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Planning for your pets

Those of you out there with pets will probably tear-up and the thought of your furry friend no longer being here. But have you ever considered what happens to our non-human members of the family when we can’t be there for them, either temporarily or permanently? Here’s some advice from the Cat Protection Society.

It’s only natural that we would want the best for our pets if, for some reason, we couldn’t care for them, so planning ahead is essential. Even if you have arrangements with friends or family, documented plans for your pets are vital to their continued health and welfare.

Cat Protection advises pet owners to keep a file on their pets containing all their important paperwork – microchip, registration and desexing certificates; vaccination and other veterinary records – plus the owner’s notes about their pet/s.

What do they eat (exactly!)? How much and how often? If someone has to care for your pet in an emergency, knowing this will ensure your pet won’t end up with digestive troubles, and maintaining their routine will make them feel more secure. For cats, the type of litter they use is extremely important – an abrupt change can distress a cat to the point of urinary tract infection.

It’s also helpful to document your pet’s likes and dislikes: Is your dog scared of storms? Does your cat run away from strangers? What are their favourite games? Remember, while storing important documents “in the cloud” might be convenient, in an emergency they can be hard to retrieve by strangers. It’s best to keep a hard-copy folder (with an electronic back-up). Include contact details for your vet and emergency carers at the front of the file, as well as an up-to-date photo of your pet.

Cat Protection has been privileged to find caring new families for much-loved cats whose people have died or moved into care, CEO Kristina Vesk says:

“The more information we have, the less traumatic for the cat.

“You have to remember, they’ve lost their person, they’ve lost their home, they’re in a strange environment with lots of cats and people they don’t know. They’re grieving and stressed. But if they can eat the food they’re used to eating and use the same type of litter they had at home they’ll have some sense of security. And if we know they loved playing with little kids, then we can help to find them a new family with children. Planning for your cat means making sure your feline friend has the best chance of a happy future - though, believe me, cats do love their people and they do go through grief when they lose them.”

The NSW Trustee and Guardian has produced a free “pet emergency card” that you can carry in your wallet that will alert people in the event of emergency that you have a pet at home. Cat Protection has these cards or go to www.tag.nsw.gov.au/pets-and-planning-ahead.html

Make sure you keep your contact details on the Companion Animals Register current. You can do this yourself via the NSW Pet Registry www.petregistry.nsw.gov.au or contact your local council.

For more information on planning for your cat and other feline health and welfare topics visit www.catprotection.org.au phone 95574818 or pop in to the Cat Boutique at 85 Enmore Road Newtown.

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