You recently wrote a column, which appeared in the Naperville Sun, about felines forming strong bonds, and it reminded me of my two cats. They were sisters, just weeks old when I acquired them. After sixteen years, one died, and the other one searched every corner of my Chicago apartment for more than six months. The situation was very sad. The other cat died the following year.
Now comes the part of the story I don’t generally tell anyone because they wouldn’t understand. I wanted to bury that cat with dignity and choose a beautiful spot in my parents’ suburban rose garden. But the cat died in winter. When I lived in upstate New York, people who died in the winter would be “stored” until the Spring thaws. Without telling my parents, I “stored” my beloved cat in the bottom of their chest freezer in a container marked with my name. They never excavated their chest freezer and never knew. In the Spring, when they were away for the weekend, I successfully buried my cat in their rose garden.
— Jan, Wheaton, IL
It’s not uncommon for bonded pets to experience grief when another pet dies, and clearly your two cats had a very strong bond. All you can do is love your pets when this happens in the hopes of helping them cope with their grief.
As for your cat’s burial, I completely understand. During especially cold winters, it can be difficult to bury a pet in the ground until Spring. I am glad you found a solution that allowed you to provide the rose garden burial you wanted for your feline.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, children’s author, syndicated pet columnist, and pet expert with more than 30 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal