A cat in a surgical cone rests after an emergency procedure.

“I Was Shocked by a Nightmare Vet Bill for My Cat!”

Out of the estimated 85 million Americans who own pets, only 2.82 million choose to purchase pet insurance. Some may think it’s too expensive, others may think it’s unnecessary, and some might not realize it’s an option at all. Regardless of the reason why, choosing to forgo pet insurance can leave you in financial ruin should a medical emergency occur.

Don’t take our word for it; we’ve collected stories from real-life cat owners who experienced sticker shock when faced with a health emergency. Their stories are a testament to the proverb, “better safe than sorry.”

Because Crazy Accidents Happen

Victoria Stratton adopted her cat, Missy, when she was just a little one year-old kitten.

“I was 21 and didn’t want to spend extra money on insurance, nor did I think it was necessary. I didn’t even have it for myself at the time!” says Stratton. “Fast forward 5 years and I never could have imagined the horror I would have had to go through with Missy.”

Stratton reports coming home on a Friday night to her pets–2 dogs and her cat–but only having her dogs greet her when she walked in, which was unusual. She found Missy sitting alone in a room, with her hair standing straight up and eyes dilated.

“I went to pick her up and adjusted her in my arms, and her left leg plopped over and the bone was sticking straight out! I was absolutely mortified,” Stratton recalls. “I rushed her to the ER, and it cost me over $400 just to have her cleaned up and wrapped, but was told I’d have to take her to see a specialist as soon as possible because they wanted to make sure that she wouldn’t get an infection.”

After seeing several different specialists and having her fit for a cast, Stratton amassed over $1000 in veterinary bills, and had maxed out her credit cards. Ultimately, Stratton had to borrow money to have Missy’s leg amputated, spending over $3500 on office visits, medication, and the surgery itself.

“The vet determined that Missy got caught in the blinds, which caused the bone to snap as she fell. I went home to check the window area and sure enough some blinds behind my couch actually have a big tuft of fur caught near a bent blind,” says Stratton. “I’ve kept the blinds rolled up at least a foot ever since so that this would never happen again! I also bought pet insurance because I realize now that accidents can and do happen.”

Although the situation was traumatic for both Stratton and Missy, they both survived and Missy is a happy almost-10-year-old cat.

Unforeseen Emergencies for A New Pet

When Jarry Lee first brought home her 1 year-old Bengal cat named Potato, he had some unexpected health issues.

“It turns out Potato had urinary tract inflammation,” says Lee. “So every vet bill was a nightmare. We didn’t have pet insurance and between all of the checkups when we couldn’t figure out what was wrong, and one emergency visit with him, it all added up.”

Lee estimates that she spent between $200 – 300 per visit, but the vet didn’t officially diagnose Potato until after an expensive emergency vet trip. Additionally, the medication prescribed to treat Potato’s urinary tract inflammation wasn’t cheap. The whole experience ended up costing Lee over $1000.

An accident and illness pet insurance plan is typically under $40 per month and could cover up to 80-90% of your vet bill, saving you money in the long run.

Add A Wellness Plan to Cover Dental Work

In addition to regular vet visits, cats, especially as they get older, may need dental services. Tiffany Bradshaw was shocked when she took her cat, Midnight, to get her teeth cleaned and ended up being handed a bill for over $800.

“I thought it was a routine process, so I neglected to ask how much it would cost,” says Bradshaw. “I figured it couldn’t cost more than what it costs for a person, but I was wrong!”

Although not typically sold on their own, dental benefits are bundled inside wellness plans, often covering up to $100 in dental per year, which should be enough to fund regular visits as long as general anesthesia isn’t involved. Although it might not seem like much, dental care on a wellness/preventive basis is critical to the long-term health of a pet.

The Importance of Pet Insurance

As you can see, the curveballs that life throws you as a pet parent can get very expensive. The best way to protect yourself from receiving a nightmare vet bill is to invest in pet insurance sooner rather than later.

Want to learn more about pet insurance? Click here.

Independent article by PetPlace.com. PetPlace® may be compensated by its affiliates when you click on or make a purchase using the links in this article. PetPlace is a brand of Independence American Holdings Corp. (IAHC).