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If you are thinking about putting a plan in place and asking us to take care of your cat when you pass away, we understand that you’re likely to have a few questions about the Cat Guardians service.

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions we get asked:

How do I register with the Cat Guardians service?

  • You can register by post or using our online registration form. Please click here for more information
  • Once we receive your form we will ensure that this information is included on our database
  • We will then send you your notification items (wallet card, notification form, window sticker and key fob), which you can use to alert your friends and family to the fact you have registered to the Cat Guardians service
  • You will need to make sure you include instructions in your will or codicil that confirms you would like Cats Protection to look after your cat(s) in the event of your death. Our suggested clause for this can be found here

How much does the service cost?

The Cat Guardians service is free of charge. However, many people who register also choose to leave us a gift in their will, as a way of saying thank you for promising to make arrangements for the care of their feline friend. Gifts in wills are vital to the work of Cats Protection and any gift could make an incredible difference to the lives of the cats and kittens we help in future.

How many cats are you willing to look after as part of the scheme?

While we don’t have a formal limit on the number of cats we will take into our care, there are obvious difficulties in finding space at short notice for a large number of cats. If you have more than three cats, please get in touch to speak with us about your circumstances.

What if I get a new cat?

Once you have registered with our Cat Guardians service, we will promise to look after any cat(s) you may have when you pass away, not just the ones you have when you register. However, any updated information about your cats is always useful, as it ensures we can provide the best possible care for them when the time comes.

Does it matter where I live in the country?

No, the service is available to anyone living in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Cats Protection has a network of more than 250 branches, 36 centres, which are spread far and wide across the United Kingdom, so you can be sure that wherever you live in the UK you can register with the service.

Do my partner and I both need to register to the service?

To ensure that we are contacted when you have both passed away, we would advise both partners to register to the Cat Guardians service. There is the option to add your partner’s details on our online registration form. When registering by post, this can either be done by adding both names to the same form or completing two separate forms.

How do you find out I've died?

Once you register with our Cats Guardians scheme you should let your family, friends, neighbours and the executors of your will know that you have made arrangements for Cats Protection to care for your cats in the event of your death.

Furthermore, we will provide you with a wallet card, which can be kept on you at all times, and a notification form, that can be kept with your personal documents. These items have all of our relevant contact details, and have space to put down information about your cats too.

We will also send you a window sticker and a key fob that alert people to the fact that you’re a cat owner, which could be useful in a variety of circumstances.

What will happen once you have been informed of my death?

As soon as we are informed that someone who is registered with our Cat Guardians service has died, our support teams will liaise with our local staff and volunteers to make arrangements for the care of the cats as soon as possible.

We will speak to your nearest branch to see if they have the capacity to take the cat into their care. Due to the nature of our work, our smaller branches may not always have space free at such short notice but we will always try to find a pen as quickly as possible.

On average Cat Guardians cats are brought in around a week from notification. However, this can sometimes take longer. We would suggest making a friend, neighbour or family member aware of your wishes and ask if they may be able to support in the interim.

Once in our care, all cats will get a health check as well as vaccination, neutering and microchipping as appropriate.

What happens if my family offer to take the cat?

Our Cat Guardians service is to cover eventualities where alternative provisions cannot be made for your cat’s care. If a family member or friend is subsequently willing to offer your cat the care they need then we will explore that option first, providing it is in the best interest of your cat.

Will my cat be rehomed or kept by Cats Protection?

You can rest assured that we will never give up trying to find your cat a loving new home, no matter how long it takes. Once in our care your cat will be subject to our normal policies and procedures, including neutering, vaccination and microchipping.

  • At Cats Protection we believe that finding a loving new home is the best thing for the cats in our care, no matter how long it takes. We would ensure that any potential new home matches your cat’s individual needs and requirements. We appreciate that some cats are harder to rehome than others – but you can rest assured that we never put a healthy cat to sleep, no matter how long they stay with us before we find them a home
  • We cannot take on arrangements where we wouldn’t seek to find your cat a new home. We simply don’t have the capacity as a charity to provide long-term sanctuary, where the aim isn’t to find your cat this loving new environment

Can you rehome my cats together?

If you wish for your cats to be rehomed together, you should mention this to us. Although we cannot guarantee that this will be possible, we will do everything we can to honour your wishes.

In every event, we always do what is in the best interests of the cats in our care. If trying to find a single owner for more than one cat results in them spending longer than necessary in one of our branches or centres, then we would have to review the situation. However, in the vast majority of cases it is often understood that it is better to keep these cats together and we pride ourselves on being able to find them a loving new home with this in mind.

Will you still be able to rehome my cat if they have a medical condition?

Here at Cats Protection we regularly rehome cats with all sorts of ailments, as long as they have the opportunity for a good quality of life. We appreciate that some cats are harder to rehome than others (whether it’s due to their age, an illness, or even the colour of their fur), but you can rest assured that we never put a healthy cat to sleep, no matter how long they stay with us before we find them a home.

Do you assess the suitability of potential new owners?

To ensure we are finding the cats in our care the right home, we have a comprehensive procedure for any potential new cat adopter. 

How do I ensure my wishes are acted upon?

  • As part of the registration process we ask that you include a clause in your will or codicil about these arrangements. Our suggested clause is as follows: "My Executors should contact Cats Protection, National Cat Centre, Lewes Road, Chelwood Gate, RH17 7TT, registered charity number 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland), to arrange for the care of any cats that I may own at the time of my death."
  • Your executor will be the person responsible for carrying out your wishes, so we further recommend that you inform them of the arrangements you have made with us and provide them with the contact details found on the materials we provide

What happens if I just have an emergency, rather than pass away?

  • As terrible as these situations are, Cats Protection simply doesn’t have the capacity to take in an individual’s cats on a temporary basis. As a charity, we rely entirely on the funding of our incredibly kind and generous supporters and our resources are stretched further and further every year, making provisions such as these impossible
  • In situations such as these, we recommend you start by checking your pet insurance policy as some insurers will pay for the cost of boarding fees when an owner is hospitalised. You could also try contacting the Cinnamon Trust, the National Animal Welfare Trust or the Pet Fostering Service Scotland, all of whom may be able to offer assistance in these circumstances

Why haven't I received my confirmation pack yet?

If you sent your form to us by post more than three weeks ago and haven’t received your confirmation pack yet, it’s possible that either your form or the pack has been lost in the post. Please get in touch with us using the contact details at the bottom of this page and we will be able to advise whether or not we have received your registration form.

For further information, contact our Cat Guardians team on 01825 741 291, email or write to:
Cat Guardians service
Cats Protection
National Cat Centre
Lewes Road
Chelwood Gate
Haywards Heath
RH17 7TT

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