Can I Bury My Cat in the Backyard?

The days after losing your pet are a challenging time to go through, but commemorating them can help the grieving process for you and your family. While you can bury your cat in the backyard in some states, it can be illegal or highly regulated in other places. Not only that but if not done properly, burying your cat in the backyard can be bad for the environment. 

If you want to celebrate your cat’s life, we’ve got you covered in this article. We’re going to go over the legalities of burying a pet, environmental concerns, and how to bury your cat safely. 

Is it Legal to Bury Pets?

As with burying any other pet, burying your cat in the backyard is illegal in some states. Although you may think no one will ever find out if you do so, all it takes is a call from a neighbor to get the police called.

There are many reasons why burying a pet may be illegal or have regulations in your area. Personal safety, the well-being of others, and environmental concerns are a few reasons your state regulates how, when, and if you can bury the remains of pets. 

Laws vary depending on where you live and are different from place to place. In some states, you must bury your pet within 72 hours, whereas in other states, it must be done within 24 hours.

If you want to bury your cat in the backyard, first check your local laws to identify what the pet burial laws are in your area. Once you determine it is legal, you’ll want to be sure to move through the burial process properly. 

Environmental Concerns

One reason that there is more regulation now with burying pets is due to environmental concerns. While burying your cat in the backyard may seem like the best option, the body could actually pose a threat to other animals. 

Most pets who are put to sleep will still have the anesthetic agent in their bodies. While this drug allowed them to have a very peaceful passage to the other side, it can harm other animals if they come in contact with it.

Even if your cat wasn’t put to sleep and died of natural causes, there could be disease lingering in their bodies that could transfer to another animal. 

For example, if you have a dog who catches the scent of your buried cat, the dog may try to dig it up. Your dog could potentially die if it ingests any of the body containing either the drug or disease that your cat carried. 

Even if you don’t have a dog, it’s still not a good idea since you could harm other wildlife. 

How to Safely Bury Your Cat in the Backyard

Just because there are environmental concerns, doesn’t mean there isn’t a safe way to bury your cat. If you follow the steps below, the remains will no longer pose a risk to other animals.

You’ll also have the peace of mind knowing that your pet isn’t getting tampered with by other scavenging animals that come through your backyard.

Choose a Spot

First, choose a spot in your backyard that you want to bury your cat. Choosing a symbolic spot, such as a place your cat spent a lot of time at, is a good place to start. 

You’ll also want to think of a spot that doesn’t get frequented too often so that the site doesn’t get disturbed. If there is a spot you frequently walk through or kids play in, it may be best to choose a better location. 

Select a Coffin

As mentioned, in some states, it isn’t completely against the law as long as you have a safe vessel to place your pet in. Either way, choosing a container is important to keep the environment (and your cat) safe.

For a more formal option, you can purchase a pet coffin online, though it can be a bit pricey. However, you can also bury your cat inside of a cardboard box.

If your cat has a bed it always slept in or favorite toys, you can include those inside the burial container. 

Choose a Grave Marker

If you like, you can get a personalized pet grave marker online. This will look more official, though it will cost more than other methods. If you don’t want to purchase one, you can use a pile of rocks or a large stone as a marker.

If you would like the name and dates on it, use paint to put all of your writing onto a large stone.

To keep the spirit of your cat alive, you can plant something your cat enjoyed, flowers, or a tree near the site. This is another option you can use to identify the burial plot without using a headstone.

Make sure you at least choose something to identify the location so that the grave doesn’t get disturbed.

Burying Your Cat

Choose a good time to bury your cat, ideally within a couple of days after the death. Otherwise, the body may start to decompose and become unpleasant, to say the least.

Here are the supplies you’ll need:

  • Gloves
  • A small shovel or spade
  • Rope to tie around the container

Always use gloves when handling your deceased pet. Gently place your cat into the container along with any items you’d like to include.

If you want, you could also wrap your cat in its favorite blanket. Once finished, make sure to tie a rope around the container to keep it sealed. 

Use a spade or shovel to dig a hole at least three feet in order to keep predators out. If you notice any electrical wiring, fill the hole, and find a new spot. 

Completing the Process

Having a small memorial service for your pet may help you and your family through the grieving process. Say a few words, sing a song, or recite a poem before the burial.

After saying a few words, gently lower the container into the hole and refill it with the dug-up soil. Firmly press on the soil afterward to keep it in place and harder for other animals to dig out.

Place the marker and decorate the gravesite if you like. Add any plants, photos, or other items you’d like to use to commemorate your pet. 

Other Memorial Options

If you live in an area where burying a pet is illegal, there are other memorial options for you to turn to.

Many cities have pet crematoriums and cemeteries that can assist you professionally. They typically have many options and price ranges to suit your needs.

Once cremated, you could continue on with your original burial process. Going this route removes the risk of an environmental hazard for other animals. 

Another option is adding the ashes to soil and then adding a plant or seed. This will allow you to keep something live to remember your pet by. 

Final Thoughts

Losing a pet is never an easy process to go through, but commemorating your cat’s death can help you and your family gain some closure. If you want to bury your cat in the backyard, make sure first to check out the laws and regulations in your area.