Financial planning for healthcare
Owning a cat, as with any pet, involves considerable financial costs during the lifetime of the cat. This includes the cost of routine home care (e.g., feeding the cat, provision of litter trays, litter, toys etc.), the cost of preventive healthcare and also the cost of veterinary treatment for illness and injury.
Few people are aware of the likely lifetime cost of pet ownership, but helping owners make financial provision for their cats is an important step in ensuring they will receive the care they need. This can be achieved in a number of ways.
The availability of pet insurance policies varies considerably in different countries and different geographies. In some regions there are a plethora of products to choose from, while in others it is hard (if not impossible) to find any. There is no doubt that the number of cat owners choosing to insure their pets is growing and, once it is understood, many people do choose to insure their cats against the unexpected costs of veterinary fees and drugs resulting from accidents and disease.
Whether or not the clinic is directly involved in selling pet insurance policies, making sure that clients are fully informed about the options available is an important part of providing for the overall healthcare of the cat. The level of cover provided by different insurance companies (and with different policies) will also vary widely, and this is an area where owners will often look to the veterinary team for expert advice. It is important that the team is aware of what is available and can make good recommendations based on a knowledge of both the owner’s needs and the policies available.
Pet Health Plans
Pet Health Plans are another form of financial planning for owners. These are designed to cover all the costs of routine veterinary preventive healthcare (annual or more regular visits, vaccinations, flea, worm and other parasite treatments etc.) for an affordable monthly fee.
Some clinics develop their own pet health plan, while in some countries commercial companies may partner with veterinary clinics to make these available and deal with the financial aspects. There is no doubt that for many owners, these plans make routine preventive healthcare more attractive and they can be an excellent way to help both cats and their owners.
Taking the opportunity
An owner’s first few visits to the clinic are the ideal time to ask the simple question ‘Is your cat insured?’, or ‘Have you thought about ways to manage the cost of healthcare for your cat?’
Options can be explored with owners and potential solutions provided.
Importantly, data shows that owners of insured animals (or those on a pet health care plan) are more likely to undertake preventive care. They will be more aware of services offered, more engaged with the clinic and also more likely to seek veterinary advice in all areas of the care of their cat (such as food choices and other pet products).