What happens when your cat is put to sleep?

It depends on you, the cat owner, as to what happens when your cat is put to sleep. You decide when your cat is put to sleep. And you decide what happens after that. You select the veterinarian. It is normal for the remains to be cremated either individually or not.

Pre-euthanasia check
Pre-euthanasia check. Picture modified and in public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Cremation – individual or not

You can either ask your veterinarian to make arrangements for your cat’s body to be cremated. Your veterinarian will carry out your instructions and provide you with the ashes.

Alternatively, you can ask your veterinarian to provide you with your cat’s body and you can make your own arrangements with an animal crematorium. You will take your cat’s body to the crematorium immediately. You will watch your cat being placed into an oven. After the cremation, you will watch as your cat’s ashes are removed from the oven. This ensures that an individual cremation has taken place and that you have the ashes of your cat only and none other.

Then you can take the ashes home and place them in an urn or scatter them wherever you want to scatter them. Alternatively, you can bury your cat. Many people bury their cats but nowadays it is more usual to cremate the body.


This is a moment for a good and experienced veterinarian to see you through a tough time both in advising when it should happen and in taking you through the euthanasia in a kindly manner.


As for the afterlife, a lot of people believe that a deceased cat companion goes over the rainbow bridge to a better world where their await their owner’s company when it is their time to pass.

This is a personal belief. Cats do not have this belief, in my opinion. It is a human creation. I’m not saying that it is untrue or true. I’m just saying that some people believe it.

Cat’s perspective

At the moment the euthanasia drugs are injected into your cat he/she quite soon falls into unconsciousness. We don’t know if cats see, feel or think about certain things at that moment. We have no idea. It is possible.

Owner’s perspective

You can attend the euthanasia process or not. Jackson Galaxy says you should attend and be there at your cat’s passing. You owe it to your cat. So far I have failed to do it as it is too painful for me. You may cry. You should cry. It is painful. It depends on the depth of the connection between cat and person.

At home or at clinic

Your veterinarian may agree to pet euthanasia at the home of the owner. If this appeals then ask your veterinarian. There are advantages from an emotional standpoint. It is emotionally warmer and for your cat is will probably be less stressful. This chimes with Jackon Galaxy’s advice to attend the euthanasia. If we owe to our cat we also owe it to provide the best possible passing. So far I have always done it at the clinic. I think I’ll ask next time.

P.S. I am writing from personal experience. Your veterinary clinic may have very different ideas.



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