The Toronto Cat Rescue came into my life during what I call The Great Rut of 2016. I was fresh out of undergrad working in a dead-end job, while going through a breakup that forced me to move back home with my parents. With a decade-long struggle managing chronic depression and a sense of failure that followed me during every waking moment, I was desperate to find joy. That joy came unexpectedly in the form of my best feline friend, Mona.

I adopted Mona on Canada Day of 2016 when a friend made the difficult decision to surrender her. To this day, adopting Mona is still the best decision I have ever made in my adult life (along with saying yes! to my partner’s marriage proposal).

At the end of even the most disheartening days, I could always count on Mona to follow me to bed, climb on my chest, and purr me to sleep. Pet owners will know what I mean about the emotional support you receive when you open your heart and home to animal companionship. It’s a support that transcends the boundaries of language and conditions.

Inspired by my new-found cat lady status, I sought meaning in the mess by sending out volunteer applications to Toronto-based animal shelters. I was thrilled when the Toronto Cat Rescue took me on as their new Adoption Administrator, where I helped pair potential adoptees with their Adoption Counsellors for two wonderful years.

Mona and TCR gave me the unexpected gift of meaning as I navigated the turbulent first few years of adult life. For that, I will always be so grateful.

Tracy and her cat Mona in their kitchen
Tracy and her adopted cat Mona.

An End-Of-Life Gift For Cats In Need Of New Beginnings

While I hope to live a long, healthy life, I recognize that nobody is guaranteed this blessing. When I joined the Willful team in 2019 and started the process of writing my will for the first time, I saw this as an opportunity to continue supporting an amazing organization beyond my small $20 monthly donations.

I did so in the form of a lump sum donation to be paid out to TCR upon my passing, and I also assigned TCR as my contingent beneficiary in the unlikely event that my other beneficiaries are unable to receive their share of my estate.

While I am by no means a rich individual, I feel blessed to know that the end of my life means a new beginning for 8 injured cats undergoing wound repair surgery or 3 litters of kittens by covering the cost of their spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, and deworming.

But Wait… What About My Family?

A common misconception about legacy giving is that it puts your own loved ones at a financial disadvantage. I learned firsthand that this just isn’t true.

In addition to TCR’s legacy gift, I feel immense relief knowing that upon my passing, I have set aside assets that will, for a brief time:

  • Pay off any outstanding debts
  • Help my partner transition from dual-income to single-income life
  • Cover the costs of Mona’s care
  • Help my brother pursue a career in culinary arts
  • Give my parents a little something to help them retire (and thank them for their many sacrifices throughout the years)

By supporting a charity or non-profit in your will with even a small donation, you play a role in keeping alive the causes close to your heart, even when you’re no longer here.

Thank you to the volunteer and foster network at the Toronto Cat Rescue for their tireless work finding forever homes for the vulnerable cat population in the Greater Toronto Area.