MeOW Welcome to Service Cats and Everything Feline on Furidays. Are ya’ll ready fur the long weekend? We’ll be celebratin’ mommy’s birthday here, which means lots of huggin’, cuddlin’ and luvvin’. We purray that any of you travelin’ have a safe and uneventful trip and return home rejuvinated. Alright, we got that outta the way so let’s get back to the reason you pawed by today. We’ve got a great topic fur ya’, so stay tuned. You can always ketch up on any post in the series by clickin’ the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page from the menu. And ‘member to leave your questions or post suggestions in the comments below or send us an e-mail via our Contact page. There’s no stupid question, so ask away. Just ‘member, mommy’s specialty is felines; but, we’ll try to find the answer to any questions posed. And, purrlease be as specific as pawssible when askin’ behavioral questions and include any purrtinent examples.
The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions about Everything Feline. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.
As me said, we have a very important topic to discuss today. Unfortunately, it’s a topic that often gets overlooked until it’s too late. Nobody wants to think about death, much less talk about it. We often hear things like, “That’s so morbid”, “Why do you want to talk about that?” “You’re/I’m still young, there’ll be plenty of time for that stuff later.” But, the truth is, no one is guaranteed tomorrow, no matter who you are or how old you are. And, as long as animals are classified as Property under the law, we all need to talk about it and make plans for it and for our beloved furry family members. So, Let’s talk about what happens to your pets when you die.
Property? Do I’s look like property to you? Hmmmpht
That’s right, Fluffy/Fido, your beloved fur baby is nothing more than Property according to the law. We’re just another car, china plate or piece of furniture that needs to be managed. The only difference is that we require constant care in the form of food and water and potty breaks. And of course anyone who has ever been owned by a four legged furry knows, we’re not property. We have feelings and are no doubt confused and grieving when we lose our family members. For those people who live alone, it becomes extremely important to have a plan in place for your furry children in the event of your death, otherwise, we’ll most definitely end up in some shelter somewhere, alone and afraid. Please, don’t assume that someone in your family will take care of your fur baby after you’re gone. It would be great if that were the case, but more often than not, things don’t happen that way.
Put It In Writing:
So, you’re ready to make preparations, where do you even start? The first thing you need to do is be prepared to Put It In Writing. We can’t stress that enough. No matter what plans you make, you need to have them written down and a copies given to all involved and one placed in your “important papers” drawer/file. If you live in an apartment or rental house, give your landlord a copy as well as a written notarized statement/notice that this person is allowed to enter your residence and remove the animals after your death. Include any phone numbers of this person and be sure to keep the notice up to date. As we stated earlier, no one is guaranteed tomorrow. It’s also a good idea to have a back up plan/person (trustee) in the event that things change with the named person/trustee (ie: death, disability, marriage, divorce, illness, etc.).
If you have a will or other legal notices, speak with your attorney about putting in a clause with your wishes for your beloved furry(s). However, because of the very nature of wills (subject to probate or contesting) it’s a good idea to make preparations for Fluffy/Fido as a separate document, such as a Trust or Power of Attorney. You might want to check your States’ laws and guidelines with regards to pets. This notice should include all pertinent information such as whether the named person/trustee will be adopting Fluffy/Fido or merely providing temporary accommodations until Fluffy/Fido can be placed in their new permanent dwelling. You should also include things like what food, treats, litter and favorite toys Fluffy/Fido need. How many times and what time(s) of day is Fluffy used to eating, or when does Fido go for walks. Include up to date medical records, and list any health issues as well as any medications and directions for giving them. List the Vet’s name, address and telephone number as well as the last time Fluffy/Fido was seen and for what. List any quirky behavior or behavioral issues Fluffy might have. Now’s not the time to hide bad behavior. You want these arrangements to work out, so be honest. This will be a stressful time for everybody and Fluffy’s new caretaker should know what to expect so they can make the transition go as smoothly as possible.
You’ve checked the laws, spoken with an attorney, and are ready to make your plans…what’s next?. It’s always a good idea to check with family and friends. Fluffy/Fido might already be used to them and the transition might be easier with familiar people. This is going to be a stressful time for everyone including Fluffy/Fido, so anything that can make it less stressful is always best. Just remember, Put your wishes In Writing, even if the person taking custody of your beloved furry is your husband, wife, adult child or some other friend or family member. This document can be something as simple as a notarized written and signed statement to a legal trust or power of attorney. If you are able, it’s also nice to allocate “Care Funds” to be used by Fluffy/Fido’s new caretaker. This should also be written down with any instructions needed to access those funds.
“Care Funds” can be allocated in a will, but remember, those funds may not be available immediately, so you may want to check out other options, such as a Trust or Savings account. You can list a POD (pay on death) on the account when you open it with your bank. That means the person you name cannot access those funds until after your death. But, unlike a will, those funds can be accessed immediately. Fluffy’s going to need to eat before the probate court finishes with your will, so a trust or savings account may be the better option for you. Mommy says anyone willing to take on Fluffy/Fido should be willing to take on their expenses as well, but we also understand some animals have a little more ‘baggage’ (chronic illnesses, old age, etc.) than others and therefore require more financial care. So, Yes, anytime a Care Fund can accompany Fluffy/Fido it will make things easier in the long run.
Adopted with a Return Contract:
Another thing to consider when planning for Fluffy’s life without you is where Fluffy came from. Did you adopt from a shelter or rescue? Or, did you purchase from a breeder? Some rescues and breeders have clauses in their adoption/sale contracts that state that Fluffy/Fido must be returned to them if you can no longer care for them. If this is the case, you will need to have someone responsible for contacting the rescue/breeder so that Fluffy/Fido can be returned. This person should should be listed on any notices required to access your home or apartment to remove Fluffy and return him/her to said rescue. The notice should also list the rescues’ name, address, phone number and contact person. When returning Fluffy/Fido to the rescue/breeder be sure your trustee knows to send the information about Fluffy’s likes, medical records and any favorite toys to make the transition go easier.
What happens when friends and family can’t take Fluffy:
You’ve asked friends and family, and no one can take Fluffy after you die, what do you do now? You might want to check with your Vet, they may know of an organization that can help. There are a few organizations in both the U.S. and U.K. that will take on Fluffy/Fido after your death and let them live out their lives with the rescue. However, most of these places require a substantial “donation” accompany said pets. Unfortunately, this is not a viable option for many pet owners. However, mommy says it never hurts to ask, all they can do is say no. If they do agree to take Fluffy after your death without that substantial donation, GET IT IN WRITING!!! Make a copy for your records and theirs and let the person/trustee you chose to transport your beloved furry to their future home know. Your trustee will need to know who to contact and what kind of arrangements have been made for getting Fluffy to the organization/their final destination. The trustee should also include the information about Fluffy’s likes, medical records and any favorite food and toys to make the transition go as smoothly as possible.
Euthanization as a Last Option:
Another thing one needs to consider when making arrangements for Fluffy’s future without you, is Fluffy’s overall health and age. Rehoming or returning to a shelter or rescue may be too hard on Fluffy in the first place. You may have to consider Euthanasia as the best option. However, this is probably the most controversial option. But, at the end of the day, nobody knows their pets as well as the person who spends every day with them. In other words, you and only you know what’s best for your beloved furry. And, as long as the law sees animals as Property, it’s up to you to make the right decision for them. If this is the option you choose, make certain the person you have chosen to to see this through is willing to uphold your wishes…PUT IT IN WRITING and make sure they sign it and know this is the best option. If this is your choice you should put enough money aside to pay for this and let your “trustee” know where to find it. You may be able to carry a credit with your Vet to cover this expense when the time comes, you’ll just need to check with their office. Be sure to keep up to date on your Vet’s policies and prices with regards to euthanization.
Miscellaneous Money Options:
There are a few options one might consider to provide funds for Fluffy’s future without you. You might want to take out a life insurance policy on yourself and list your trustee or rescue organization as the beneficiary. If you do this, you need to make sure all family members are aware of this so they don’t try to contest it’s validity when the time comes. Money can make people mad, and we don’t mean angry. You might want to take a CD or Bond at your bank. Again, you can list your trustee/organization as the POD (pay on death). Whether you can provide money for Fluffy’s continued care after you’re gone or not, shouldn’t be the deciding factor in who will take care of Fluffy. We suggest making a list of the things you think are most important to the daily care of your beloved furry and then evaluating the people you know based on that list. Once you’ve narrowed your list to those that you think would make the best care giver for Fluffy after you’re gone, open the subject with them. Try to be patient, they may need some time to consider your request before agreeing to take on your beloved. And you might be surprised at who says no. But, don’t give up.
Don’t leave our future to chance. We luvs you too much.
This is a very important and serious matter. Any responsible pet owner should have a plan of some kind in place. No one is going to live forever and none are guaranteed a tomorrow. So, planning for your beloved furry’s future without you is the responsible thing to do. None of us really want to think about it, but we must. Again we are going to stress the importance of Putting Everything in Writing. We also suggest that you place notices on any outer doors so that emergency personnel know there are animals inside, and how many and what species. Mommy keeps a photo of us on our door along with a notice. You can get the “Animals Inside” decals that alert emergency personnel from the ASPCA for free by filling out the form at the aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack website. We also recommend carrying an emergency alert type card in your wallet or purse that has a list of emergency contacts and who to contact first or in the event of which emergency. We also recommend that your emergency contact have the number to the trustee you’ve chosen to take care of beloved furry family member(s) if they’re not one and the same. Another thing you can do is put a list of those contacts as well as emergency care instructions or who to call for Fluffy on the refrigerator. Most emergency workers are trained to look for those kinds of instructions on the fridge or a bathroom mirror. Just be sure this information is easily found and up to date.
Yep, this is our blooper foto entry.
Well, this sure is a long posty. But, we do hope we’ve helped some of you or at least reminded you to have these conversations if you haven’t already. Another thing mommy suggests is to review and update all the information in your ‘purrtant papers’ file yearly. Numbers change, people move in and out of your life and let’s face it, ain’t none of us gettin’ any younger; so our health and eating habits may change over the years. Mommy says the most ‘purrtant thing to ‘member is to keep everything updated and keep it in Writing. Never assume somepawdy is gonna take care of your beluvved pets after you’re gone. ‘Stead, make a plan and KNOW that they’re future is secured according to your wishes. We were asked this meownin’ ifin we would be includin’ templates fur the forms we suggested today. Unfurtunately, mommy didn’t have time to get them ready fur this post, so we will be postin’ those at a later date for you to copy and use. Don’t furget you can ketch up on any post in this series by clickin’ the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page from our menu. And leave your questions and post suggestions in the comments below or send us an email via our Contact page. We’re linkin’ up with Comedy Plus fur Feline Furiday and we’re also joinin’ our new furiends the Cuddlywumps fur Pet Photo Fails Bloopers.
Till the next time……………………………………………..Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses