When we were travelling a lot we didn’t have pets. We always felt like the kids were missing out, but the practicality of moving every couple of years meant that it would be unfair on animals to move them as well. As recent events have shown flying with animals has inherent risks.
Once we moved to Houston and knew we were likely staying in the US for an extended period of time we got a couple of cats. We are very much pro adopting from shelters, so although we don’t know the overall backstory of the cats, it is likely they were unloved by their previous owners.
When we moved to Portland, moving Han and Luke (hey, we all love Star Wars!) was something we had to think about logistically. We considered driving across country with them, but decided that would be impractical. We also considered flying with them. Airlines will allow you to travel with a small animal in a carry case on your lap. Again though we decided not to do that. Our cats are kind of skittish, so we thought there might be risks here too. In the end we decided to freight them with the airline. This is not cheap, but it does reduce the risk and leaves everything out of our hands.
Looking after pets in general takes money, even cats need food and litter. Then there are vet bills. Normally this is not a huge amount, just yearly check ups and vaccinations.
Until an emergency occurs.
Last weekend Han started vomiting a lot. In the end he threw up a long piece of ribbon that he must have chewed up earlier in the day. We thought that was the end of it but the next morning he was very lethargic, wasn’t eating and refusing to move. We decided to take him to the vet (it was the weekend so our regular vet just essentially had emergency service). After a couple of hours of checks and x-rays they decided he was fine, just a bit tender and sore. Total cost $450.
Han was fine by the next morning.
We are lucky that we can afford $450. Of course it puts a bit of a dent in our monthly budget but we can manage it. Not everyone is so lucky. We did look into health insurance for cats, but it’s not cheap.
The cost varies obviously between companies, but typical price seems to be about $35 a month per animal. So for 2 cats we would be looking at around $850 a year. So this is the equivalent of 2 emergencies like last weekend every year to make it worthwhile. I would like to think that we won’t need that much veterinarian care each year.
So in the end we didn’t end get the insurance, but it might be worth it for a more accident prone pet.
Pets are an important part of a family and animals do enrich a family’s life. We wouldn’t be without them now.