We all want to do the very best we can for our pets, but with the ever-increasing cost of veterinary care, getting them the medical attention they sometimes need isn’t always as easy as it seems. But before you start to panic at the thought of a hefty vet’s bill, know there is help out there. Over the past few years, dozens of organizations have sprung up all over the country to provide financial aid to pet owners in crisis. Some organizations deal in repayable veterinary related loans, while others offer assistance in the form of grants, whereby the pet owner is provided a non-repayable lump sum to cover the partial or full cost of treatment. Regardless of your cat’s breed, age, condition, or prognosis, help may be easier to find than you thought. While some organizations have set criteria for eligibility, the volume of charities and foundations willing to lend a helping hand is vast enough to ensure that anyone who truly needs support is almost guaranteed to find it. So, before you panic at the thought of that next vet’s bill, take a closer look at the incredible work being done by the following organizations.
If the thought of a visit to the vet is causing you more stress than it is your pet, a call to RedRover may be enough to ease your worries. As well as offering temporary emergency shelter, resources, education about animal well-being and husbandry, and emotional support to pet owners, the organization provides financial assistance to ease the burden of costly veterinary treatment. In the words of the organization’s own website, “The Relief Urgent Care grant program helps animals who need urgent and emergency veterinary care. The typical grant is around $200 and is intended to fill a small gap in funding that is keeping an animal from care. Decisions are based upon several factors, including medical urgency, financial need, available funding, and eligibility”. Established in 1987, this incredible organization works across every state in the US, proving, quite literally, a lifesaver to pets in need. Once you’ve made your application, expect to receive a response within one to two business days.
CareCredit works along the same lines as a credit card but is designed exclusively for use on medical treatment. Once you’ve used the card to pay a vet’s bill, the balance can either be settled in full or repaid in monthly increments.
If your concern about the cost of veterinary treatment is more general than immediate, signing up to a scheme like CareCap is worth considering. CareCap will set up a custom payment plan based on your budget- if your cat needs care in the future, the cost will be covered via manageable monthly repayments.
Apply for a payment plan with Scratchpay, and they’ll settle any vet bills up to a maximum of $10,000 immediately. You then have the option to repay in 30 days without incurring interest, or in manageable monthly sums over a 12 -24-month period instead. Bear in mind that if you choose the longer repayment schedule, the rate of interest will be determined by your credit history.
Paws 4 A Cure
If you’re struggling to pay for your pet’s treatment, Paws 4 A Cure will take over the financial burden, irrespective of the breed, age, or diagnosis of your cat.
The Pet Fund
The Pet Fund provides financial assistance to all pets requiring non-basic, non-urgent care for chronic conditions. “Typically, we provide grants in an amount of $500 to cover treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy and immunotherapies,” Karen Leslie, Pet Fund executive director, tells Catster. “We are also approached for veterinary care with regard to heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and other chronic conditions, endocrine diseases and eye diseases.” Applications for support can be made via the website (although bear in mind financial assistance is limited to US residents only).
Joshua Louis Animal Cancer Foundation
In addition to raising awareness and funds for animal cancer research, the Joshua Louis Animal Cancer Foundation provides financial assistance to pet owners unable to cover the full cost of cancer treatment themselves.
Diabetic Cats in Need
If your cat has received a diabetes diagnosis, Diabetic Cats in Need may be able to help. As well as providing support to local rescue programs in the area of diabetic cat adoption, the charity also offers financial support towards the cost of insulin and other treatments required by the condition.
Alley Cat Rescue
For cat parents in LA and Maryland, Alley Cat Rescue offer an excellent, free spay/ neuter program. Check out the website for full details on how to apply.
Lucy Pet Foundation
For LA residents struggling with the cost of spay or neuter surgery, flea medication, nail trimming, or general consultancy fees, Lucy Pet Foundation may be able to help. While it operates from LA only, it’s just one of the many examples of regional foundations across the country.
Waggle operates along the same lines as GoFundMe, with one crucial difference – it’s 100% dedicated to pets. “Waggle addresses a sorely needed service which provides a fully transparent and legitimate crowdfunding platform to assist anxious pet guardians cover the cost of their veterinary bills,” says Steven Mornelli, Waggle’s CEO and founder, and judging by how well it’s taken off, he couldn’t be more right. The site is replete with helpful info on how to design a campaign to raise funds for treatment. As an added bonus, Waggle will often match the funds raised with the equivalent amount from their sponsors. The process is simple: sign up to the website, enter the name of your veterinary clinic, and provide the approximate cost of treatment. Waggle will then verify the information with the clinic, and, once the funds are raised, step in on your behalf to pay the clinic directly. If crowdfunding isn’t your thing, or if the cost of treatment exceeds what you’re likely to get from a grant (something the site also specializes in), there’s also the option to take out a veterinary related loan to cover the full cost of treatment.