Our cats grow on us and become cherished members of our family. But like most things, their life comes to an end. Sometimes we are forced to make some tough choices about our pets end-of-life. If this is the case, you will probably have made plans for what will be done with your cat’s body.
I know this can be very difficult to think about, but it is something you may have to deal with if you have a pet. Fortunately, there are a number of options for handling the body of a deceased cat. Please keep reading to see some choices for handling the body of a cat that has passed away.
What to Do When Your Cat Dies at Home
If your cat dies at home, you will be faced with having to make plans for the cat’s body.
What can you do with the body of your cat? You can bury the body, have it cremated or you can have a taxidermist preserve the body so you can keep it.
Let’s take a look at each one of these options in a little more detail.
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Cremation is probably the most popular method for handling the body of a deceased cat. If you are a person that believes that a physical body has served its purpose once your cat is no longer living then cremation is a good option for you. Here are some types of pet cremation that are available in most areas.
- Communal – this is a cremation service where your pet is cremated along with other pets. Your pet’s ashes can’t be returned because they are comingled with other pets. This is the most cost-effective method of cremation. I was not able to find anyone who would do it at no cost, but in most cases, it was less than $100.
- Partitioned – A partitioned cremation is when several animals are cremated at the same time, but the bodies are kept separated. This allows the owner to have their pet’s ashes. With this type of service, it is possible there could be a tiny amount of other pet’s ashes along with the cremains that are returned to you.
- Private – A private cremation is when your pet is cremated and you receive the ashes afterward. Some places may allow you to view the cremation. This viewing can assist with closure in the grieving process.
Most companies that offer pet cremation services, will come to your location and pick up the body of a deceased pet. Additionally, pet cremation companies will also allow you to bring your pet’s body to them. You may not realize how many organizations offer pet cremation until you need it. The Humane Society and most veterinary clinics can advise you on your options for pet cremation.
How Much Does Cat Cremation Cost?
The cost of a communal cremation averages from $30 – $70. If you opt for a private cremation where your cat’s ashes are returned to you, the cost has a range of $100 – $200. Other memorial accessories that are part of the cremation services could increase the total cost of pet cremation.
What Can I Do With My Pet’s Ashes?
If you choose cremation for your pet, in most cases you will have the option of having your cat’s ashes returned to you. You may be wondering what you would do with your beloved pet’s ashes. Here are a few things that you could do with your cat’s ashes:
- Scatter the Ashes- Scattering your cat’s ashes is a simple choice. You can pick your cat’s favorite stomping grounds if your cat goes outside. Or you may have a favorite spot that means a lot to you where your cat’s ashes would rest in peace. We had a communal cremation with one of our cats several years ago and the ashes were sprinkled in a special section of a beautiful public garden.
- Bury the Ashes – Some of the same places as above make a great “final resting spot” for your cat’s ashes. Ashes can also be buried in a pet cemetery and in some states the ashes can be buried with a previously deceased owner.
- Keep the Ashes – Pet crematories offer a large selection of stylish urns and boxes that can hold the ashes of your cat. They can be placed anywhere in your home that makes you feel comfortable.
- Create a Memorial Piece – There are pieces that can be created with the ashes as part of the component. Glass, paint, pottery, tattoo ink are a few things that can be made with a small amount of your pet’s ashes. If you think about it, the list of mediums you could add ashes to is quite extensive.
- Create an Ornamental Piece – An ornamental piece would contain a small amount of your cat’s ashes encased in glass (or metal) so it can be kept as a remembrance keepsake. Christmas ornaments and jewelry are 2 of the most popular styles of ornamental pieces for your cat’s ashes.
Bury the Body
Burial has been used for centuries to give bodies of animals and people a final resting place. If that is what makes most sense to you when it comes to your cat’s body, here are your options.
- Bury at Home – Burial is another option you have of disposing of your pet’s body. Depending on where you live, burying your cat in your backyard could be an option for you. The first thing you will to find out is if it is legal to bury your pet in the backyard in the state that you live in. Burying your cat in your backyard can be a big comfort and you can create a garden or outdoor memorial area for your cat. A backyard burial will take work if you are going to prepare the site yourself, but the overall cost will be very low.
- Bury in a Pet Cemetery – Pet cemeteries can be found in every state. Many of them will provide pet after-life service in addition to pet burial. Most pet cemeteries offer everything from pick up of your pet’s body to funeral services for your pet.
Here again, you will need to find out what your area offers in the way of pet cemeteries. There are states that have a section for pet burial as well as human burial. There are a few states that will allow the burial of humans and pets together. If you want to have your pet in a cemetery in your area, search “pet cemeteries near me”.
How Much Does Cat Burial Cost?
If you opt to bury your cat’s body on property owned by you or a friend, this can pretty much be of no cost to you if you do the labor of digging the grave yourself. If you use plantings and a grave marker, this can still be done at little or no cost if that is what your budget allows.
If you choose to have your pet buried at a pet cemetery, the cost for pet burial can range anywhere from $100 to several thousand dollars, with the average cost ranging from $1,500 to $2,000. The price can vary depending on the size of your pet, the burial type, type and location of the burial plot and the accessories that are part of the burial/funeral cost.
Taxidermy is your third option for final disposition of your pet’s body. Taxidermy is the art of preparing, stuffing, and mounting the skins of animals with lifelike effect. It would not be what I would want for my cat, but there are people that want to remember their pet as they were. These pet owners may choose to have their pet stuffed and memorialized in a pose that they remember fondly. If you are interested in taxidermy, Animal Family Pet offers taxidermy for pets as well as cremation services.
How Much Does Cat Taxidermy Cost?
Taxidermy prices can vary greatly depending on the size of the pet and the pose that the owner desires. Prices start at $500 and can go as a high as many thousands of dollars. The cost will vary on the on the location of the taxidermist as well.
Mary was our most recent cat to pass away unexpectedly in our home. And it was a Friday night at 8pm no less. We gently lifted her body onto a soft towel several feet away from where she had passed. Her body had released it’s fluids so we had to do some cleaning.
We did allow the body to remain on the towel in the room where she had passed for about 30 minutes. This was to allow the other cats, Boy and Pixie, to say goodbye and grieve the loss of their mother.
Mary was placed in a box. The next morning, very early, we called a local pet crematory. They would have picked her up, but we opted to take her to the location where the owners were waiting for us. The place was located in an industrial park. This is the part that most people would not see. We had the option to select any of the keepsakes offered by any pet crematory.
They allowed us to spend as much time as we wanted with Mary to say goodbye. We filled out a small card that had her name and the date that she passed away. It was placed on the wall with several hundred other cards with the names of pets that had become angels. Mary’s paw print was cast in a fast drying cement.
We left with the paw print and returned home to spend time with our 2 other cats. The cost was around $100. Mary’s ashes were sprinkled in a memorial garden with the ashes of other pets.
My first thought when the first shock had subsided after finding her deceased was “What am I going to do”, but the process was actually pretty simple. Later on, I found out that I could have taken her body to Banfield Pet Hospital (Mary got her medical car there) for disposition.
Even if your cat died at home and you have to make arrangements to dispose of the body, all of the above options would be available to you. It really is as simple as calling the Humane Society and your local veterinarian to discuss what option works best for your situation.