Weirdest Cat & Dog Insurance Claims of the Year

Two dogs and a cat are the top winners in Veterinary Pet Insurance’s Hambone contest.

By CatChannel News Editors | Posted: October 16, 2013, 2 p.m. EDT

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Funny Pet Insurance Claims
Natasha made it through a complete washing machine cycle.
Funny Pet Insurance Claims
Macie got tangled when she ran too closely to a bicycle.
Funny Pet Insurance Claims
Winnie ate a 2-pound bag of frozen onion rings.
A dog with a taste for onions, a cat who survived a washing machine and a dog who couldn’t outrun a bicycle were the top finishers in Veterinary Pet Insurance Co.’s fifth annual Hambone Award contest.

Pet lovers cast more than 6,000 votes to determine the most unusual insurance claims from a pool of 11 nominees. Contest sponsor Veterinary Pet Insurance of Brea, Calif., insures 500,000 pets and processes more than 1.1 million claims a year.

Most Unusual Pet Insurance Claim
The Hambone Award for the most usual claim went to Winnie, a mixed-breed dog from Barnstable, Mass., who broke open a forgotten bag of frozen onion rings and consumed all 2 pounds. Given that onions are toxic to dogs, urgent veterinary care was necessary.


"In extreme cases of onion poisoning, the pet may need a blood transfusion,” said Dr. Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary officer at Veterinary Pet Insurance.

Winnie’s owners, the Bowser family, learned of the threat after telling Facebook friends about her odd diet.

"I did some quick investigating and found out that onions aren’t just bad for dogs, they are extremely toxic and can cause anemia,” Kyle Bowser said. "After reading that, I immediately called the Pet Poison Helpline, and they instructed me to take Winnie to the veterinarian.”

Hyannis Animal Hospital in Yarmouth, Mass., induced vomiting and fed charcoal to Winnie to absorb the toxins. Blood tests found initial signs of anemia, but the fast medical attention prevented long-term damage.

Winnie will receive a bronze trophy in the shape of a ham along with toys, treats and an emergency kit. Hyannis Animal Hospital was awarded $10,000 to cover veterinary care for pets from low-income families.

Strangest Cat Insurance Claim
Second place went to Natasha, a Siberian cat from Oakland, Calif. The feline was treated for shock and hypothermia at VCA Bay Area Veterinary Specialists in San Leandro, Calif., after a washing machine completed a cycle with the cat accidentally jostling about inside.


Pretty Strange Dog Insurance Claim
Macie, a Labrador retriever from El Cajon, Calif., finished in third place. The canine was trotting alongside its bike-riding owner when the leash got tangled on the front tire and Macie’s rear left leg was run over. The broken limb was repaired at Pet Emergency & Specialty Center in La Mesa, Calif.


The Hambone Award is named in honor of a dog that ate a Thanksgiving ham after being stranded inside a refrigerator.
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Weirdest Cat & Dog Insurance Claims of the Year

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Reader Comments

Sue    3 Oaks, MI

2/25/2014 11:06:57 AM

I agree they should re-name this...while some of these stories are strange, "funny" isn't the right description!

Kathryn    Rochester, MI

12/5/2013 6:13:43 AM

To Kathryn in San Antonio from Kathryn in Rochester:
Maybe the owners did hear the cat. If it was a front loading washer, the door would have been locked. Even in the best of circumstances, it would have taken awhile to get the door off.

Have a good day.

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

11/19/2013 11:48:48 PM

A cat in a washing machine? It seems perhaps the owners should be cited for animal abuse.

Kathryn    San Antonio, TX

11/7/2013 2:04:21 PM

How in the devil does a CAT get into a washing machine and their owner NOT HEAR THEM YELPING & YOWLING??? Unless their owner is deaf, I don't know how they could end up in the washer for the ENTIRE CYCLE!!! POOR KITTY CAT!!! I hope Natasha's owner SPOILS HER ROTTEN after that one!!! I also can't figure out how the owner would have started the washer and NOT HAVE SEEN THE CAT IN THE WASHER?? It just doesn't make any sense to me??

Oh well... I guess that's why this one won the award for the STRANGEST CAT INSURANCE CLAIM!!

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