What to Do When Your Cat Dies at Home

by beaconpet
What to Do When Your Cat Dies at Home

Coping with the loss of a cherished cat is an incredibly challenging experience. When confronted with the passing of your feline friend, understanding how to handle their remains in a respectful and considerate manner becomes crucial. Proactively planning for this inevitable event can prevent hasty decisions influenced by raw emotions. There exist various options for the disposal of your cat’s remains, including cremation, burial, or even taxidermy. Each method comes with its own set of considerations and potential legal restrictions, underscoring the importance of acquainting yourself with the relevant laws in your area. While contemplating these details may be emotionally difficult, treating your cat’s remains with care and respect becomes a poignant expression of the love you held for them. Grieving the loss of your cat is a process that takes time, but with empathy and understanding, you can eventually reminisce about your time together with fondness and smiles, replacing tears with cherished memories. Explore additional resources on pet loss and compassionate handling of remains at Beaconpet for more support during this challenging time.

Disposal Options

Losing a beloved cat can be an incredibly difficult experience, and one that is often accompanied by the challenging task of deciding how to handle their remains. While this may not be a topic you want to think about, it’s important to consider your options in advance so that you can make the best decision for both you and your cat. In this article, we will discuss three common methods of disposing of a cat’s remains: cremation, whole body burial, and taxidermy. Each option has its own unique considerations, and we will explore them in detail to help guide you through this process.


Cremation is a popular choice for pet owners, as it offers a way to memorialize their cat while also ensuring a practical and respectful handling of their remains. There are two types of cremation to consider: communal cremation and individual cremation.

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Communal Cremation

In a communal cremation, your cat’s remains are cremated alongside other deceased pets. After the cremation, the ashes are typically scattered or otherwise disposed of according to law. This option is usually less expensive, but it does not allow for the return of your cat’s ashes.

Individual Cremation

Individual cremation involves the cremation of your cat’s remains alone, ensuring that you receive their ashes back. This option allows for a more personalized and sentimental approach, as you can choose to keep the ashes in a memorial urn or scatter them in a meaningful location. Individual cremation is typically more expensive than communal cremation due to the additional care and handling required.

When considering cremation, it’s important to discuss your options with your veterinarian, pet cremation companies, or local animal shelters. They can provide guidance on the process, costs, and any legal considerations in your area. Additionally, they may be able to recommend reputable cremation services that will handle your cat’s remains with the utmost care and respect.

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Whole Body Burial

Another option to consider is whole body burial. This allows you to lay your cat to rest in a permanent location, providing a tangible memorial for you to visit and remember them by. There are two main types of whole body burial: at home and in a pet cemetery.

At Home

Burying your cat at home is a common choice for grieving pet owners. It offers a sense of closure and allows you to keep your cat’s remains nearby. However, there are a few factors to consider before choosing this option. Firstly, check the laws in your state or local area, as some prohibit burying pets at home. Additionally, if you live in an apartment or have a shared backyard, burying your cat at home may not be appropriate. Lastly, keep in mind that if you ever move houses, you will have to leave the remains behind.

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In a Pet Cemetery

Pet cemeteries are specifically dedicated to providing a final resting place for animals. If you choose to bury your cat in a pet cemetery, you can rest assured that the grounds will be maintained and respected. If you’re unsure of where to find a pet cemetery in your area, your veterinarian can assist you in locating one or arranging burial services. However, before making any decisions, it’s important to ensure that the pet cemetery has adequate funds for the perpetual maintenance of the burial grounds and that deed restrictions are in place to guarantee its use for pet burial.


For those who want a more permanent and lifelike memorial of their cat, taxidermy may be an option to consider. Taxidermy involves preserving an animal’s body through various techniques, resulting in a lifelike display. While this may not be for everyone, some people find comfort in having a tangible reminder of their beloved cat in their home.

It’s important to note that taxidermy can be quite expensive, with prices starting at around $1,000 and increasing based on a number of factors. If you’re interested in pursuing taxidermy, consult with your veterinarian, as they may be able to refer you to professional taxidermists who specialize in preserving pets.

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Commonly Asked Questions

Losing a pet can be an overwhelming experience, and handling the practical aspects of their passing can add additional stress. Here are a few commonly asked questions to help you navigate through this difficult time:

Will someone come to my home and take away the animal’s body?

Yes, in many cases, a mobile veterinary clinic or animal control services can come to your home and remove your cat’s body. However, it’s important to note that these services may charge a fee, and their response time may vary depending on the time of day and day of the week. If you’re dealing with the passing of your cat during non-business hours, there may be a delay in their arrival.

If there is a delay, what do I do with my cat’s body?

If there is a delay in having your cat’s body removed, there are a few steps you can take to ensure their remains are properly handled. Firstly, clean up any bodily fluids that may have been expelled, as this is a natural process that occurs after death. Carefully wrap your cat’s body in towels and place it in a box that is appropriate in size. If you anticipate a longer delay, especially in hot weather, wrap the remains in plastic wrap, place them in a large plastic bag, tie it closed tightly, and put it in an ice chest with ice packed all around. These measures may not be pleasant to think about, but they are important for maintaining the integrity of your cat’s remains until they can be properly handled.

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Remember that these details may be difficult to carry out, but they are a testament to your love for your cat. The careful and respectful handling of their remains will help you find solace and peace in knowing that you did everything you could to honor their memory.

The Days Ahead

Once you have taken care of all the necessary arrangements, you may find yourself navigating the overwhelming emotions that come with grief. It’s important to remember that grieving is a personal process, and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. You may experience a range of emotions, from immediate feelings of loss to numbness and confusion. Give yourself permission to feel whatever comes up and to take the time you need to heal.

Remember that the loss of a beloved pet is a significant event, and it’s important to be gentle with yourself during this time. Surround yourself with a support system of friends, family, or even online communities who can offer understanding and comfort. If you find that your grief is impacting your daily life or you’re unable to cope, consider reaching out to a grief counselor or therapist who specializes in pet loss.

What to Do When Your Cat Dies at Home

Senior Cats

The loss of a senior cat can bring its own unique set of challenges. As cats age, their bodies become more fragile, and the decision of how to handle their remains can be particularly difficult. When dealing with the loss of a senior cat, it’s important to prioritize their comfort and well-being. If possible, consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions to ensure that you’re considering their specific needs and circumstances.

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