Service Cats: What Happens When the Handler Dies

Here we are, another Miserable Monday. Dat means it’s time fur one of our educational Service Cat postys. As always, da followin’ will be written in human English so everypawdy includin’ google translate can read it. Our doggy brofur furiend Easy, really is on top of his game. He asked another great question last week dat we’re gonna try to answer this week. As always, ifin ya’ have any questions, or somethin’ specific you’d like us to cover, purrlease leave it in da comments, or send us an email. Ifin you’ve missed any of da posty’s in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ da linkys below.

 

Dezi in her work harness on cat ledge

Service Cats: What to Look For 

Service Cats: Training Foundations 

Service Cats: How to Train Kitty to Massage without Claws

Service Cats: Smelling Disease 

Service Cats: Do You Need One

Service Cats: Who Bears the Cost 

Service Cats: Housing Laws and Exceptions 

Service Cats: Accommodations and Common Sense 

     Now that you’re all caught up, let’s get to today’s topics. So what did Easy ask, right? Well here it is, “What happens to a Service Animal when their disabled handler no longer needs them?” 

       We need to remind you that our answers are only as it applies in the U.S., if you live in another Country, the laws/rules may be different. So please check your local regulations.  

Raena reaching out from the perch to alert mommy

Raena Alerting to Syncope incident

So, your first question is probably why would they no longer need the Service Animal? In the event of death or admittance to a nursing home a person would no longer require the assistance of a Service Animal. You must remember as well, that these animals are purchased and under current laws, animals are considered property. For the purpose of this part of the explanation, we will discuss the Service Dogs that the ADA does recognize. Most of these animals are trained by individuals living across the States, belonging to one of a few different groups. Depending on the age of the animal and it’s specific training (ie: guide dog only) and the amount of time spent with the handler, they may opt to take the animal back and re-sell it to another disabled person. They will not refund your payment or pay you any fees for the animal. The family of the disabled handler may choose to keep the animal and let it live out it’s days as the family pet. Some breeds do better at this than others. Remember, these animals are working animals and not pets. They don’t understand retirement.

Before we get to the second part of Easy’s queston, let’s discuss the other Service Animals not yet recognized by the ADA, like cats. We have met a few people who have learned that their cats are alerting them to seizures, etc. that haven’t been trained. Altho’ the Cat/animal is performing a task, it doesn’t meet the current requirements of the ADA since it wasn’t specifically trained. For the purposes of this article, these cats/animals are not included in this topic as they are essentially still pets. So let’s get to those non traditional Service Animals (Cats)

    

Firstly, there are very few trainers for cats and other animals because they’re not recognized by the ADA , so there’s no money in it. And until recently, cats weren’t necessarily seen as trainable. So like us, the disabled handler often trains the animal themselves. Cats are a different species with different needs and bonding abilities. Unlike dogs, cats don’t feel the need to love everybody or make friends with every human they meet. Because of this, re-homing a Service Cat to work for another disabled person is nearly impossible. Altho’ mommy’s never seen or heard of it, we won’t say completely impossible, as it may be done in the future. We will say, we don’t recommend it, as the cat may not perform. Because of the bond that must be formed between a disabled handler and the cat, the services provided will only be for that one specific person for the lifetime of that cat.

 Dezi in stroller

Remember, these cats are working animals and not pets. It is possible for them to continue to live with any family they currently lived with. They will mourn and be confused but with the proper love and attention, it is possible for them to live out their lives peacefully. If there is no family however, what then? Depending on the age and training of the cat, they may or may not be able to rehome as pets. A young kitten, only starting training for example, may be rehomed as a pet or to another who needs similar tasks. Typically by the first year, a Service cat is so bonded with their handler they cannot be separated and thus cannot be rehomed. Keep in mind, these cats and their handlers are together 24/7/365. We don’t want to offend anyone, but no matter how bonded you think you are with your pet, it doesn’t match the bond between a Service Animal and it’s handler. The handler literally relies on the Service Animal for life and vice versa. In this instance humane euthanasia when the handler dies is the best outcome for the animal.

The last part of Easy’s question, was, “Do Service Animals end up in shelters like other animals?”  The idea of a shelter makes us sad for any animal, but the hard truth is, Yes Easy, it is possible for a Service Animal to end up in the shelter. These animals are often put to sleep because they have traits seen as undesireable by adopters, because adopters don’t understand what the animal is doing. A family of the deceased handler who doesn’t know, care or want to take on the animal may take it to the shelter. A working animal will always be a working animal. This speaks to the reason people need to understand a little about breeds before adopting a pet. A herding dog will herd, whether it’s children, sheep or cows. the Service animal will continue to try to perform tasks, and may be considered problematic.

 Raena sits pose

There aren’t currently any rescues specifically for Service Animals to go to live out their lives. However most of those types of places do want a donation or money left in a trust or will. There’s nothing wrong with that, but again, Service Animals are generally owned by people who are on fixed incomes. And again, Service Animals are working animals. They are not pets. Adjusting to life after the loss of their handler is easier for some species and breeds.

This is definitely something to take into consideration when deciding if you need a Service Animal and what kind. Altho’ most people with fixed incomes and considered poor do not leave wills as there’s nothing to leave; if you have a Service Animal we recommend you have a will or directive and someone specified to take care of your Service Animal in the event of your death. Please make sure your Service Animal doesn’t end up in the shelter. For that matter, if you have pets, please make sure you have a plan for them in the event of your death. And the, my ____________ will take care of them isn’t a good enough plan.

 Dezi looking around on the cat tree

Well this has been a really deep post, so we’re gonna wrap it up for now. We do hope we’ve answered your question, and given others something to think about. Again, please leave your questions, thoughts, or topics you’d like us to cover in the comments. 

Do you have a will or designated person to care for your pets in the event of your death? 

Have you discussed alternative solutions with your family and/or Vet? 

Till da next time………………………………….Be Blest!!!

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

Deztinee and RaenaBelle    

About Deziz World

My name is Deztinee. I am a Ragdoll. I was born 11/1/2009. I am a service cat along with my sisfur RaenaBelle, also a Ragdoll, for our disabled human mommy. My sisfur Raena was born 4/21/2016. In March of 2016, mommy and I had to say goodbye to my mentor Alexandra (Lexi), a black tabby born 4/29/1999. This blog is about our daily life from the kitty's point of view. We were both rescued from bad situations and our mommy raised us and trained us to be service cats. I want this blog to be interactive and get to know all of you, so comment and visit often. I will also offer advice, training tips and education when possible. Copyright © 2014 - 2017 {Audra High via Deztinee High and RaenaBelle High} All Rights Reserved All personal content (story's, poetry, etc., videos and music) are the property of the human behind Deziz World, and may not be used, copied or otherwise re-published without prior written permission/consent from the author (A. High-the human behind Deziz World). We have an amazon.com wish list and a PayPal account if you would like to help/donate to us.

Posted on August 15, 2016, in Educational, Human Speak, Service Cats and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. That was a really good post for everyone to think about.
    Love you all so very much. Hugs and kisses.
    Mary

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Katie Isabella

    I have three cat men for sons. They will see to it that Katoe or another baby will be alright.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. thiz izza total lee awesum post dezi & raena N it sure makes a purrson think….while we due knot current lee noe any servizz animalz; ewe can bet we will rememburr what waz iz yur post two day …thanx for takin de time & for sharin ~~~~~~~ ♥♥♥

    Liked by 1 person

We Luv, Luv, Luv to hear from you, so Purrlease take a minute to share and say sumfin' to us.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Marvelous is Marvelous

Tails of a Persian Tabby

Adventures in Cheeseland

Possibly the Only WordPress Blog Hosted by Mice

Suburban Hobo

Samson and me in Savannah

catablissblog

Letting your cats experience the world one bag at a time.

It's a Wonderpurr Life

Presented by Kimberley Koz

Lukecats

We're going at the top of the mountain, broken legs and all our wounds.

Adventures in Cat Fostering

or what is too many cats?

Lorna's Blog

When Wine Goes In Wisdom Comes Out!

Pawcific Purrsea

The trick to being a cat and boating

LIFE OF A CAT

Morrisson

erinthecatprincess

Princess on a mission

THE MEANDERINGS OF NUMPS

Life as a wandering black cat

Toby's Wrecking Crew

Crazy Cats and their slightly off-the-beam human mother!

Dash Kitten's Mewsings

The Kiwi Kitten with a lot to say.....

daisychainvet

Small vet. Big world

Adventures of a Suburban Kitty

The life, adventures, and musings of a cat in Colorado.

Savvy Pet Care

There's no place like home!

Tails from the Street

Saving the world one cat at a time!

Bad Cat Chris

The Baddest Cat You'll Ever Love

Plucking Of My Heartstrings

Blogging on a variety of things that pluck at the hearts' emotions & more

The Bankastraat Cats

Life with our humans

mikehartleysr

The happenings in our multi cat house hold

Meow Lifestyle

Home + Cats: Health, Happiness and Style

Cat Lady Confidential

Cat culture and lifestyle blog

Cole & Marmalade

Welcome Cat People!

Orange Marmalade Press

I love all kinds of art and hope you do, too!

The Adventures of Noodle

The Life of a Rescued Stray

martythemanx2

Musings of a Manx

Create With Joy

Infuse Creativity In All You Do

zooeyandgandalf

cats pictures, cat drawings, and more cat related stuff

The Gypsy Mau

A faceless feline with immortal tales to tell as she continues to be a vagabond…

Welcome to the Deck!

4 happy cats blog about life!

creekviewcarol

life in the not-so-fast lane

Feral Cat Love

Feral cats are beautiful!

Musings of a Senior Kitty

random thoughts from my 15 year old cat

The Kitten Kaboodle

Life as a sometime kitten foster mom

Deziz World

The Life of Service Cats

Foxyslife

Learn about me as I learn about you

Zee & Zoey's Cat Chronicles

Cat behavior, feline-humor bond, cat responsibility.

Hot Rod Cowgirl

Riding Through Life One Horse At A Time...Courage Is Being Scared To Death But Saddling Up Anyway!

Mitsubachicats Featherston Homestead

Cats, family, life and faith as I experience them, not necessarily in that order

%d bloggers like this: