Have you ever brought your cat to an emergency vet? Those gut-wrenching sounds of illness and the horror in your cat’s eyes at the vet’s office is enough to make you sick to your stomach. At the end of it all, you’ll be served with a bill which may make you feel sicker — if that’s even possible! The best cat insurance Canada offers can help mitigate vet care costs for your precious kitty. That way you only have to worry about getting your feline the medical attention they need, and not the crazy high cost.
Table of contents
- Cat Insurance in Canada: What to Know
- Best Cat Insurance Canada: A Comparison
- Do I need cat insurance?
In this guide, we’ll walk you through how cat insurance works, whether it’s worth it, and three of the best cat insurance Canada plans you can choose from. Keep reading to learn more.
Cat Insurance in Canada: What to Know
Did you know high costs are one of the top reasons for surrendering cats in Canada? Unfortunately, many aspiring cat owners don’t consider the additional expenses they might face when welcoming a feline into their home. Sure, it’s easy to budget for weekly food and annual vaccinations, even check-ups. But if a vet check-up turns into a kidney operation or severe allergy requiring medication? You’re looking at hundreds or thousands of dollars more per year. Plus, emergency medical care can shock cat owners with fees they simply can’t afford.
High costs can also look like replacing cat-scratched furniture and paying for boarding. If you’re hit with surprise vet costs, it becomes harder to tackle any other expenses. In some cases, not even an emergency fund will help you. A combination of little to no insurance and plenty of new costs contribute to cat surrenders. Whether you’re a new cat owner or considering getting a cat, don’t overlook the cost. Luckily, pet insurance offers some relief.
Related Reading: Best Pet Insurance in Canada
How much is pet insurance for a cat in Canada?
Think about your health insurance plan —- now imagine the same thing for your cat. That’s how pet insurance works, albeit on a smaller scale. You’ll pay a monthly fee, deductible, and a percentage-based co-pay. The average monthly cat insurance premium is $29. That equates to roughly $350 per year.
You’ll have your basic insurance plan, with higher premiums dependent on:
- Breed: Your Maine Coon might be a majestic-looking, great companion — but did you know the breed is more prone to heart disease? The same goes for sphynxes, ragdoll cats, Persians, and Norwegian forest cats. Similarly, Abyssinians are more prone to kidney disease, while purebreds in general have higher cancer rates. If your cat is a particular breed more susceptible to certain illnesses, that will be factored into the cost.
- Gender: Why do men pay more car insurance costs than women? They’re known to be more prone to risk and accidents. Interestingly, it’s the same for male cats. Your male kitty will likely cost you a higher premium.
- Age: One insurance consultant describes older cats as more expensive to insure. The difference isn’t substantial, however, until they reach way older ages. For example, a 5-year-old cat might cost $28 per month to insure, while a kitten costs $24. Keep in mind pet insurance companies aren’t likely to offer any insurance coverage to cats over nine years old. At this age, they may be considered too high risk for illness and disease to insure.
- Supplemental coverage: Most cat insurance covers a basic series of costs, like emergency vet visits or chemotherapy. However, you might need to add extra coverage for routine vet visits or surgeries. Some plans even allow coverage options for alternative medical care, like chiropractic services.
Is it worth insuring a cat?
The short answer? Yes. The average cost of cat insurance in Canada is $29 per month, which adds up to roughly $350 per year — a fraction of the cost of an emergency vet visit. Some vet visits can easily cost several thousand dollars. Of course, you’re still on the hook for a deductible ranging between $200 to $1,000.
Here’s the thing: cats get sick too. It’s unrealistic to think they’ll never need an emergency vet visit, medication, or other treatment for a disease. Many people consider their felines a part of the family so it’s important you can provide care as needed. Cat insurance is a great way to ensure the cost is covered and you’ll likely pay less in premiums over the long run.
And if your cat goes outside? Sure, they’ll enjoy fresh air and freedom. But they’ll likely mingle with other cats in the neighbourhood, sometimes ferals and strays. If you let your cat out, you’ll increase its risk of picking up diseases and parasites, like:
- Ear mites
- Respiratory infections
- Feline AIDS
- FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis)
To put things in perspective, a vet’s expertise for fleas can cost you $250 for the medication and visit. As for FIV treatment? Prepare to drop up to $2,000 per treatment.
So, the case is clear for outdoor cats. What about indoor cats?
Is pet insurance worth it for indoor cats?
Sure, indoor cats aren’t at risk for the same diseases as outdoor cats. They’re also less likely to need emergency care for eating toxins, getting into cat fights with strays, or worse, getting hit by a car. But the same argument applies: cats get sick just like people do. Furthermore, as they age, cats become more prone to disease. In fact, 50% to 90% of cats develop dental disease after age four. Yes, cats get cavities too!
Another consideration is liability insurance. What if your cat scratches your neighbour’s baby and blinds them in one eye? Knock on wood, but they could sue you for it, right? Liability insurance protects you from potential lawsuits. The same for damages to property in a vacation rental and so on.
Can I get pet insurance for an older cat?
Yes, you can get pet insurance for an older cat. Be prepared to pay more, though. Keep in mind most insurance providers won’t cover a cat with pre-existing conditions. In other words, if your 10-year-old kitty has kidney disease, it’s unlikely you’ll find coverage. Typically, pet insurance is meant to covers illnesses and conditions that are unsuspected and unknown. For example, Fetch Pet invites people with older cats to sign up for insurance, with the caveat that they won’t cover pets with existing conditions.
If you adopted an older cat, it’s in your best interest to get covered immediately, before you discover any health conditions. That way, you’ll be covered once an illness develops. Remember, an illness will develop the more your cat ages.
Can you write off vet bills on taxes?
No. In most cases, you can’t deduct vet bills from your income. It might feel like your cat is your dependent, but the CRA doesn’t see it that way. However, you might be able to deduct cat expenses in very specific scenarios:
- Business partner: Are you an affiliate influencer who uses your cat for content? If you make money off your animal, you could deduct certain expenses from your taxes. For instance, your viral kitty might be necessary for you to generate income. Just keep track of all your records and hire a solid accountant to help you present documents to the CRA if necessary.
- Livestock protection: Can you train a cat to protect your goats or chickens? If you can, you might have a case for a deduction. However, you must be generating income off your livestock in most instances to deduct costs related to your cat.
- Service animal: Most people think of guide dogs when they hear “service animal.” But recent developments have opened the designation to cats too. And if you have a service cat, related costs are considered medical expenses. In addition, the MSAR released new guidelines on service cats, urged by a growing need for more accessibility. Service dogs are much more expensive, but cats can offer similar support. For example, a cat could alert you if someone is at the door, or calm you down from nightmares and panic attacks. They can also be trained to help you remember to take medication.
Note: Service animals are not the same as emotional support animals. You cannot deduct emotional support animal expenses from your taxes.
Does cat insurance cover vaccinations?
Most pet insurance plans don’t cover vaccinations — even the best cat insurance in Canada. Like other routine expenses, vaccinations are expected and usually ineligible for coverage. The good news is you won’t be shocked by standard vaccinations. The cost is easy to prepare for, similar to checkups and recurring food and litter costs.
Best Cat Insurance Canada: A Comparison
|Deductible||Up to $1,000|
Annual or per condition
|Not listed; annual||Age 0-4: $0|
Age 5-9: $150
Age 10+: $200
Annual or per condition
|Items Covered||Hospitalization, surgery, prescriptions, dental, diagnostics, all prone conditions, cancer treatment||Accidents, illnesses, surgeries, alternative therapies, x-rays, boarding||Accident, illness, dental|
|Exclusions||Pre-existing conditions and exam fees||Food and special diets, pre-existing conditions, pregnancy and spay surgery||Pre-existing conditions|
|Coverage limit||90%; no limit||80% across the board. |
Up to $5,000 for higher-tier; $1,000 and $2,500 for accidents and illnesses in lower tiers; $200-400 for dental
Unlimited coverage for highest tier
|80%; no limit for the higher-tier plan; $2,000-$4,000 for lower-tiered plans|
|Add-ons||Behavioral care, acupuncture, naturopathy, emergency boarding, liability coverage||Alternative therapies||Medical devices, behavioral therapy, alternative therapy|
|Premium||Custom quote||Custom quotes||$26, $42, and $87, depending on the plan|
|Pros||Direct payments||4 plans for flexibility||Preventative insurance possible with higher-tiered plans; discounts for multiple cats|
|Cons||No coverage for medical exams||Longer list of exclusions than other providers; poor reviews regarding customer service and fairness||Expensive premium for fuller coverage|
Trupanion is a staple name in the pet insurance industry, having insured over 500,000 pets in 2020. Additionally, Trupanion covers 90% of eligible expenses with no limit on the coverage amount. This is a fantastic, competitively high coverage amount compared to other providers.
They also allow direct billings, removing the onus on you to fork up thousands of dollars in vet fees and wait for reimbursement. Finally, Trupanion doesn’t increase premiums after you file a claim.
Based in Manitoba, Petsecure offers a wide range of cat insurance plans in four tiers. The variety offers flexible coverage for different felines and unique issues.
However, the company is stained with endless customer reviews lamenting horrible service and a lack of fairness in claims processing. If customer service is important to you, maybe steer clear of this provider.
Related Reading: Trupanion vs Petsecure: Which one is better?
3. Desjardins Pet Insurance
Behind Desjardins stands decades of experience in the insurance industry, echoing comfort and assurance with its reputable services.
Most insurance providers don’t offer coverage for preventative care. Desjardins stands out with its Gold Paw Plan, which covers 80% of routine, preventative pet expenses.
Of course, you’ll pay a higher premium ($87) compared to the $26 and $42 monthly premiums for the standard plans.
Do I need cat insurance?
Considering how frequent cat surrenders stem from a lack of affordability, cat insurance is definitely worth it. It’s not as expensive as other types of insurance, and many providers offer peace of mind with generous coverage and flexible add-ons. However, only you know your budget and financial circumstances, so it’s up to you to decide what’s right for your feline!
Read More: How to Find and Choose an Insurance Broker