Do You Need Pet Insurance?

Tuesday was a busy day — between straightening up the house and going food shopping, my dad and I had another brainstorming session about the bedroom we’re renovating. But the morning started off with a trip to the vet for our older cat, Krashy.

Our furry little 11-year-old man had an odd black spot on his gum that I wanted to get checked out. His gums are pink, but he’s always had a pigmented black spot on one side of his jaw. On Sunday, I could actually see the black spot, so I opened his mouth (much to the cat’s chagrin) and took a look. To my untrained eye, I thought I saw a blood blister of some type. Thinking our younger cat, 2-year-old Misfit, got the best of him during one of their little tiffs, I made an appointment with the vet. He was overdue for his shots, anyway.

Well, let’s just say that Krashy had a very bad day. Not only did bad Mommy let him see the cat carrier before it was time to drop his butt into it (I can’t get him in there on his own and have to lower him into it while it stands on end), but he got manhandled at the vet — two shots and bloodwork. The poor thing was so frazzled after it was over, he piddled in the carrier on the way home as he lay there, totally shot.

Needless to say, this warranted a bath — something on a cat’s top-hated list, I’m sure. So after we got home, I had to give him a thorough washing in the tub and dry him. He spent the rest of the day giving me the stink-eye from under the bed and hissing when I dared to pet him.

Grand total spent at the vet: $280. 
–Shots: $100
–Exam: $50
–Bloodwork: $110 
–Cleansing solution for his ears: $20.

Yes, $20 for the solution. Krashy has a lot of wax buildup and icky stuff in his one ear, so the vet offered the solution for it. It’s a 12-oz bottle — I’m sure something smaller would have been sufficient, but this is what I got. That means I’ll have to clean the furball’s ears soon, too, but we’re saving that torture for another day. Krashy’s JUST come around to me again after a few hours stewing upstairs.

Krashy, after bath.

I’m not going to complain about the $280 — as an animal lover, I want to take care of my pets. The bill was paid in cash, not credit, which is good. But it left me wondering about pet insurance. Is that the way to go? I know when it comes to people, health insurance is a big necessity — especially with the ridiculous costs involved.

But what about pets? I’ve spent a lot of our two cats over the years. Krashy had $900 dental surgery two years ago, and when we rescued Misfit from the streets as a kitten, we easily spent $1,000 at the vet getting him “house-ready” (he had tapeworms, needed shots, neutering, etc.).

There are pet insurance options that include coverage for accidents, illness and wellness. For example, Purina offers its own program, with deductibles between $100 and $1,000. But like life insurance, the premiums go up by age. Misfit, 2, would have a premium anywhere from $7 to $20 monthly depending on the options chosen. Krashy, at age 11, would cost $45 to $60 monthly. That’s $720 a year for the most comprehensive plan. Over a few years, that really adds up. But for the younger cat, $20/monthly is $240 a year.

A normal exam and shots averages $125 yearly, taking into account one shot is biannual, while rabies is annual. This doesn’t take into account any illnesses, such as Krashy’s gum disease that led to his dental surgery and removal of most of his teeth (poor kitty).

It’s not cost-effective to get pet insurance for our older cat, but it is an option for our younger one. But is it worth it? Does anyone have pet insurance on their cat or dog?
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