Me-OW! The most common ailments among cats and how to protect against them

They say cats have nine lives, but due to these common illnesses, those may pass by more quickly than expected.

Risk Management News


Although cats often act as though they are invincible, so much so that they will fight crocodiles and stray dogs to defend their home turf, many felines remain susceptible to a wide array of illness and harm, despite this bravery.

As a result, pet insurance is growing in popularity offering cat and dog owners access to medical coverage for their pets’ veterinary bills.

As veterinary costs increase to reflect better access and a higher level of care, and as more and more pet owners adopt this coverage, it’s important to understand what is and is not covered and gain a better understanding of what risks your pet may have.

Anyone who knows a cat understands that they have very distinct habits and personalities. Cats are also relatively inexpensive to insure, and come with their own unique health concerns.

Trupanion, a company offering medical insurance for pets, looked into its pet health database to identify which conditions affect cats most often, and where the most insurance dollars go. By looking at these factors, Trupanion was able to identify ten commonly claimed conditions you’ll want to have insurance for, along with the average cost to help them get better.
1. Vomiting  $350           
2. Diabetes $1,240
3. Foreign body ingestion $950
4. Urinary obstruction $610
5. Hyperthyroidism $610
6. Inflammatory bowel disease $780
7. Cancer of the digestive system $2,750
8. Kidney disease $760
9. Gastroenteritis $260
10. Feline lower urinary tract disease $660
These common conditions can affect any cat, and can also be quite costly to a pet owner. Diabetes, for example, the second most paid out condition, is a recurrent condition, costing on average $1,240 annually to treat. If your cat was insured prior to showing signs of diabetes, those costs could be covered. 
Foreign body ingestion, another way to say “my pet ate something they shouldn’t,” is also a frequently claimed condition in cats. Treatment for foreign body ingestion can vary significantly as the object travels through the body.  

A foreign body caught in the mouth can range in cost from $100 to $900 to treat, while a foreign body caught in the small intestine can be anywhere from $800 to $6,000. If a cat ingests a linear foreign body, like string or yarn—which can become tangled in multiple organs— the costs can be anywhere from $800 to $6,000. Or if the cat experiences complications like sepsis, the cost can be anywhere from $2,000 to over $10,000.
Pet insurance helps to mitigate the high costs of veterinary medicine while still allowing pet owners to give their pets the best veterinary care possible. However, every provider is different, offering varying coverage options, limits, and exclusions, and it’s important to do your research. Dr. Kerri Marshall, veterinarian at Trupanion, suggests you ask the following questions when looking into insurance for your cat.  
  • Is the policy and information easy to understand and readily available on the company’s website?
  • How will your pet’s age influence the cost and coverage of the policy? Does your pet meet the age requirements to enroll?
  • How will your pet’s breed influence the cost and coverage of the policy? Is your pet more prone to certain health conditions? Will those conditions be covered?
  • How much coverage will each company provide? What percentage of the veterinary bill will they cover?
  • Does the company set limits or have a benefit schedule where they determine when and what they will payout rather than just pay the bill?
  • Is there a deductible? What are the options for the policy? Is it flexible? Will it fit your financial situation?
  • When is a condition considered pre-existing?
  • What flexibility does the company offer? Will you be locked in a contract? Will you be able to use your coverage at any veterinarian in any state?
  • Does your veterinarian recommend them?


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