Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Questions Cat Owners Need to Ask Themselves Before Purchasing Cat Health Insurance for Their Pet

Before cat owners purchase health insurance for their family cat there are a few questions they should ask themselves. Asking themselves these questions will give the cat owner a reasonable idea of what type of policy will best suit them.

The first thing they should consider is whether or not they would like a discount insurance plan or a comprehensive insurance plan. The next question cat owners need to ask themselves is how attached are they to their local veterinarian. Some veterinarians will not accept pet health insurance from various pet health insurance companies for a variety of reason. If the cat owner does not feel comfortable taking their family pet to a different veterinarian they should look for an insurance company their veterinary clinic accepts. Cat owners should also be aware that in certain instances the local veterinarian or animal hospital cannot help their pets and might refer them to the State University veterinary clinics. When purchasing a health-insurance plan for their owner should double check and make sure that any expenses charged to the university veterinary clinic will be covered by the insurance plan.

Before cat owners purchase a health-insurance plan for their family cat they should decide if they would like to neuter or spay their cat. Some pet insurance companies offer health insurance plans for pets that will cover the cost to neutering or spaying. If the policy you are thinking about purchasing does not include neutering or spaying you might want to purchase an additional rider to help with the expense. Remember that if you have adopted your cat from a local animal shelter you will be required to neuter or spay your cat if the shelter hasn’t already done that. This is also a good time to get the first round of your cat's annual shots out of the way.

How much can you actually afford to pay in addition to the monthly or yearly cost of your pets health-insurance plan? If you have to bring your cat to the veterinarian will you be able to pay a deductible? A deductible is the amount of money you have to pay the veterinarian out of your pocket each and every time you visit them. The higher the deductible you carry the lower your monthly premiums are on your pet’s health-insurance plan.

If your cat gets injured in a freak accident or suddenly becomes sick will you be able to pay for any medication that the veterinarian might prescribe. Prescription drugs are expensive whether they are for humans or for pets. If you are concerned about the potential cost of prescription drugs you may want to purchase a rider that will help cover the cost. Purchasing a co-pay option a prescription drugs get help lower your annual fee.

Before purchasing a health-care plan for your cat find out if the plan just coverers your cat's immediate health care issues or if it will also cover the cost of the veterinarian's office visit. Cat owner should remember that the time to research the various types of pet health-care insurance is normally before they purchase their pet. Most injuries and illnesses occur during the pets early years of life.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Meet My Clients

I was informed by my clients, that since I am writing about them, I should make proper introductions.

First on the roster is the 'boss lady' named Nala, a sultry chocolate point Siamese, with a typical aloof outlook towards staff. She adores high places, or cupboards, and can be found lounging atop of the fridge or the window sill on a sunny afternoon.

She also enjoys lying on the heating vent when the furnace kicks in, or snuggling amongst the freshly warm, dry, clothes in the dryer.

Next up is a large, very staff oriented Maine-Coon mix, named Fox. Her favorite pastime is following staff members into the bathroom and annoying them until they finally give in and brush her. Due to an unfortunate accident, she was unable to satisfactorily groom herself, so we (the staff) took over that responsibility for her, resulting in her grooming fixation.

Last but not least, the spokes-cat for the group, a diminutive, 4 lb. tri-colour Manx, called Picasso. Don't let her size fool you, when she is in full cry, you can hear her half way down the block! She likes being in the same room as her staff, but is reluctant to stoop to their level and be petted, preferring instead to head butt and rub when in need of affection...usually at two in the morning!

When this staff member goes to bed, I am accompanied by all three, Nala at my feet, Picasso glued to my leg, and Fox on the pillow by my head.

It gets a little cramped at times, and of course, once disturbed, Nala will disappear to parts unknown for the remainder of the night, only to resurface at breakfast. Fox will generally stay the night, unless one of her roommates heads for the food dish for a midnight snack. Picasso, on the other hand, will stick like glue to me the entire night. If she is disturbed too often, she will decide it's affection time, and proceed to pat my face and purr.

Unfortunately, ignoring her will not make her go away, as experience has taught me, so I take the time to appease her craving, and once settled, I drift back to sleep.

I'm sure, if they could read, they would be appalled by my indiscriminate sharing of such private details, however, for the moment at least, I'm safe from their recriminations.

I hope you have enjoyed meeting my companions, I know they are thrilled to be immortalized in print, and suitably worshiped.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nail Care 101


Keeping Your Little "Paddy Paws" Pretty

Being a dedicated staff member for many many years, I am familiar with the monthly or in some cases, bi-monthly ritual that most companions avoid like the plague. Often times, this ritual goes overlooked until a playful swipe at a straggling shoelace, or another dangling object results in a painful scratch from too long, sharpened, claws. Nothing surpasses this as motivation to clip your cat's claws.

I was schooled in the art of kitty-toenail trimming long before they had 'Pedi-cure' for pets. Now-a-days, we can lessen the trauma for some of our charges, with a revolutionary product that actually files their nails, instead of clipping. I haven't as yet tried this product, and am quite curious to see if my companions can be groomed as quietly and quickly as the commercials show.

For now, I will continue to use the tried and true method I learned when our first 'charge' was introduced to our hospitality all those years ago.

For the uninitiated, it isn't difficult (at least in theory) to clip your cat's claws. You need to insure you have a decent pair of cat nail clippers, which you can find in your neighbourhood grocery stores, and pet shops. There are several different styles, all of which do a decent job. Just pick the ones that feel best to you.

When trimming your cat's nails, be advised not to cut them too short. As you can see from the pictures above, their nails, although shaped differently, are similar to our own in one respect. I'm sure that you have clipped your own nails a tad close, by accident, and discovered just how uncomfortable, and sometimes painful that can be. Your cat's claws are no different. If you trim them too short, it can be very hurtful for the animal. Not something you would like to experience yourself, and I'm sure neither does your cat.

If you study the diagram on the left, you will see the two parts of your cat's claws, the quick, or nail bed, and the actual nail itself. This is the part that is continuously growing and being sharpened. In the illustration to the right, you will notice the correct way to unsheathe the claw. In this manner, you can clearly observe where to safely trim the nail.

Not all companions are enthusiastic about having a pedicure however. My Maine-coon is very placid when it comes to most beauty treatments, including her nails, however, both the Manx and Siamese have other ideas.

Normally, I can manage to hold the Manx steady and clip her claws, even though I am constantly, and very loudly reminded that she doesn't care for the procedure. The Siamese, on the other hand, is a two person job, with one person holding and the other clipping. At times I have resorted to wrapping her in a towel to maintain control and also keep from being used as a scratching post.

Not all cats show such a violent dislike to having their claws trimmed, or any other beauty/health treatment, so don't be alarmed by my experiences. If you begin familiarizing your kitten to the procedure early, you shouldn't have a problem.