Catalyst to the Finish Line: Racer Meets Kitten

A pet insurance employee bikes in a race.

I work for a pet insurance company by day, but in my spare time, I love to race in triathlons. During my most recent competition, my passion for animals and racing intersected.

With ice poured down my suit to stave off the heat, I was running down a lonely stretch of a country road. Only fellow competitors and I were out this far. It was over 5 hours into my half-iron distance triathlon, but in spite of the isolation, I noticed a most unusual spectator.

There was no cheering, encouragement, or cowbells clanking—just a silent stare. The stare was enough to make me stop in mid-stride and turn around. Here at mile 67 of the 70.3 mile course, was a pathetic sight: a little orange and white kitten. He was emaciated and injured. A patch of fur was missing from the top of his head, and he had an open, oozing wound. I knew this cat needed help immediately, but what could I do out on a race course in the middle of nowhere? I had no phone and only a sports drink and some carbohydrate gel.

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Is Fluffy Too Flabby? 5 Tips to Get Frisky in Fine Shape

A cat with pet insurance eats wet food.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) released a nationwide survey in February 2012 showing 55% of cats are overweight or obese. Getting an obese cat to lose weight can be a bit more challenging, than say a dog, due to their independent nature. And multiple cat households can be even trickier!

If you think Buttons might be too boxy, here are some tips that can help:

1. Reduce Portions
Use the 20% for cats too! Determine exactly how much your cat eats in 24 hours, then reduce by 20%. In single-cat households this can work nicely; when the daily allotment of kibble is gone, no more until the next day. It is possible to feed pre-measured meals also. Cats may benefit from more feedings through the day versus just two. Cats can be trained to eat meals, just like dogs.

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I Wish I Had Pet Insurance When…My Cat Swallowed Ribbon

A kitten that needs pet insurance watches birds outside.

The year was 2004, and I had just moved to Texas for school. My kitties moved with me and everything was going well. I had even invented a new cat toy I called “Fishing for Cats”, which my cats loved.

One day after class, I came home to discover that my orange tabby Monica had swallowed a 4-foot piece of ribbon from the toy. It looked like most of it had come back up in a mess on the floor, so I thought we were in the clear. No such luck.

Over the next few days, Monica refused to eat and became lethargic. She was still drinking water, but I worried anyway. I was a broke graduate student with no car, living on the outskirts of a large city. I was planning to buy a car with my tax refund, but for the time being, I had classes with strict attendance schedules and a long daily bus commute. How on Earth was I going to get my cat to a vet? And how would I pay the vet bill?

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Bulging Baxter? 5 Tips for Chubby Canines

A dog with pet insurance eats a bowl of dog food.

It’s true, Americans are getting heavier and our pets are doing the same. To reverse this trend, the first thing that must happen is recognition of obesity.The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) released a nationwide survey in February 2012 showing that 53% of dogs overweight or obese. In addition to an increased number of obese pets, there is a disturbing decrease in people’s perception of their pets’ obesity. The study conducted by the APOP showed that 22% of dog owners and 15% of cat owners thought their pets were a normal weight, when really they were overweight.

Here are some tips transform your pooch from poochy, to healthy:

1. Hefty Hounds
Feed pre-measured meals. Pets that have access to as much food as they want and nibble through the day are going to be much harder to regulate. First determine exactly how many cups of kibble your pet is eating in 24 hours; use a baking measuring cup. Pet portion control is easy. Just measure out the amount you usually put in the bowl, them measure how much is left at the end of 24 hours. Next, reduce the amount of kibble you feed by about 20%. In single dog households this can work well, because you’ll put the pre-measured amount of kibble in the bowl, and when it’s gone, no refills!

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Pets Aren’t Washing Machines

A cat with pet health insurance sits on top of a washing machine.

Some consumer reports compare pet insurance to buying an insurance warranty for your washing machine, dryer or other appliance. They also sometimes compare premiums paid for a hypothetical 3-5 year return. Unfortunately they miss the point when it comes to the value we place on our pets and the very rational for pet insurance. Here are a few reasons this comparison just doesn’t stack up:

1. First, cat and dog insurance, like any insurance plan, is designed to reimburse you or help pay for something you might otherwise not be able to afford. Pet insurance is not an “investment,” per se. Insurance, in general, is for future unknown events that may happen. Pet insurance, in itself, was created to help pet owners afford care for unexpected accidents and illnesses that often cost owners thousands of dollars, or more.

With a pet insurance plan an owner may “hit the jackpot” in terms or reimbursement, when a serious illness or accident befalls their pet, where they could receive thousands of dollars in benefits. On the flip side, a pet may not have an immediate need for pet insurance for years. You just never know.

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