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Cats That Die at Home

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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Unfortunately, many people will be faced with the decision on how to take care of their pet if he/she dies at home. There are many options available but the owner should know that some have governmental and legal guidelines to follow. The majority of people take the remains to their family veterinarian. The veterinarian will usually provide the options and, after a decision has been made, will take care of all the arrangements. For people who would rather take care of their pet on their own, here is a list of several alternatives.

Options for Care of the Body

Home Burial

Many people who own their homes choose to bury their beloved pet in the yard. This can be comforting to the pet's family, but great care must be taken. The first step is to check with local officials to make sure home burial is permitted. Before burial, the pet should be wrapped in plastic and buried deep – at least 3 feet below the surface. Large rocks or stones should be used to cover the site.

Crematories

Typically, cremation is available in most large cities. Some crematoriums will privately cremate your pet so you can scatter the ashes, bury them in the yard or even keep them in an urn. Check with your family veterinarian about contacting an animal crematory center.

Cemeteries

Burial in a cemetery is another option. Similar to human burial, a casket and headstone are chosen. Services are available with or without viewing of the remains. Use your local telephone directory in order to identify locations of area pet cemeteries.

Rendering

People living in rural areas are probably familiar with rendering services. This service typically cares for the remains of horses and cattle but some will also care for the remains of dogs and cats. Consult your veterinarian or telephone directory to contact a local rendering service.

Other Options

There are a few nontraditional options available regarding care of pet remains. Some people choose to consult a taxidermist and others may be interested in cryogenics. Research and many telephone calls may be necessary to find sources for these options.

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