Originally Answered: If I die, how will my cats survive? A serious question?
I think your question is a very good one. You would be surprised how many people don't actually think about their pets when it comes to accidental death or death by any means really.
I recently found 2 books that have helped my husband and I immensely. These books are:
"When Your Pet Outlives You" written by David Congalton & Charlotte Alexander
"All My Children Wear Fur Coats" written by Peggy R Hoyt
Both these books provided invaluable information, but let me tell you, there were some horribly sad stories that went with some horribly sad stories. Still it opened our eyes and made us realize we needed to make our friends and family, close or not so close, aware!
Do you have any neighbors, friends, co-workers who you could mention your concerns to? Inevitably these people would know fairly soon after the event.
You mention out of state family, no matter what happens, even if your death is due to a car accident, the police will need to notify someone, so maybe let your family know what you need them to take care of first and foremost, before any funeral arrangements, before anything else is considered. Perhaps provide your family/relatives with your friend, neighbor or co-worker's phone number, that is if these people are willing. Some-one will stand up. You are only asking for your pets to be cared for until other arrangements are made for their long term care, which these books also provide very good advice on.
Have you made a will?
What do you want to happen to your cats in the event of your death? Do you want them adopted out?
Do you want them to stay together?
Do you want family/relatives to take them - you will need to ask someone?
Can you arrange for their lifetime care from your estate. It may be that you don't think your estate will be big enough, but even insurance on your vehicle/life insurance/compensation may provide enough to pay for the care of your cats, even if you wanted them to go to a family member or friend. As terrible as it sounds, a pet carer who knows they will be reimbursed will more than likely agree to take on your pets. Make a note it in your will - again these books cover this also.
You idea about keeping a note in your wallet is still a good one. Do it. Keep it with your drivers license.
Also another good idea is to get out your camera and take photo's of your cats and set up a computer file on each one, their likes, dislikes, any important information, Vet's name and phone number, any information really.
Post removable "in case of emergency" notices on your doors and windows specifying how many and what types of pets you have.
I would suggest trying to locate at least one of these books, if I had to recommend one over the other, it would be "When Your Pet Outlives You" . Each are inexpensive enough though - I found mine on eBay but Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble, really any good book store should be able to help you out.
I hope you and your girlfriend live a long, healthy, wealthy and happy life caring for your beloved pets.