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We had been in our rustic farmhouse home less than 24 hours when I saw the first mouse scamper across the kitchen floor. ‘’That’s it’’ I exclaimed ‘’we need a cat!’’ And there began our first foray into cat-ownership and our ongoing affection for the furry feline creatures.

A friend from the next village was going away for a few months so was more than happy to ‘lend’ us the cat she had adopted from the local farm. In the end a few months became a few years and ‘Bugalugs’ as we named the wily, black and white farm cat successfully terrorised the resident mice until our house became an (almost) mice-free zone – apart from the mice that he actually brought into the house of course!

As Bugalugs had no pedigree and was ‘just’ a farm cat, he had no value as such and so we gave no thought to taking out any pet insurance. But as the years went by his sentimental value increased beyond all our expectations and when after 10 years he became very poorly and needed an operation we were faced with a difficult dilemma. The operation was going to cost a small fortune and that was without taking into account the expensive aftercare he would need. Having no pet insurance to fall back on we agreed to make financial sacrifices elsewhere and go ahead with the operation. Bugalugs pulled through but after running up some more hefty bills in aftercare he sadly passed away leaving us with a huge vet’s bill to pay and worst of all no cat to show for it!!

By this time we had two small children who although they were fond of Bugalugs seemed to accept his untimely demise with glee – ‘’Now we can get those kittens that I want’’ cried one of them. No-one knew which kittens this statement referred to – any kittens would do, the important thing was cute kittens rather than a rather ageing scraggy cat.

So back to the farm we went and returned with the requisite two cute kittens and once again the pet insurance question was raised and dismissed – ‘’They’re only farm cats, they’re not valuable enough to insure’’. How quickly we had forgotten the tugging at the heart strings dilemma we had faced when Bugalugs needed an expensive operation.

Fast forward a couple of years and the kittens are now two fully-grown, healthy cats. And whilst they keep the local mice population at bay we’re still spending a considerable sum on vet’s bills as their regular turf wars with the neighbourhood cats result in some serious battle wounds!

So, the question of pet insurance is back on the agenda and I’ve been researching options. One possibility is that Instead of taking out a specialist pet insurance we might set up our own ‘pet-fund’, putting aside a sum of money each month to cover those unforeseen vet bills. Whether you choose this option or the traditional pet insurance is up to you but when a friend adopted a new cat recently and asked me if I thought pet insurance was a good idea I said I thought it better to have something in place even if it’s ‘just’ a farm cat!

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