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Why You Should Have Cat Insurance in Canada

Cat lying on bed with women cuddling

As a cat owner, you know firsthand how much joy pets bring to our lives. In fact, it’s estimated that 38% of Canadian households own a cat. This is the equivalent of approximately 7.9 million kitties across the country.

Yes, Canadians sure do love their pets!

Yet despite cat ownership being on the rise, less than half of all pet owners take their furry friend to the veterinarian regularly. Even more concerning? In a 2022 survey on pet ownership statistics, researchers found that fewer than 3% of people have pet insurance.

Of course, these numbers do not reflect how we care for our cat’s health. Nor do they paint us all as “bad” pet parents. Instead, what these statistics expose is the misunderstanding (and let’s be frank, confusion and fear) that often exists when it comes to Canadian cat insurance.

Luckily, we're here to help!

Read on to learn why you should have cat insurance in Canada and better understand how to choose the right plan. 

Is Cat Insurance Worth It?

Adding a cat to your family is exciting. After all, who doesn’t want a sweet-natured kitty to cuddle and play with? If we are lucky, a cat will be with us for between 12 - 18 years, filling our homes with meows, purrs, whisker kisses, laughter, and love.

Considering how long-lived cats are, it’s surprising then to see so few pet parents sign up for cat insurance. You yourself may have wondered, “Is cat insurance worth it? Do I really need pet health insurance?” Or maybe you’ve only just even heard that cat insurance exists! To answer these questions, let’s look at why cat insurance is always a good idea.

Top 5 Benefits of Cat Insurance

1.  Peace of mind

Did you know?

The average annual cost to own a cat in Canada hovers around $2,542. This covers basic care necessities, such as food, toys, vaccines, bloodwork, dental cleaning wellness treatments, pet insurance, etc. Kittens are even more expensive, sitting at between $3,091 and $3,231 during the first year of life, according to the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association

It’s certainly not pocket change. But it is manageable when planned for in advance. Yet what about those unexpected costs?

Uh oh!

Accidents and illness can strike at any moment. Unfortunately, you never know when your cat will accidentally swallow something they shouldn’t and run up a $1,700 tab. Cat insurance gives you peace of mind that when the unexpected happens, your fur baby can be protected.

It’s always important to read the policy of any pet insurance coverage you are considering to understand what’s covered and what’s not to get the right level of protection for you and your cat.

2.  Budget your money with small monthly fees (instead of a big one)

Secondly, cat insurance is beneficial because it allows you to budget.

For example, do you buy all of your groceries once per month? Probably not. That would be very expensive. Instead, you likely spread your spending out over the course of two, three or four weeks.

Pet insurance works the same.

With low monthly premiums, there is no sticker shock at the veterinarian’s office. Cat owners put aside a little each month into their pet insurance policy to save big in case of emergencies.

3.  Protect your savings account

Speaking of emergencies, do you have an emergency fund?

In a worst-case scenario, your cat might need lifesaving surgery. Or a prescription for medications (like cancer and diabetes). This can quickly drain a savings account. Protect your funds from out-of-the-blue costs with the best cat insurance.

4.  Access to high-quality veterinary care

Another key reason why cat insurance is beneficial has to do with access to care. A cat who suffers from a major injury or illness will need to be seen immediately by a veterinarian. In some cases, there will be no time to wait before getting them on an operating table.

But without pet insurance, you can find yourself in a heartbreaking position: pay for the care they need or pursue a less expensive option, such as euthanasia or surrender. A cat insurance policy can allow owners to access the highest-quality veterinary care whenever and wherever is convenient.

In fact, many cat insurance providers now offer Telehealth, too, which gives pet owners 24/7 access to veterinary nurses to discuss any health concerns you may have about your kitty

5.  Choose flexible policies

Lastly, every cat is different.

Therefore, it only makes sense for cat insurance policies to reflect the furry customers they serve! Cat insurance provides reimbursements on eligible claims. How much is determined by whether you go with an annual or per-incident deductible. This flexibility allows you to choose an insurance policy that’s right for you and your pet. 

For these reasons, the vast majority of cat owners agree – pet insurance is worth it. Remember, not planning for your cat’s health needs could be far costlier in the long run.

Common Cat Conditions and Emergencies 

When sharing your home with a cat, some things are to be expected: meowing at dinnertime, the constant seeking of affection, cleaning kitty litter, fur everywhere, the occasional hairball... You get the idea.

However, many people are not prepared for the financial responsibility that also accompanies owning a cat. After all, cats are a lifetime commitment. They get sick just like us humans do.

So, to further illustrate exactly why everyone should have pet insurance, here is a list of the some of the most common cat health problems you are likely to face at some point throughout your kitty’s life.

Vomiting and diarrhea

Throwing up is bound to happen. Like diarrhea, this could be caused by eating too fast or too much, a change in diet, or it can be the body’s way of expelling an unwanted substance. But if vomiting and diarrhea occurs for more than 12 - 48 hours, it’s time to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. Vomiting and diarrhea exams and treatments cost pet parents $300 - $600 annually.  This is where having cat insurance can become a protective layer between you and unforeseen pet health costs.

Ingestion of foreign material

Next, it is a terrifying experience no cat owner wants to have. Suddenly, your cat is choking. Or pawing at their mouth and refusing to eat. Something is either stuck in their throat, stomach, or digestive tract.

Depending on the severity, cat owners might need to pay anywhere from $700 - $1,700 to have a veterinarian remove said ingested foreign objects. Is your bank account ready to absorb this expense?

Urinary tract infectious disease (UTI)

When a cat gets a bacterial infection in their bladder or urethra, UTIs occur. Most common in older female cats, urinary tract infection symptoms include: pain, loss of bladder control, inability to pee, excessive licking, and litter box avoidance. It can also cost approximately $200 - $400 per year to treat.

Kidney disease

According to Pet Health Network, 1 out of 3 older cats will be diagnosed with kidney disease. Those are high odds. Pet insurance protects you from an unexpected $500 - $1,000 bill – yikes.

Mass

Imagine stroking your cat when you feel a bump on their skin. Instantly, your mind jumps to cancer. Thankfully, most masses are benign. Yet the tissue will still have to be tested and possibly removed if the tumor is cancerous. Annually, this costs cat owners approximately $500 - $900.

There we have it. A short list of the most frequently claimed conditions when it comes to cat insurance.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there can be large hidden costs associated with cat medical emergencies. That's why we at PHI Direct advocate strongly for pet owners to insure their pets. Even if it's through one of our competitors. Seriously. 

From diagnosing and treating illnesses to recovering from unexpected accidents, cat insurance is the #1 way to protect your feline friend and your household budget from unexpected misfortune. 

At PHI Direct, we offer affordable pet insurance designed to ensure that more of Canada's cats (and dogs) can have the protection of emergency health coverage and all of its benefits. Click here to get a quote from us.

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