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Cat Charity Urges Owners to Make Plans for Your Cat

25 January 2016
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UK - A Yorkshire-based charity has urged pet owners to make emergency plans for their cats as half its waiting list now features animals that have suddenly been left behind.

The number of cats currently waiting to be taken in and re-homed by Yorkshire Cat Rescue is a staggering 750. Of those, 50 per cent are emergency cases from households where the owner has either passed away, been taken seriously ill or urgently gone into care.

Sara Atkinson, founder of Yorkshire Cat Rescue explains: “Despite being a nation of animal lovers, surprisingly few people have made arrangements for their pets in the event that something unexpected should happen.

“We increasingly receive calls from family members, neighbours and vets about cats that have been left behind after their owner died or had to go into care at short notice. The cats’ situations are urgent and, in some cases, their life is at stake. But with limited space at the centre and a waiting list that is already glowing red, we are struggling to help them all.”

According to Sara, owners can change the fate of beloved pets by putting in place an emergency plan, and giving them a mention in their Will.

"If people have made a specific reference to Yorkshire Cat Rescue in their Will, we will take immediate and full responsibility for their cats – including paying for any necessary medical care, neutering, vaccination and other associated costs before finding them a new home. Sadly, only the minority of owners have so far taken that step.”

Sian Thompson is head of Wills at law firm Simpson Millar. She says: “Although every other household in the nation owns a pet and even though including them in a Will is very straight-forward, the number of people who actually do so is extremely low.

“Animal-loving friends and relatives are not always the best option despite what people might think. Leaving a cat to a rescue charity puts the task of securing their future into the hands of an organisation that breaths animal welfare, and are experienced in finding them a new home. It is, however, important to let that chosen charity know if you have named them in your Will; talk to them about what you’d like to happen and how they might be able to help in the case of an emergency.”

Sara adds: “It helps enormously when we know that Yorkshire Cat Rescue has been named in a Will. We can then make sure our records are up to date and that everyone knows to step in quickly if we get a call about a particular cat or home.”

Sara advises all pet owners generally to leave clear instructions in a visible place in their homes should something unexpected happen.

“We have designed a poster called ‘I own a cat’ which people can download from our website and complete at home. It helps communicate how many cats live in the home, who should be contacted in case of emergency, the cats’ basic likes and dislikes and more. It doesn’t take long to complete but it would make a huge difference should anything unexpected happen – both for the cats and for those who are around to help.”

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