What Should You Do With A Dead Kitten?

When you lose a pet for one reason or the other, it can be a devastating blow to you.

As you try to make sense of the whole thing, you are faced with the burden of disposing of the remains of the dead.

Whether one of your cat’s babies is dead or you stumbled upon a dead kitten somewhere, knowing what to do next can be overwhelming.

Should you report the matter to the police? How about if you just bury the remains in your backyard?

As a quick guide, here’s what to do with a dead kitten.

1. Let Momma Handle Things

Assuming your cat gives birth to a kitten that dies shortly after birth, don’t be too quick to dispose of her baby.

As soon as they are out of the womb, the mother cat will lick all her babies. She does this to clean them up, open up their lungs, and get them to breathe. It is an intense exercise that is necessary for the survival of her babies.

When a mother cat licks a kitten over and over again and notices that it is dead, she can do any of the following.

  • Eat the Kitten: Sounds gross but in the cat world, eating a dead baby is quite normal. A mother cat may decide to feast on her child to get extra nutrients to feed the remaining kittens. She will also eat the young cat to ward off predators that may catch the scent and come for the entire family.
  • Bury the Kitten: Although a bit rare, the mother cat may resort to burying the dead. She will dig a hole in the ground, place the kitten inside and cover the spot with mud. Sometimes she will sit on the spot for hours mourning her dead child before moving on.
  • Isolate The Pet From The Rest: After trying to resuscitate the dead kitten for a while, a mother cat is likely to separate the dead from the living kitties. She is smart enough to know that doing that will save the lives of the rest. It is not uncommon for the mother to bring the dead cat to you in the hopes that you will save it.

2. Take It To The Pet Crematorium

What if you came across a dead kitten in the bushes when taking a hike? Or found one at the side of the road?

There is no mum in the picture, so the first point will not apply here. If you do, here’s what to do with the dead kitten: take the cat to the pet clinic and have it cremated.

First, move the kitty to safety and establish whether she is actually dead or not. Signs of life include breathing (the stomach should move up and down), the presence of a heartbeat, and small pupils that react to light.

Once you are sure the cat is dead, contact the local vet and let them know you are coming in with a dead cat.

If you have a blanket, wrap the kitten in a blanket or a cardboard box and head over to the vet. They should check the kitty for a microchip. Hopefully, you will find some way to contact the pet owner. If not, let the clinic cremate the sweet thing.

This also applies to a dead kitten you find in your compound. Or the one the mother cat has tossed aside.

If you don’t have the guts to bury the kitten, let the pros handle her. It is way easier on some people. You don’t have to deal with the idea that your cat’s remains are in your backyard. This is also the best option if you live in an apartment and don’t have a place to bury the kitten. 

Pet cremations can either be handled by the vet or the local animal shelter. There are two ways to do it: communal cremation (where many cats are cremated at once) and individual cremations (a cat is cremated alone).

If you want the remains of the cat, you will have to have the kitten cremated individually. This attracts a charge whereas communal creation is free.

3. Bury It

Whole-body burial is also pretty common among pet parents. Like humans bury their dead, dead kittens can also be buried deep in the ground. Some people prefer this method because it provides closure of sorts.

After you make peace with the passing of the dead kitty, wrap her entire body in a towel.

Dig up about 3 feet (should be deep enough to keep the remains safe from predators), place the kitten in the hole, say a few words (if you want to), and cover the hole with mud.

You want to fill the hole with mud lest your dog digs her way in.

Unfortunately, burying pets in backyards is prohibited in certain states. You might want to find out if your local and state laws allow it lest you get fined for it.

Closing Thoughts

The question of what to do with a dead kitten has several possibilities. You can let the mum take care of the baby, have it cremated or bury it.

The best choice would be what seems suitable to you and what fits your needs. Choose wisely!