Cat cremation - how does this work?
November 19, 2005 7:04 PM   Subscribe

Petfilter: My wife and I plan to have our two (currently quite healthy) cats cremated when they die. Exactly how does one get a cat body to a cremation service, including handling delays?

Does one normally go through a veterinary clinic for pet cremation? Call a pet cremation service directly (there are two in the our metropolitan area) - but what if it's a Sunday, and there isn't one open? How long can one have a decomposing cat body around the house without problems? (I suspect my wife would never again use the freezer compartment of our refrigerator if that was used for temporary cat storage, so please omit any such suggestions - thanks.)
posted by WestCoaster to Pets & Animals (9 answers total)
When my cat died in April (on a Sunday afternoon when my regular vet was closed), I wrapped him in a blanket and took him to an emergency vet in my neighborhood. For $25, they performed the cremation. I declined to return for his ashes, but they did offer me the option for a nominal fee.
posted by mewithoutyou at 7:21 PM on November 19, 2005

When my pet died, I called the pet crematorium directly. It was a couple of towns over from where I was living at the time, so I wasn't able to get there until the next day. I just called them, explained the situation, asked about their prices (all sorts of urns are available), made an appointment, and drove over there the next day at the appointed time.

You probably won't need to refrigerate the body since you'll likely be able to have it taken care of within a couple of days of the cat's death. Just keep it in a cool, dry, airtight container.
posted by Gator at 7:22 PM on November 19, 2005

IME, vet hospitals have existing relationships with pet cemeteries. Search for a 24-hour hospital near you, which would store your pet's remains and handle the logistics of a cremation. Please do not have your pet's remains around your home if you have kids. There's the possibility of burying your pet in your back yard, but that depends on local ordinances, and again, if you have kids, I recommend having a hospital take care of it all.
posted by nj_subgenius at 7:23 PM on November 19, 2005

You'd normally go through your vet clinic to arrange cremation. You will need to keep the body cold (I know you said to omit such suggestions, but in a vet clinic we wrap the body in plastic bags and then place it in a freezer, decomposition starts pretty quickly after death, I sure wouldn't be leaving a dead cat lying around for more than a few hours, unless it was cold out and you could put it in the garage). What I would do is contact your local vet clinic and ask them what they suggest, you could also contact your local veterinary emergency clinic and ask them if they would allow you to store the body there temporarily (you would normally want to avoid using an emergency clinic for handling the cremation, since they charge you a premium for everything).
posted by biscotti at 7:34 PM on November 19, 2005

I don't know about transportation if your cat dies at home, but I ended up going the euthanasia route at the end and the vet did the cremation for me there. They did specify that if I wanted ashes that were definitely my cat, and no one else, there'd be an extra fee (around $60). I paid it and got the ashes carefully bagged in a nice box. May be easier all round if you can do that, but I also don't know if all vets do it that way (or even have the capacity to cremate on-site). Check with yours and find out their policy?
posted by dlugoczaj at 8:18 PM on November 19, 2005

Coincidentally enough, my father runs a pet crematorium. His site for it is here, and I'm sure he'd be happy to answer any specific questions you have.

(Yes, it's an odd thing to have a parent do--he opened it about 5 years ago, and has enjoyed building the business a great deal.)
posted by LooseFilter at 11:34 PM on November 19, 2005

An emergency vet will usually store the body for you if you have a crematorium you'd rather use, and may even handle the transfer. You'll pay them something for that, but probably not a lot.

It'll depend on the e-vet, though. Most of the ones in my area are really only open during non-business hours and close around 8-9am. In a case like that, you might have to get a styrofoam cooler and handle the transfer from vet to crematorium yourself.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:02 AM on November 20, 2005

I work for a non-emergency vet and we are set up with a business called Pet Rest and they handle all of the cremations. We wrap the bodies in plastic and keep them in a fridge until the company comes down to get them every week.

Check this website out Pet Cemeteries and Crematories it has information for all over the country even.
posted by mabelcolby at 7:10 AM on November 20, 2005

My vet clinic in Seattle has a relationship with a crematorium. I have the ashes of both of my late cats from there; my 2nd cat died at home over a weekend so I took her body to the emergency vet, and they conveyed her to the same crematorium. You can get a "private cremation" which costs more, which means that you know the ashes you get back are from your specific pet; otherwise they cremate a number of pets together and do not mark which one is which. The crematorium outside of Seattle has been in business for decades, and my vet, who I trust, feels that they are very ethical and sensitive, and she trusts them.
posted by matildaben at 11:20 AM on November 20, 2005

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