The Problem with Family Pets
On Monday last week, the cat was hit by a car. When I came home from work my wife and kids were in the back garden calling for Charlie (our cat) as he hadn’t been home during the day. After a couple of hours searching we found him crying (quietly) in our neighbours back garden. He was frozen with fright, but there didn’t appear to be any bruising or cuts. Regardless he was in such a state that we took him immediately to the ‘out of hours vet’. Here is why I have a problem with family pets.
My wife took the cat into the surgery whilst I stayed home with the children. After an hour or so she called with the initial diagnosis – internal damage from being hit by a car! This was followed up by, ‘I’ve paid the £250 initial vets fee to cover the evening, but there will be more to follow after he has seen the surgeon tomorrow!’
Now if I am honest, I’m not a huge fan of animals. I like the cat, but the reason that we have him is that my wife and kids love him. All of them. After hearing this news, as a father of 4, my mind was completely split between the cat’s welfare and also what looked to be a vet’s bill that had the potential to spiral out of control – very quickly. The question that I am asking myself is, how far do we let this bill go??
My wife came back pretty upset but said that she thinks that Charlie will ‘make it’ provided he has an operation over the next couple of days and the correct follow up treatment. She told me that she has insurance, but the vet is unsure as to whether it will pay out; and if it does pay, what our limits are. She then further explained that Charlie needed the operation in the next day or so and that we would need to make a decision as to whether he could have the operation before we had confirmation that the insurance covered it.
The bill, £3,000. The alternative option; the cat must be ‘put-down’.
I could hear the theme tune to ‘Cruella Deville’ playing in the background as I suggested that we seriously needed to consider the latter option – £3,000 was an awful lot of money. Not only that but he could be on medication for the rest of his life which could cost a fortune. I’m not a mean man, but we have a family of six and whilst we were in a position to pay the bill, it meant that we have to give up something else -as a Financial adviser I know that £3,000 could compound into my son or daughters first car for instance.
After a heated debate (with the wife and eldest daughter) I relented and agreed to let things run their course over the next couple of days, but I lay awake for 2 nights thinking, how far do I let this bill go? As I write this I am none the wiser to that question. I agreed to the operation but on condition that the bill could not go above £3,000.
Pet Insurance Relief
Fortunately for us – the insurance paid out and we weren’t saddled with a large bill. Charlie had the operation and is now at home recuperating with his family. I have subsequently discovered that many people go without pet insurance and in situations that we found ourselves in, opt for the latter option of termination. Far-be-it for me to extoll the virtues of insurance (this is an individual choice), all I would suggest to any father is that if you are in a similar position as me, termination may not be an easy decision to make!