As your cat grows older and a bit whiter around the whiskers, you’re likely to deal with a mountain of vet bills – whether that’s from arthritis, cognitive dysfunction, dental problems, or other health conditions including diabetes and cancer. So you might’ve found yourself looking up your options in pet insurance for older cats – and wondering, how does it work?

Well, in a nutshell: a pet insurance policy can cover the cost of treatment when your cat becomes ill or suffers an accident or injury – giving you peace of mind while reducing your financial burden.

Here’s how it works.

Does the age of a cat matter for getting insurance?

Now as cats age, they’re more likely to need veterinary care. That’s why age is one factor that pet health insurance companies use to determine the cost of their product.

Many insurers consider cats to be seniors above age 7 to 10. Some even impose an upper age limit. (Above which they will not insure your older dog or cat.) So make sure to check your policy documents carefully before signing up!

A woman caring for a cat wearing a neck collar

⚠️ Another factor insurance companies consider is if your cat has a pre-existing condition.

If your cat does have one, these illnesses may be excluded from insurance coverage. Meaning you’ll have to pay the vet fees for any treatment for these conditions. (Even if you’re covered by insurance.)

Is pet insurance for older cats worth it?

You’ll do anything to help your furry friend – but let’s admit it: the price tag for their treatments can be shocking.

💡And when you do the math, you’ll realize that pet health insurance will save you money in the long run. (By covering the costs of what’s included within your policy and reducing some of your expenses.)

Besides, the biggest perk of pet insurance for older cats is the peace of mind you get from knowing you’ve taken an active role in their health and well-being.

Why can insurance for older cats be more expensive?

The older your pet becomes, the more likely they will suffer from diseases or chronic health problems. Because of this, insurance companies may charge higher rates for senior cats. (Because of the higher risk they will need some type of treatment.)

So rather than wait until your cat becomes elderly or gets sick, it may be best to purchase a pet health insurance policy when your cat is young and healthy. Your premiums will be much lower than waiting until your cat is older.

A woman checking her older cat's vet bills at a table

💡 With Tractive Pet Cover, you can insure your cat with a Lifetime policy. This means where renewed, we will continue to cover conditions that arose during the policy, in line with policy terms and conditions. 

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What kind of health conditions are older cats vulnerable to?

Cats can stay in good health for many years as long as they eat a healthy diet and stay active. But for many cats, reaching the senior years means they will need extra veterinary care to maintain their quality of life.

Some of the most common conditions seen in older cats include:

Dental care and oral health considerations

Many older cats suffer from gum disease or need to have multiple teeth extracted. Not only is this painful for your cat, dental disease can affect their overall health. (Especially if any bacteria from a dental infection reaches their other organs – including their lungs or heart.)

A vet examining a cat's teeth at a clinic

💡With Tractive Pet Cover, you’re covered up to £2000 for dental treatments.

Heart disease

Genetics, body weight, activity levels, and diet may play a role in the development of heart disease in cats.

  • Sometimes, cats may have congenital disease where heart defects are present at birth.
  • Heartworm in cats can lead to heart disease as well.

Chronic renal disease

Kidney failure, also called chronic renal disease, is not curable, but it can be managed with medications, fluid therapy, and dietary changes. The prognosis improves if this condition is diagnosed early, before it progresses.

Kidney and urinary tract health

Urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder stones, and urethral obstructions can cause problems with your cat’s urinary tract and kidneys. UTIs can be treated with antibiotics, but some conditions may require imaging or surgery to treat.

Read more:

Cognitive decline and behavioral changes

Cats can suffer from feline dementia, known as cognitive dysfunction syndrome. Affected cats experience changes in awareness, memory loss, and become less responsive to sights, sounds, smells, and other stimuli.

⚠️ Senior cats that are vulnerable to dementia may also grow more easily disoriented – making them likely to wander away from home and get lost.

It’s why cat parents (just like you) are going for GPS trackers – ensuring their cats’ safety by tracking them in real-time and over an unlimited range.

Cat named Paggy sitting on a chair outside, wearing a GPS tracker

“Just got Tractive for my cat Peggy, who has dementia and often gets lost in our (safe) garden.

We get peace of mind knowing where she is at all times. Plus, if she ever left the house, we would know.

Thanks to Tractive, she gets to still enjoy her beloved garden.”

– Wendy

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What to consider when choosing a pet insurance plan

Picking the right insurance for your senior cat can be daunting. You need to understand:

  • The type of cover you will receive
  • The health conditions your cat has
  • and the cost of the pet insurance policy

Read more: Choosing The Right Pet Insurance Provider: 9 Factors To Consider

Your options with pet insurance for older cats

You have several cover options when choosing insurance for your senior cat. As you research policies, read the policy documents carefully to understand exactly what type of coverage you are buying.

  • Lifetime pet insurance can be purchased at any time during your pet’s life, but is cheaper when your pet is young and healthy. Lifetime cover is the most expensive type of pet insurance, but your cat will receive lifetime cover for accidents and illness (not including pre-existing conditions) for as long as you continue to pay your lifetime policy premiums. 
  • Maximum benefit pet insurance covers accidents and illnesses up to a pre-set monetary annual limit. Once the upper limit is reached, you can’t file a claim for the condition again. Therefore, max benefit cover may not be the best choice for older cats, who tend to develop chronic health issues that require treatment for years.
A man looks after a cat in a neck collar
  • Time limited pet insurance covers accidents or illnesses for 12 months or a set financial cap. Time limited cover is more suited to younger cats without chronic health issues.
  • Accident only pet insurance only covers injuries related to accidents such as lacerations or broken bones. Your senior cat is unlikely to need this type of coverage, but it can be helpful for younger cats and kittens.

Read more: The Main Types Of Pet Insurance: Which Works Best For You?

Pre-existing condition coverage

Most pet insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. So if your cat is diagnosed with chronic renal disease before you buy your policy, you will not be able to make any claims for costs related to this condition.

Make sure to check with your vet what kind of conditions your cat has at present – or might be vulnerable to as they grow older. The sooner you can take action to prevent or reduce their symptoms, the better.

Coverage limits and exclusions for senior-specific conditions

Some pet insurance companies do not cover conditions that senior cats might be vulnerable to. Including:

  • Kidney failure
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Dental issues
  • Or cancer

Some cat breeds including Siamese, Bengal, Manx, and Persian breeds are at risk for certain health conditions as they age. Many of which may not be covered by pet insurance policies, no matter how old your cat is.

A Siamese cat sitting in bed

💡So make sure you understand what type of medical conditions are excluded within your insurance policy.

Also remember that some policies have lifetime or annual limits on the amount of money they will pay out for certain treatments. 

Co-payment, premiums, and excess levels

With pet insurance, you pay for your premium either as a one-off yearly cost, or some insurance companies allow you to split the premium and pay a monthly premium for your pet health insurance. 

After paying the veterinary bills up front, you submit an itemized receipt to the pet insurance company. Once you pay your excess, the pet insurance covers the remaining cost – depending on your policy terms. 

A pair of vets caring for a cat wearing a neck collar

💡With Tractive Pet Cover, you can pay all in one go, or with interest free monthly payments. Plus, the entire payment and claims process can be organized directly between the vet and insurance company. This means no large upfront costs for you. (Only the excess needs to be paid.)

Another step towards complete peace of mind. 

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Each company and policy type varies, so read all the policy documents carefully to understand exactly what is and isn’t covered.

Read more: How Does Pet Insurance Work? A ‘Paw by Paw’ Breakdown

Tips for maximizing senior cat insurance

Older pet insurance is important – but regular vet visits, healthy food, appropriate exercise, and basic pet care can help to stave off age-related health conditions in your senior pet.

Balanced nutrition and weight management

Obesity in pets is associated with diabetes, joint problems, and chronic pain, as well as lower life expectancy. Ask your veterinarian for advice on exactly how much food to offer your cat daily and lower their risk of obesity and associated problems. 

Read more: Cat Feeding Schedule: How Often Should I Feed My Cat?

Dental care and oral hygiene practices

Poor dental hygiene creates a risk for infection and tooth loss. Stay ahead of tooth trouble by scheduling regular cleanings at the vet’s office.

Regular senior-specific check-ups and screenings

Pet owners should take their dogs and cats to the vet at least once a year for an annual check-up. Senior pets should see the vet twice a year to head off health issues associated with advanced age. 

💡With Tractive Pet Cover, a free and unlimited 24/7 video vet service is available to all policyholders from experts at FirstVet. Get as many appointments as you like – all from the comfort of your couch – at zero cost.

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Managing chronic conditions and medications

If your cat is diagnosed with a chronic condition such as kidney failure or diabetes, it’s important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions for daily home care. If medication is prescribed, be sure to follow the correct dosage and timing.

Creating a cat-friendly environment for comfort and safety

As your cat ages, they may become less adventurous and need more attention from you, their favorite human. Keep an eye on your kitty for changes in their eating, grooming, and litter box habits. Changes in these areas can signal an underlying health problem that your veterinarian can investigate.

Read more:

Get help managing your senior cat’s health with pet insurance

If your cat’s been by your side (or lap) for so long, it can feel like you’ve blinked and they’re now a grand-puss! Meaning they now need some extra love and care in their grandpa or grandma cat years. Which is where pet insurance for older cats can be your key to peace of mind – and the assurance you’ve got your bases covered when it comes to caring for your furry friend.

Dog, cat and owner sitting on the floor promoting Tractive Pet Cover, a range of pet insurance products

So start the journey, get a quote, and you and your pet can enjoy every moment life offers with complete peace of mind – and a little help from Tractive Pet Cover.

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Read more: Benefits Of Pet Insurance: Is It Worth The Investment?

Frank Speight, Insurance

This post was written by Frank Speight, a veteran of the insurance industry, who’s worked in financial services for more than 30 years across Europe and Asia. Besides negotiating the best possible insurance products for pet parents, he’s also dad to two Golden Retrievers – who have a larger following on Instagram than him!

When he’s not busy with Tractive Pet Cover, you can find him walking his dogs on the beach, managing their social media accounts, or playing the guitar.