Our eldest cat Maisie is adorable. She’s zero trouble (unlike the other two) and as well as being supermodel-level in the beauty stakes, she has the nicest temperament. One morning this week she came in from the garden limping. There was no obvious sign of injury and she didn’t seem that upset by it as she ate her food and promptly curled up to sleep. But we were concerned, so I took her to the vets. Of course, the second she got out of her box at the vets she was walking perfectly.
However, on close examination the vet thought she might have a slightly sore claw – she could have caught it on something or had an altercation with another cat. So he gave her a penicillin jab and told me to keep a watch on her.
The few minutes at the vet plus the injection cost me £44 – and I don’t begrudge that: reassurance is a big part of medical treatment and I’m happy now I know she’s not dislocated or broken anything. And I’m relieved that it was nothing more than the feline equivalent of a broken fingernail: anything more serious and the bill would have been huge. A friend of mine has a lovely, elderly Labrador whose vet bills are astronomical. She hasn’t got insurance: neither have I. And as her dog– and two of my three cats – are of pensionable age, then we probably couldn’t get cover anyway.
According to the Association of British Insurers, 3.7 million pet owners have cover for their dogs and/or cats but 8.2 million (accounting for 12.4 million cats and dogs) aren’t covered. It says the average annual pet insurance premium is £342 for a dog and £171 for a cat.
And that goes to explain why many of us don’t have cover – because it’s expensive. What’s more, pet insurance is jolly complicated – you can have lots of different levels of cover. We’ve got a guide to it here. As with any insurance, you should use a comparison site before you buy. I’m going to carry on uncovered – and just hope that the cats keep themselves out of trouble.