Pets left in limbo after owners die

PUBLISHED: 15:49 08 June 2007 | UPDATED: 22:51 28 May 2010

Yogi and Benji, two of the cats looking for new homes

Yogi and Benji, two of the cats looking for new homes

NEW research from the RSPCA suggests that nearly 900 pet owners in Cambridgeshire die each year without making arrangements for their pets in their wills. With less than half the county s population happy to take on an animal if a friend or relative dies,

NEW research from the RSPCA suggests that nearly 900 pet owners in Cambridgeshire die each year without making arrangements for their pets in their wills.

With less than half the county's population happy to take on an animal if a friend or relative dies, the RSPCA warns that hundreds of pets could be left unwanted, uncared for and even homeless.

Paula Baker, manager of the RSPCA's Fenland animal centre at Bock Fen, Wimblington, said: " In many cases, family members are well placed to look after these pets, but some pet owners might not consider the emotional and financial burden that unwanted pets can place on the recently bereaved. These pressures are not just to the detriment of the new owners, but can often result in suffering for the pet itself."

To tackle this problem, the RSPCA has launched a free service that aims to look after pets when their owners die.

The service, Home for Life, cares for pets at an RSPCA animal centre before a suitable new owner can be found. All pet owners need to do is add a clause to their will instructing that care of their pets is handed over to the RSPCA when they die.

The RSPCA believes nearly 1,100 pet owners in Cambridgeshire die before their pets each year, with many people simply not considering that their pets might outlive them.

Ms Baker added: "While cats generally live to up to 16 years, some pets are even more likely to outlive older owners. Macaws can live for a staggering 80 years and cockatoos are not far behind with a life expectancy of 70."

INFORMATION: To find out more about Home for Life, call the RSPCA on 0800 432 0880 or visit www.homeforlife.org.uk

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