5 Surprising Facts All Cat Owners Should Know
It can sometimes feel like cats get a bad rap, but lucky cat owners know the truth. With a bit of patience and a lot of care, cats make the silliest, most affectionate companions in the whole world. Nothing feels more special than earning a cat’s love, even if it comes with a few scratches.
So, how do we show our feline friends we love them right back? Toys and treats and even catnip are great, but nothing compares to planning a safe and secure future for them. Making (or updating) your Will to include a guardian for your cat(s) is the only way to legally ensure they are taken care of if you’re not around anymore.
In honour of International Cat Day, here are five shocking stats to consider to remind you of the importance of including your cats in your estate planning.
Fact #1: Cats are more popular than dogs
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but Canadians prefer cats! An estimated 38% of households have a pet cat, compared to 35% with a dog. That adds up to an estimated 7.9 million house cats in the country.
During the pandemic, that number has been rising. An estimated 3.7 million Canadians have adopted or fostered a new pet during the pandemic, with 18% of existing pet-owners adding another animal to their lives.
Fact #2: Cats are usually the most frequently abandoned animal
In 2019, Canadian shelters took in an estimated 78,000 cats, more than double the number of dogs in the same year. These animals were often strays, but 31% were surrendered by their owners, who could no longer care for them.
As pets go, cats can be pretty low maintenance, but owners still need to be prepared to care for them. If a person suddenly has to step up and take care of a cat when a loved one dies, that responsibility can be overwhelming if they are not prepared.
Think long and hard about who you would want to take care of your cat(s) if you couldn’t, and make sure to have an honest discussion with them to make sure they’d be up for the job and in it for the long haul.
Fact #3: Only 60% of abandoned cats get adopted
Shelters rescue pets from dangerous situations, but capacity can quickly become an issue. These organizations often struggle to keep up with the number of cats they receive, so they occasionally have to return outdoor cats to their neighbourhood or, in extreme cases, euthanize them.
This is something to keep in mind when thinking about any future planning you do for your pets. It’s in the best interest of your cat’s health and well being for you to avoid any scenario that might land them in a shelter. Choosing a reliable and dedicated pet guardian to name in your Will is a great place to start!
Fact #4: Most pet-owners do not have a plan in place for their pet
Only 7% of pet-owners have formally appointed a guardian for their animal in case they pass away. That’s 93% of pet owners who have left their pets unprotected.
The only way to legally name a guardian for your cat is to have a valid Will. While it may sound like “crazy cat lady” behaviour to put your cat in your Will, it is essential to ensure they are protected no matter what happens and it benefits everyone in the end—you, your cat, and your loved ones. Having a formal plan in place gives your loved ones guidance to follow and ensures your cat doesn’t become one of the thousands abandoned every year. Plus it allows you to leave a cash gift to your cat’s guardian to help them cover the cost of care.
Fact #5: Cat food costs approximately $490 annually
And that’s only one of the expenses associated with having a cat. Pet insurance for cats averages $509 annually, and kitty litter alone usually totals $180 a year. You literally pay for your cat to poop. (The things we do for the ones we love, eh 💩?!)
Cats can be expensive, there is no doubt about it. So, even if you’ve chosen a dedicated guardian, it’s important to consider what they may need to look after your pet. Only 2 in 5 Will-makers leave a monetary gift for their pets’ guardian, and these gifts can go a long way to ensure a guardian can give your cat the quality of life they’re used to.
Let your cats know they are purrr-fect: Make or update your Will to include your cats
These facts may feel daunting, but don’t worry. Taking the extra step of including them in your Will ensures they’ll get all the care and love they need, even if you’re not around.
Planning for your cat’s life without you might be hard to think about, but it doesn’t have to be hard to do. If you need a basic Will, you can finish it today in as little as 20 minutes with online tools like Epilogue.
Take care of your favourite feline today, and don’t forget to include them in your estate planning.