Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Is Your Cat Insured?

Besides veterinary insurance for your cat's health problems, now there is also auto insurance!

It won't pay for everything, but there is a new policy that covers cats and dogs who are injured in a vehicle accident.

Earlier this month, Progressive, the insurance company that has those engaging TV commercials, announced they will now cover pets that are injured (or, sadly, killed) in an accident while riding in your car.

Here's how it works:

You don't have to ask for it... it is automatically included in the collision part of your policy. However, you have to ask for the collision coverage. It's not required like liability is.

There is no deductible. However, the coverage is capped at $500 per accident. A small catch here is that the cap applies no matter how many pets are involved. So you can't expect multiples of $500 per animal.

This is not a replacement for veterinary health insurance. Many companies now cover health claims, but not accidents. Progressive's coverage ONLY covers injuries that result from the accident. They also cover replacement of the pet if it dies from the injuries.

To get a claim paid, all you have to do is send in the vet's bill. The company promises there will be no hassles.

Pet auto insurance is a very new feature in the industry and as far as I know, no other company offers it... yet. Progressive is (as they themselves say), well, progressive!

Check them out at www.progressive.com.

If you want to know more about pet health insurance, look at this web site:

Every Pet Matters.com

Monday, September 10, 2007

How to tell if your cat has a health problem

Cats can have a variety of health problems, some of which can defy detection.
Cats do not reveal they are in pain, unless it is extreme, so it is up to us to be vigilant in our observations.

Use your 5 senses to notice problems:
1. Smell - If your kitty has a bad odor, take note of its source. It could be bad breath... signaling a dental or oral problem, or a digestive problem. Body odor can mean the cat is not self-grooming, perhaps due to arthritis or obesity.
2. Sight - Watch for changes in weight, especially drastic weight loss, for signs of underlying health problems. Notice eating habits, elimination behaviors, changes in sleep patterns and overall energy levels.
3. Listen to your cat's breathing. If there are sounds of congestion in the lungs, or a stuffy nose, it could mean a respiratory illness. Also be mindful of your cat trying to get your attention by whining or whimpering. Sometimes they "ask for help" by vocalizing.
4. Touch - Regularly pet your cat and notice if the fur is as smooth as usual. If the coat is oily, or dry, or if there is significant dandruff, there might be a skin problem. Also feel for lumps under the skin, sore spots (kitty will let you know if you touch a painful place), and for general condition. Sometimes you will notice weight loss by feel before you see it, especially if kitty has long hair.
5. Taste - Well, let's not go there. However, you might take a moment to see if kitty is still interested in the usual foods. Cats can lose interest in food if it doesn't taste right, and that can signal illness, too.

In all cases, if you notice any problems in your observations, take your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible. When cats get sick, they can deteriorate rather quickly. Don't wait until it's too late.