Choice: Cat Cremation
Cremation For Your Pets
Let’s face it. This is never a pleasant subject. But our little 4-legged family members will not be with us forever.
Some are taken too soon and others live a long, happy, healthy life.
I have been on many roller coasters of tragic endings. One cat having died after major surgery; her blood didn’t clot (4 1/2 years). One from kidney failure, within days of diagnosis (11 years old). One cat in the middle of the night from an asthma attack. We were working with a specialist to help manage her problem. (She died the day before her 7th birthday).
Other than 2 stillborn kittens, there was plenty of reaction time available. A different mother rejected one kitten with issues. It died within in a few days of birth.
Cremate or Bury
We buried one stillborn and the rejected kitten in my backyard. We left the other stillborn at my vet’s office.
The shock of losing our 4 1/2-year-old Samantha, followed by days of tears. Couldn’t leave her body to the elements, even for a day. It had not rained for sometime. The California soil was reluctant to give under the shovel without persistence. Eventually, my husband thought we had a deep enough hole between the citrus trees. We wrapped her in a towel and placed her in a cardboard box. Wasn’t ready to let her go, but crying into her cold fur had to end. We placed her in the ground.
The problem with this ritual, I was going to where we buried her. Laying a flower on the mound. Christmas laying a small fir branch with a red ribbon. Not terrible; but it couldn’t bring her back and it lacked comfort.
The discussion arose one day What happens when we move? The thought of someone digging where Samantha lay became of great concern. She meant so much more. The thought was chilling.
It was time to think long term… this wasn’t our forever home. We needed to pack her up someday and take her with us.
I called the pet cemetery and told them of my dilemma. He told me to water the area for a month to ease my mind. Although he was certain, there were only bones.
The big day came. I mustered up enough courage to face whatever I found as we unearthed her little body.
We got a large garbage bag and placed it on the ground. With caution, we removed the soil. What remained was tape from the cardboard box and nylon thread from the towel. We sifted through the dirt and placed the little bones on the bag. We marveled at how small they were. I lifted the plate of her skull where the surgery was on, it looked normal. The surgeon said he had seen worse, and the animal survived. If only her blood had clotted. I don’t know if we got every bone. We figured that none were below the bottom tape from the box. Something about this process was peaceful. Now we knew we could take her when we were ready to move.
Took her to the pet cemetery and had her cremated. Picked out a nice box to put her remains. I miss her (12-3-1990), but I can still hold the little wooden box. I touch the five boxes that lay on the dressers. A moment to remember the blessings and laughs they provided. Their unconditional love.
The first 4 cats we owned went to the pet cemetery. They returned them to the earth in a mass burial above the cemetery.
They were not the first 4 that died, either. The decision was based more on when they arrived, not the time they departed. Our first cat Tripper, was the first one we had euthanized. Indoor/outdoor cat and with the knowledge I have today, he never would have been outdoors. I’m sure too many poisons inflicted his life. He was in terrible shape. He was 13 and with as hardy as he was, I’m sure he could’ve lived to 20, if only he had remained indoors.
Euthanized Andy at 11 and Rascal at 15. They quit eating and drinking, refused when I tried many things to get them to eat. Today, with knowledge, I regret not letting them go naturally.
Freckles passed peacefully at 18. The evening of Christmas Day. That one was the easiest.
Maggie at 17 and Molly at 15. There are those that may disapprove I didn’t euthanize them. A personal choice; when they still purr and look forward to creating us in the morning. We don’t put our frail Grandma out to pasture. When she can muster a smile, we know that life is precious.
When our pets become valued family members, they move beyond the status quo of “pet”.
Remembering Your Pets
Photos can bring back the memories of that cherished pet. I look at the comical photos and recall the moments they made me laugh or smile. Better than photos of a summer vacation. That unconditional love and devotion, always there. Being a hero to your pet gives you gratification.
Molly was my last cat cremated. With many things on our plate and COVID looming strong, we had to wait. She died sprawled across our laps on the evening of 5-2-2020. She took her last breath. I scooped her up in my arms and curled her lifeless body against my chest. With tears dropping on her as her body became stiff and cool. Time to wrap her in a towel and a plastic bag. Placed her in the freezer until we could go inside the cemetery to have her cremated 2 years later. Molly’s story.
Plenty of time to find a perfect wooden box. Ordered a plaque for the front.
I live in a different place. Still, not my forever home. No cats will be buried here. What should we do with cremated cat remains that have no value to others? Good question. I’ve mentioned that I want to be cremated when my number is called. Making it a great opportunity to empty the little boxes into my box of remains, or whichever one of us goes first. I guess it makes sense. When we are gone, it will not matter.
In the meantime, I will cherish my little cat boxes of memories.
I still have two very alive and wild cats that demand my love and attention. But still a piece of my heart remains with those little furry 4-legged kids that are gone.
Boxes and plaques to remember your pets:
This was the one I got for Molly. The size was (5 X 3 X 2.25)
There are many sizes and styles to choose.
Personalized, engraved plaque. Many to choose from. Just be sure it fits the size of your box.
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