Can I Bury my Cat in The Backyard Safely?

can i bury my cat in the backyard

The days after your pet’s death might be difficult, but remembering them in your yard can help in your and your family’s mourning process.

You may wonder, can I bury my cat in the backyard? Yes, burying pets in the backyard is permitted in most states. Many states, however, have restrictions and procedures that must be followed while burial your pet.

Each state’s pet burial regulation is different, and occasionally even each community has its own set of rules. It’s essential to check with your local government to discover whether any restrictions or requirements exist that exceed these laws.

We’ve got you covered in this post if you want to commemorate your cat’s life. We’ll go through the legality of burial a pet, as well as environmental considerations and how to bury your cat securely.

Can I bury my cat in the backyard legally?

In certain areas, burying your cat in the backyard is illegal, just like burying any other pet. Even if you believe no one will ever know if you do so, all it takes is a call from a neighbor to summon the cops.

There are various reasons why the burial of a pet may be prohibited or regulated in your region. Your state controls how, when, and whether you can bury the remains of pets for various reasons, including personal safety, the well-being of others, and environmental considerations.

Laws vary based on where you reside and are unique to each location. Some states require you to bury your pet within 72 hours, while others require you to do it within 24 hours.

If you wish to bury your cat in the backyard, first check your local regulations to see the rules for pet burial in your region. Once you’ve established that it’s legal, you’ll want to make sure you follow the burial procedure correctly.

Environmental concerns

Environmental concerns are one of the reasons why burial pets are increasingly more regulated. While it may appear like burying your cat in the backyard is the best solution, the remains may represent a hazard to other animals.

The anesthetic substance will still be present in the bodies of most dogs that are put to sleep. While this medicine permitted them to cross through the opposite side in relative peace, it can damage other creatures if they come into touch with it.

Even if your cat died naturally and wasn’t put to sleep, sickness might still be present in their bodies and spread to another animal.

If your dog detects the smell of your buried cat, for example, the dog may attempt to dig it up. If your dog eats any body parts that carry the medicine or sickness that your cat carried, it might die.

Even if you don’t have a dog, it’s not a brilliant idea since you could endanger other animals.

How to bury your cat in the backyard safely

It doesn’t imply there isn’t a safe method to bury your cat because of environmental issues. The remnants will no longer be a threat to other animals if you follow the measures below.

You’ll also have peace of mind knowing that your pet won’t be harmed by other scavenging animals who pass through your yard.

Choose a location

First, decide where you want to bury your pet in your backyard—starting with a symbolic location, such as a site where your cat spends a lot of time.

You’ll also want to choose a location that isn’t very visited so that the sight isn’t disrupted. It may be wise to pick a better site if you regularly go by it or your children play there.

Choose a coffin

As previously said, it is not entirely against the law in some jurisdictions as long as you have a secure vessel to transport your pet in. In any case, selecting a container is critical for the environment’s (and your cat’s) safety.

A pet casket may be purchased online for a more formal choice; however, it can be costly. You can, however, bury your cat inside a cardboard box.

If your cat has a favorite toy or a bed that it always sleeps on, you can place it inside the burial container.

Choose a grave marker

You may order a customized pet cemetery monument online if you choose. This will appear more official, but it will be more expensive than other options. If you don’t want to spend money for one, a pile of pebbles or a giant stone can suffice.

Use paint to paint all of your text onto a huge stone if you want the name and dates on it.

Plant something your cat liked, flowers, or a tree near the gravesite to keep your cat’s soul alive. You can also use this method to identify the burial site without erecting a headstone.

At the very least, pick something to identify the gravesite so that it is not damaged.

Burying your cat

Pick a decent time to bury your cat, preferably within a few days of death. Otherwise, the body may begin to degrade and become, to put it mildly, nasty.

The following are the materials you’ll need:

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

When handling a deceased pet, always use gloves. Place your cat in the container, along with any other objects you choose to include.

You may even cover your cat with its favorite blanket if you like. When you’re done, put a rope around the container to keep it closed.

To keep predators away, dig a hole at least three feet deep using a spade or shovel. If you see any electrical wire, fill it in and move it to a new location.

Finishing the process

Having a short memorial ceremony for your pet might aid in the mourning process for you and your family. Before the burial, say a few words, sing a song or recite a poem.

Gently drop the container into the hole and fill it with the dug-up earth after reciting a few words. After that, firmly push on the dirt to hold it in place and make it more difficult for other animals to dig it out.

If desired, place the monument and decorate the gravesite. Add any plants, photographs, or other mementos you want to honor your pet.

Other options for memorials

If the burial of a pet isn’t permitted in your location, alternative memorial choices are available to you.

Many cities have professional pet crematoriums and cemeteries that can help you. They usually feature a wide selection of alternatives and pricing points to meet your demands.

You might continue your original burial process after the cremation. This method eliminates the threat of environmental danger to other animals.

Another approach is to mix the ashes with the soil and then plant or seed it. This will allow you to establish a living memorial to your pet.

Cremation

When it comes to honoring our dogs, cremation is becoming the most popular alternative. Most animal clinics have a relationship with a local cremation business that may provide you with a range of other options, such as cedar boxes and urns for your pet’s ashes. While cremation costs often run from $75 to $200, your local veterinarian can go through all of your alternatives with you.

Cemeteries for pets

You may always bury your pet in a local pet cemetery if you don’t want to bury your pet in your backyard. These cemeteries are exclusively for animals and will provide a peaceful resting place for your pet. You are permitted to visit your pet as frequently as you like once it has been buried in a pet cemetery.

For additional information about your pet’s burial at a graveyard, contact your local veterinarian, crematory, or cemetery. Ask them the following questions:

  • How much does it cost to be buried?
  • Do you have any yearly fees or dues?
  • Is it possible for you to visit regularly?
  • What are the expenses of the grave, and for opening and closing it?
  • Do you have to pay for other things like maintenance?
  • Is it allowed to decorate the grave?

If you believe that burial a pet is the correct thing to do, a little planning may go a long way. If burying a pet doesn’t seem like the best option, pet cremation may be better.

Stones of remembrance

Remembrance stones are a beautiful way to connect your pet’s memories to your house without having to bury them in the garden. These stones may be made by infusing your dog’s ashes into the stone and then placing it in a specific location in your yard. This is an option that most cremation providers provide, so make sure to inquire about it at your local clinic.

Pawprints

Pawprints are another method to honor your pet’s memories without burying them in your lawn. You may have your pet’s paw print pressed into a circle of clay that will last a lifetime, providing you with a lovely reminder of your beloved buddy. When your pet dies, you may either make the claw paw print yourself or have your veterinarian do it for you.

Burial laws by state

Each state’s general pet burial rules are shown below. While we have compiled a list of burial restrictions, you should double-check the burial laws in your city to be sure.

Disclaimer: We make every effort to give the most up-to-date and accurate information possible about state burial laws. Throughout the year, these laws may change or be revised. Please consult your local veterinarian or look up your city/county/state legislation to see their criteria and whether this is something you are authorized to do in your area. Similarly, suppose you reside in a community managed by a Homeowners Association (HOA). In that case, you should study their regulations or contact them to determine if burying your pet in your property is against their HOA laws.

  • Alabama: Pet owners in Alabama can bury their pets in their backyards as long as they are buried at least 2 feet deep.
  • Alaska: Alaska allows pet owners to bury their dogs on their land, although this might be difficult due to the frozen terrain. If you can’t bury your pet due to ground conditions properly, they propose cremation instead.
  • Arizona: Most cities in Arizona prohibit pet burials on private property; however, public pet cemeteries are permitted. If you live in Arizona, talk to your veterinarian about the legislation in your county.
  • Arkansas: Pets are not allowed to be buried on their owners’ land in Arkansas. According to local rules, owners must cremate or dispose of their pet’s body within 12 hours after death.
  • California: A pet cannot be buried on a pet owner’s property under California law. They do point out, however, that in rural regions, these guidelines are not often followed.
  • Colorado: Pets can be buried on their owners’ property in Colorado if they are not infected with an infectious illness. If you live in Colorado, you should consult with your veterinarian about the precise requirements that apply to you.
  • Connecticut: In Connecticut, you can bury your pet on your property as long as you bury them deep enough to keep scavengers away.
  • Delaware: Delaware allows you to bury your pet in your backyard; however, they advise against burial them near any water source.
  • Florida: Florida allows you to bury your pet on your land, although cremation is recommended if the pet is infected with an infectious condition.
  • Georgia: In Georgia, you can bury your pets on your property as long as you bury them deep enough to keep scavengers away.
  • Hawaii: Hawaii allows for home burials but recommended that you consult with your homeowners association beforehand.
  • Idaho: Idaho allows you to bury your pet as long as they are buried at least 3 feet underground.
  • Illinois: Illinois allows you to bury your pet on your property if it is not infected with an infectious illness.
  • Indiana: In Indiana, pet burial is permitted as long as the pet is buried at least 4 feet underground.
  • Iowa: Iowa allows you to bury your pet on your property, but you should check beforehand with your homeowner’s organization.
  • Kansas: It is permissible to bury your pet on your land as long as it does not constitute a threat to the environment or ecology.
  • Kentucky: Pets may be buried on your property as long as they are buried at least 4 feet underground and are not within 100 feet of a water source.
  • Louisiana: In Louisiana, pet burial is permitted as long as the burial location is at least 6 feet deep and the animal is free of contagious illness.
  • Maine: Maine allows you to bury your pet on your property if it is not near a water source and the pet is not infected.
  • Maryland: In Maryland, pet burial is permitted as long as the animal is buried at least 4 feet underground.
  • Massachusetts: While the restrictions vary by town, it appears that pet burial on your property is often permitted. Just be sure to double-check with your veterinarian.
  • Michigan: In Michigan, you can bury your pet on your property as long as the location does not obstruct a body of water.
  • Minnesota: In Minnesota, pet burial is lawful as long as the pet is buried correctly and away from any bodies of water.
  • Mississippi: In Mississippi, burying your pet on your property is lawful if the animal is buried at least 2 feet underground.
  • Missouri: In Missouri, you can bury your pet on your property if it’s 300 feet away from your neighbor and any bodies of water.
  • Montana: On your land, you may bury your pet as long as it is buried 2 feet underground.
  • Nebraska: In Nebraska, you can bury your pet on your land as long as it’s buried 5 feet underground and at least 500 feet away from any water wells.
  • Nevada: In Nevada, you are permitted to bury your pet on your property if it is buried at least 3 feet underground.
  • New Hampshire: In New Hampshire, you can bury your pet in your yard as long as it’s at least 75 feet away from any water body or source.
  • New Jersey: In New Jersey, you can bury your pet on your property as long as it is buried at least 2 feet underground.
  • New Mexico: In New Mexico, you can bury your pet in your yard as long as your homeowner association gives you permission.
  • New York: In New York, there are no state laws against burial pets on private property, so check with your veterinarian about your city’s regulations.
  • North Carolina: Pets can be buried on your property in North Carolina if they are buried 3 feet underground within 24 hours of their death.
  • North Dakota: In North Dakota, you can bury your pets on your land as long as they are buried 3 feet deep and clear of contagious diseases.
  • Ohio: Ohio allows you to bury your pet on your property but advises you to check with your city for particular rules.
  • Oklahoma: In Oklahoma, burying your pet in your backyard is permissible if the pet is buried at least 3 feet underground.
  • Oregon: In Oregon, you are permitted to bury your pet on your property as long as it is buried at least 3 feet underground.
  • Pennsylvania: In Pennsylvania, you can bury your pet on your property as long as you do it within 48 hours of their death.
  • Rhode Island: There are no specific restrictions regarding pet burial; therefore, it’s advisable to get guidance from your local veterinarian.
  • South Carolina: In South Carolina, you can bury your pet on your property as long as it is buried at least 1 foot underground.
  • South Dakota: In South Dakota, you are permitted to bury your pet on your property as long as you do so within 36 hours and bury it at least 3 feet deep.
  • Tennessee: In Tennessee, you can bury your pet on your property as long as it is buried at least 3 feet deep and away from a water supply.
  • Texas: It is legal to bury your pet on your land. If the pet is buried at least 3 feet deep, it is legal in Texas.
  • Utah: In Utah, you are permitted to bury your pet on your property if you do it within 48 hours of their death.
  • Vermont: Because there are no clear rules in Vermont, it’s recommended to consult your local veterinarian.
  • Virginia: In Virginia, burying your pet on your property is legal if you do it within 48 hours of the animal’s death.
  • Washington: Because there are no defined pet burial laws, it’s recommended to consult your local veterinarian for guidance.
  • West Virginia: West Virginia allows you to bury your pet on your property as long as it is buried at least 3 feet deep.
  • Wisconsin: Some Wisconsin counties prohibit pet burial, so check with your local veterinarian for details on your city’s regulations.
  • Wyoming: Before burying a pet on your property in Wyoming, certain areas require permission, so contact your local veterinarian for more information.

Pet burial FAQ

How long can a dead dog or cat be kept before being buried?

The majority of states demand that you bury or dispose of your pet within 24 to 48 hours of its death. Because it might take a few days to arrange for burial in a pet cemetery, the local authorities will allow you to keep your pet for a little longer.

Is burying your pet in a plastic bag appropriate?

Burying your pet in a biodegradable bag or box is ideal. It might take years for plastic to degrade. Many pet coffins are constructed of wood or cardboard, which dissolve considerably faster and are more environmentally friendly than plastic.

What is the minimum burying depth for my pet?

In most states, you must bury your pet to a certain depth. This is generally between 3 and 5 feet deep. This would be taken from the pet’s highest point. A tiny animal like a fish or a small cat, on the other hand, would not need to be as deep as a big dog.

What does it cost to burying your pet in a pet cemetery?

It depends entirely on where you reside and which cemetery you select. The typical cost ranges from $500 to $5,000+, depending on the coffin you choose and other amenities like a memorial ceremony, headstone, paw print souvenir, etc.

What do you do if your pet is dead?

There are a variety of alternatives available for your departed pet friend. If permitted, you can bury them at home, at a pet cemetery, have them cremated, or have the corpse disposed of by your veterinarian.

Can I bury my pet’s ashes with me?

Yes, you may generally bury your pet’s ashes with you. What you can place in the casket with your loved one is up to the discretion of each funeral home. Most people have no difficulty putting your pet’s ashes in the coffin with you.

Is it possible for me and my pet to be buried together?

In certain states, it is permissible to bury people and animals together. Cemeteries in Pennsylvania can have three sections: one for people, one for dogs, and one for both. People and pets can be buried together in Virginia if the pet has its coffin.

Final thoughts

Although losing a pet is always painful, remembering your cat’s death might help you and your family find some closure. If you wish to bury your pet in your backyard, make sure you first verify your local rules and restrictions.

Default image
Emma Olsen
I’m a gardener and blogger with over 20 years of expertise writing about and cultivating fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. I have extensive experience in organic and sustainable gardening, perennials, annuals, and sustainable and urban farming. I’m a nature freak and I enjoy bird watching and swimming with sea creatures.