Veterinary rememberance after cat died - creepy?

One of our cats was injured and died a couple of weeks ago, despite emergency veterinary treatment. This was a sad day for all of us. We really love our cats. He had broken his back and become paralyzed and insensitive from the ribcage down. We had to euthanize him. I requested a “private cremation”, which means we got ashes back we could scatter into his favorite places.

A few days ago, I got a small box in the mail. It was from the company that had cremated him, and it contained a plaster or ceramic ornament that looked like it might have been meant for hanging on a Christmas tree. It had his name and some heart shapes pressed into it, and a pawprint.

So I’m curious how this strikes other people, and imagine there’d be a wide range of reaction.

The pawprint was spread out, like an open human hand, with long gaps between the pads where you could see the lengths of his toes pressed into the plaster. This isn’t the way pawprints normally look, as cats normally leave their toes together. Was it this way because he was dead when the impression was taken?

I always like to see pawprints, see where somebody was going, where they waited, where they shifted around as they explored, where they tried to get ready for a jump, where they slid down a dewy windshield and probably looked surprised. Pawprints tell pleasant little stories about the cat’s days and doings. I don’t want to see a spread out pawprint from a dead cat, and especially don’t want it on the Christmas tree, or hanging in a window, or wherever else this thing is for. I didn’t even show or mention this to Mrs. Napier, thinking it would really upset her.

How do the Dopers react to this? Is it a nice extra, a heartwarming rememberance? Anybody feel like I do? Anything else?

Appreciate the sentiment, but that is creepy. And there’s no harm in telling them, since I’m sure others have felt that way. Wouldn’t a generic, normal pawprint with your cat’s name be easier for them to make, anyway (rather than an actual impression)?

The concept isn’t troubling at all to me, as I used to know a woman who ran a business in which she made death masks and hand casts of the dying (as well as belly casts of pregnant women and baby feet and other non-morbid things). The thing that makes it creepy is that this isn’t something you had requested. Had they asked, you could have said, no, you weren’t really interested, but since they did it without asking you now have this keepsake that you didn’t really want.

The surprise would add a level of “neugh” for me.

I would have just assumed that pressing the paw down in plaster would spread the toes out, that’s all.

I’m wearing my dead cat’s (and my 2 dead dogs) ashes around my neck in a little keepsake necklace, so it probably wouldn’t bother me.

I’ve never gotten anything from the cremation company, but my vet office always sends a nice card signed by everyone who works there.

It’s a nice idea but would have been better if they’d asked you first. We have lovely vets that look after our cats and when our last one passed away, the vets made all the cremation arrangements etc for us. When they had the ashes back, instead of asking us to collect them and pay the final bills, they brought Orly’s casket to the house and left us to settle the bill when we felt able to go back to the surgery.

A few days afterwards, they sent us a card and enclosed a small packet of forget-me-not seeds which was a lovely touch and made us cry far more than an ornamental pawprint would have done.

When I had to have my sweet Boris put down very unexpectedly last year, I had him cremated. It was the first time I had ever had a pet cremated. His loss was so sudden that I wasn’t prepared to part with him, so I wanted to keep his ashes. When I picked them up, they also gave me a plaster paw impression. I was overcome. I thought it was wonderful. For me, it’s a physical reminder of the impression he made on my life, and I treasure it.

I like it, but I’d like it as an option; I can see where it would be a little weird for some people.

My “executioner” sends a card. I like it.

Interesting range, so far.

>I would have just assumed that pressing the paw down in plaster would spread the toes out, that’s all.

Yes, this is what I already assume, but it spreads because he’s dead and not taking care of his paws, so the spread out look just seems to say how dead he is. At least, that’s the way I see it. It’s somehow like morticians didn’t try to make a deceased person look like they’re sleeping or resting peacefully.

After we had to put our dearly beloved German Shepherd, Duke to sleep, we got a very nice card from the emergency vet we took him too. I found it very touching and I appreciated the gesture.

A plastercast of his pawprint would have struck me as extremely odd.

When I had to put my cat Pippin to sleep last year, his regular vet (who wasn’t open on the day Pip was euthanized, so we took him elsewhere) sent a card with a hand-wirtten note of sympathy, along with a cat-angel pin. I thought it was very sweet, and it made me cry.

What was creepy, however was (and this is in a spoiler box 'cos it might disturb some people)

I wanted to have his skull removed as a keepsake. When I took him to the taxidermist, I decided to get all of his bones, as my pelvic affiliate is a beader and a bellydancer, and Pip loved watching her dance. So we decided to make some bone beads that she could wear.
I mentioned that I was curious about his tail, which had a 90° angle at the tip. It was there since I met him as a kitten, and everyone always wondered how it got there. So I wanted to see if the bones showed a break, or if it was natural. The taxidermist misunderstood.
Three weeks later, when I got the bones, I opened up the box and lying there on top was…Pippin’s tail. Stuffed with a foam core and with a wire coming out of it like Alf’s favorite christmas tree ornament. :eek: But the tail still had the crook in the end!
Now it lives in my dresser drawer so the evil kittens don’t drag it around the house. More than they have.

“Pelvic affiliate?” Jeez, man, can you make it any colder?


It’s an agreed-upon term, used with much love. We’re too old to be comfortable calling each other “boy/girlfriend,” and neither of us likes the term “fiancee,” although we’re engaged. So it’s all good. [/bye, Jack]

When I took my daughter’s cat in to be euthanized (he was dying from feline leukemia) they gave me the tufts of fur they shaved off his leg at the injection site. My daughter didn’t want them at the time…she was too upset (which is why I, as mom, got to take the poor dear in an snuggle him during his final moments). When his sister cat finally died from HER feline leukemia a few months later…quickly, and without any warning, in the middle of the living room…we buried the fur with her in the backyard. Never got an ornament from the vet, but they did send my daughter a card…and in a separate mailing from the bill.

Oh, okay, it just struck me as unusually disrespectful. No harm meant. What does she call you? (My late FIL used to call my MIL his “bitter half,” and I didn’t like that either.)

I see how, for someone who isn’t “in the know,” it seems disrespectful. She and I have nothing but great esteem and respect for one another, so no worries. I actually stole the term from her.

I manage a vet practice and we do clay paws for most of our clients and the feedback has been pretty positive. I will say that some of my staff is far better at creating them than others- it isn’t easy to make it look natural and it sounds like the OP got a poorly done one. I have my two recently deceased kitty’s clay paws tied with ribbon and hung on the wall, Mojo’s also has his tag and bell from his collar. I wouldn’t forget my cats without the clay paws but it’s cool that the reminders are there. I did lose my Mojo very suddenly (he was only 2) and one of the techs, meaning well, gave me a bunch of his hair that she had clipped off. That I was very uncomfortable with because now I had this envelope full of hair that was not a pleasant reminder of his beautiful coat but instead just a reminder that he was dead. Plus I didn’t want to just throw it away either :frowning: .

I was thinking this myself. It sounds like whoever did the one in the OP didn’t do a particularly good job. The vet practice we use has started doing the clay paw print thing too - they gave me one when my last pup passed - plus they also send a small donation to a charity if you want it.

I don’t find it creepy - some people like having a keepsake to remember their pets by. I had to put Idol’s away - we still have a couple pawprints he put on the window of the back door himself while he was still alive, and even though I find those sad to look at too, I cannot bring myself to wash them off.

I think they meant well, but perhaps would do better to ask in the future as this is obviously not to everyone’s taste. I think I would love a keepsake of my pet’s, but perhaps it’s too early for you, or the sentiment just isn’t the right one.

Sorry to hear about your loss.

I wouldn’t be put off by the paw print, though I wouldn’t request one either.

When we first had a cat cremated, they asked if we wanted the ashes, etc. I said no. My husband said yes.

When we got the ashes back it was in such a small box that it horrified me. I can’t explain it other than to say I didn’t think they would be so very small.