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Pet-related tax breaks didn't apply to Willow the cat's excellent adventure

I am a feline fan, so I love the story of Willow the cat. The calico disappeared from her Colorado home five years ago and apparently spent most of that time in the Big Apple.

Now Calico is headed home with her original family.

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Jamie and Chris Squires, along with their three kids came to New York City to pick up Willow. But before heading back west, they stopped by the Today show.

Five years ago Willow slipped out of her Colorado home when a contractor left a door ajar. One report has the cat being adopted by a vacationing New Yorker who took her to Brooklyn.

Last week Willow showed up at the city's Animal Care and Control facility after being found wandering city streets. There's no word as to how she got out this time, but ACC workers found the Willow's microchip and contacted her Colorado owners.

Tax help for pet care costs: Pets are great companions. In most cases, they are furry family members.

But unlike your human relatives, there aren't tax breaks for most of the costs of caring for an animal.

You can't claim your pet as a dependent. And the cost of implanting a tracking device in your dog or cat isn't a tax deductible medical expense (yet).

The New Yorker who reportedly flew Willow 1,800 miles five years ago also didn't get any help from the Internal Revenue Code. Willow's temporary owner had to pay for the cat's trip without any help from the IRS.

If, however, you move for a new job and transport your pet to your new location, you can count that cost as part of your moving expenses, which can be claimed as an above-the-line tax deduction on Form 1040.

Follow-up friday icon That's one of tax breaks in unleashing deductions for your pet, which is part of this week's Follow-up Friday look at pet-related tax laws.

Other possible animal-related write-offs include the costs of acquiring and maintaining animals used in a business, such as a guard dog, and service animals, such as a seeing-eye dog, which could count toward itemized medical deduction claims.

And although not directly related to your pet, animal loving taxpayers can claim a charitable deduction for gifts to qualified animal welfare nonprofits.

There's also the issue of who will take care of a pet who outlives its owner. This isn't just a concern of folks like Leona and Gail. Every senior (and their families) need to consider estate plan pet provisions.

So while taxes aren't the first thing you think of when you think of a pet, checking out how you might be able to share the animal's costs with Uncle Sam could make the time you and your pet spend together a bit more enjoyable.

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