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I wish there was an NHS for pets

kittens 555822 640We have three cats. They are amazingly healthy at the moment but they are ageing, with the oldest about to celebrate her tenth birthday. And old cats equals more visits to the vets. I don’t have them insured – and indeed, were I to try to get cover for the older, late middle-aged, two, it would be really expensive. I have instead opted to put it all down to luck and hope that a combination of living on a quiet road (so low chance of being run over), neutering (so they don’t pick fights) and crossing my fingers works.

The last time I took one of them to the vets (for scratching herself – apparently it was ‘stress’ causing it.... Perhaps I should buy her a fidget spinner) I seem to remember the bill for an injection was eye-watering. Cover for a cat costs around £200 a year. And advances in treatment mean premiums will continue to rise – apparently, an MRI scan for a pet is twice as expensive as for a human.

While many pet owners do have cover, there are obviously plenty of us without insurance. There is the Blue Cross charity which offers treatment for pets whose owners are on means tested benefits. But I wouldn’t qualify. So what would I do if the cats were ill? I would take a deep breath and dip into the diminishing savings. However there’s a new scheme – Carefree Credit (www.carefreecredit.co.uk/for-pet-owners) – which offers loans from £250-25,000 for veterinary bills and for the first 12 months there is no interest to pay. After a year, the rate is 9.9%. And you can apply online or actually at the vets – it’s available at more than 700 surgeries now. Once the loan is approved, the vet is paid straightaway. And it’s not only cats and dogs which are covered: all household pets, farm animals and horses are included. Result all round: but do try to pay off the bill within a year while there’s no interest accruing.

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Sunday, 09 December 2018