Dead cat strategy

Today, Monday, August 24, 2020, there is an interesting letter by Michael Hodson, in The Times newspaper in the section Letters to the Editor.

I think I will take the liberty of publishing it here in full and verbatim. I hope that he doesn’t mind and that the Times doesn’t mind either.

Your correspondent had the opposite problem to me in that he had to speedily bury a cat (letter, August 22). Our cat died three days before we moved house and my wife could not bear to bury him and leave him. Thus, in the middle of summer, my problem was keeping him fresh. I dread to think what the removal men would have thought had they opened the freezer to find a large white cat reverently laid out in a supermarket freezer bag.

Cat grave in Chernobyl
Cat grave in Chernobyl. This is sad. Overgrown because it is at Chernobyl where people were excluded for many years. Photo:
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

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Is this how you would have dealt with this situation? I don’t think there is any other possible solution if you want to bury your cat. I would find it very difficult and upsetting to have to put my beloved but deceased cat in a bag in the freezer. Mr Hodson’s wife was right though. I hope they remain at their new home for the rest of their lives.


Ashes of your pet might have no connection to your pet
Ashes of your pet might have no connection to your pet. Photo: PoC.

I would have thought that the preferred method would be to cremate your cat rather than bury him or her. Cremation is preferable in one obvious and clear way. You can take your cat with you, by which I mean you can take your cat’s ashes with you and keep them with you in the living room or wherever else you want to keep them for the remainder of your life.

When you bury a cat at the bottom of the garden what do you do when you move? You have the problem highlighted in Mr Hodson’s letter. It wouldn’t matter if you are about to move and your cat died. The same problem exists if you bury your cat in the garden and move no matter how many years later. You have to dig up your cat’s remains and then perhaps have them cremated. What else can you do? It takes you back to the original point which is it is probably better to have your cat cremated.

The key here, in my view, is that you should arrange for an individual cremation. In other words your cat is cremated alone in the oven. It is not shared with another cat to stress the point. You then know that the ashes that you are given are those of your cat. An important emotional point. The only reason for keeping your cat’s ashes is for emotional warmth. You maintain a connection with your cat.


It should be said as a final point that in a true cremation in which the cat is reduced to light grey ash, there is no DNA of your cat in that ash. As it happens, some cremations are not complete and therefore there is some bone left which I will presume contains DNA. Therefore you can carry some your cat around with you in her ashes as the DNA is still present.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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