Dear Doctor: A decision to make after the euthanasia


Q. My cat is dying of kidney disease; the time to put her down is not far off. This is my first cat. Can you tell me what they do with the body afterwards? I’d kind of like to be involved in what happens to it.

Beatrice Andrews

Annapolis, Maryland

Dear Ms. Andrews,

A. It’s an unhappy topic but one that is good to think about in advance. The decision about what happens to the body is actually yours. There are four options.

-Take the body home and dig a grave in the backyard. (Be aware that states have laws about the required depth of the hole.)

-Opt for cremation, after which the ashes will be returned to you in a box or urn. (The cost tends to be in the $150 to $300 range.)

-Opt for a mass cremation, in which your cat is cremated with other cats, and the ashes are not returned. (This choice tends to cost roughly $100 to $200.)

-Inter your cat in a pet cemetery. There are about 700 pet cemeteries in the United States, according to the International Association of Pet Cemeteries (


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