What would happen to your cat if something unfortunate happened to you?
Introducing the Hearts that Purr Feline Guardian Program – Finally, a life-time care agreement for your cat that will give you true peace of mind.
Have you ever thought about what would happen to your beloved cat if you were no longer there for him or her? For many people, their cat is more than a pet. A cat may be a best friend, loyal companion and much-loved family member. Yet, many people who spare no effort to give their cat an ideal life have not made any formal plan to ensure their love and devoted care continues if they predecease their cat or become too ill to care for him or her.
Are you one of them? If so, please know that this can have tragic consequences for your cat. Unless you have designated a responsible guardian to take care of your cat, set aside some funds for their care, and put your wishes in writing, your cat may wind up in an animal control facility like any other unwanted or homeless pet. Depending on your cat’s adoptability, he or she stands a real chance of being euthanized shortly after your death or incapacitation. You can protect your cat with The Hearts That Purr Feline Guardian Program.
If you were the parent of a human child the most important decision you could make is naming who would care for that child if you died or were incapacitated. The person you choose is called a guardian. Just as a human child depends on a parent, your cat depends on you for all the basic needs of life. If something happened to you, who would take care of your cat? Who would you choose as your cat’s Feline Guardian? The decision you make (or neglect to make) will determine whether your cat continues to live a safe, loving and contented life after you are gone, or is given away for free to dodgy people. It could determine whether your spoiled and pampered cat is put out on the street to fend for itself, or dies in a frightening, crowded public shelter.
How can this happen? It’s easier than you think. From a legal standpoint, your cat is personal property, not a child with rights who needs protection. Once you are gone, your cat has no rights and no way to protect itself from those who may see to your final affairs, yet care nothing about your cat’s well-being. Fortunately, many jurisdictions now recognize the importance of companion animals and uphold provisions in estate plans to ensure these pets are protected as their owners intended. But, not everyone has reliable family or friends willing to assume this sacred duty.
In answer to this, many animal shelters across the country now offer some form of continuing care program for pets who outlive their owners. Unfortunately, most of these program offer little more than a guarantee of intake and attempt to find a new home. For people who know their cat could not endure the hardships and limitations of crowded shelter life or worry about what kind of new home their cat may go to, this is not a good solution. With few other options available, it is understandable why some people who truly love their cats would even consider euthanasia as a means to ensure their cat will never suffer in a world without them.
We believe there should be a better option for people who are so devoted to their cat. The founders of Hearts That Purr developed a comprehensive Feline Guardian Program with the future of their own cherished cats in mind. If you’ve struggled with the question of what would happen to your cat if something unfortunate happened to you, this may be the answer you’ve been searching for.
The whole concept behind the foundation of Hearts That Purr is that no cat should ever suffer or lose its life (or lifestyle) merely because its owner became ill or died first. Everyone here is a devoted cat parent like you. We have years of animal rescue experience and have seen firsthand the shortcomings of traditional shelters and how cats, especially older ones who become homeless due to their owner’s death or illness, often fall through the cracks of the system. We specifically developed our feline rescue organization with these cats in mind. Therefore, it is a natural extension of our mission to offer cat owners who want to protect their cat and avoid having them enter the shelter system or face euthanasia under such circumstances, but just didn’t know where to turn for help.
Even those with existing Pet Trusts or other arrangements may find our Feline Guardian Program an excellent choice for a secondary or back-up guardian should your primary guardian find they are no longer able or willing to care for your cat when called upon to do so.
What happens when your beloved cat becomes our beloved cat?
(Please note: we refer to the enrolled cat as “your” cat to help you understand how our Feline Guardian Program works. However, once your cat enters into our care, you will have legally given your cat to Hearts That Purr Feline Guardians. He or she will become “our” cat, though we promise your cat will retain his or her name and you will not be forgotten as a very important person in your cat’s life.)
Once your cat is enrolled in our program, you may rest assured that should you pass away or become too ill to care for your cat any longer, we will be there. Initially, you will be given a window decal and emergency alert cards for your home and wallet to inform emergency personnel of your cat’s enrollment in our program should you be unable to communicate this information or fall ill away from home. This will help prevent your cat experiencing a traumatic confiscation by animal control authorities and impoundment. We will do all we can to ensure your cat comes directly from your home to ours with as little stress as possible.
When your cat first arrives at Hearts That Purr, he or she will settle into one of our quiet, private guest rooms…never a cage. We’ll schedule a prompt veterinarian exam to assess your cat’s overall health and well-being. Using the information provided in your Cat Dossier Form, we’ll do all we can to reassure your cat that they are loved and in a safe place.
We understand each cat grieves the loss of their person differently, so your cat will have all the time he or she needs to adapt to these changes, including gradual introductions to other cats already in our care. Some cats, such as those who are very elderly or needing specialized care or medications, may live out their days in our beautiful group home. Others may do better in a private home and will be carefully placed through our long-term, foster program Senior Citizens and Senior Kittizens. Though cats in this program live in a private home chosen based on the information in your cat’s dossier, Hearts That Purr retains ownership of the cat, monitors its well-being and provides for all veterinary care for life.
We consider it an honor when someone who loves their cat very much, trusts us with its care. In all matters, we will always do what is in the best interest of your cat. Should a time come when your cat becomes terminally ill, we will do all we can to make sure your cat experiences a good quality of life, free of pain, for as long as possible. When we are no longer able to do that, we will make sure he or she leaves this world to be reunited with your spirit in a peaceful, painless manner, in the presence of those who loved him or her as one of our own.
1. THE COST:
No upfront fees or costs are required.
There is no enrollment fee or upfront costs required to enroll your cat in our Feline Guardian Program. We do, however, ask that you maintain a yearly donation, in any amount you choose, to show your support of our organization’s mission of saving cat lives. In addition, you must make provision for an unrestricted bequest or donation to Hearts That Purr Feline Guardians in an amount reasonably sufficient to cover the estimated cost of lifetime care for your cat. Remember, this is only payable if and when your cat enters our care unless you direct otherwise. As a guide, we suggest you refer to Pefinder’s “Annual Cat Care Costs” publication, bearing in mind the average lifespan of an indoor cat is now 15-17 years old. Plan your bequest amount based on the age of your cat at the time of enrollment, if possible.
Some requests for care, such as bonded groups remaining together, or cats with chronic conditions requiring special diets, medications or extraordinary veterinary care, may require financial provisions that exceed the guide’s estimate. In other situations, we may be willing to enroll a cat whose owner does not have the means to fully fund a bequest. In either case, we are happy to discuss your cat’s needs with the hope we may still be able to help you. However, please understand we must reserve the right to decline any enrollment we believe may:
• Create a financial burden on our organization,
• May not be in the best interest of your cat or other cats in our care,
• Contradict the fundamental purpose of our mission
2. THE CAT DOSSIER FORM: An instruction manual for your cat’s lifestyle.
Prior to accepting any cat into our Feline Guardian Program, we must have a completed Cat Dossier Form. On this form, you provide as much information as possible about your cat. This information helps us assume care of your cat as seamlessly as possible should the time come to do so. Perhaps the saddest thing we see when taking in cats that wind up at the county pound after their owner’s death, is that we virtually know nothing about them. Not even their names.
Losing a familiar home and much-loved person is probably the most traumatic thing your cat can experience. Those with experience with cats coming into shelters under these circumstances, especially older cats, know it is not uncommon for a cat to regress, refuse to eat and even die of a broken heart. We believe that by providing a quiet, stress-free environment and things that are familiar to your cat, we can minimize their fear and confusion. We can help them grieve while giving them the best care possible, so they can go on to live the full and happy life you would want for them.
3. THE FELINE GUARDIAN AGREEMENT:
A comprehensive agreement for your cat’s care.
The formal document spelling out our commitment to you and your cat when enrolled in our Guardian Program is The Feline Guardian Agreement. Unlike some continuing care agreements that are simplistic and vague, our agreement is comprehensive and covers situations where you may be temporarily hospitalized. Please take the time to review both the Feline Guardian Agreement and the Cat Dossier Form and see if this is the right program for you and your cat. If so, contact us to discuss your cat and your needs. We are happy to answer all your questions and give you a private tour of our group home and facilities.
We look forward to enrolling your cat in what we believe to be is the finest feline life-time care program available, and give you the peace of mind every cat owner should have. We are happy to answer all your questions, provide references, and give you a private tour of our group home and facilities. Feel free to contact us to discuss your cat and your needs.
IMPORTANT: In order to maintain the highest quality of service for cats presently in our care, those already enrolled in The Feline Guardian Program, and be prepared to rescue new cats from the community, we may not be able to accept new enrollees from time to time. If you have an immediate intake need and are interested in our program, please contact us in advance to confirm space availability. Thank you.
- from Laura F., Washington, D.C.