In the aftermath of the horrific shooting in Orlando, the lives of the families of the 49 victims who were killed, and the more than 50 who were injured, will never be the same. But there’s another set of lives that was also affected by this tragedy: the lives of the pets whose humans will either never come home, or won’t come home for a very long time.
It made me think once again about just how important it is to have a plan in place to provide for our cats’ care during unexpected emergencies.
Designate emergency caregivers
Find one or two responsible friends or relatives who will agree to take care of your cat if something unexpected happens to you. Ideally, these will be people who know your cat, and who your cat is familiar with. Provide them with keys to your home, and make sure they know your cat’s basic routine when it comes to feeding and care. Make sure they have your veterinarian’s contact information.
Emergency contact information
Have a wallet alert card with contact information for your emergency care givers. Make sure that any emergency care givers know how to contact each other. Post emergency contact notices inside your front door. Include favorite hiding places for your cats on this listing – depending on your cat’s temperament, he may be scared when a stranger enters your house.
Once you have designated emergency care givers, thoroughly discuss your expectations with them. Remember that this person will have complete control over your cat’s care, including making decisions about veterinary care, so make sure that you choose someone you trust to make the same or similar decisions to what you would choose. Always have an alternate caregiver, and stay in touch with both the primary and alternate caregiver periodically to ensure that the arrangements you made are still valid. Peoples’ lives change, and while someone may have been the ideal caregiver at one point, circumstances may prohibit them from being available if and when the time comes.
There are a number of options when it comes to legalizing care arrangements, including wills and trusts, and which is right for you will depend on your situation. Requirements will vary by state. Trusts are becoming more popular because they allow you more control over how your pet will be cared for. The goal is to end up with a legal document that provides for continued care for your cat either on a temporary or permanent basis or until a new home is found for him. Your best bet is to consult with an attorney about the legal aspects of the arrangement.
Do you have an emergency plan in place for your cats?