04 August 2020
The UK’s animal-loving reputation is wonderful thing. But do we really love our pets as much as we think we do?
Because however much we adore our cats, share them on social media and treat them as part of the family, their health risks and associated costs are often underestimated, leaving owners that are unprepared in a crisis.
It is estimated that there are 10.9 million cats in the UK[i]. Of these, just 1 in 6 is insured. That means that 9.1 million cat owners have no financial backup should their cat need veterinary treatment.
Katie, who runs busy cat rescue, Bradford Cat Watch, sees the consequences of uninsured cats first-hand:
“We have around 500 cats that come to us every year. Out of them, over 200 are surrendered to us because they need veterinary treatment that owners can't afford. This is terribly sad because insurance would have covered the cost of the care they required.”
According to Agria Pet Insurance, their top 5 claiming cats have, between them, claimed over £100,000 during their lifetimes. Ranging from treatment for a serious road traffic accident to hip disorders, these cats have required extensive treatment. But had they been uninsured, would their owners have had £20,000 spare to pay?
While these are examples of some of the biggest vets’ fees that a cat owner could face, Agria’s Senior Veterinary Advisor, Robin Hargreaves, explains how a very common cat condition, hyperthyroidism, can lead to large, long-term treatment bills:
“This common cat condition is fortunately is very treatable. However, the costs can vary depending on treatment option, and if you choose long term medication, managing hyperthyroidism can comfortably cost over £1,000 per year, possibly for several years.”
One example of a cat that was handed over to Bradford Cat Watch due being uninsured is Leo. Katie explains:
“He came to us incredibly ill with suspected poisoning from flowers. Due to Leo not being insured, his owners were not able to afford the vet care he so desperately needed. So he came to us, and we were able to get him back up on his paws, find him a lovely new home and send him off already covered with an insurance policy to get him started with his new family."
"Having your cat insured means that if the worst happens and they suddenly need vet care, you don't have to worry about ending up massively out of pocket, and your cat can get the care they need.
Robin concludes: “Complex conditions and serious injuries are increasingly treatable but, just as with human medicine, general practitioners at vet surgeries often benefit from the input of specialists.
“Referral to a specialist can be of immense benefit in complex or unusual cases – often saving or significantly improving the quality of a loved pet’s life. But such expert help, together with any specialist equipment that is required, is necessarily expensive.
“Having insurance means that your vet can call on the best expertise to help a pet that needs it – which, surely, is the best expression of love an owner can give.”
*Vets' fees cover for injury begins immediately, cover for illness begins 14 days after the start of your free insurance policy