The total value of pet insurance claims for cats increased by 10% annually to an all-time high of £148 million in 2020, according to industry figures.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said 1.06 million cat owners had pet insurance last year – also the highest figure it has recorded.
Insurers processed claims for all types of pet worth £799 million last year – the equivalent of £2.2 million every day – mainly to cover the costs of veterinary treatment – the ABI said.
The annual pet claims total for 2020 was the second highest figure since the ABI started collecting the data back in 2007, and 80% higher than the amount recorded 10 years ago.
The highest annual total on its records since 2007 was in 2019, when claims worth £809 million were handled on pet policies.
The ABI said 978,000 pet claims were recorded last year. These included 212,000 involving cats and 734,000 for dogs, worth £148 million and £598 million respectively.
Claims were also made for other pets such as rabbits, indoor birds and hamsters.
The average claim value across all pet policies was £817, up by 2% on 2019.
Payouts have included £7,000 to treat a French bulldog with a fractured leg; £5,000 to reattach two toes to a cat after they had been crushed; £3,800 to treat a dog’s dislocated kneecap; £3,600 to repair right leg cruciate ligament damage in a Jack Russell terrier; and £3,770 for the treatment of a fractured femur leg bone in a cat following an accident.
ABI spokesman Malcolm Tarling said: “During the pandemic, pets have given added comfort to their owners.
“But pet owners have also faced challenges, often worried about being able to access the full range of veterinary services during lockdowns.
“With claims worth over £2 million handled every day, most involving medical treatments, pet insurers are continuing to do all they can to help their customers through very stressful and uncertain times.”