Ask Laura: how does Embrace Pet Insurance treat a shelter cat without health history

Here's a question that came through my blog. It's a bit long but instead of me editing it and removing the personality of the question, I thought I'd leave it intact and let you scan accordingly.


Wikipedia_abyssinian_cat My question has to do with health history and shelter pets. My beloved abyssinian died two weeks ago so I signed up with various breed rescue groups and began scouring petfinder for another one. The best way to grieve a pet is with a pet, right?

I located a great little guy (appears purebred abyssinian) who had just been brought to the shelter and drove 4 hrs round trip to adopt him the same day. He only spent about 6 hours in the shelter environment. He looks great, is playful and energetic, eating and pooping as expected and doesn't appear to have anything wrong with him. The shelter paperwork just records the shots he was given and is stamped that he might have been exposed to an upper respiratory infection which is standard for shelters - precisely why they have a stamp. Haven't noticed any symptoms but I'll give him a few weeks before introducing him to my other cat just to be sure.

So, having broken the bank trying to save my last cat, I would rather spend my 3-4 hundred dollars this year on insurance than on redundant wellcare. My preference would be to only bring this cat in to my vet if he needs it over the next 10-12 months until what would be his annual exam, shots, etc. By then I would have had about a year of insurance coverage.

However, what if something showed up during the vet visit? Worst possible outcome for me financially would be-

1) healthy cat from the shelter,
2) insurance payments for a year,
3) 300 or so spent on wellcare at the end of 10-12 months,
4) something discovered at the annual visit,
5) somehow whatever it is is considered preexisting even though it wasn't observable at the shelter or by me.

I'll never have a medical history for the previous 4 years (shelter estimated his age) and they gave him his shots before I took him home so I feel like I've got a "clean" cat. If I have to take him in for some kind of qualifying vet exam in order to obtain insurance I won't have enough cash left for the insurance.

I believe in wellcare for pets because they can't talk so you have to have an expert look them over on a regular basis. (As opposed to the annual exam for people which studies show is not necessary because humans can identify and explain their problems seeking care as they arise). However in this case I feel like the cat was evaluated at the shelter (albeit in a limited way), he has already had his vaccines etc. And I'm outa cash for a while. Smile.

If I buy a policy from Embrace (by far the best company around) I don't want to learn that he doesn't qualify for coverage in the future (whether 6 or 16 months from now) because I didn't take him in for a preliminary exam under the assumption that the shelter wouldn't have allowed me to adopt a sick animal.

Many thanks,


First of all, thanks for reaching out. It’s great to see someone doing so much research. I'm sorry about your Abyssinian, my heart goes out to you.

But back to your questions. As you can imagine, this is not the first time we've come across this rescue shelter situation. We do assume that a shelter won't adopt out a sick cat or dog unless the adoption records say otherwise (some people specifically will take on a special needs pet). We also don't require you to go again to the vet. As long as you go once a year for a routine visit, that works for us.

On your first claim, just make sure to send in the rescue notes. I should remind you that the waiting period still applies - anything that happens in the first 2 weeks of the policy is not covered, including things that had symptoms in this period.

Does that help you folks with rescued cats and dogs?

As always, get a free quote for Embrace cat insurance over at our website And while you are at it, you can learn about pet insurance there and compare pet insurance plans too.

Get an Embrace Pet Insurance Quote