Options for “After Care”, featuring Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation

Third in a series of “pet loss and grief told from personal experience”

watercolor of a cat bathing in front of cabinet

Sunbath, my Kublai, watercolor © by B. E. Kazmarski

Kublai was ill for nearly a year before he died, and even though my veterinarian and I tried to treat all the symptoms in an effort to make some progress it became clear that he would indeed die sometime soon, though I wouldn’t admit it. I remember that I wouldn’t plan into the future, next year’s garden, for instance, because I would picture him there with me and I knew it wouldn’t be so.

Even though I kept up all hope that he would somehow recover, the little fiction writer in my mind started drawing out scenarios of his last moments, his death, and what life would be like afterward. The little scenarios she comes up with can be frightening sometimes, but I’m glad she makes me face things and think through what I might do under the circumstances presented, otherwise I would have kept spinning in that I-won’t-consider-the-future mindset that would have left me helpless on the day Kublai died.

Compared to the present day, I had no experience then of watching for death, as I came to call it, watching Kublai’s graceful black body deteriorate and watching for “the sign” from him, and I didn’t even know what I’d do with his body after he had died.

Considering my options

image of block print of black cat and white cat

Awakening, Kublai and Sally, linoleum block print © by B.E. Kazmarski

After that first awful experience with Bootsie, I decided that I should find my options and have a plan that I could follow through when Kublai died. I don’t like the thought of burial in a cemetery, even for myself. I might not mind burying him in my yard, but it’s really not permitted in most urban or suburban places, though people still do it. Also, even though I owned my home I knew I wasn’t staying here forever, and I was really freaked out at the thought of a future owner digging him up. I also had eight cats at the time, spaced about two years apart, so I knew I’d be losing a fair number of cats while I lived here. I didn’t like the thought of leaving behind a yard full of cat graves.

I chose to have Kublai cremated, and I would have time to decide what to do with his ashes, or cremains as I learned they are called.

But I had no idea how to even start looking for how to do this, and I didn’t want to start asking for fear of looking like the crazy cat lady.

I asked my veterinarian what other people did, and she told me about a business that would pick up his body after he had died whether he was at my home or at an animal hospital and transport it to the crematory.

Planning ahead

After a few days I called the business and talked to the owner, who told me the process and the fee and suggested I give her another call when I either had an appointment for euthanasia or after he passed if he died naturally.

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