AWOL cat takes top prize for most unusual pet insurance claimCat that went AWOL for 21 days and returned home with a broken rib takes top prize October 30, 2019 Minnow poses with the Hambone trophy. The votes are in for this year’s Hambone Awards by Nationwide and a curious cat has received top honors. Minnow, a domestic short-hair living in Alpharetta, Ga., wandered away from home last year, only to return injured three weeks later. Her owner, Andrea, took the cat to Midway Animal Hospital, where she was diagnosed with starvation, dehydration, and a broken rib. “If you have an animal missing for a long time, they are going to have health problems when they get home,” Andrea says. Midway Animal Hospital, who helped the cat make a quick and complete recovery, received a $10,000 award from Nationwide through the Veterinary Care Foundation. The funds go toward helping patients whose owners could otherwise not afford veterinary care. Four other finalists also will receive funds. They are: BluePearl Animal Hospital (second place, $7,000) in San Marcos, Tex., for the treatment of Max, a great Pyrenees whose head got too close to a hog trap; Central Texas Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Hospital North (third place, $5,000) in Leander, Tex., for taking care of Jasper, a cat who was treated for heat exposure after getting stuck in a dryer’s fluff cycle; Newton Animal Hospital (fourth place, $4,000) in Keyport, N.J., for the treatment of Frank, a Rottweiler who sniffed a porcupine and got a snout full of quills; and Central Coast Pet Emergency (fifth place, $4,000) in Arroyo Grande, Calif., for the treatment of Tippy, a border collie mix who barreled into a steel trailer hitch while playing fetch and injured her snout. All nominated pets made full recoveries. Established in 2009, the Hambone Awards were named in honor of a dog that once ate an entire Thanksgiving ham. Past winners include Ellie, a Labrador retriever who gobbled up a beehive and its thousands of inhabitants; Lulu, a hungry bulldog who swallowed 15 baby pacifiers, a bottle cap, and a piece of a basketball; and Ziva and Zeus, two German shepherds who went missing for 22 days in an abandoned missile silo.