When this post is published I will be away from home at a conference. Of course, it is a pet related conference and most of the attendees will be veterinarians and veterinary technicians. It is the annual conference of the IAAHPC. The initials stand for International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care, a non-profit dedicated to promoting comfort oriented care for companion animals in the end stages of their lives. It reaches out to owners of pets as well as veterinary professionals and is expanding the groups it works with to include social work professionals. I discovered this group when my Siamese boy Mosby was diagnosed with oral squamous cell carcinoma. Over his final months I educated myself and was able to give him a good quality of life right up to the very end. The experience changed so many things in my life, and excepting the loss of my boy, the changes were positive. One omportant one was that I became proactive in life planning for my cats.
I work very hard at keeping things positive in my life and this blog. There are however things we must deal with and sharing can sometimes be helpful. Cats may be reputed to have nine lives but we know luck can’t guarantee immortality. My first initiative was to was to start putting my cats on pet insurance after several years of “going naked”. Modern veterinary care can provide almost all the advanced diagnostics and treatments humans can receive but they are just as costly. Just the diagnostics on Mosby cost me hundreds of dollars. Many procedures for cats, like dental extractions and some X-rays require sedation or full anesthesia. A broken leg is easily set and an extraction can alleviate pain in cats they may live for many healthy years afterward but this comes at a literal price. Insurance can be a big help as your cats age because there are many conditions develop in older cats they can live with for years and have a good quality of life with proper maintenance treatment.
I did a lot of research before enrolling my cats. I found in comparison to human insurance here in the United States, pet insurance is a bargain. I also found some interesting statistics. In Sweden almost 50 per cent of dogs and cats are insured, in England it’s about 25 percent and the United States only one percent. Other countries in Europe don’t have as many provider options but in the United States that isn’t the case so that is not the reason for the low enrollment.
Insurance is only one part of the system, however. Just one night at the emergency vet for Tony required a $1,000.00 up front deposit. The intake clerk went online and secured me a health care only credit card. The interest rate is obscene but it solves the problem that is caused by the insurance only reimbursing after the fact and after the deductible. I can also use it at my dentist Dr. Kim, so at least it’s dual use. My second initiative is to set up a savings account dedicated to cat care expenses. This will make sure I pay that credit card before the exorbitant interest accrues and cover deductibles and non-covered expenses.
I hope to learn a lot at the conference. In the past I have helped friends with difficult decisions about their pets and connected them with services and help they needed to do their best by their beloved companions. We plan for our families. We plan weddings and vacations and for university attendance. My cats are also my family and planning for their care as they get older only makes sense to me. Learning how to keep their quality of life as good as it can possibly be is worth any effort to me and that requires life planning for cats.