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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-17-2010, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Aging Owners

This is a true heart-warming story: "How A Cat Helped My Aging Mom"

How a cat helped my aging mom - The Globe and Mail

but it does beg the questions....

Have you made any provisions for your cat(s) before you pass on?

What do you think of having a cat euthanized when its owner dies?

Personally, I have not made any provisions in my will for my cats. So this article has given me something to ponder for sure. I know that if my cats ended up in a humane society or rescue they would not be there very long as they are both a specific breed (Devon Rex) and both of them would have no trouble adapting to new owner(s). They are both very affectionate and attention seeking to anyone. I do admit that because I'm a senior it did cross my mind when I bought these two cats as kittens that they may likely be my last pets, and I wanted purebreds that I knew would be adopted if they ended up in a humane society or rescue.

Interested in hearing other's comments.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-17-2010, 01:06 PM
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I've heard of one case in my area where an elderly woman asked that her cat be euthanized and buried in her casket with her, and the vet refused to do it. My gut reaction to that was -- good. I understand the sentiment and comfort that may bring to the elderly person, but it's also kind of the height of self-centeredness (maybe even arrogance) to think that your death should bring about someone else's death. I think a much better idea is for the elderly person to have contingency plans in place -- a family member, friend, shelter, whatever -- for the cat when he or she dies.

My mother lives in assisted living and I've always thought what a great thing it would be to give each resident a cat in their room. Better yet, how about an elderly cat for an elderly resident? But then, you know what ... you think about the cat tripping them at the top of the stairs, shooting between their legs, darting in front of them .... and it would be a hip-breaking catastrophy of the highest order.


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-17-2010, 01:12 PM
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I've heard of one case in my area where an elderly woman asked that her cat be euthanized and buried in her casket with her, and the vet refused to do it. My gut reaction to that was -- good. I understand the sentiment and comfort that may bring to the elderly person, but it's also kind of the height of self-centeredness (maybe even arrogance) to think that your death should bring about someone else's death. I think a much better idea is for the elderly person to have contingency plans in place -- a family member, friend, shelter, whatever -- for the cat when he or she dies.
I fully agree with you, October.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-17-2010, 01:20 PM
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I wouldn't differentiate between a cat, a dog, or another person in this respect. If I would no more want a brother, sister, son, daughter, or parent to be euthanized upon my passing (and I wouldn't), then why do so for a companion cat, no matter how caring the relationship?

To me, much better to leave provision in a will for funds for the animal(s) to be cared for, to the extent possible, to enhance the chances the pet will quickly find another and suitable home. And even better if you've already identified someone else who might take the pet, though best not to rely upon its happening, since you never know and wouldn't be around to make sure.

As much as I love my Fab Four, I do not think I am the only person in the world they could get along with. Yes, cats may mourn, but they are also terrific survivors, so to me a much better testament would be to provide the funds to allow the kitties to live a full life elsewhere. The best solution to me would be to provide funds but also get a local rescue agency agree to screen possible new owners, if they do this.


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-17-2010, 01:25 PM
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My brother Tom and his wife Jan have included their three cats in their will. The cats' care-giver is also very well compensated.

I have put off making a will, but will do the same.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-17-2010, 01:39 PM
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I have a will and Mow is included in it. There are also written emergency provisions in regards to him should something happen to me.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-17-2010, 01:46 PM
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I'm going to outlive Peggy. I don't think I need to do anything yet.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-17-2010, 03:50 PM
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I'm going to outlive Peggy. I don't think I need to do anything yet.
What about something like a car accident? No one is guaranteed to live until they are 70+. I'm 25 and I've made provisions for my two.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-17-2010, 04:12 PM
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I still recall the first time this issue hit me upside the head. My husband and I were gone for the weekend, and we were driving on the freeway and the thought popped into my head, "Oh my God, what if we have a wreck and we both die! What would happen to the dogs?" At the time I had three dogs and no cats. Two of the dogs were elderly and had health problems, and the younger one had behavior problems. I was horrified at the idea that they might be sent to the county pound. I almost had a melt down right there in the car! Now I have 9 cats. No one, neither family or friends are in the position to care for them and while they're special to me, there's nothing that would put them to the top of the list for adoption. Just common alley cats, and the humane organizations around here are always full to overflowing with cats and dogs. I was thinking of taking out a life insurance policy and making them the beneficiaries, but how much is enough for 12 young cats? And how would you be able to guarantee that the money was used for their care? And that their caretaker would actually take care of them for their entire lives?

I know that after my dog, now 12, is gone that I will not raise another from a puppy but I must have a dog in my life, so it will likely be senior dog I can reasonably count on outliving, baring any accidents that take us both out. As for cats, I can't make that same pledge since they come to me regardless of my intentions.

Putting an animal to sleep at your own demise is inexcusably selfish. They should be given the opportunity to find a new home if at all possible, but realistically, unless they are purebreds, that's not likely since there just isn't enough homes for them all.

Hey, I have an idea...Maybe we should create a group that's willing to take each other's cats in the event of death. How many people are on this board?
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-17-2010, 04:19 PM
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October really said it best. Cats aren't commodities, the idea of putting one down just because you are no longer there to care for it reminds me of those stories of a father shooting his family because his wife is leaving with the kids. "If I can't have you, no one will"... scary.

As for wills... I don't have one yet. I'm only 24 and I don't even live on my own, I really don't think I need to be concerned about my cats, as they're already ~12 and 15. I think if I was older however, I would get a purebred to ensure it will be adopted or an older cat from a shelter to improve its quality of life.


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