General Question

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

How would you react to discover that a family member keeps a deceased pet in a box in their home?

Asked by The_Compassionate_Heretic (14611points) May 25th, 2009

I just discovered this the other day during a conversation with a family member. The dead pet is kept in a pet coffin. I suppose since it is being kept above ground it is technically a crypt.

You may have questions but here are some pre-prepared answers:
No, I’ve never seen it.
No, I have no desire to see it.
No, I had no idea that there were businesses that specialized in pet crypts.
I have no idea if it smells. I assume the remains were embalmed and the box was hermetically sealed.
Yes the person is bi-polar.

I’m actually quite concerned about this. It raises a lot of red flags for me. It’s concerning to me because it seems like a symptom of something. Yes it’s possibly related to the bi-polar disorder but this behavior is totally new.

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31 Answers

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I used to keep my dead African Snakehead in the freezer. It was the largest tropical fish I ever owned (about 27 inches long), and when it died suddenly, I was heartbroken. I’d raised him from a 2 inch long minnow. I finally got rid of it after a couple years. Weird? yes. Creepy? probably, anyone else’s business? Nope.

I don’t see any point in your concern, unless this person gets it out and talks to it, or is somehow in danger of becoming infected with some nasty form of bacteria. It may simply be a symptom of grief and not being able to let go.

Unless this person is in danger from the deceased pet, I really think you should just let it go. Probably isn’t anything to get in an uproar about.

Tink's avatar

They are crazy. (no offense)
Even though I love animals I wouldn’t do that I would at least bury it. But it isn’t my business

FukYou's avatar

No red flags. They just loved their dog. People keep their pets ashes. They are just having problems letting go. I assume they did it professionally and got it enbalmbed so it does not stink. People keep dead animals all the time (ever been to a hunters house?)

Red flags would be killing pets and putting them into crypts….

rooeytoo's avatar

I have my dog’s ashes in an urn, he moved to Australia with me 10 years ago (he was alive then). When he died I had him cremated and I guess when my ashes are scattered his will go with me then.

I don’t understand what you mean about “in a box in their home.” Sounds smelly at the very least. Embalming doesn’t prevent tissue deterioration, does it???

AstroChuck's avatar

We have the ashes of our beloved cat, Kahlua in a wooden keepsake box on our mantle. I don’t think I’d want her full corpse lying around though. That’d be kind of creepy.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@rooeytoo embalming is the removal of the blood to be replaced by a chemical. The body will still decay. The pet could have been freeze-dried, mummified, or any of several other things to preserve it. They might of had it taxidermed. We need more information on this ‘in a box’ concept. hard to decided what course of action it calls for.

@AstroChuck, no, having Grandma around as a full corpse would be creepy.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

No ashes in this situation. Dead cat in a box.

Randy's avatar

…gross. I would be concerned. People love pets but people love family too. If you were to go before this person, you just might end up in the box next to the cat. To me, it doesn’t quite seem healthy mentally or physically, with a rotting corpse in the home and all. As far as how to go about the situation, well, cat’s got my tongue…

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I’d be pretty freaked out. Not gonna lie.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I wouldn’t be too surprised in my own family, they tend to eccentricity. People used to taxidermy their dead pets for display so keeping the remains in a sealed coffin seems milder. I keep things from dead people, a pet isn’t too far fetched; my dog will be cremated and kept once he passes on. you’ll still visit & be my friend, right? heh

3or4monsters's avatar

I guess it depends on WHY they’re keeping it in a box. Too freaked out and can’t bring themselves to move and bury it? Ok, that makes more sense to me. But keeping it to take out and reminisce with later? I don’t think that’s healthy at all.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@3or4monsters If the latter is happening, I really don’t want to know.

Bobbydavid's avatar

That’s just so wrong on many levels. Is their surname Adams?

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Do you think they just felt uneasy “throwing away” the dead pet or didn’t want to plug us ground in a pet cemetery?

whatthefluther's avatar

Sounds a bit strange to me, buy my plans may sound strange to others. I have kept the cremated remains of deceased pets for the last 25 years in their individual tins all stored in a very large decorative urn. Included in the menagerie are dogs, cats and a miniature pot-bellied pig. When I pass, I too will be cremated. My remains and those of my pets will then be commingled. A couple of friends/family members will fill crematory urns and others small keep-sake urns. The balance will be entrusted to life long friends who will scatter our remains in locations we travelled and enjoyed together. This will include National Parks and Monuments in the western U.S., favorite fishing spots in Canada and southern California, beaches from Santa Barbara to Cabo San Lucas, local parks, mountain trails, lakes and river camps, several race tracks, and some music venues.

Please note: When in Southern California or when traveling through the western part of North America, kindly watch where you step and sit. Thank you…wtf, Reuben, Tara Lynn, B.J., O.J., Baby and Jessica

rooeytoo's avatar

@whatthefluther – I want the same thing, I like the idea of taking one of my favorite dogs with me, regardless of where I end up!!! So his ashes will be scattered somewhere on the South Pacific when mine are.

whatthefluther's avatar

@rooeytoo…I like it! Perhaps we can rendezvous around Hawaii some day?! See you then…wtf

Grisaille's avatar

@3or4monsters I have no clue why your comment made me giggle.

mrwhoopie's avatar

I had my pet tarantula set in lucite.She is now a great paperweight.

dynamicduo's avatar

That’s some crazyness right there. There’s a difference between a sensible approach, such as @whatthefluther,‘s and keeping an embalmed corpse in your basement. At the same time, if it’s not hurting anyone, I would note it in the back of my mind and not really do anything as a result of it.

Buttonstc's avatar

I’m still not clear on whether or not she had anything done to prevent body decay such as taxidermy or freeze drying? Knowing for certain what the answer to that would be would greatly affect my response as to how weird or well-balanced she is or isn’t.

I will say this tho. Even tho I have had several of my cats die over the years I never had them cremated or buried because of my belief that the physical body is like an overcoat and once the spirit (or soul,if you will) has departed the physical body is devoid of meaning. That’s just my personal take on it for my own self and my pets therefore I will not be embalmed when I die, just cremated.

However, years ago I saw a program on either PBS or Disc. Channel about someone who freeze dries pets and even poses them in whatever position the owner desires working from previous photos. When I saw that I had an immediately positive response and thought of what a wonderful option that would be for one of my Calico cats who had the most unique and gorgeous coat patterns I had ever seen——so stunningly beautiful and everyone who saw her remarked upon it.

But then I later found out how horrendously expensive it was and not long after she died very suddenly so that was the end of that idea.

But had I been a little wealthier and a little bit better prepared she may well have ended up freeze dried and perched on the windowsill to creep out all my friends and visitors.

So perhaps that’s part of why I’m hesitant to judge your friend without all the particulars

Also as someone else mentioned, hunters routinely do this. Personally I think the heads mounted and hung on walls is pretty ghoulish and these animals were not beloved pets who died but killed just for the sheet enjoyment of it. Personally I find this testament to mans blood lust a WHOLE LOT more disturbing——I mean it’s not as if these poor animals were killed for food necessities. So you tell me which is weirder. At least what your friend did was from love and not macho bragadoccio.

That’s just my opinionated 2 cents fwiw.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Perhaps they want to be buried with their pet if they were particularly attached to it. Or if they move around quite a bit, don’t want the pet buried in a different location from them.

aprilsimnel's avatar

It’s seems more like an issue surrounding letting things go than one of out-and-out creepiness. This relative of yours must have loved their pet very much. :(

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Well, unless it is a health hazard, then there’s not much you can do. I’d check with the local health dept, but don’t be surprised if you end up ‘poking a hornet’s nest with a stick’.

As for my pets, I feel that cremating them and keeping the ashes is creepy and unnatural. Just as creepy as entombing someone in a big fancy wooden box inside of a concrete vault. When I lose a pet, I usually find a nice place and bury them in the ground. We are all the stuff of stars (and planets, and moons, etc), and when we die, we should all be returned to whence we came. That’s the natural way. I’ve buried pets in the yards of several places I have lived; I don’t need the actual body to remind me, I have the memories and photos.

Personally, I have an unreasonable fear of cremation, don’t ask and I am going to put in my will that I want a green burial. Put me in a biodegradable cardboard box, avoid any embalming fluid, and bury me where I can do the most good, feeding the worms and tree roots as my body breaks down naturally.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra: I feel exactly the same way! Dust to dust.

casheroo's avatar

When I was a child, abour 9, my pet hamster Honey died. I was hearbroken. I put her in a box, with food “just in case” wrapped her in a washcloth and put her favorite toys in it. I couldn’t bare to bury her. My parents let me keep the box for at least a week, but my mother told me it was time to get rid of it. It was awful.
People need to grieve in their own way. Yeah, keeping a dead pet in your home may sound creepy (and it is) but it’s not hurting anyone. I don’t think this indicates anything about this person, and the fact that they are bi-polar isn’t a big deal. I personally believe bi-polar people feel more strongly than others, so this is your family members way of coping.

YARNLADY's avatar

How did you find out about this? It seems strange to me, but I wouldn’t worry myself about it.

EmmaInterrupted's avatar

a girl I know keeps her dead frog in a box under her bead. But hers wasn’t done professianlly so ew!

elijah's avatar

It’s creepy but if it doesn’t affect me then whatever.
When I die I want to be cremated (after they take every possible part off me that can be donated). Ashes (or a grave stone if you’re buried) are only meant to be a comfort to the living, as if they are still “taking care” of the dead. I will probably cremate my dog, but I won’t go through the trouble of spreading her around the world. She won’t know. She’s dead. I don’t want to be spread around either, because I can’t see putting that burden on my family for no reason.

crzycatwmn's avatar

I don’t think it’s okay. If your that attached take it to a taxidermist and that is almost as twisted.

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