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When Cats Die, Where Do They Go? Dealing With Pet Loss

When Cats Die, Where Do They Go? Dealing With Pet Loss

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I’m sure every pet owner wants their pets to live as long as they live (at least)! Unfortunately, that cannot be. Pet owners know that they’ll outlive their pets and they will have to, eventually, deal with one question: When cats die, where do they go?

There is a practical aspect to this subject; what will happen to the cat’s body? Should you opt for burial or cremation? Should you do it yourself or hire someone to handle it? 

However, this subject also has a spiritual aspect which deals with where the cat’s spirit goes after the cat dies.

In this article, I will talk about both aspects: your options for handling your beloved cat’s body after they die, as well as what happens to your cat’s spirit after they die and different religious standpoints on this topic!

When Cats Die, Where Do They Go? These Are The Options

Man still in forest carrying transport box inside with dead pet and shovel for burying animal in wood

Firstly, I will briefly review your options for handling your deceased cat’s body after they die.

It’s never simple to put your cat to rest, particularly if you haven’t planned, and making these difficult decisions is far more difficult when you are grieving. Therefore, if at all possible, making plans in advance might be good.

Now, let’s go over the two options pet owners have after their pet has died: cremation or burial.

1. Cremation

Cat cremation has become a popular option following a pet’s loss. It offers a sense of closure and is both practical and ecologically friendly.

The pet’s body is put in the cremation chamber and heated to extremely high temperatures. The biological material is reduced to dust and dried bone as a result, which is then ground into a gritty sand-like substance.

After that, the crematory will either use a container they give or one you provided, and they will return the remains to you.

In many cases, crematories let the family watch the cremation if they so choose. Some people believe that this helps them move on from losing their pets.

Many individuals opt to spread the ashes in a meaningful location to represent the process of releasing their beloved pet. 

When choosing a location to bury your cat’s ashes, you have a lot of choices. Most individuals choose to have them buried at their residence or in a pet cemetery. There are lovely kitty urns in many styles if you want to keep and display the ashes.

2. Burial

It is never easy to lose a cherished pet. It may be tough to say goodbye, and the closure of a burial and funeral might sometimes be therapeutic.

You have the option of organizing the burial yourself; however, there are pet burial services available. Many pet owners opt for hiring this type of service, as they organize the pet burial.

Burial At-Home

Some owners might favor bringing their cat home to bury it in the garden, usually in a blanket.

Cat owners frequently plant a tree or shrub over the area and even cover the location with a pot or stone to mark it and deter other animals from excavating there. I love the idea of planting a tree over a cat’s burial site, as it symbolizes life and how the cat continues to live in the owner’s heart.

You may visit your pet whenever you want, which is the biggest advantage of this option, and having your cat buried at home may make you feel closer to your beloved pet.

Burial At Pet Cemeteries

If you lack space or do not want to bury your pet at home, another choice is to choose a pet cemetery, even though it might be costly. Costs usually involve getting the plot, a yearly rental or upkeep charge, and a casket.

One drawback of this option is that not many cities have pet cemeteries, so you should check if your city has one. In most states, it’s illegal to bury a pet in a human cemetery, so finding a pet cemetery is a must.

Where Cats Go After They Die: The Spiritual Aspect

Cat looking up in black'n'white studio shot

Anyone who has ever had to say goodbye to a cherished pet understands the pain of losing a friend. Many people find great consolation in the concept that they might be waiting for us in heaven.

But is there a definitive answer to When cats die, where do they go?

As you can guess, there are no evidence-based answers to this question, and different religions have different standpoints regarding the afterlife of animals.

However, none of the religions that have a concept of heaven give a definitive response as to whether cats are permitted in the afterlife. Theologians disagree on whether animal spirits may be found in heaven, leaving much room for interpretation.

So, What Would Be The Definite Answer?

The definitive answer to what happens to cats when they die is: It depends on your beliefs! Of course, religion is highly personal, and you might already have views about what happens to animals after they die.

Further below, I talk about the views of different religions on this matter; however, let’s briefly forget about religious stands and talk a little bit about the concept of Rainbow Bridge, which you may or may not be familiar with.

What Does Crossing The Rainbow Bridge Mean?

Black and white photo of a white cat with a rainbow over his eye.

If you’ve never had a pet die, you might not be familiar with the concept of crossing the rainbow bridge. So, what does crossing the rainbow bridge mean?

You might hear a grieving pet owner refer to their deceased pet as having “crossed the Rainbow Bridge” or say, “I’ll meet you at the Rainbow Bridge.”

The “Rainbow Bridge” is a fictional location with a sunny, lush meadow and a rainbow-colored, prismatic bridge connecting it to heaven.

The animal remains there until its human companion passes away before rejoining them in the meadow. They cross the Rainbow Bridge to heaven together.

It is a comforting image for people who are mourning the loss of a beloved animal friend, despite the fact that it is not founded on any religious principles.

The Origin Of The Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge is a prose poem by an unknown author that has gained popularity over the past decade, especially in English-speaking countries.

The poem claims that the pet wakes up in a pleasant, verdant meadow bathed in sunlight after passing away. The animal’s health has recovered, and with limitless access to food and water, it may play and run like it did when it was young.

The Rainbow Bridge is for pets who want to cross with their still-living human companion, whereas it is considered that animals without owners go directly to heaven.

Different Points Of View Based On Religion

Black and white photo of a sleeping cat

Cat owners might want to have their religion as a guide through the difficult time of dealing with cat loss. However, as you’ll see, many religions don’t offer a clear answer to the question of where cats go after they die.

In Christianity

Do cats go to heaven according to Christianity and the Bible?

There is no information in the Bible about whether or not cats get to heaven.

One scripture from the Catholic and Orthodox bibles makes one brief mention of cats; however, they’re not mentioned anywhere else (but wildcats, leopards, and lions are mentioned).

Although the Bible offers many life answers, it’s mute regarding this one.

Since there is no prohibition in the Bible against your cat joining you in heaven, it seems reasonable that you may make your own choice regarding this question.

In Islam

According to Islam, there are no animals in Jannah (the Muslim concept of heaven), and our worldly pets will not be in Jannah.

To enter Jannah, humans and Jinns are the only ones put to trial. Animals are not mentioned; therefore, it can be concluded animals (including cats) will not go to either Jannah nor Jahannam (the Muslim concept of hell).

According to some Islamic scholars, animals are not held responsible for their deeds, and being judged for one’s deeds is a requirement for either Jannah (paradise) or Jahannam (hell).

Therefore, the answer to what happens to cats when they die remains unclear, but that does not mean cats cannot enter Jannah.

It is mentioned that you can ask Allah to reunite you with your pets once you get to Jannah since you can have anything you desire there, and your wish will be granted.

In Judaism

The matter of what happens when an animal dies is not very clear in the Jewish tradition.

Judaism has a complex view of the afterlife, with scholars disagreeing on whether it exists.

Animals certainly possess spiritual energy according to orthodox Judaism, but it is separate from human soul energy and does not enter the afterlife. Instead, it merely returns to the world after death.

However, there are variations among different Jewish schools. According to one school, people, plants, rocks, objects, and animals, have souls. The soul supports the existence and permits access to paradise.

In Buddhism

According to Buddhism, all creatures, including humans, have a soul that exists beyond their physical body. 

The only beings capable of attaining complete enlightenment are humans, who are regarded as the pinnacle of incarnation. A creature will reincarnate as an animal, but not necessarily the same animal, until it has accumulated enough karma to become a human.

Therefore, according to Buddhism, your cat may reincarnate as another cat or as an entirely different kind of animal. It may also be reborn as a human if it has done enough good during the course of its energy’s existence.

In Hinduism

One of the world’s oldest religions, Hinduism, has a profound belief in eternal life through several reincarnations and rebirths. Hindus hold that both people and animals have souls and are bound by the cycle of life and death.

According to Hinduism, your cat will actually be reborn after death, either as a different animal or as a person. But because of the love and attention you gave him during your relationship with him, his good karma let him move on to a better life.

FAQ

grey cat in direct sunlight on black background

What Is The Best Way To Say Goodbye To A Pet?

You can say goodbye to your pet in whichever way you’re comfortable with.

When the pet is not deceased but is about to pass away, pet owners often talk to their pets to say their final goodbyes. I always advise thanking the pet for being such a good pet, sharing a few of their favorite memories, and then saying the final goodbye.

After the pet has died, some owners organize a small goodbye ceremony with only a small number of people who loved the pet the most as a way to honor the deceased pet’s life.

What Do Cats Do Right Before They Die?

Before they die, most cats are very frail, refuse to eat and drink, lose weight, don’t move as much, and don’t engage in play or social interactions with their owners or other pets.

Many cats seek solitude during their final days and might retry to a quiet corner of the house. Some cats might display uncharacteristic behavioral changes, such as biting and scratching.

You should provide your cat with easy access to the cat bed and litter box, as well as plenty of food and water nearby, to make the last few days as easy as possible for the cat.

Do Cats Disappear When They Die?

Some cats choose to seek complete solitude during their last days. It’s commonly observed in senior cats that feel unwell and prefer quiet. It’s not likely your cat will disappear outside the house if they usually live indoors, but your outdoor cat might.

This behavior stems from their ancestry; wild cats seclude themselves prior to their death as a way to hide from death by a predator.

Do Cats Watch Over You When They Die?

If you believe your loved ones watch over you when they die, the same can be said for your pets! This answer depends on your beliefs, and I suggest you listen to yourself and not seek the answer online.

Where Does A Cat’s Soul Go When It Dies?

The answer to where a cat’s soul goes when the cat dies depends on your beliefs and perhaps your religious standpoint as well. Different religions have different answers to this question. Many religions believe cats have a soul, but it’s often unclear where cats’ souls go after they die.

However, even if there’s no clear answer in religion, you can be guided by your personal beliefs. What do you think; where does a cat’s soul go when it dies?

Final Thoughts

black and white cat's tail

When cats die, where do they go? This is a question that many cat owners ask, especially if their pet cat has died. However, there is no simple answer.

If you look for the answer in religion, you might not be able to find it, as many religions do not have a firm view on this topic, or the topic has never been addressed.

In this case, go with your gut feeling. What do you think? Where do cats go when they die? If you feel the right answer is heaven, reincarnation, or any other possible answer, you should go with your feeling!

When it comes to what you can do with the cat’s body after its death, you can opt for cremation or burial. You will not go wrong, whichever you choose.

It may be upsetting to lose a pet, and considering things like after-death body care and making decisions might be more challenging in these stressful and sad times.

Therefore, it is a good idea to arrange what will happen to the cat’s body before the cat’s death has occurred, allowing you to grieve in peace and not worry about organizing a cremation or burial.

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