Nobody wants to think about the unthinkable: something happens to us, and our cat won’t be taken care of. As responsible cat parents, we owe it to our cats to think ahead and make arrangments for our cats care in case of an emergency or death.
I am currently going through the process of updating my will, which includes a pet trust. A pet trust allows you to control how your cat will be cared for in the event of your death. You can name a guardian for your cat so she won’t end up at a shelter, and leave money for her care. Laws for pet trusts vary from state to state. As of 2012, 46 states have enacted pet trust laws. Be sure to consult with an attorney in your state once you’ve finalized arrangements.
In a recent article on Vetstreet, attorney Rachel Hirschfeld, a pet trust expert and author of Petriarch: The Complete Guide to Financial and Legal Planning for a Pet’s Continued Care, suggests thinking of the trust as a docment of affection and protection. “You’re really writing a love letter to your animal,” she emphasizes.
Unless your designated guardian already knows your cat’s routine extremely well, consider putting details such as your cat’s daily routine, specific foods and treats, and your expectations for medical care into the trust. Spell out even mundane details. For more suggestions, please read Five Innovative Ideas for Owners Who Want to Set Up Pet Trusts.
I am fortunate that my designated guardian knows my girls really well. My pet trust has provisions that won’t allow my house to be sold until my guardian has found a new home for my cats. Ideally, I’d like my guardian to move into my home during the transition period, but that may not be practical.
This is the kind of thing that none of us want to deal with, but the discomfort of dealing with putting these legal arrangements into place is outweighed by the peace of mind of knowing that you won’t have to worry about your cats ending up at a shelter, or worse, euthanized, because there were no other options.
Have you made arrangements for someone to care for your cat if you can’t?