Categories: cat welfare

An elderly woman with cats is dependent on the executors or her will to be kind to her cats on her passing

Here is a cat story which exposes a weakness in ensuring continuity of care for domestic cat companions after the passing of the cat’s human guardian.

In Northwich, England, UK, three well cared for adult cats, aged about five, were abandoned in two cat carriers in an alleyway. They were two females and one male.

Three abandoned cats. Was the deceased owner let let down by the executors of her will?

They were discovered by a woman who took them to a local veterinary surgery where staff reported the matter to the RSPCA. The RSPCA took them and they are now in foster care under the supervision of the RSPCA.

RSPCA Inspector Nadine Pengilly said:

The cats are gorgeous and appear to have been well cared for previously so it is strange that they were found like this. Normally unwanted kittens or neglected cats are abandoned. The cats were left in two pet carriers which both appeared clean so we believe they would only have been at the spot for a couple of hours however they were left with no food and water and it was very cold. The cats were not microchipped so I am appealing to anyone who may recognise them and could help me identify the owner. It makes me wonder IF THEY BELONGED TO AN ELDERLY PERSON WHO PASSED AWAY AND THEIR RELATIVES DECIDED THEY COULD NOT COPE WITH THEM.

Anyone who can help in providing information about what happened they should contact the RSPCA appeals line on 0300 123 8018.


I have capitalised the important part of the statement for me. Perhaps Nadine is being slightly generous in her assessment. It is an interesting thought and if true the back story might have been that the elderly lady had left instructions in her will or in a letter that her cats were to be well looked after on her death. A legacy may have been provided for the cats’ upkeep and care and specific intructions might have been included.

I have concluded this because the cats were in good condition and therefore well cared for. It is more than likely that the ‘owner’ made provision for them. If there was no will, there is still an obligation on those managing her estate on her death to act kindly towards the cats.

If she had made a will and directed that her executors care for her cats in a specific way the executors have disregarded the terms of the will. There is a potential sanction for that but it is unlikely that anyone would bother to enforce the terms of the will.

A deceased person is dependent on the integrity of her executors to carry out the terms of their will to the letter. This can be particularly important for domestic animal companions as they are sentient beings and their welfare is important. More important than money.

There is nothing a dying person can do about this potential weakness in the continuity of the care of her cats except to pick the very best person to be her executor or executrix. Preferably the person should be a cat lover and animal advocate as well as a close relative or friend. Relatives’ behaviour when intoxicated by a sudden monetary windfall in a will can be immoral. They feel that no-one is watching them so their more bass human instincts come to the fore and take over.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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