Information on Dead Cat Disposal Hard To Find

My wonderful cat, Mugsy, died a week ago last Tuesday.

Nobody knew exactly how old he was, but he was about 19 years old. He had three owners during his lifetime. I got him around 1997 when my friend Richard moved to Nanaimo. I was given an ultimatum. Take the cat or he gets put to sleep. My conscience did not let me refuse.

As an aside, I was also given a stereo system, a microwave oven and maybe a couple of other things I can’t remember, and none of these objects outlasted Mugsy. In retrospect the cat was probably the highest quality item among them.

Anyways Mugs had slowed down over the last few years, as old cats do, but it was only over the last week and a half of his life that he started showing signs of packing it in. He had begun to drag his hind quarters, and by Monday, could barely lift his head to eat. When I left for work on Monday morning he was lying next to his food, which he would never do. The food I gave him would never get eaten.

I arrived home Monday to find him snuggled against a baseboard heater, which I had left on higher than I normally would when not home, specifically for Mugsy. It was really very very sad. I said hello to him, and he let out the weakest, highest pitched meow I had ever heard from him. Turns out he was saying goodbye. He stretched his front paws forward slightly.

I brought him his water bowl, but he could only lick the side of it. I decided to let him die in peace as opposed to stressing him out with a trip to the vet. It was the right decision, as he died sometime between midnight and 3 AM.

When I awoke he was stiff as a board and his body was cold, and I felt I had to dispose of the body as quicky as possible. I really had no idea where to begin. I turned on my computer and started searching for advice. Amazingly, there was none to be found, or at least nothing that I could use.

Actually there was lots of advice online, all identical, namely, to call a veterinarian. However, my fear of exorbitant fees overwhelmed me, especially considering the state of my cat. Founded or not, I did not see this as a serious option. Am I ever cheap sometimes!!!

Since it was so early in the morning and the SPCA’s office hours were from 9 o’clock, I packed the remains into a Dollarama bag, and then doubled it up with one of those black garbage bags, and I brought it with me to work, placing it respectfully on the passenger seat. I sure hope you’re not reading this while eating.

It was the strangest morning. The reality of Mugsy’s death had not really yet sunk in. I was a bit hungover, probably deciding the night before to get drunk in anticipation of Valentine’s Day (see previous post). Also I did not sleep well once I found the cat dead, because his wide open eyes and streched out corpse, amazingly stiff, was in full view of my bed all night long. I was very anxious on my way to work.

It was a very cold morning, and when I locked the car and walked to the office door, I wasn’t worried about the dead cat decomposing or anything like that. We’re talking about temperatures around minus 18 here. Deep freeze conditions. And at the risk of being morbid the corpse was still fresh. Did I mention that the parking lot is outdoors?

Around ten after nine, after another lenghty online research looking for how to respectfully dispose of the body, I called the SPCA, hoping to get some information. After a couple of rings an answering machine picked up, politely asking that after the beep I state the reason for my call. The guy then said that they would call me back as soon as a possible. I hung up.

I made an executive decision, and risked a trip to the SPCA on Jean Talon Street, about 20 minutes away.

It turns out they take dead cats for cremation, for a donation of $35. I was a bit disappointed that it was so expensive. I had, after all, retained the option of simply putting it in the garbage, although admittedly it was only as a last resort.

After weighing all options, an exercise which took all of 10 seconds, I agreed to the donation, and after completing the paperwork, went out to the car for the corpse. While handing the cat to the clerk, I had to fight to keep back the tears. There’s something about the finality of a burial, or in this case, the handing over of a black plastic bag, that brings about a full realization of loss. I left the building within seconds, to a faint ‘Sorry’ from the clerk.

I was told later by someone who knows about these things that had I said that I had found the corpse, they probably would have waived the requirement for a donation. Still, I’m glad I was truthful. Mugsy deserved that at least.

And so went the sad tale of the passing of Mugsy The Cat and the disposal of his remains. Perhaps this post may be beneficial to someone one day searching for answers. I know I would have appreciated finding this post that early morning. And as for everyone else out there in cyberland who happened across this, thanks for listening.

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10 responses to “Information on Dead Cat Disposal Hard To Find

  1. I’m sorry to hear about Mugsy. Our cat, Paco, died after being hit by a car a few years ago. We didn’t do any form of research. We buried him in our back yard. I’m not sure if that is legal, but that’s what we did. We’ve sinced moved from that house, but we still drive through the alley behind our old house from time to time to pay our respects.

  2. Very good and useful post.
    Thx, your blog in my RSS reader now ;)

  3. Very profound,I think you helped a lot of people
    coping with the severe loss of their beloved cat,
    and though my Erin’s only 7,it sure made me
    understand the importance of preparing for the inevitable,even if its not a member of our own species.
    THUS: Mugsy WILL live on!
    Thanks a lot,and I think I calmly can say that for many others who read this tale!

  4. Thank u 4 the indepth verison. I have been searching 4 answers. My cat tigger is close to 18 years old. She has been doing some strange things lately like leaving feses in different areas, which is gross! I have placed her nose in it and spanked her for doing so. I want her to know, it is not right!!! However, I do love her dearly. I’ve had her since she was a few months old. Other than this, she does on occasions, let out sounds that I haven’t heard before sometimes and she hides more often under chairs.

    But then she will come back to life and be her old self. She is much more particular about what she eats, so I try to make sure she enjoys it. If she doesn’t, she won’t eat it!

    Thank you for sharing your experience. It will better equip me to know what to expect.
    God Bless you and your cat in heaven.

  5. My cat Daisy is in ill health and at her age of 17, I’ve been waiting for her demise. She’s a mostly white long haired calico. (I’ve said for years that my next cat will be the color of my hardwood floors, honey oak.) She adopted us when she was a teenager and has been a really good companion. I came back today after buying cat food and Daisy is no where to be found. I’ve looked everywhere. She usually follows me around and is very attuned to my every movement. However, I’m very frightened. I’m sorry about Mugsy. Thank you for the information on disposal.

  6. My cat is almost 16 and is showing signs of aging. I can relate to the poop on places other than the litter box. I try to give her food that she likes but I get so discouraged when she doesn’t like it. She lies on the marble floor at the entrance to the bathroom and her breathing is rather labored. Given her age it doesn’t make sense to pay a lot of money for Vet fees. I’m only reiterating what others have said. I was searching for a way of disposing when the moment occurs. I thought about burying her in my garden but don’t know if this is the ‘sanitary’ thing to do. Any thoughts about that? I had another cat that lived until 21 I was away at the time and my husband buried her in the back yard. The other alternative would be the SPCA. Please give me your opinion about my Whiskey (cat’s name)

  7. I have just found that my little cat, Gamine, has just gone to Cat Heaven.
    This, after a couple of weeks of curious behaviour.

    A fortnight ago, she was just full of life, like she always was and then, suddenly, she began getting these weird dizzy spells.
    She would suddenly loose balance, go limp like a rag doll, arch her back inward, become incontinent and roll her eyes as if she was drunk.
    This went on in silence. She did not complain and did not seem to suffer because just a few seconds after, she was back on her feet and ready for some new adventures.
    I looked up, on the Net, for those symptoms and started to wonder if she had gotten into the cleaning fluids. No, everything is was secure.
    I then thought it may be her canned food which may have gotten spoiled. Couldn’t be, Carbone, my other cat, ate the same food and was not sick.
    Since everything came back to normal, I left it at that.
    Then, last night, she had these same dizzy spells one after the other, six of them, I believe.
    After each one, she would get up and was rearing to go. I gave her her night portion of food and she went to her litter box and then back to bed, as she usually did.
    This morning, she was up and around, but like in a daze. She ate her morning ration of cat food, went to the cat litter and came back to her cat’s nest, as she did when the morning temperature is chilly, like it was, this morning. Then, I didn’t see her for the whole day. I had a feeling something was wrong because Carbone was looking sad and wanted to be caressed more than usual.
    Then, this evening, after twelve hours of not seeing Gamine, I went to her nest to find her lifeless. After I cleaned her, because she had soiled herself, I then put her in a large airtight freezer bag, and let her rest some more in her soft nest.
    I plan to bury her, tomorrow morning, at the foot of a tree we have in our yard where, every summer, she loved to play “Peek-A-Boo” with me, hiding in the grass.

    Thank you, Gamine, for a wonderful fifteen years of unconditional love!

  8. Thanks for sharing – I found myself in the same position last night with my cat Eddie, who was 17. I had no clue what to do. I appreciate it.

  9. Thank you very much for your insight I also wish when I lost my pomeranian 3 years ago due to old age that I would have had someone to offer me some assistance to his disposal. I understand that there are pet cemetaries you can bury your pets in now. But unfortunately back then since I didn’t know what to do with Freddie and I was being transferred by the military at the time and we were moving out anyway we just set him on his side in an old recliner that we no longer needed in the back of the garage the day the movers came so the landlords could properly dispose of him after we had left for our new duty station.

  10. My cat, Mission, passed away this morning at around 5:30am. She was 16 years old. My family and I knew that she was old and sick, and that she’d go soon, but still the shock of finding her lifeless body laying on the floor was devastating. Watching my 21 year old nephew pick her up, cry uncontrollably, and place her in a box was almost unbearable. Then my mom wanted me to lift Mission so that she can cushion the box with Mission’s favorite blanket. I couldn’t stand the thought of having to lift her but I knew that my mom wasn’t going to be able to carry her, so I did it. As I was lifting her all I kept saying out loud was, “she’s only sleeping, she’s only sleeping, she’s only sleeping..” She was still warm and limp.
    Afterwards, I didn’t know what to do or where to go with Mission so I went online to the ASPCA website and called them. A very nice lady in the “coping with pet loss” department told me that people usually just go to their vet’s for cremation. So I hopped in a cab with Mission in a box, to the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Hospital which is where I used to take her for her healthcare needs. They told me it would cost $55 for cremation. I cried the whole way to the Hospital… I cried while registering at the hospital… I cried as I said my last goodbye to Mission in the waiting area…and I cried as I walked out of the hospital. As a matter of fact, I’m crying now… Today was one of the saddest days of my life.. RIP Mission…

    Thank you for you allowing the time and space for us all to share our heartfelt experiences with our losses.

    ~S~

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