Pre-Planning Ensures Cats' Care When Owners Pass Away

Comprehensive estate planning should name cats' caregivers in the event they outlive their owners.

Posted: September 5, 2007 5 a.m. EDT

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2nd Chance 4 Pets is attempting to reduce the amount of animal euthanized because no post-mortem arrangements were made by the owners
The number of people who set aside money to care for their pets after their death is growing.
Leona Helmsley’s $12 million trust fund for her dog ensures she’ll live out the remainder of her life resting comfortably in the lap of luxury. The Maltese, Trouble, will not be one of the many of pets left in limbo—facing possible euthanasia—after their owners pass away.

Every hour 50 companion animals are euthanized in the United States because their owners died and no arrangements were made for their care, according to Amy Shever, founder of 2nd Chance 4 Pets, a nonprofit that seeks to reduce these numbers.

“What we’re really trying to do is get people to think about this and act because a lot of people don’t. They just assume that they’re going to outlive their animals,” she said. “After Sept. 11, there were 800 orphaned pets in New York City, and the average age of the pet owner who passed away was only 35 years old.”

The number of people who set aside money to care for their pets after their death is growing, said Steven Baker, attorney and founder of an estate planning for pets informational website. //

“You’ve got organizations that are devoted entirely to doing estate planning for pets and creating awareness … You see a lot more being done, especially in the last five or six years,” Baker explained.

Trouble’s $12 million was left in a trust fund. Not all states allow pet trusts, although instructions for pet care may be included as part of traditional estate planning ? and the first step involves establishing who will take care of the pet. But financial obligations can vary widely depending on the type of pet, age and medical condition. Shever said she’s seen people designate anywhere from $2,000 to $70,000 for pet care.

“Every person spends differently,” she said. “There’s a lot of moving parts when it comes to taking care of animals, such as pet sitters, emergency care or pet insurance … If we can get more people to think about this we’re obviously saving more pets.”

--Heidi Hatch, Associate News Editor for
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Reader Comments

Professor Gerry Beyer & Barry Seltzer    Lubbock, TX

9/30/2011 5:55:16 AM

We think articles of this type are necessary and beneficial.

We believe that animals humanize us and remind us of our obligations and responsibilities to each other. Our intention was that our book, ‘Fat Cats & Lucky Dogs’, would be a vehicle for sharing information and ideas with the general public; for providing guidance to those who would like to explore planning possibilities for their families and pets; and for stimulating people to take action while they are able to do so.

The main reason we wrote the book was to bring these considerations, among others, to the minds and hearts of as many people as possible to encourage their participation in improving the care and comfort of all species with which we inhabit our planet (including companion animals). Our goal was to secure the widest distribution of this transformative information as possible.
We believe our book is of value to everyone concerned with companion animal care and would be of significance for all animal lovers.


Barry Seltzer & Professor Gerry W. Beyer

A few observations about ‘Fat Cats & Lucky Dogs’

I have received .... a copy of your book, Fat Cats & Lucky Dogs. I look forward to reading it. Thank you for thinking of me.

Very truly yours,

JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR, Supreme Court of the United States

The book if full of wonderful anecdotes and sound advice. I know I will enjoy reading it.

Sincerely yours,

JUSTICE SAMUEL A. ALITO JR., Supreme Court of the United States

Carol    New Brunswick, NJ

9/25/2009 9:43:08 PM

Great article! I would like to get more information

Cathy    Hubbard, OH

2/15/2008 7:43:50 AM

I really would like to estate plan for my kitties. Thanks for the article.

Sheryl    Casa Grande, AZ

9/5/2007 11:54:47 AM

Important issue!

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