The Rise in Popularity of Pet Cremations

Having a family plot in a cemetery has always been a popular choice around the world. But, have you ever considered adding your devious cat, Whiskers, to the patch?

Cat on man's shoulders

In recent years, pet cremation has boomed around the world. You can get any of your beloved furry friends cremated, from your cheeky mice to your graceful stallion. However, it is usually man’s best friend the dog or fish’s worst enemy  the cat. Be sure to explore our entire collection of Urns for Pets ashes.

In 2012, the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance (PLPA) affirmed that around 1.9 million pets were given an honourable service after their passing, with only around 21,000 being buried. 

pet gravestone

In 2017, the pet cremation business seemed to boom as the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria (APPCC) stated that there was an abnormal amount of requests for family pets to be cremated which were evermore personal than before. Grieving owners wanted to be present for the cremation which was something that had never really been done before, definitely being an unusual request. 

As of 2018, there were more than 50 pet crematoriums in the UK, with the number continuously rising. In 2019, it was found that 12% of funeral homes in the UK now offered a pet cremation option and 15% in the US, dubbing it a very fast paced market. On average ¼ of Brits now have their pets cremated. 

However, there are some crematoria businesses that have been specifically attending to our beloved animals for many years, such as the Penwith Pet Crematorium situated in Cornwall, which has been run since 1988 by Penny Lally. The crematorium spans around 6 acres of land consisting of woods and fields where, as of 2015, there were around 40 people buried alongside their pets. Including Penny’s late husband with their late cat Blot, Muppet the dog, and Brian the canary. Penny wishes to be buried alongside them for eternal rest as a family, not forgetting her pony, Super Sam, who will rest on the other side of Penny. 

Girl and Horse

In 2014, the New York Department of State passed the law to allow pets and their owners to be buried together in the same cemetery, as up until then they had always been separate. As the popularity rises, more and more states in the US will pass the law.

In 2005, Penwith carried out around 100 cremations a week which doubled by 2015 due to an increasing number of people who are choosing to give their pets an honourable send off. The PLPA of the US stated that the average turnover in 2013 was $860.464 for each of their members, with a total cremation of 1.46 million pets. 

The co-chair of the PLPA, Coleen Ellis, theorises that there are two types of people; pet owners and pet parents. With pet parents considering their pets as their own children, being much more devoted to the lives of their pets. For example, they will know the names of the neighbours dogs and the name of their veterinarian. Ellis is a very passionate individual who opened her own pet funeral home and runs her own company, Two Hearts Pet Loss, which works towards educating vets and other business owners on how to appropriately care for people whose pets have passed or soon to be.

This was all inspired by Ellis’ own experience with death after her dog, Mico, passed and she organised her own open-casket funeral for her little terrier, which gathered 40 guests in her house to send their farewells. The lack of services available at the time of Mico’s death inspired Ellis to create the Pet Angel Memorial Centre which provides thoughtful cremation packages to memorialise dearly missed pets.

Woman and Dog

Where did it all begin?

The first pet cemetery in the UK was accidentally opened in 1881 in Hyde Park, London. Cherry, a maltese terrier, was the first to be buried there and a little tombstone still remains with the inscription ‘Poor Cherry. Died April 28, 1881’. This inspired others to wish for their companions to be buried in the beautiful park. 300 Victorian-era pets came to find final peace at Hyde Park, with many tombstones still there to mark the burial spots of lost companions from 1881-1915. 

Pet tombstone

Nowadays, people are more often opting for a cremation funeral rather than a burial for many reasons including the lack of space, costs, and the meaning of the location where someone's ashes are set to rest. 

In terms of pets, a private cremation can cost you up to £399. The cremation of a small pet such as a hamster around £42, £187 for a large dog, and £600 for a horse. These are all rough averages as it will depend on the size of the particular animal. 

So, why is the popularity of pet cremations rising?

Hamster in Hand

By the 2000’s, there was an increasing conception that animals in the family home were a true member of the family. Meaning they are valued members of the family, it is a natural emotion of wanting and needing to mourn the passing of them. People wish to give their beloved confidants a decent and respectful send off into their next lives. 

It is believed that as more parent's were opting to have only a single child, that more only children were granted a small companion. Their pets became more important to them than pets had ever been before, providing true friendship, love, and closeness, which was followed by the humanisation of their care.

Child hugging her dog

People started to care more about how their animals were treated in death, wishing to attend the cremation to ensure the process was carried out with respect. In the US, Anderson-McQueen's Pet Passages program have a space called the Rainbow Bridge Room, which allows family members to say their final goodbyes in a vigil chamber containing a doggie bed on a tiled bench. 

People often choose cremation for their furry friends so they can be kept in the home within an urn for ashes that can be specifically designed for cat ashes, dog ashes, or any urn for any animal you wish to keep close by to you. Alternatively, a pets ashes may be kept so that in the end their ashes might be mixed with your own so you can be buried together or scattered together to spend eternal rest with each other. 

The pet cremation market has come along way as there has been horror stories in the past where pets crematoria operatives have discarded of bodies in unpleasant manners, which is becoming less likely to occur as the trade continues to boom.  However, some practises offering animal cremation are still quite unfamiliar with the concept of offering such services. The APPCC is setting the standards for the currently unregulated industry to make sure that respectful cremation are carried out in whichever facility you choose.  

White Dog Lying on Grass

We hope this article has been informative and helped answer some of the questions you might have about pet cremations and why they are popular.

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