Cat’s owner dies. Read what happened next.
The deceased’s executors made a mistake. They forgot about the deceased’s cat. This should be a reminder that the executor1 of a Will should read it carefully and if provision for the deceased’s cat is not mentioned in the Will they should at least check the home of the deceased and look for his/her cat on the basis the executor knows the deceased well and that he/she has a cat. If the executors are not related to the deceased person and if the Will does not mention the cat then common sense should prevail, namely that there was a cat flap which indicated that there was a pet cat.
In this story a cuddly tabby cat was made homeless when her owner died. The executors of the Will of the deceased person boarded up the cat flap in his home to make the home secure. In doing that they were careless at the very least. Although the full story may reveal why they did this without checking the welfare of the cat who used the cat flap.
What happened is that the cat was locked out of her home and was seen by neighbours sitting on the window ledge of the house for several days. They realised she was locked out because they saw that her cat flap was boarded up. As a consequence they called a local animal rescue organisation: the Mayhew Animal Home. They rescued the cat and found a new home. Good work and efficiently carried out.
The animal welfare officer of the rescue organisation said that they found the cat (named ‘Ada’) pacing up and down outside her home unable to get inside. They believe Ada was outside in the front garden for a week before being rescued.
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Ada is a fine domestic cat: friendly and affectionate. She is happy now. There is a moral to the story. Elderly people need to make provision for their cat in their Will and make sure that their nominated executor knows about their cat and understands their Will.
We are not sure if this problem with Ada stems from the deceased’s Will failing to include his/her cat or whether it was an oversight by the executors. Either way it was a near miss in terms of cat welfare. This cat could have been left to fend for herself outside indefinitely which could have resulted in her untimely death.
Note 1: the executors of a Will are charged with collecting in the assets of the deceased person and converting them to cash and distributing the money per the Will. And also dealing with other matters mentioned in the Will such as provisions for the care of pets. Executors are often relatives of the deceased person. Sometimes they are banks or solicitors (attorneys). This may be what happened in this case.
I have several people, who have named me as their pets’ caretakers after their deaths, or if they should become incapacitated. A few of the pets have already predeceased their owners. It’s a great idea to be specific in one’s will as to how their pets are to be cared for and be whom. One of my clients have a lawyer who will place pets with a rescue and follow the animal’s placement and make sure they are ok.
As important as it is to list the pets and someone of your choice I highly recommend listing anyone you want to specifically excluded from having any contact or care of them. We Have specifically excluded all of my husbands relatives because they are all animal abusers by our standards. You need an excellent attorney and someone named to take immediate possession and care. Always remember the person you choose and agreed can decline and if there is someone you don’t want to touch your pets let alone care for them you need to specifically exclude.
ME, that’s an interesting thought, one which had not occurred to me. Thanks.
I’d say you should meet my relatives but I’m not mean. There are also cards you can carry in your wallet that alert you have pets at home in case you are hurt in a car accident etc. And stickers you can put on your windows and doors as to how many pets and what kind you have inside. And I’ll take a moment to preach about chipping your pet and making sure that info is current.
Thank you all for your thoughtful help and thank you for the article which has become a point of conversation in my home now.
I recommend ALL pet owners mention their pets in the will/trust, etc., even if it is just in casual conversation with relatives/friends.
REGARDLESS OF HUMAN AGES!
One never knows the time of death and it is horrific to think of our beloved pets starving to death because they were overlooked.
Excellent advice and thanks for taking the time to deliver it in a comment!
P.S. I have left quite extensive directions to my executor regarding my cat, Gabriel, if he outlives me.
You’re welcome. Glad I read this story. Too many people don’t take enough precautions.
Hi, I would love to hear suggestions on how to provide for my four legged family. We have no close family and few friends living near us. I think of leaving everything we have to my vet in trust for my 3 babies, but I am shy to broach the subject with her. I actually haven’t researched the matter well yet (embarrassed to say).
Don’t be embarrassed by this. You are both interested in the welfare of your babies. Your vet, hopefully, should feel complimented at least by your trust in him/her. Next time you are in the clinic, just ask if you may discus the future of your babies in the unfortunate event of your passing. Any vet worth his/her salt will be willing to talk to you. 🙂
Hi RM, I would select an excellent and trustworthy executor to your Will (the prime beneficial is the usual choice) and direct that she or he rehomes your cats through the best cat rescue organisation there is if she is unable to find a relative or suitable friend to adopt the cats.