What To Do When Your Cat Dies At Home: What To Do With The Body, Final Arrangements, and Memorial Options

First of all, I’m so sorry that you’re going through this right now.

I got my two kitties when they were quite young and they’re still healthy, but I remember the day my father took my first dog to be put down.

Many of us don’t see our pets as simply some domesticated animals, but rather as parts of our family. And unfortunately, most of the times we outlive our beloved pets.

In many cases the grief of losing your cat is so overwhelming that you can’t really do anything else for a bit, apart from mourning your deceased furry pal, regardless of how and where it has passed away. And it’s perfectly normal to be ridden with grief.

In some cases your precious furball might not die outdoors or get euthanized at a veterinary clinic, but die at home, which can be even worse. The stress and fear factor of seeing your special pal dying at home can really take its toll on even the strongest of spirits out there.

What To Do With The Body, Who To Call, And Burial Options When Your Cat Dies At Home

The first and foremost thing is to allow yourself to fully grasp the meaning of the situation and to not fall under the spell of the initial shock and depression. Instead of panicking, going into hysterics or breaking down, you need to make sure you cover all of the technicalities.

As harsh as this sounds, it’s actually unavoidable and most of all – it’s an essential part of saying goodbye.

What To Do With The Body

This is perhaps the worst part of all, since you’ll need to figure out what to do with the body immediately until you decide on what to do with the body long-term.

Whatever your decision, and whoever you call, you’re going to want to make sure you wrap your cat up in a blanket or towel, at the very least.

The safer option is to wrap it tightly in plastic, and put the body inside a number of bags. You’ll want to ensure it’s got multiple layers and that the bags can seal tightly, especially if you have to keep your cat’s deceased body around for more than a couple of hours.

In some cases, mobile veterinary clinics will come to you to pick up your cat and from there you can decide what to do.

Animal Control Services in your area may also be able to pick it up, though they may charge you for it.

Burial Options, Or What To Do With The Body Long-Term

There are a number of options here, and many will depend on your location. Some cities and states will have different laws.

For example, are you allowed to bury the cat in your back yard? Some places might have a law against that, so be sure to read up on it.

The main options are:

  • Burial at home or in a pet cemetery,
  • Cremation (communal or individual),
  • Compost (yes, really!)

For burial, you’ll need to find a box or a casket, though we recommend a really cool company that makes things called “Paw Pods”. They’re eco-friendly, biodegradable burial caskets that come with seeds of a perennial plant you can plant on top to always remember your kitty.

Cremation can be done as part of a communal cremation where multiple pets are cremated at the same time. This is usually cheap or free.

Or, you can opt for a usually much more expensive option where your kitty alone is cremated, which will allow you the option to get his or her ashes, which you can then display or release how you wish (within accordance of the law of course).

Finally, we also recently found out about Rooted, a company that has created a process that basically helps your cats body go through a “recomposition” process, which turns the organic materials into useable compost. You can choose to donate the compost to a local forestry initiative, or you can have it returned to yourself to use, allowing your cat to live on by supplying vital nutrients to the plants in your yard.

If you have pet insurance, it may cover some of the fees and expenses which are about to come after your cat’s passing, but be sure to check your specific plan.

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Memorial Options

Trees for a Change

trees for a change pet memorial

What better way to memorialize your pet than to make sure her loving spirit continues, even after she’s gone?

Happily, that’s exactly what you can do by planting a tree in a U.S. National Forest in memory of your precious kitty.

Trees for a Change have a wonderful memorial program that sends you a certificate and card when you choose to plant a tree on your pet’s behalf.

They take care of the actual planting and everything on their end, and you can rest assured that your cat’s legacy will live on for future generations to enjoy the beauty and majesty of the nature that gave life to her.

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Paw Print Memorial Stone

You can get a touching memorial stone for your yard, for the pet cemetery or even for a symbolic tribute to your pet, which you can simply place in your garden without an actual grave.

Collections ETC currently offers a heartwarming paw print memorial stone, which is not only touching, but also quite functional. It comes with its own cursive engraving and there’s a slot for a picture of your special furry pal.

The slot will fit a 2’’ by 3’’ photograph.

The memorial stone is made out of weather-resistant materials and the entire construction measures up to 8 ¾ by 8 ¾ inches. Last, but not least, this item is absolutely affordable even on a low budget.

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In terms of cremation memorials, if you opt for an individual cremation and have the ashes returned, there are some nice options to ensure you always have something to remember your pet by.

Classic Paws Cremation Urn

Cremation facilities may break your budget, but you can get a moderately priced urn specially designed for deceased pets for a reasonable price.

This particular urn comes in petite, small, medium, large and extra-large sizing.

It’s made out of solid brass and offers various color options. The carved paw prints are so touching and the screw lid offers 100% secured safety for your fluffy pet’s remains. On top of that, it has a durable enamel finish and the overall look is definitely classy.

A themed pet urn like this one is an ideal way to commemorate your deceased feline furball and to safely store its remains putting them in a reliable, ever-lasting ash container.

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Memorial Pendant

If you’re one of those people, who feel the need to always carry their loved ones close to their hearts, then a memorial urn pendant would be a good way to cope with the idea of losing your feline pet.

The Pet Memory Shop offers a lovely selection of pendants in various shapes and engravings for your deceased cat’s ashes.

They come in round, tube and several heart-like shapes with special engravings, which you can personalize to your own liking in order to match the friendship you had with your pet at its best.

The pendant comes with a stainless steel chain and can hold the ashes or a strand of fur. Lastly, unlike ordinary lockets, the pendant features a screw lid, which will keep your cat’s remains safe and sound.

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Whatever you do, don’t panic when your cat dies at home, and try to focus on the essential technicalities when it comes to putting your deceased pet to rest.

Your vet may be able to give you the best advice about what lies ahead in the stages of grieving and how to approach a (probable) burial ceremony with all of the necessary permits.

There is no ultimate way to cope with the loss of your precious furball. And it may be stressful and frightening to see your cat die at home. Nevertheless, we’re sure your kitty loved you and cherished you with all of its purr-fect feline heart.

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

3 thoughts on “What To Do When Your Cat Dies At Home: What To Do With The Body, Final Arrangements, and Memorial Options”

  1. I love the idea of putting my cat’s ashes in a pendant close to my heart. My cat Stevie recently got sick and we are just thinking of options. I am so grateful for the information and suggestions for what to do if your pet passes away.

  2. My Mr. Snipes died today. I miss him already, but God was merciful and he died here at home while a friend and I were giving him his medication. His heart just stopped. I loved him dearly and I will never forget him and his loyal, playful nature. God bless you my little friend. Love you much. Your Mommy

  3. Thank you for sharing this. We just lost not only a cat, but a best friend today. My heart and mind are in a million pieces. Thank you for posting this. I’m going to get her a little memorial headstone you linked here.

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