Pet Insurance Blog

Monday July 28, 2014

Common Skin Problems in Cats

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The state of a cat’s skin can be a great indicator of her overall health, which is why it is important to visit your veterinarian at the first sign of any abnormality. Signs there may be a skin problem include excessive scratching, chewing and/or licking.

Common causes of skin irritations for cats include:

Ringworm
Fleas
Parasites, such as ear mites and lice
Seasonal allergies
Food allergies
Grooming products
Seasonal changes
Environmental factors, including certain chemicals and fabrics
Bacterial or yeast infections
Tumors
Stress or anxiety

Our friends at the ASPCA® have some great tips for skin care that could help your cat avoid many issues.


Sunday July 20, 2014

Customer Story: Two Cats Triumph Over Cancer

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“My sister’s beloved dog was hit by a car. My sister recounted how she carried her dog, wounded and bleeding to the veterinarian’s office. It was a horrible experience, but she was grateful to have had pet insurance to help with the bills.

That made me pause and realize that my two cats weren’t insured. I shopped around and compared plans offered by a couple providers. I decided to buy an ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan that covered accidents and illnesses. My plan also has coverage for chronic conditions.

Four months later, I took one of my cats to the vet for a checkup. I pointed out a small bump I’d felt on the tip of her tail. I was surprised by the doctor’s concern. It was biopsied, and I was stunned to hear it was cancer.

Our vet amputated a part of my cat’s tail, and now, years later, she’s in good health. My other cat also had a cancerous growth removed, and she’s doing well also.

I’m grateful that I didn’t have to worry about unexpected veterinary bills at these stressful times.” –Jenny C., Fayetteville, NC

We'd love to hear if we've helped your pet. Share your story and it may be featured on our blog.


Monday July 14, 2014

How to Tell Your Pet's in Pain

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It’s often hard to tell pets may be in pain since they can’t tell us. For many pet parents, a cat or dog’s discomfort can be hard to spot—unless there are visible indicators like limping or bleeding.

Our friends at the ASPCA® have some examples of common pain indicators:

• Lack of normal behaviors, like grooming or eating
• Loud vocalizations, hiding or abnormal posturing
• Change in reaction to touch
• High heart rate or temperature change

If your pet is in pain or if you are unsure about a behavior change, contact your veterinarian. You can learn more about recognizing an animal’s pain here.


Monday July 7, 2014

How To Make Homemade Cat Toys

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If you’ve ever lived with cats, you probably know how much fun they can have with a paper bag. Here is a list of some of the other common household items that make excellent cat toys.

•   Plastic Eggs- Fill them with unpopped popcorn kernels, peppercorns, dry beans, grains of dry rice or coins. These are great for visually impaired cats, and all cats love the sounds.
•   Empty Cardboard Rolls- Pull treats or toys through the opening or place them inside the roll. Your cat will have fun chasing the rolls or swatting at the toys inside. 
•   Crinkled Tin Foil- Crumple up a sheet of tin foil to provide an interesting change in texture and sound from a cat’s usual ball toys.
•   Rope/Cable/Tubing- To make string-like toys that are safe for unattended play, use materials that are thick and short, such as mountain climbing rope, bicycle break cables (with caps on the ends) and flexible plastic tubing. 
•   Drinking Straws- Look for straws in colors that contrast your flooring. Brightly colored straws are very popular with kittens!
•   Driftwood/Firewood- Both are excellent, natural scratcher options that can last for decades. 
•   Corks- Corks are loads of fun to chase, and they also absorb scents. Store them in a bag of catnip for a few weeks to make them an even more enticing toy.
•   Tissue Boxes- Place toys or treats in side to make these recyclable options irresistible to curious cats. Most pet supply stores carry studier, ready-made holey boxes.
•   Finger Puppets- These toys are especially fun when filled with catnip and sewn shut. Be sure the puppets don’t have loosely attached beads, buttons or other baubles. Also, painted features should only contain non-toxic paint or fabric dye.
•   Wrist Watches- Offer your cat your old, broken watch before throwing it out. Cats love them because your scent is on the band.
•   Pom-Pom Balls- It is important to select balls that are too large to be a choking hazard. You can store pom-pom balls in catnip for an extra treat.

What other toys have your cats found around the house? Share with us in the comments or on Facebook!

Find more ideas about homemade cat toys here.

This blog post was written by guest blogger Kari Kells, a professional pet sitter and pet parent to Raggedy Andy, Emma and Rumi. Read more tips and advice from Kari on her blog.


Monday June 30, 2014

Q&A: Why does my cat knead his paws?

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Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why does my cat knead his paws?

A: Taking so many naps is hard work, and for some cats, kneading against the floor is like a nice stretch after a well-earned rest. They may also do it to mark territory, comfort themselves, as an instinct to start a mother’s milk or, if the kneading is done on your lap, as a sign of affection. For females, it can also indicate that they’re in heat and ready to look for a suitable mate. Learn more

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.


Monday June 23, 2014

Q&A: Why did my cat go to the bathroom outside the litter box?

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Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why did my cat go to the bathroom outside the litter box?

A: Litter box issues can be a sign of a medical condition, like a problem with the urinary bladder or kidneys. Be sure to check in with your veterinarian just in case. However, it also may be as simple as the litter box needs to be clean or moved to a more private location. It could also be a behavioral issue caused by stress or anxiety related to a new baby or guests in the home, for instance. Learn more from our friends at the ASPCA®.

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.


Sunday June 22, 2014

Customer Story: A Tale of Two Cats

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“I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for the compassion, attention to detail and response time exhibited by the folks at the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance program. I lost my job in February, and in May I sadly lost a young cat to cancer. I would not have been able to give Kit a dignified and humane end without his insurance plan. The customer service representatives were so compassionate during my time of grief. The kind words and the beautiful card I received helped me get through that awful week.

In December, my other cat was diagnosed with a blockage, and the thought of losing another young cat in the same year—on Christmas Eve no less—was unbearable. I took him in right away and got him the proper care he needed. He's now back at home and doing well.

I will always cover my pets with pet insurance. I've recommended the plan to several people. They’ve all had a wonderful experience enrolling.” -Grace V., Peekskill, NY

We'd love to hear if we've helped your pet. Share your story and it may be featured on our blog.


Sunday June 15, 2014

Customer Story: Midnight's Cancer Scare

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“I had a plan with another pet insurance company and decided to switch to ASPCA Pet Health Insurance.

When I took my 9-year-old cat, Midnight, to the vet for dental work and a checkup, the vet discovered a growth on his belly. I was worried it might be cancer. My veterinarian did a thorough checkup, with lab tests and blood work, plus the dental cleaning, which also meant anesthesia and an IV. I knew this was not going to be cheap. The bill was $1,368.75.

I submitted my claim, expecting the level of reimbursements I had been used to with my previous pet insurance plan. But my ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan covered about 90% of the claim! I was delighted!

Shadow also did not have cancer, so I was able to start 2014 off right, with a cat in good health and the reassurance that I can keep him there thanks to ASPCA Pet Health Insurance. Thank you for doing a great job!” –Cynthia D., Modesto, CA

We'd love to hear if we've helped your pet. Share your story and it may be featured on our blog.


Monday June 9, 2014

Silly Kitty Sweepstakes

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Cats are our best friends and our favorite comedians. We want to hear the silliest thing your feline friend has done—be sure to include a photo! You could win a Cat Prize Pack!

To enter our sweepstakes, like us on Facebook and fill out our short entry form

Prize ($20.95 value) courtesy of the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance program. Sweepstakes ends June 29, 2014. No purchase necessary. See official rules. Void where prohibited. 


Monday May 12, 2014

Q&A: Why does my cat head butt me?

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Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why does my cat head butt me?

A: Cats use this familiar move to show affection and possession. Glands in their foreheads leave a subtle gift of scent behind. So, the next time your cat sneaks up and starts head bumping, think of it as his or her way of saying, “I love you, you’re mine.” Learn more

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.


Monday April 28, 2014

Disaster Planning with Your Pet in Mind

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Calamity can strike at any time. Whether it is a flood, tornado, blizzard or heat wave, it is important to keep our pets in mind when making disaster preparedness plans. Our friends at the ASPCA® offer some great advice on how to prepare for a disaster.

It is especially important to keep in mind these top tips:

•   Plan Ahead for Evacuation - Know your exits and keep emergency kits and leashes handy.
•   Find a Safe Haven- Research pet-friendly shelters or emergency animal shelters in your area ahead of time.
•   Update Identification- Be sure to include your telephone number and any urgent medical needs on your pet’s ID tag.