Thank you to our guest writer, Jessica Brody!
Affording Emergency Care for Your Cat
An emergency trip to the veterinarian is every pet owner’s worst nightmare. However, while you may hope it never happens, it’s important to be prepared for veterinary emergencies.
Vet care costs money, and when owners can’t afford to pay, it can mean the difference between saving a pet’s life and saying goodbye too soon. Economic euthanasia is an unfortunate reality for many families, but it doesn’t have to be for yours.
How to Pay for Emergency Vet Care
Despite pet owners’ best efforts, emergencies happen. Cats can have a veterinary emergency due to allergic reactions, injuries, heatstroke, poisoning, infections, or other causes. When your cat needs care, do you know how you’ll afford it? Veterinary emergencies can be expensive, but they shouldn’t be unaffordable. Here’s how to make sure you’re prepared.
Start a pet fund
Saving money is the simplest way to afford emergency veterinary care. Every cat owner should have a pet fund where they set aside money for routine and emergency care. Unfortunately, even the most scrupulous savers can struggle to afford expensive care like cancer treatments. That’s why it’s important to have a back-up plan.
Apply for CareCredit
CareCredit is a type of credit card that’s used exclusively for health care, including veterinary health. Pet owners who pay the balance within the 0 percent APR promotional period pay no interest on CareCredit. However, interest rates after the promotional period ends are high.
Buy pet insurance
While CareCredit helps pet owners cover vet bills, they’re still on the hook for the full sum. If you want a way to pay less for emergency veterinary care, look into pet insurance. Pet insurance companies cover pet illnesses and accidents so all you have to pay is a deductible and coinsurance. Some pet insurance policies also include a wellness plan for routine pet care.
How to Avoid Emergency Vet Visits
Not every veterinary emergency is avoidable. However, there are four big things cat owners can do to avoid trips to the emergency vet clinic.
Maintain a vet-client relationship
Do you know where to turn in a veterinary emergency? If you don’t have a vet, you may have no choice but to go to an emergency walk-in clinic. To avoid paying a premium at emergency clinics, make sure you have a regular veterinarian for your cat.
Keep up with preventive care
It’s not enough to have a veterinarian — you have to use them too! Cats should see a veterinarian for a wellness check at least once per year, more often for kittens and senior cats. Checkups are a chance for your veterinarian to assess your cat’s overall health, and they’re an important part of maintaining a healthy pet.
Cat-proof your home
Our homes are full of things that aren’t safe for cats. From houseplants to household cleaners, it’s important to keep dangerous and toxic items out of your cat’s reach. Zoetis Petcare explains how to cat-proof your home.
Keep your cat indoors
Keeping your cat inside may seem cruel, but the truth is, indoor cats live healthier, longer lives. Indoor cats are exposed to fewer diseases and don’t have to worry about cars or predators. There’s a lot you can do to enrich your indoor cat’s life, including letting your cat explore the outdoors safely with a leash or catio.
When to Bring Your Cat to the Emergency Vet
Now you know how to avoid and afford veterinary emergencies, but are you confident in your ability to spot an emergency when it happens? Cats are adept at hiding pain and illness, but some symptoms are a sure sign of a feline emergency:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Trouble urinating.
- Signs of poisoning.
- Inability to use hind legs.
- Wound and abscesses.
- Persistent diarrhea and/or vomiting.
As a pet owner, you want nothing more than your cat to be happy and healthy. Unfortunately, sometimes money gets in the way. Instead of letting emergency veterinary bills catch you by surprise, make preparing for the worst a part of your pet care plan. By planning ahead for veterinary emergencies, you can focus on caring for your cat, not fretting over the bill.
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