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Hello:

I have made posts here before but for some reason still can't post to "Rainbow Bridge", so I will post it here. Yesterday, (May 4th, 2018) I lost my beloved (nearly 14 year old) cat Blondie (a/k/a "Big Mouth") to cancer. It was only about 10 days earlier that we even learned he had cancer (very long story short) which apparently had started in his spleen and spread to his leg and lungs. Like all of you who have lost a part of your feline family, I am completely devastated. I was hoping to continue to use this forum for support and research on how we may be able to combat this disease, but everything happened so fast, and every other day trips running back to the vets and specialists sucked up all of my time and energy (not to mention many 1000s of $ of my money, which I would have gladly continued to spend if it was able to make any difference).

So anyway, without elaborating further on the above right now (it's still "too soon"), I was curious for feedback on what others have done with their beloved pets who have crossed over to the "Bridge". My thought has always been to be buried with my cats, (literally) here on my farm in Vermont. It seemed like the only way that was feasible was cremation (which I've never been a huge fan of, but with limited options it seemed the only way) and to mix our ashes together and have someone dig a hole somewhere on our land. Other than that, the only thing to do would be to dig a hole in the ground (hopefully someplace that would never get dug up later) for the whole body, but I hate that idea too since I had wanted them to be with me for eternity.

Yesterday while researching into cremation, I had the thought to find a place that could help me preserve part of my boy's tail and/or his front paw, something that I could always keep from him as a keepsake. While researching that, I unexpectedly came across something called "freeze drying" which I had never heard of before. I know, it sounded gross at first, but compared to the alternatives, to me it seemed the best option for my beloved "Big Mouth." Long story short is the process allows you to preserve the body of your pet in much the same way as when they were alive--the body, fur, everything is intact. Obviously, it's not anywhere near the same as having your baby back for real (nothing will ever replace that), but compared to incinerating them or digging the hole, I thought it was by far the best option, at least for me. I liked the idea that I would be able to have my boy back here while I was still alive, and in a much more "real" fashion than just ashes sitting in a jar.

I know this would be a very personal decision for anyone, as each person has their own opinion for how they want to best remember their loved one, so I was curious what other cat owners thought about what they decided to do and why. This freeze dry process takes a long time (a few weeks for small pets but up to 6 months for larger pets) and it isn't cheap (it's a few hundred dollars based on the weight of your pet). Has anyone out there done this, or would you consider doing it? Why or why not?

Thanks,

Ron
 

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Hi Ron,

I am so very sorry for the loss of Blondie. It must have been such a shock to get the diagnosis and then lose him so quickly afterwards. I had to say goodbye to my Celia just 3 weeks ago. I had 16 months' advance warning (she had chronic kidney disease), but we can't ever be ready.

This is the first time I've ever heard of the process of freeze-drying, and it's intriguing. My first kitty, who died about 18 years ago, was buried in the backyard of my parents' house, where she passed, and where she loved to spend time. But I don't think I would ever bury another kitty. My parents sold the house, so there is no chance that I can even visit her little grave.

It's interesting that you wanted to preserve Blondie's tail and/or paw. My other two kitties were both cremated. For Margaux, I have only her ashes. But for Celia, I also have a paw print and a clipping of her fur. As I arranged the bag with her ashes, her paw print, and the little bag of her fur on the blanket where she passed away, I understood why they offer the print and the fur. It's as close as they could come to giving her back to me. I felt like I was trying to reconstruct her with those pieces. And it fell so far short of the beautiful, silky, warm original that it ended up making me miss her that much more acutely.

So I see the immense appeal in being able to preserve their form. I think it's something that I would have considered if I'd known it was an option, and it's certainly something that I would consider in the future. If you decide to go ahead with this for Blondie, I'd be really curious to know what you think of the result.

PS: since you can post here, you should be able to post in the Rainbow Bridge forum. It might have been that your intro post hadn't been approved yet when you tried to post there before. So if and when you're ready, please do share pics and memories of your boy.

Sending hugs and sympathy for your loss.
 

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My fist 7 cats were buried in the back yard and a nice row of Hydrangea is now growing over them. After that I started cremating and spreading the ashes with their collar tag glued to a rock and placed at the place the ashes went.
 

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My first pair were cremated, but I didn't want to keep the ashes as I couldn't related to that as the cat I remembered.
My second pair were also cremated, 4 years apart. With the first to go, we did take her ashes and spread them over a garden she'd enjoyed in life. When her brother went, we took the option of having them buried in a special field on the crematorium grounds. We did much the same when our house rabbit and Taffy, our two-year cat went.
I've never had much inclination to keep remains. I'd rather remember them as they were in life.
 
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