This is a hard post to write. Our beloved pets are more than just pets, they are our family, friends and saviours. Having recently had to say goodbye to my gorgeous ginger cat, Dave, I realised that I know nothing about the process and blindly followed the vet’s procedure. Its hard to know what to do when that time comes to say goodbye, it’s a process not often talked about. But staying true to the purpose of this blog, here are a few ideas to ease the financial pressure.
Vets vs Personal arrangement
Emotional stress when grieving causes us to make rash decisions and perhaps agree to things that we don’t need to. I always thought that when a pet dies, they need to be taken to a vet and they then deal with it. And yes, they can, but it doesn’t have to be like that and in not involving the vets will lessen the financial costs. Obviously, there are certain circumstances when a vet will be involved and that cant be helped. You may prefer for a vet to deal with everything whilst you grieve, and that’s ok too.
Dave died at home on a Sunday morning. After a few hours of processing and getting over the initial shock, we contacted the vet’s practice in our village and they said to bring him in. We were seen by a vet and she looked after us well. I was told he would be kept in cold storage over night and collected by the cremation company the next day. After doing some research online about the pet crematorium Dave would be sent to, I found out that they are open to the public and allow us to take our beloved animals to them or arrange collection from our home. He could have stayed at home and been taken the next day, thus saving on the vets consultation fee and overnight storage. Collection fees were £25 within a 20 mile radius and extra per mile thereafter.
Had I have known, I would have arranged to take and collect Dave myself. It would have cost £25 in fuel and around 3 hours travelling time combined for both trips. They offer a same day cremation for £40 extra, but this needed to be booked in advance. Personally, this would have been kinder for us as a family. At the time of writing, we still haven’t received Dave home yet 5 days after passing, so the quicker process of driving him there and collecting within a day (possibly the same day if they had allocation) would have helped with the grieving process. These prices and distance will vary depending upon your location and local crematorium.
*edit: Dave was brought home 12 days after passing.
The crematorium offer a range of items to have your pets ashes stored in. They do a basic pretty cardboard tube and the ashes would be stored in a sealed bag inside, they also do more expensive urns and decorative jars. A good option would be to buy the basic container and source a jar/urn that you like and would fit into the decor of your home and honour your pet. My emotions got away with me and I purchased an expensive wooden cat statue urn as it looked like Dave. I dont regret it but I could have saved myself money. The cat statue was around £30 more than the basic container.
A free option would to have been to have him buried at home. This wasn’t an option for us as we live in rented accommodation and plan to move in the coming year. This would be a good option for those in perhaps a forever home or own their own land.
If your pet is alive and well, please get pet insurance. It has been invaluable to me over the years when Dave needed surgery for tooth removal and a wound lanced. Use a price comparison site such as confused.com to find the right cover for you. There is a excess of usually £50-100 and most ailments are covered unless previously claimed for, but please check with your provider. Most costs associated with pets passing will also be covered by your pet insurance provider. This varies wildly between cover plans and the type and size of pet. Dave’s plan is standard cover and only allocate £100 towards the cost of cremation. The cremation costs quoted by the vets were £150. This covered the cremation, the collection and excess travel of the cremation company, and a standard container for his ashes.
I hope this has been of some use to you. It’s very hard to think about what will inevitably happen in the future as its too painful to accept. But forearmed is forewarned. I wish I had known what the options were before making any decisions. I hope you don’t need this information for many, many years to come and your pet lives a long and happy life.
But just know, there’s another way.
Hug your fur babies for me,