per cat to £20 a month for the extensive cover.
I never really thought about my own situation, what would I do if I were hospitalised?
A neighbour or friend can provide a temporary solution, but what happens if you (in general) cannot cope with caring for your pet? Most pet plans will cover boarding fees and for an elderly person this can be a godsend.
I never thought about cancelled holidays either until I had to face the fact that my Xmas with my daughter would not be possible.
Our pets are dear to us so what would happen if your pet became very ill just when you were due to go on holiday?
Its too late to think about insurance when you discover as I did that my cat will require ongoing treatment. Vets fees can run into thousands of pounds when regular care is needed, would you deny your pet that treatment?
The best time to take out insurance is when your pet is still young and healthy, the premiums are cheaper and should your pet develop a health problem you will be covered in full for any treatment. Sadly many people leave it too late as I did and face ever-increasing bills. Its hard when you live on benefits or if you are elderly, a great gift for an elderly relative would be pet insurance.
I cant put a price on my cats, they mean a lot to me and I want to keep them with me as long as possible. So while you can afford it please think about it. Nobody knows what the future holds for you, you could find yourself in my position where I have to think about every penny I spend.
Sophie has just looked up at me, its time for her bedtime feed and as I look at her Im just so grateful she is still here with me.
Thanks for reading.
There are so many people that buy pets and do not realise that you can buy pet insurance. It is something that every pet owner should enquire about, as when your pet becomes ill, it can cost you an arm and leg, so to speak on vet bills. I own three lovely dogs, who mean the world to me and I am sure that every dog owner would agree and know just how expensive it can be when your beloved pet becomes ill and has to pay a visit to the vets. The bills can be very expensive indeed and that’s why it is so important that you take out pet insurance. Well, I recently received my renewal for mine and nearly died at the cost quoted this year. I was with a company called KBIS; they seem to be one of the most expensive around, although I must admit that they have always been very quick to pay out on a claim, usually within a week, which was excellent. However, as my dogs are a large breed, you have to pay more for insurance, which I personally don’t think is fair. I decided to look around and try and find a better deal, as I was quoted £55 a month for all three of my dogs. I began searching the wonderful net and looked at as many as I could, to find a suitable one I decided to go with Animal friends insurance as they certainly beat all others on price and the policy offered covered everything. The other reason for choosing this particular company was that they work with Animal welfare groups and all their net profits go to helping animals. They have a discretionary fund that gives grants to help animals all over the world, which is great idea. They offer two types of insurance, which are Standard or Gold, which I will now list below the cover and amounts: DOG INSURANCE Standard Gold Advertising and Reward -£250 --- £500 Boarding Fees - £500 --- £1000 Death from Accicent/Illness £250 - £750 Holiday Can
cellation £750 - £2000 Loss by theft/straying £250 -- £500 Third party liability -£2,000,000-£2,000,000 Veterinary Fees £2000 --£4000 Premiums Small/Medium size dog. £95.12 or £119.92 Per year Large dogs(Great Dane,Rottweiler etc £104.60 or £131.92 per year I am now paying only £38.00 a month for my dogs, which is quite a big saving. They also do home insurance, motor insurance, travel and business, which I have yet to look into. The cat insurance rates are much lower than dogs. If anyone is interested their web site address is www.animalfriends.org.uk or telephone number is 08704443438. This is certainly worth a look and you may be able to save yourself some money in the long run.We hate to think about our pets becoming ill, but two of mine have under gone operations, one was a major ear infection and the other a womb infection, which together cost £650, with medication as well. So I would have had to pay all this out, had I not had insurance, it really makes you think. However, I must point out that it took 4 weeks to get my money back, which is not very good if you are a little hard up.Most pet insurances work on this principal that you pay the vet up front then send in your claim. The excess amount on this insurance is £50, which they deduct from your cheque. I hope that you have found this helpful and thank you for reading Cinystar
Until about 10 years ago, pet insurance was relatively unheard of. Now it seems that everyone's offering some form of protection against the escalating costs of veterinary care. Although I can only speak for cat owners, we own three of the little furry monsters and each one is insured, I would imagine the following is pretty standard for any species. We've had some fun with insurance companies so I thought I'd just set down a few pointers before you rush headlong into the first policy you see. These are in no particular order as they are all of equal importance. Consider the age of your pet. A good age to start insuring your pet is birth. The older it gets the higher the premium. For cats, once past 8 or 10 you are looking at serious money to start a policy and you will either have to shop around as there are bargains out there or, you may have to consider upping your excess or limiting the amount of cover. Don't laugh either at things like third party liability cover. If Fido runs out in front of a car and the car goes through the jewellers window as a result, you may be glad of it. Likewise if Tiddles gets stuck inside your neighbour's cavity wall and he has to have the side of his house demolished in order for her to be recovered. These things happen! If you have claimed for an ailment during one insurance year you may find yourself unable to claim under your policy for any similar ailments in following years. You will though normally be allowed to claim for the original one if it is an ongoing complaint and requires long term medication. Again, companies vary in the kind of cover available for this eventuality so as always, shop around. DO read your policy terms and conditions very very closely indeed. Pay special attention to the part about notifying the insurers about any pending claim. In the turmoil surrounding the fluffy one's illness, this can be easily overlooked. 'Phone them a
nd back that up with a letter to make sure. If they're on the web, e-mail them, too. Insurance companies will do anything to avoid paying you a penny and if you've not followed the claims procedure to the letter, they will have you. I know! This also goes for minor ailments - Inform them even if you think it's not worth it as these can sometimes mushroom into bigger complaints. One of my cats had a small ulcer on his eye. It wasn't the first and is usually treated successfully with an anti-biotic cream. This one snowballed into almost a year of treatment involving two operations, myriads of various creams and lotions and the prospect of lifelong treatment. Some insurers require you to keep them informed every 90 days or so in such cases - make sure you do it. When making a claim, think about the amount of excess you have. Providing treatment is finished, if you have say £40 excess, don't bother with a claim for £50. For the sake of £10, you may prejudice similar claims and probably end up increasing your premiums substantially the next year. Keep your pets' vaccinations up to date. This should go without saying but again, this may be a condition of your cover. There are a couple of policies out there which will make a contribution to vaccination costs although there will probably be penalties involved elsewhere. Last but not least, keep your documents handy. You don't want to be 'phoning round every known insurer trying to find out if you're with them for the sake of £1 ring binder from the pound shop! Good Luck!
When we bring a pet into our homes, we undertake a responsibility to that animal. To love and to cherish, in sickness and in health. OK, so we are not marrying our pet, but we undertake the responsibility to care for that animal until the day it passes away. To care for it, groom it, play with it, feed it, and of course to comfort it in sickness and to see that it is given treatment if needed. In the early eighties, I used to own a beautiful cat. He was a silvery-grey long haired cat. We lived at the time near some fields, and one day he came home with half of his back leg missing. He had caught it in a rabbit trap. I rushed him to our local vets and was told that the remainder of his leg would have to be amputated. It would cost over £100. Money was tight at the time and I had these terrible thoughts running through my head that I would have to have him put to sleep because it would be cheaper than the operation. The vet suggested that I could get aid from the PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals), which is a charitable organisation. They did help me, and my cat went on to live another 10 years, the loss of his back leg not hampering him in any way. To this day, I always give old clothing and unwanted items to the PDSA shop. If I had had insurance, I would have had peace of mind. Last year we adopted 2 cats from an animal sanctuary, and I immediately suggested insurance. We were deciding between Pet Plan and Tesco Pet Insurance. We eventually decided on Tesco Pet Insurance because it was 40% cheaper, and also the excess was lower than that of Pet Plan’s. COST For each cat we pay £4 per month by direct debit. In some areas it is slightly cheaper and pedigrees are slightly dearer. Dogs cost from £5.68 to £8.81 per month, depending on area and type of breed. COVER Veterinary fees for treatment of injury, illness and disease for up to 12 months of onset: up to £2,500 for each conditi
on. Holiday cancellation/curtailment to protect you from having to cancel your holiday because of the illness of your pet: up to £1,000. Boarding costs for your pet should the owner be hospitalised: up to £500. Payment towards advertising and reward should your pet get lost or be stolen: up to £500. If your pet is not recovered, you will be reimbursed the purchase price. Also, if your pet dies due to injury or accident you will be reimbursed the purchase price. Dog owners also get third party cover should your dog cause injury to third parties or causes damage to their property. EXTRA For an extra £12 a year, you can insure your pet for trips abroad as part of the Governments Pet Travel Scheme. They offer a 24 hour emergency helpline in case you cannot contact your own vet in an emergency. Other excellent features of this insurance is the Pet Bereavement Counselling Service, in case you need professional support and advice after the death of your pet. Legal advice is also available from professionals on any personal problem relating to your pet. There are certain things that are obviously not covered in the insurance and those are: routine vaccinations, worm and flea treatment, dietary food, dental care, cremation of the animal, pregnancy, neutering and spaying, and nail clipping. Remember - these things are your responsibility when you brought the animal into your home. Pet insurance is for the unexpected and emergency’s, it is not designed as a HP system for routine treatment of your animal. Pets are accepted from 8 weeks old to 8 years old, pedigree or cross-breeds. There are a number of ways that you can sign up with Tesco Pet Insurance. We personally rang their hotline number and everything was taken care of over the phone in a matter of minutes. TEL: 0845 300 22 00 (8am - 8pm Monday to Friday & 9am - 5pm Saturday). Or visit their website, they have other i
nsurance services too, including home and motor insurance. www.tesco.com/finance OUR EXPERIENCE Recently, Sam, our youngest cat, was looking very ill. He wasn’t himself. He just lay in his basket all night and day. We took him to the vet where we were told he had a gastric infection. He was given 2 injections, had a blood and urine test done and was given a supply of anti-biotics. This totalled £75. Now that’s the unexpected. We brought him home (he could have stayed at the vets overnight) and rang Tesco Pet Insurance. They asked the nature of the claim and then said that they would send a claim form out straight away. 2 days later the form arrived. The first part we had to fill in, and the second part is for the vet. We were given the choice of either paying the vet the excess fee of £35 and then the vet would claim the remainder, or we could pay the whole amount and claim the total back from the insurance. This really is the best thing to do when deciding to adopt a pet. Getting a good insurance policy. We are very happy with our monthly premium and with the service that Tesco have given us. It’s a shame to see someone with a sickly animal to be told they cannot afford to take it to the vet. £4 a month, that’s £1 a week or approx. 14p a day. Isn’t your pet worth it?