Firstly you have got to decide whether your cat is overweight. A lot of people are normalizing their cat’s obesity to the point where they are unable to distinguish between a cat of normal weight and a cat who was obviously obese.
There are many resources on the Internet including on this website to assess whether your cat is overweight. If your cat is overweight you must declare it to your pet health insurer. The news currently coming out online is that some pet insurers are taking a hardline approach and throwing out claims if they find that a cat or dog is not a healthy size and their owner did not declare it.
In short, if your cat is overweight it may invalidate parts of your pet health insurance policy. In my experience, this follows what is happening in the UK with respect to overweight people.
You will find that the NHS will not operate on such conditions as damaged knees or treat certain conditions if you are excessively obese and have type II diabetes. You’ve got to reduce your weight first and then seek the help of the National Health Service.
I am sure that this hardline approach from pet health insurers will affect very many people in the UK because an estimated 40% of cats are overweight in the country. It is a similar state of affairs in America in terms of overweight cats and dogs. Although, I have no news about American pet health insurers taking the same stance.
It is said that this approach by insurers may result in cat owners more often requesting that their cat be euthanized because they’ll be unable to pay their veterinarian’s bill privately.
It appears that insurers are going through a pet’s medical records to try to find enough evidence that the animal is overweight and use it as a reason why they have to reject a claim.
Some people regard this attitude as rejecting a claim on a technicality. I would, with respect, argue that they are incorrect. Pet obesity does lead to other health issues in the same way it does to humans. It’s obviously important to remove obesity as a cause of a particular a illness before treatments take place to cure the illness.
An example concerned a dog whose leg was injured in a collision with two other dogs. The insurance company refused the claim. They said that if the owner had declared that her dog was overweight they would have excluded leg disorders in the policy. That’s how it works.
One insurance company, Petplan, said: “Petplan does not automatically place exclusions on a policy if an owner tells us their pet is overweight”.
As a consequence of this change in policy, the Financial Ombudsman Service has seen an increase in the number of complaints about pet insurers including complaints about insurers rejecting cover because of overweight animals.
In the final quarter of 2017 there were 422 complaints. This is an increase from 347 in the previous quarter and 372 in the same quarter in 2016.
Allianz, an underwriter for Petplan insurance schemes states on its website: “Overweight animals are a major concern to owners, vets and insurers. One in three dogs, one in four cats and one in four rabbits are overweight”. They say that a pet’s weight should be monitored and managed. This would result in a saving on pet food, insurance premiums, and vet bills.