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First time cat "owner" pet insurance and other questions

Hello, I am a first time cat owner (we didn't even have cats growing up...) I adopted two cats at the animal shelter on Sunday.  I was wondering if any of you use pet insurance and if you could recommend a company to me?  I have also seen videos where people have trained their cats to use the toilet, have any of you had any luck with that?  Both cats were in the same room together and so they are getting along, and seem to be bonding and playing more over the last couple of days, especially after visiting the vet and the humiliation of getting their temp taken....  I don't want to see one cat being dominate over the other (both female) and I would like to be the "pack leader" in the cat tribe.  What should I do/not do to encourage that and also keep jealousy at a minimum?

Thank you for your answers and insight in advance. 

Fb is the exert, but I think one cat is going to naturally be bossier and neither will respond to a human being a pack leader like dogs do.  POST PICTURES

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My family has 4 cats and 1 dog.  As far as insurance goes, we are what is called "self insured".  We have a line in our budget of money that is set aside every month for the animals above and beyond food, litter, etc that is effectively savings for vet bills.  I can count on each costing about $200/yr for a check up, labs and shots.  Then we keep another $1-2,000 to cover unplanned expenses which always seem to happen.  If we do not need what we have above that amount, we use it for other things.  I am not sure what pet insurance costs or what it covers.  I looked at it a long time ago and it did not seem cost effective back then.

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I'm never sure about pet insurance. They try to market it to us occasionally in school (ha. ha.), but not much as buyers but so we'll try to persuade clients in the future to buy it =/

As far as companies, this seems to be the better one:
http://www.petinsurance.com/
They have a lower-cost plan just for cats. They also have emergency-only type plans, like the ones that exist for people. There are a number of different options on there, like if you want routine care stuff (exam/dental cleaning/vaccines/bloodwork) covered, or just illness expenses covered, etc.

But, I can't help but wonder if it's better to do what semiveg does. Yeah, there's a chance that you'll end up saving more than you spend on the insurance, but there's the opposite possibility as well. I think that one of the reasons that people like pet insurance is that it's an easy 10-15$ per month (at least for cats), and then when expenses come up, they're mostly covered. You could save that money per month and have a fund, but I think that's the thing - most of the time people don't plan for vet expenses, especially emergencies, so when one comes up it's $2,000 that you don't have, at least not immediately available.

However, I've met a lot of people who LOVE having pet insurance. It's one of those things that they'll say "I don't know why more people don't have this!" For me, I considered it, but since I've got 4 cats a good plan would come out to a total of 80/month for me, whereas my vet care has been pretty cheap (except for one cat! ugh), and it's discounted while i'm in school, and most practices discount it for their vets, so...  they don't really give us an incentive to try the product they want us to sell.

For cats and toilets, some people have great luck with that. Honestly, not all cats are very trainable. That is, many cats are not especially motivated by their human's approval, and many are picky about their food, so there goes giving them treats. But some cats are great for that. For the litter training thing, it kind of takes out that middle step of training that you'd use in a dog (rewards) by slowly converting their litter box into the toilet bowl.
That being said, there is a concern with cats going to the bathroom in the toilet. As far as I know, the water waste treatment does not actually treat for two diseases that cats often carry - Toxoplasmosis and Giardia - so there's a bit of a health hazard there. Apparently they've found that cat giardia does not, in all likelihood, actually affect humans. But toxoplasmosis is a particular risk for people who are immunocompromised, like small children, older persons, people undergoing chemotherapy or who have HIV, etc. I'm not sure how likely one is to get infected from drinking water if there's, idk, less than 1% of cats in a city using the toilet as a toilet, but it's something to consider.
I know a lot of newer owners are interested in the cats-going-in-toilets thing, I'm guessing because of the new inconvenience litter boxes provide. It's kind of nice to not have to scoop poop or smell the litter as much. But, if you get a good, clumping litter (I use Litter Purrfect from Costco, but Scoop Away is similar and also good; neither are very expensive either) and one of the slotted scoops, it's pretty easy. I tried out a number of litter brand when I first got my cats (including some natural-er ones), but these ones I found to be the best for scooping and the best at covering up odor.

For behavior... if one's more dominant, it's just the dynamics. Usually it'll manifest as someone stealing someone else's food, or getting jealous when you're giving the other cat affection and trying to get in your way ;D If your cats are the more doting type, they'll just end up that way and you'll be the "leader" without doing anything. If they're more aloof, there's not much you can do other than be their faithful servant.
:)

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haha, this thread has awesome timing.  I go the "savings account vs. insurance," route, too.  Just twittered the following this morning:

I hate that the kitties have more money in their savings account than I do in mine.

8)

Also, I've seen the toilet trick attempted several times, but never successfully completed.

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Thank you very much.  As far as water / sewer is concerned, I am on well/septic.  I think I might do the savings route for the normal vet and have an insurance plan for emergancies.  I wish companies had pet insurance along with their human insurance. 

The thing I have noticed about my cats is as soon as I clean the litter box one of them immediately decides to mess it up again.  hehehehe

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yeah, one of mine is like that too! As soon as it's clean it's time for her to use it again. I'm not sure if it's that she was holding it in because she didn't want to use a dirty box, or if she likes "marking" the clean box before the other cats.

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Pictures of my kitties.  I am not sure why but I have someone elses photos in my album, marked under their user name.  Look for the c0c0c0
http://vegweb.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=4306

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LOVE THE BLACK & WHITE KITTEHS

who am i kidding. i love all the kittehs.

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