Although the COVID-19 pandemic has taken control of the United States, people across the country have dedicated their newfound time at home to finding a new family member. Animal adoption centers around the country have seen a massive increase in adoption rates. But if you’re looking to adopt a cat, you should be aware of your new financial responsibility.

Preparing your finances for your new friend doesn’t just mean budgeting for a litter box and scratching post. Cats can get very expensive, very quickly. On average, cats cost roughly $1,100 the first year home and around $800 a year after that. A big chunk of that price comes from routine vet fees, and it doesn’t even factor in an unexpected accident or illness care.

In the past, expensive vet bills have led pet parents to high-interest personal loans, crowdfunding sites, and even economic euthanasia. Luckily, buying a pet insurance policy can help alleviate the financial stress of having a sick pet. Compare pet insurance policies and get a quote today with Insurify.

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What kind of cat do you want to adopt?

Before you are inducted into the prestigious role of a cat parent, you have to figure out the best kind of cat for your lifestyle. Many adopters look for kittens, but adult cats might be a better option for new pet owners. Adopters often overlook adult and senior cats, but the animal rescue will already know these cats’ quirks and personalities. Also, the adoption fee is usually lower.

Another choice pet parents have to make is what breed to pursue. There aren’t as many variations among cat breeds as there are dog breeds, but designer breeds like Sphinxes, Bengals, and Persians all require specialized care. Purebred cats are also more prone to certain genetic diseases, like cystic fibrosis. 

Can you afford healthcare for your pet? 

When bringing a new cat home, it’s essential that pet parents prepare for any future vet bills. Still, it’s hard for any responsible pet owner to be ready for unexpected medical emergencies. As vet technology continues to advance, it also continues to cost more. That’s why so many pet parents turn to pet insurance, which helps pet families pay for vet bills. 

One out of every three pets will need emergency vet care every year, which doesn’t bode well for multi-pet families. “Medical emergencies” don’t only mean cases of full-blown renal failure or surgical reconstructions after a serious accident, both of which can cost far over $15,000. Simple accidents and illnesses, like chronic ear infections, can really add up over time.

New pet parents might not realize that wellness care is also relatively expensive, especially for young kittens. Although most rescue groups will include spay/neuter surgery and microchips in their adoption fee, it can cost far over $500 out of pocket if they’re not. Kittens require nine vaccines between six weeks and one year old, which can cost up to $100 each. 

Luckily, expensive vet bills don’t have to prevent cat lovers from experiencing pet parenthood. Pet insurance is a relatively new model of insurance, similar to human health insurance, and can help lower your cat’s medical costs. Most companies use a repayment model, which means owners pay their vet bills up front and receive reimbursements from the insurer. Some companies will cover up to 100 percent of the vet bill. 

Traditional pet insurance policies usually cover unexpected accidents and illnesses, rather than routine vet visits, which can cost over $100 each trip. Luckily, many companies are beginning to introduce wellness care add-ons, which help owners pay for annual routine and preventative vet expenses. That means pet insurance can help cover almost every instance of vet care.

When you’re preparing to bring your new cat or kitten to its new home, you shouldn’t have to worry about the lingering threat of vet bills. Buying a pet insurance policy can help you focus on spending your newfound free time with your new best friend. Check out different pet insurance policies and get a quote with Insurify today!

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Adopt, don’t shop

Between scrolling through PetFinder and visiting animal shelters, the hardest part of the adoption process is actually finding the right cat. Those in the market for a new cat might be considering Craigslist ads or online listings that offer cheap or free kittens rather than adopting from an animal shelter. However, picking up a free kitten might end up costing you much more out of pocket compared to a $200 adoption fee

Oftentimes, non-profit animal shelters will include sterilization, vaccinations, and microchipping in the cost of an adoption fee. These procedures can cost over $1,500 at a vet’s office, compared to a few hundred dollars in adoption fees. Animal rescue groups have also started to include free trials of insurance policies for each adopted pet.

Two are better than one 

Potential cat parents might have heard that adopting two kittens is better than adopting one, but that isn’t because shelters are trying to sell more kittens. Adopting two kittens can offer an easier transition and development for your new furry friends. Adjusting to a new environment can be hard for young cats, and having a friend can make it much more comfortable.

Aside from a second cat acting as a live-in playmate and comfort source, experts have found that having two kittens leads to fewer behavioral problems. Kittens learn by copying other cats’ behavior, which means they’ll end up figuring out proper social actions and skills. That means more time for cuddling and less time spent training.

To declaw or not to declaw

Everyone’s heard the horror stories about loving cat parents who have had their living room furniture torn to shreds by their furry friends, but dealing with scratching behavior doesn’t have to lead to declawing surgery. Scratching is a completely natural behavior in cats, and pet parents can save their furniture with a little basic training and prevention.

Declawing your cat is an elective surgery that amputates a portion of the toe bone, can lead to several health problems and chronic pain. Rather than pursue surgery, cat parents should start routinely trimming their kitten’s nails so that they get used to the clippers. Pet stores also sell specialty nail caps, which are similar to acrylic nails with rounded edges.

In Conclusion…

Pet parents who have opened their homes to shelter cats should worry about opening their wallets for cat trees and catnip, not expensive vet trips. Buying a pet insurance policy can provide that extra peace of mind to keep you focused on your new kitty rather than future vet bills. 

Finding the best pet insurance policy can mean starting a long adventure with your favorite furry friend. Compare pet insurance policies and get a quote today with Insurify.

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Updated February 3, 2021

Samantha Vargas is a freelance writer for Insurify. She has a background in comparative English literature and film and has produced a variety of journalistic content for the University at Buffalo's independent student newspaper, The Spectrum. She currently works in Buffalo, NY while finishing her master's degree. She spends her free time baking and working with animal welfare groups.