How to Bury a Cat

There comes times in every pet lover's life when you have to say goodbye to your pal and dispose of its remains safely and respectfully.


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    When you find your cat not breathing, don't panic. First, call your vet. He or she will give you directions in checking for life. Pick him or her up carefully and put on a table. If the cat is very stiff, take the cat to the vet. It may have been poisoned, and there may still be time to bring it back. Rigor mortis will start after a couple hours of the body being dead. Open her mouth a little bit to see if her tongue is cold. If so, unfortunately your cat is dead. If she is warm and her eyes open, you should take her to the vet.
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    Since you concluded you have a deceased cat, find a good, sturdy box that will fit her body so that she can lay out with a couple inches on each side of her and a couple inches on top of her body. You will need a matching lid as well. The box can be wood, plastic, or even a strong cardboard.
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    Place the cat in the box, perhaps adding her favorite toy or blanket, although you may want to keep these items to help remember her.
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    After your cat's body is resting in the box, put the lid on and find a rope to tie it shut so that other animals or people can't get in it easily.
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    Go outside your home and pick a good spot that you can legally dig a hole about 3–5 feet (0.9–1.5 m) deep. If you rent your home, call the landlord and ask if or where you can dig the hole. If you don't have your own outdoor yard, you can look on the internet for a pet cemetery. These however are rare and could cost a bit of money, so try a nearby friend or family member's land first and ask them for permission. If you cannot find a place to bury your cat, ask your vet. He or she may know of a place, or be able to provide the services needed.
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    Once you find a place to bury your cat, get a shovel and someone you know that will be able to help you dig the hole. Dig a hole that is about 2–4 feet (0.6–1.2 m) deep and approximately the size of the box in length and width. Depending on the position of the body, you may need a larger box, and thus a larger hole.
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    Ensure that, if foxes or other predators are prevalent in your area to line the edges of the hole with bricks or slate and have a 'lid' e.g. a paving slab to stop these predators exhuming your pet. I also use a sprinkle of lime to deter predators.
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    Rest the box in the hole and say your final good byes to your pet. You can invite friends, family, and/or neighbors over for a funeral. Fill the hole with the dirt you dug out.
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    You can place rocks, a cross, or flowers around the grave to mark the grave if you wish.
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    Go home and recover from the loss.


  • An injured cat is in pain and will lash out if treated roughly.
  • Sometimes a cat may appear dead, but is not - be very gentle with any cat, injured or not, as they make take offense to manhandling.
  • If the cat has been hit by a car or is bleeding, wrap it gently in a towel and take it immediately to a local vet. If the cat has a collar, the vet will call the owners.
  • Never bury a living cat. If there is any question, call or visit a local vet. They can tell you if the animal is dead.
  • Dead bodies will start to smell bad after about 6 hours, depending on how hot it is. The hotter it is, the quicker the smell will come on.
  • If you must contact the owner, make sure to talk to an adult, not a child. A pet is often considered a member of the family, so treat this conversation with the same respect that you would show if you found their child dead. If they get angry with you, don't return the feeling in kind. Anger is one of the stages of grief. Above all, don't dismiss their feelings or blow them off - this is a difficult time for them. Ask if there is anything you can do to help.
  • If a cat is dangerous to you or others, take it to a vet and ask for it to be put down. Never kill a cat yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • A sturdy box
  • A shovel
  • Permission from landlords or family for burial
  • Two or more people to help you transport the body and to dig and fill in the hole.
  • A friend to talk to about your loss.
  • A friend to help you with the loss.

Article Info

Categories: Cats | Pet Loss