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When The Bells Tolls For Thee

I'm not getting any younger. That's for sure. Every day new aches pop up and the type on cat food can labels looks like a secret code only a mouse could read. I don't have children (other than furry ones) and my family is sparse, mostly non-cat people (how that happened, I don't know) or I hate their guts (oops).

That leaves me with a predicament.

Who will care for my cats after I die? Sam and I are together so often that we could die together in an accident. What then? What if Sam dies first, then I die?

©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob has already had two families that I know of. Will he have another one day?

I have a Will. In it, I dictated that the Director of the group I'm with should find homes for my cats. I have come to realize that that choice is not a good one any longer. I would rather know the homes my cats are going to now, if, at all possible. Just as people do with children, I would like to choose “Godparents” for my cats.

Am I being morbid? NO. I'm being realistic. Shit happens even when you're 18 or 32. I'm pushing the big 5-0. I've been lucky so far, but one day the luck will run out.

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©2008 Robin A.F. Olson. Cricket sleeps. My former feral is mostly too shy around anyone but us. What will become of him? He's a really sweet boy. He would not make it in a shelter.

I started to imagine putting just one person in charge of all the cats. They would get my house, most of my stuff, but would have to live here until all the cats pass away (naturally!), then they can do what they want with the stuff. But that's a lot to ask.

The other problem is that the people who would give my cats the best home, already HAVE, in most cases, quite a few cats, already. Asking them to take 8 more is too much. Perhaps, asking them to take one or two is possible?

I don't have to have it all sorted out in a day (I hope), but I dipped my toe into the water to see how it would feel. I asked someone to take Bob Dole, should he outlive me.

I asked, Super-Deb.

Mr Handful.jpg

©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Spencer. The pouffy cat with his own fan club. Spencer is my beloved, but he wouldn't be an easy fit into just any home. He must have play time or he can be bossy with other cats. He's an alpha-boy, too and does not like belly rubs or to be picked up. That said, he loves to be near me at all times and he's “my boy.”

I love Super-Deb, but who wouldn't love someone who is super? Even though I've known SD for many years, I don't know her very well. She is a private person, with me, but I get the feeling she's shared things with me that maybe not many other people know. She may seem to be a bit guarded, but it doesn't take long for her to reveal a wicked dry sense of humor. Her devotion to her own animals and her loving care of them is a beautiful sight to behold. She really knows her stuff and has been a mentor to me during so many crises and a calming voice during the worst of it.

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©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Petunia or “'Tunie” as I call her. She should be called; “Princess.” She's clever, chats with me and can do tricks, but she is high strung-no wonder, she's one of the lowest cats and I know the boys pick on her some times. She would be great in a home with no other cats other than her mama, Gracie. I know she would blossom.

She's jokingly called “Aunt Debbie” when Bob goes to Dr. Larry's. Bob loves her and vice versa. He will let her brush him and he won't let me do as much. I only want Bob to visit Dr. Larry when Aunt Debbie is there to oversee his care. It's a perfect fit for SD to take Bob.

©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. I should re-name this cat, “Poor-Gracie.” for she is not in good shape. I'll write more about her, separately, but she's had a very long road with a skin ailment that's taken her beauty and her joy in life. She needs a kind hand and a knowledgeable person to keep her healthy.

Yesterday we were talking on the phone about my worries about Gracie. I didn't have the nuts to ask her about Bob, so I sent her an email, shyly asking her to ignore my being a loonie, and would she consider taking Bob (along with some money for his care) if something happens to me and Sam? She wrote back a resounding YES!

A few minutes later, my phone rang. SD blurted; “Can I have Blitzen, too?!”

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob and Blitz. Some days things are just perfect.

I didn't want to ask her for that, thinking it was too big of a request, but of course, YES. I would be happy for her to take him, too.

I've got four more cats to figure out homes for, unless Sam wants me to try to place his cats, too, and then it will be six. Once we have this worked out, I go to my lawyer. I want to protect my cats as much as I can after I die. They shouldn't have to face death row at a shelter because they might be older or sickly. It's not fair to them at all.

N and N.jpg

©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. I assume there will be a fist-fight over Nicky, but with Nicky, comes Nora. Maybe they can go back and live with their brothers; “Charles and Bailey,” but I haven't asked just yet.

I hope that all of you will think about this and how it effects your own life and cat-family. Yes, it's scary or creepy or “you just don't want to go there,” but if you don't “go there” it's selfish. What of your cats? Their future well-being? Your dogs? Some times you have to do things that are unpleasant, but knowing you have it worked out, for when your time comes? Well, hopefully, it's a great comfort to you and most assuredly, the least you can do for your pets.


Because I have been thinking about the same thing lately. There have been so many cats that need homes around the cat blogosphere lately that it got me thinking - do I just eventually stop having cats (that would be awful) or what? I can't think of anyone other than the boyfriend who I would trust with them - and odds are I will live longer than him. It is a very scarry thought to me.

I think its smart to think of these things. I don't have a will yet, but I plan to make one after the wedding. I want Rayne(and any future furbabies) to go with my little sister, because I know she will take good care of her.

It may feel like your not sure about what to do about your cats but to me it seems like you do. Finding great homes amongst friends for them that you know will love and care for them as much as you do. I think your on the right track!

One thing I'd add is that once you have guardians selected and a will in place, make sure you review it periodically and revise as necessary.

For example, the first will I made almost ten years ago stipulated that the animal hospital I worked at at the time would take care of placing my cats if I died. We had a great adoption program, and I was totally comfortable that they'd do the right thing (I also had provisions in my will that my cats would stay at my house until new homes were found, not live in a cage at the animal hospital). However, eventually, I not only left my job there, the hospital changed ownership, and there was no way I'd want the new owners to have anything to do with me or my cats.

The truth is, I have NO ONE in my life my cats could go to! (Which is one reason I have a limit of three cats here.) If something happened to me, I wouldn't trust Brian, a dog person, to know what to do with either Sparkle or Boodie (in fact, Sparkle mostly tolerates him and doesn't seem to like him all that much), so they would have to go back where they came from (Sparkle, to her breeder, and Boodie, to the Amanda Foundation). Binga is half Brian's cat, and while I don't think he takes the best care of her (I'm the one who notices when she is not feeling well), I know she would be happy with him.

I have been avoiding doing a will (most of my monetary assets are going to charity, but I haven't figured out which or how much exactly), but after seeing what happened with a couple of CWA members, it's something I really need to do.

Oh Janiss,

That makes me very sad. Do you know about Banfield Charitable Trust? I think they will have programs for us one day..maybe even now. I have to recheck their web site. I'm going to do an article about options next.

I know how you feel. It's really tough to look at the end of your life and realize you will be separated from your kitties and someone else will have to give them love and care. You may meet someone along the way who would be a great home for your kitties. I'm going to think about that from time to time...hopefully it will all work out for everyone.


I hope nothing horrible happens to you.
On a lighter note, I may not be the BEST candidate, but HEY, someone already called dibs on Bob and Blitzen zombie cat already? No fair.


OK, G-d forbid, pfft, pfft, pfft, we have dear, dear friends that are the earmarked guardians for ALL of our children - including the Quincy beast.

Honest to G-d, Robin, Quincy and I would have NO other alternative but to have Spencer come live in NYC with us.

For reals.

Quincy is SO beta cat he's practically butter.

Exellent post. Very thought provoking.

Super Deb once again lived up to the Super.. how adorable asking for Blitzen too..

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