Even though various influences will influence how long the decomposition process lasts, all animal bodies go through similar stages of decomposition.

The ratio of a cat’s body fat, predators’ proximity to the remains, and the location all influence how long it takes for a cat’s dead body to decompose.

Because of these various conditions, the decomposition of a cat’s remains will take weeks or years.

The length of time it takes for a cat to decompose is ranging from 6 months to 15 years and is determined by factors such as the body’s position, predators’ and others’ access to the corpse, and body fat percentage. A body’s decomposition may take a few weeks or years depending on these variables.

How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Decompose

How Long Does It Take for a Cat to Decompose?

The duration of the decomposition process is entirely dependent on the temperature. It could take decades in very cold climates. It will take a few months in a natural or mild environment.

Despite the fact that various variables determine their decomposition period, both bodies go through the same stages of decomposition.

The fresh cycle is the first stage of deterioration. There aren’t likely to be any visible changes in the body at this stage.

The second cycle, also known as the bloat stage, begins not long after the first. A body starts to bloat or swells up during the bloat period, and it looks noticeably different than it does during the fresh stage.

The next step is active decay, which involves a deflation of the body as well as a strong stench. Advanced decay kicks in after successful decay, where the rest of the skin has decayed further from the corpse.

Finally, there is the period of dry decay. This is the level that is the most obvious. The remains are all bone at this stage, with just a slight amount of dried skin left. The stages of decomposition are now complete.

1. Fresh Stage

It is the first step in the decomposition of a cat’s body. You won’t see too many changes in the body during the fresh period.

2. Bloat Stage

The bloat stage follows the fresh stage quickly. The dead body of a cat begins to move during this point, and in a more noticeable way than during the first. During this time, you should be able to see the body puffing up or bloating clearly.

3. Active Decay Stage

The body deflates during the active decay period, and the stench becomes unbearable.

Stages of advanced death:

The decayed flesh from the dead cat’s body sets in at this stage.

Stage of dry decay:

This is the final stage of decomposition and the easiest to spot. During this time, the cat’s remains are all bone, with just a few patches of dried skin remaining. The decomposition process comes to a close with the dry decay period.

How Can You Store Your Cat Until You Bury Or Cremate Him?

If a situation happens in which you are unable to know what to do with your cat’s body right away, your cat’s remains should be kept in cool storage.

According to researchers, the best way to store animal bodies is in a freezer or refrigerator, but if you don’t have one, you should at least keep the body in a really cold place.

If a cat’s body is frozen, you’ll have nearly endless time to decide whether to cremate or bury it; but, if you only hold it at a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius or below, you’ll only have 2 days to decide whether to cremate or bury your pet.

Larger mammals, such as dogs, should be buried within a few hours of death, according to experts, so stiffening of joints will occur easily, making the move and transportation of a cat’s body much more difficult.

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How To Bury Your Cat?

Experts strongly advise burying the cat at least one meter deep.

How To Bury Your Cat?

To begin, cover his body with a towel, blanket, cardboard box, or something else that will decompose quickly.

After you’ve adequately buried your pet, it’s a good idea to place something large and solid in the hole after you’ve filled it with dirt.

To keep any creatures from digging the pit, you should use concrete or large plant pots.

The decomposition of an animal’s dead body will take anywhere from six months to fifteen years before it becomes simply bones.

However, it is normally determined by the location and manner in which the animal is buried. If your pet was buried in a crypt, for example, it would take even longer to decompose.

Cremation is a better option than burying your pet’s remains because it is more practical and cost-effective.

If you decide to get your cat or dog cremated, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a funeral service for him. In reality, most animal crematories nowadays will help you prepare for a memorial.

If your selected crematory is unable to do so, call your veterinarian, who will also assist you with making funeral and cremation plans.

Local animal control and shelters will usually assist you with caring for a deceased animal’s body. The benefit of contacting them first is that they have a very low-cost or no-cost operation.

If there is no nearest pet control or sanctuary that can assist you, you can call the veterinarian.

If your veterinarian provides this facility, you will bring your cat’s remains to his or her office and have them prepared for disposal on your behalf.

You might also like to check out cat euthanasia do it yourself

How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Decompose Underground?

Many pet owners who have lost a pet claim that the decomposition will take up to two days to become apparent.

It could take ten days for a cat to be nearly boneless, and this is with the aid of decomposing parasites, beetles, and other insects.

It can be mentally exhausting to deal with the loss of a pet. It can be heartbreaking to think of saying goodbye to a cat you deem a part of the family or a best friend. It’s difficult to get rid of a cat, but it’s sadly a necessary measure.

The amount of time you will keep a dead cat depends entirely on how you store it and the temperature of the room in which it is stored.

It could take a day or two for the scent of the cat’s corpse to become apparent as it begins to decompose.

Some owners can cling to their pet cat’s remains for longer and it is difficult for them to let go. Others would actually have to wait for other family members to arrive if the cat is to be buried.

Whatever the excuse for not disposing of the cat right away, you must know how to properly store it to keep the scent of rot from spreading in your house.

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How Long Can You Keep A Dead Cat In The House?

You should keep a dead cat inside the home until the rigor mortis sets in.

This will not last long, as rigor mortis (post-mortem stiffness) will quickly set in, and the foul odor will begin to annoy you and everyone else in the building. Rigor mortis usually begins three to four hours after death and ends 12 hours later.

It’s never easy to lose a pet, and it’s much more difficult if you have children that will undoubtedly be devastated.

Though you should still visit your doctor for pet aftercare, you do not know what to do if your favorite cat passes away while you’re alone at home.

To begin with, it’s natural to cry your heart out, especially if you’ve had your cat for a long time. Still, no matter how difficult it is to say farewell, you will have to let go at some point.

If you want to keep your pet inside your house, be aware that you will have to deal with the odor of a dead animal sooner or later.

You might like to know about Rigor Mortis In Cats

How Long Does It Take For A Dead Cat To Start And Stop Smelling?

The stench of a dead cat usually begins in two to three days.

How Long Does It Take For A Dead Cat To Start And Stop Smelling?

This is usually the point at which your cat bloats and the body begins to putrefy or stink.

However, unless your pet is kept in a fridge, you cannot lock it inside your house for more than two days.

If you properly store your cats, you shouldn’t have to think about a dead cat odor.

The scent would get to you if you forgot to do so or if you were unaware that your cat had unfortunately died somewhere on your farm.

Depending on the environmental conditions of the region where the dead cat is, the odor may persist for days, weeks, or even months. This odor will go away until the ashes have dried out, which means that your precious pet is reduced to bones.

If you decide to keep your deceased cat because you can’t bear to part with it yet or because you’re awaiting burial or cremation services, here are some things to think about:

Prepare a rag and the chance of a clean-up – after a pet dies, it may expel feces or urine. However, you must wrap your pet in a towel or blanket with caution.

It’s preferable if you position your cat correctly before rigor mortis sets in.

Instead of having your pet’s front and hind legs outstretched, you should tuck their front and hind legs in. This facilitates transportation and burial.

Place your pet inside a heavy-duty bag after positioning and wrapping it. It’s a good idea to double-bag the groceries. You can use Hefty Strong Garbage Bags to try it out.

Freezer storage would be your best choice if you need some time to determine what you want to do with your cat’s body before disposing of it. This aids in the preservation of the cat’s body and prevents decomposition.

Upon death, decomposition begins, which is why you should keep your pet in a cage and in a cool place. Few pet owners keep their deceased pets in the freezer until they figure out what to do with them.

Can You Put A Dead Cat In The Garbage?

You should not put a dead cat in the garbage openly as it will stink and emit bad odors.

Can You Put A Dead Cat In The Garbage?

Some states and counties may not make it illegal to throw a dead cat in the trash. In fact, for certain people, particularly those who cannot afford a pet graveyard, cremation, or funeral, it is a required decision.

Many people would undoubtedly criticize you if you choose this approach, but it all comes down to your available resources.

It’s important to note that this isn’t illegal, and there aren’t many rules against it.

However, if you want to be considerate, you should put your deceased pet in a cage, mark it, and notify the garbage collector.

For a variety of causes, keeping a dead cat is a natural move for most pet owners.

This is because they normally don’t know what to do with their deceased pet right away, and the other is that they want to savor their last moments with them.

Another example is where a cat is to be buried and other family members are required to attend the funeral. Alternatively, the pet may be kept for later taxidermy.

For the time being, whatever excuse you have for having a dead cat, remember that it only takes two days for it to start smelling.

The rate of decomposition, on the other hand, would be determined by the atmosphere and the size of your cat. It’s best to dispose of your dead pet within two days or less, just to be sure. If not, keep it in an airtight container in a cold place, preferably the freezer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do if you find a dead cat?

Move the cat to a secure place. Transport the cat to the closest veterinarian in a basket, old towel, or fur. The veterinarian will be able to search the pet for a microchip to notify the owner of the cat has one.
If you are unable to attend the nearest veterinarian, call Cats Protection, who will be able to assist you with identifying the animal.
If you are unable to send the cat to a veterinarian or a local Cats Protection group, you can report any dead animals you come across on the road to your local council, which also has dead animal disposal services.

Is it better to cremate or bury a pet?

Cremation is a better option than burying your pet’s remains because it is more practical and cost-effective. If you decide to get your cat or dog cremated, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a funeral service for him.
In reality, most animal crematories nowadays will help you prepare for a memorial. If your selected crematory is unable to do so, call your veterinarian, who will also assist you with making funeral and cremation plans.

Final Words

The level of decomposition of a cat is generally determined by a number of variables.

It usually depends on the size of your cat, the location where your cat’s body is buried, and the temperature of the location where you buried your cat.

In general, it takes years for your cat’s body to decompose, but the exact number of years depends on the variables that influence it.

The tropical or hot climate is the most common aspect that determines how quickly an animal’s body decomposes.

Don’t forget to drop down your questions in the comments section below!


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  1. I founded a baby kitten infront of my house two days
    ago(29/10/2021)…but it died yesterday morning(30/10/2021)
    i reqllt tooked a great care of it…but i couldn’t save it’s life…a big attack camed into my house and killed that kitten infront of my eyes…i firstly thought that it was his mother/father…but Alas!it wasn’t….it killed by friend….i am totally brokened now….
    30 october will remembered by me as a dark day of my life….
    i need a help….
    my question is how longer time may it take to decompose a kitten body?my kitten was very tiny…he was so tiny that he couldn’t open his eyes also…
    if someone experienced can help me…please give answer…
    My facebook profile name-Akmar Anjum Haque….
    you can also text me there

    1. Hello akmar,
      First of all sorry to hear about your loss.

      Coming to your question, as its mentioned earlier in article that decomposing period varies on various parameters and it is hard to tell any specific time-frame.


  2. My cat, Baby May, dyed in my arms tonight it was so sad I just broke my heart I had over 15 years and she was 15 years old I could talk to her she acted like she knew exactly what I said she was just me and her I’m just going to miss her so much I am Richard and your pink little belly again my husband made a little tiny box and painted it white and I put her little tiny bed in it and put a little silk pink and blanket over it and had her wrapped and her pink blanket and put it across on her and a little flower and I’m going to decorate the little box a little bit in the morning and write her name on it and her birthday and then she passed I’m taking you to my daughter’s because she’ll be living there for a long time so I just really I’m hurting so bad

  3. Hie my cat was missing from saturday night 27.11.2021 she was my small world she was my bestfriend i miss her so much and i found her on 2.12.2021 thursday she was dead it was 5th days i found her and when i saw her body her eyes lips was missing and she has a hole in her thigh so wanted to know that when did she died after how many days these sign occur. And on thursday she was not smelling but on friday when we buried her she was smelling so after how many these sign occur plz help me to know.

    1. Hello Guncha,

      First ok all sorry to hear about your loss and hope you are doing well.
      Regarding your question, its hard to predict exact time but from what you described, your cat is already decaying and decaying starts usually 2-5 days after death.

      Thank you

  4. Hello, I lost my cat a couple of days ago and buried her in my front yard. I would like to keep her skull but i don’t have the heart to remove it myself right now so i thought I’d let nature help me out. I’m planning on checking on her body every few months or so, but if you could help me determine a timeframe for when you think a skull could be retrieved that would be helpful.

    The soil is a bit damp and I’m in a warm place, it’s winter right now and our lowest temperatures don’t go below 10° C. In the summer we get to ~40°C. I’m guessing this will help decompose her body faster, but i wouldn’t want to wait too long and have the bones potentially damaged. Any wild guess is helpful, thanks a lot in advance.

    1. Hello,

      First of all sorry for your loss.

      Regarding your query, as mentioned in the article, decomposition depends on a broad number of factors but still, I have to take any wild guess then I would suggest you check every 6 months.

      Thank You

    2. Thank you for asking that question. I’ve lost several of my outdoor cats that I looked after, they were feral, but over the years they act like any house cat would. They depend on me for their needs and I love everyone of them. I lost Toni this morning and I’m almost 100 % certain my neighbor poisoned him and 3 others have not shown up in a few days, so I am assuming he killed them too. All because some cat killed a wild bird, so the neighbor is pissed and all the sudden my cats are missing and one dead…I wanted some of his bones..I am Native American and his bones will be with me forever as a necklace, or even just placed in a small box. But I don’t want to dig him up to check on him, I would rather just do it once. I live in texas and of course it is hot down here….I will check on him in 6 months. I hope my cat killing neighbor has bad luck come his way. People shouldn’t mess with mother nature and her animals, that is just twisted….he will get

  5. I just lost my Chester he was 14 yrs old, male cat. He had what they called Aortic Thromboembolism (blood clot) it paralyzed his hind legs he was in terriable pain, I never heard him cry like he did. It sounded like someone was killing him, I miss my baby boy so much. He passed Jan. 18,2022…

  6. (sorry for my english)
    Hi, thanks for this useful post, I was searching on Google and directed to your good site.
    Honestly, I have a serious big problem!!!
    our cat went to very closed space of our attic with the poison of its neighbors and died there!
    We do not have access to the cat’s body and it is not clear exactly where its body is!
    The first days smelled too bad, but now a week has passed since the cat died,
    But now we face a bigger problem! Pouring and coming fly larvae through the seams of the ceiling into the room!
    Question (Given the humid and dark environment of the attic in a rainy city) :
    1- How long (several days – several weeks) does the cat’s corpse decompose and How long fly larvae come?
    2- brath in air of cat’s corpse decompose and living with larva Is it dangerous for health?
    Please guide me and reply as soon as possible
    Thanks & Regards

    1. The answer to your first question would be – If your cat died in a humid spot, it’ll not take more than a week or two for it to decompose and start getting covered in larvae.

      Secondly, you will not be able to bear the stench of the cat’s corpse. Once it starts forming larvae, it’ll become more unhygienic and will give birth to various harmful viruses and bacteria. Once you find the body, make sure to get rid of it before it starts decomposing.

  7. It was really hard to see his little grave outside but I go outside and see him and tell him how much I miss his little face. my cat I grew up with a ginger cat called peanut had to be put to sleep due to a disease on the 27th of December 2021. It was either give him a few more months with medication or let him go free. I was a complete emotional mess knowing that it came to the point were he was in pain but it was too late to do anything.

    I cry a lot over how much I miss him but I hope he’s resting easy now….
    I can’t wait to get his proper memorial stone…. 🙁

    Peanut I miss you so much 🙁
    The house isn’t the same without you

  8. Hi Abigail. My dearest cat Tigresa died 3/22/22. It was a car 🙁

    She was a Tortoise Shell cat. She was very affectionate and loving. I made her a wooden box and buried her in my backyard in NYC. She weighed about 14lbs. How long do you think until she decomposes? What if I remove her from the box and put her in a wrapped blanket an bury her? Please advise.


    1. Sorry to hear this. But yes it is better to bury your cat before she starts decomposing. Decomposing starts taking place in few days or after few weeks, depending on the weather.

  9. Hello,

    Thank you for the informative article and resources.
    I adopted 2 fur brothers almost 20 years ago and they have been wonderful additions to my life. They bless me in ways I cannot even imagine 🙂

    Unfortunately one of them had to be put down about 8 years ago due to kidney failure and I buried him in my backyard. Now I’d like to respectfully work in that area of the yard and I don’t know where to begin. If you have any advice or tips on how to do this (both physically and emotionally) please let me know.

    Thank you!

    1. I can understand that this situation is emotionally draining you out. However, your cat’s body does not exist anymore. All you’ll see is its leftover bones and nails.
      Gently remove them from the ground if you are very much emotionally surcharged and then continue with your work.

  10. hello,
    my childhood cat passed early april of 2016. we buried her in a shoebox in the back yard the next morning. we live in WI, and sadly we are moving. i just want to know if you think she would be decomposed enough to safely dig up and move with us… i just cant think about leaving her here without breaking down.

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