by Karen Foster and Kirsten Gay Davenport
Cats are our family, our furbabies, and we want to have a say in how they are cared for should we become unexpectedly unable to care for them or even pass away.
A Pet Protection Agreement is an affordable, legally binding document that enables a Pet Guardian—selected by you—to provide continuous care for your pet(s) should the unexpected happen.
The Feline Connection gets regular requests to take in cats that have suddenly lost their owners/caretakers. It can be traumatic for both cats and family/friends trying to figure out what happens next for your cat. You might think that a family member will take care of your cat, but unless you have discussed it ahead, you don’t know.
These wonderful boys came to The Feline Connection after their owner died, leaving them stranded in an apartment. The landlord contacted The Feline Connection.
In addition to emergency preparation, a Pet Protection Agreement can provide a soft landing for your furbaby. It can specify both a short-term and long-term guardian in the event that the new guardian is not in the local area.
The website (ThePetProtectionAgreement.org) provides helpful suggestions for thinking through your choice of Pet Guardian. It is possible with a Pet Protection Agreement to set aside money for future pet care if you choose to do so.
Bear – A Social Worker contacted The Feline Connection and worked with her owner to surrender her to The Feline Connection after the owner became hospitalized for what would be an extensive period. Now lives the good life with leashed outside exploration time.
The website also provides prompts for details you might want to include about the overall type and level of care. Losing an owner can be very hard on cats, and it might be helpful to consider what might make a transition easiest for your friend.
- Your pet’s favorite toys
- What your pet likes to eat and how often
- A summary of medical factors or conditions
- A description of personality and behavior
- Grooming preferences and frequency
In general, the more detail you provide, the easier the transition will be for your cat. Be sure to store a copy of the agreement in an easy-to-find place.
HOW TO GET STARTED: Talk to prospective family and friends to see who might be interested and work with your new guardian to create the Pet Protection Agreement. The agreement will need to be signed and notarized by both yourself and the guardian. You may need to contact your attorney if it is to be attached to a will.
More information is available on WikiHow, along with a comparison to a Pet Trust How to Choose Between a Pet Protection Agreement and a Pet Trust. It is worth noting that with a Trust, the kitty is left in limbo until the will is read.