Will insurance cover pre-existing ills of 4 Belvedere pets?
DEAR JOAN: Can you give me your opinion or recommendation of pet insurances and rate a few of them? Is it too late once the vet diagnoses it to obtain insurance?
I have two dogs and two cats — two of my own and two I inherited from my sister. My oldest sheltie is 11 years old and is developing cataracts. The others are 10, 9 and 7.
Please don’t think bad of me. I’ve had major hurdles (a house fire, job loss, foreclosure, passing of parents and sister). My pets are my heroes, my loves.
Janet Znyski, Belvedere
DEAR JANET: Why would I think poorly of someone who’s just trying to provide a good home to four pets? I admire you.
I can’t give your a recommendation or rating. You’ll need to do the research yourself, but there are several unbiased resources on the internet that compare and rate companies. You might want to start with Pawlicy Advisor, an independent marketplace for finding pet insurance that meets your needs and budget.
Pet insurance policies typically don’t cover pre-existing conditions, which is what your pet has if it’s already been diagnosed. Some companies, however, will consider covering the pet if the condition is curable, and that would include cataracts. It won’t help you in the short run, but it will cover future expenses.
If the pet has a non-curable pre-existing condition, insurance companies generally exclude that, although some companies may assist with drug costs and some minor expenses. In those cases, though, you might be better off putting the money you would have spent on a policy into a savings account to use for future treatment. Non-curable conditions include arthritis, cancer, diabetes, hip dysplasia, some kidney disease, torn cruciate ligaments and disc problems.
Talk to the different companies to be certain of what is and isn’t covered, how much the policy is likely to pay and whether the insurance company reimburses the vet or you. Then read the fine print to make sure you have it in writing.
DEAR JOAN: We regularly see a dark gray cat as he passes by our glass door on his way to and from our backyard and further down the hill into the forest. He — or she — is medium size with thick dark or gray hair.
Sometimes he walks quickly on top of the fence along our side path. I’ve put out a small
saucer of milk, but, as I thought, it does not appeal to him. I do not want to invite him into our house, but just to see him acknowledge us on his way to dine on hillside mice.
Donald W. Markos, Castro Valley
DEAR DONALD: It sounds as if the cat is well-fed by his owner or he’s a stray that is very good at providing his own meals.
Most cats are lactose intolerant and stop drinking milk once they are weaned. They usually show no interest in saucers of milk, learning that it will upset their stomach.
If you’re really keen on attracting the cat, you could put out a dish of water or a bowl of cat food, but I don’t recommend it. The cat seems to be doing fine on his own, and unattended food and water may attract some animals that you might not be as fond of. You might have to be satisfied with admiring from afar.
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