What happens when you can no longer care for your cat?
Our beloved cats usually have shorter lifespans than us, so we prepare ourselves for losing them, but sadly there are certain situations where people can’t continue to look after the cats that have become a part of their family – what happens then?
Whether you are elderly and about to move into a nursing home, require emergency hospitalisation and medical treatment, or your life simply ends suddenly and sooner than you had planned there are a number of scenarios that result in our our cats simply outliving us.
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How to Plan for Your Cat’s Future
You might assume that friends or family will take over the care of your cat if the worst happens, but do you know that for certain?
If you’re confident that you have someone in your life who will care for your cat, whatever happens, then you can go ahead with an informal arrangement. It’s important that whatever you have in place, you have friends, relatives or neighbours with keys to your home and knowledge of your cat for any urgent temporary care that might be needed.
Even if you have a friend who’s agreed to take care of your cat if anything happens to you, people’s circumstances change, and things may not work out the way you thought they would. That’s why it’s important that your chosen caregiver fully understands the implications and responsibility they’ll have, and they know that if their situation changes they should let you know.
If you think a more formal arrangement will work better, you can go down the route of putting it in writing in a formal way.
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- Will. Leaving your cat and his care to someone in your will may seem like the obvious choice, but don’t forget that a will isn’t a legally binding agreement, so you could leave your cat to someone (again, check with them first!), and they could hand him over to a shelter the very same day with no come-back.
- Pet trust. A pet trust is a more specific deed, in which you leave money and instructions for the care of your cat, and a trustee is appointed to make sure it’s carried out and manage the money.
Don’t forget that it’s not simply the practicalities of who will care for your cat if you can’t, it’s always good to plan funding for their care.
Note: When legal agreements are involved, it’s always best to talk the options through with your solicitor before making a final decision.
What Other Preparation do You Need?
Whichever option you choose when you’re planning your cat’s future care, you’ll need to put together a dossier on each of your cats with information about their food, personality, behaviour, health conditions and any other special requirements.
If you live alone, consider carrying a note in your purse/wallet that states who is responsible for the care of your pets, as well as keeping a list with all of the necessary information somewhere central in your home.
Have you made arrangements for your cat’s future in the event that something happens to you, or you can no longer care for your cat?
This blog post is part of the quarterly campaign for Be the Change for Animals – advocating to make the world a better place for all animals.