Losing a pet is devastating, but there are ways to honor them that may bring some catharsis. If you can allow your mind to connect to a creative project, you’ll focus all that hurt and pain on it too. The result may be one of the most extraordinarily creative things you’ll ever realize.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Different Ways to Honor a Deceased Cat
- Different Ways to Honor a Deceased Dog
- Different Ways to Honor Other Types of Deceased Pets
Take a look below for a few unique ideas that fit inside and outside of your home no matter what kind of pet you loved. We’ve found some great ways for you to embrace the memory of your beloved pet, including painting, running with shelter dogs, and sowing wildflowers.
Different Ways to Honor a Deceased Cat
From jewelry to ornaments or planting flowers to rescuing other cats, take a look below for some creative ways to honor the life of a cat well-loved.
1. Plant perennial
Pick a flower to plant in your garden or a flowerpot matching the season you had to say goodbye to the little one. If you plant columbines, lupines, and daylilies to attract Hummingbirds year after year, then you’ll have two things to watch and appreciate.
2. Plan a memorial service
No matter if it’s a large or a small gathering for the pet memorial, any size will do. Choose from sharing photos and playing music on a beach to taking a hike deep into the mountains to scatter their ashes. You can honor your meowser anyway you see fit.
3. Make a yearly cash donation
If you adopted your barn kitty from an animal shelter, you’ve seen how those agencies always need resources to stay up and running. If this speaks to you, make it a yearly donation in honor of your kitty’s memory.
That way, you’ll ensure that barn kitties always have a warm blanket and some food waiting.
Find the best photo you have of your cat and blow it up to a 5” x 7” or an 8” x 10” size. Scour the stores and internet for the perfect frame. Then, place the photo in a prominent location in your home with a candle to light whenever you miss their purr, meow, or shadow-chasing.
5. Toy ornaments
Did they have a favorite feather toy or mouse to chase around the house? If so, turn it into a holiday ornament. How? Just follow these steps:
- Choose a clear plastic ornament bulb.
- Cut the bottom open (unless the toy fits through the top).
- Place the toy inside with some fake snow like Epsom salts.
- Glue the bottom back on.
- Glue more Epsom salts to the bottom to cover up the cut lines.
When finished, you’ll have a yearly reminder hanging front and center among the twinkly lights.
6. Rescue some siblings
It’s always heartbreaking to see bonded pairs get separated. So, next time you see some old ladies or siblings who have lost their owner to a nursing home or otherwise, adopt them both.
You may not have as long as you would with a kitten, but you’d be giving the best chances to cats who’d otherwise be overlooked or torn apart.
7. Create a free online memorial
We spend so much time on the Internet now, either at work or on social media, so why not create an online pet memorial? Set it up and you can upload photos, videos, and audio. You can also add a donation link so that their memory lives on in good deeds worldwide.
8. Start a nonprofit
This idea is longer-term than the options listed above, but why not? Starting a nonprofit in your cat’s honor is a beautiful way to commemorate them. Build it, and they will come.
Different Ways to Honor a Deceased Dog
Your dog gave you so much love while they were alive. Take a look for some appropriate and extraordinary ways to honor that love or give back in their memory.
9. Saturday tennis ball drop-offs
Every year on your dog’s memory day (the day they died), buy as many tennis balls as you can. Then, head to your favorite dog park and drop them off.
If you can, stay to watch the delight in all of the faces of the dogs and owners. Otherwise, leave knowing how much your pup enjoyed those little surprises, too.
10. Pet tags jewelry
Turn your dog’s tags into wearable jewelry. If you need a few ideas, type in some keyword searches online, and you’re sure to find the most suitable option for your needs. From necklaces or charms to keychain fobs, there’s every reason to keep your little one nearby.
11. Donate time to a shelter
If you’re missing your running partner, channel that grief into volunteering to run with dogs at your local shelter. You’ll be helping those needy pups calm down their anxieties, which will help even their tempers and make them easier to adopt.
Call your local shelter to find out how.
12. Blanket drive
Every year, you could set up a blanket drive at your work, school, or in your neighborhood in your puppy’s honor. After all, animal shelters need more than just money and food. They also need things like toys and blankets so that the pups have some comfort while they’re waiting to be adopted.
Or, if you live in an area with homeless/pet populations, gather up the blankets and drop them off at a resource center so that pups and their humans both have warmth in the winter.
13. Memorial jewelry
Memorial jewelry runs from affordable to very expensive. For instance, if you want to turn pet ashes into diamond jewelry, you’ll be looking at spending a few thousand dollars.
That said, this option also prevents any cruelties involving blood diamonds or harming indigenous populations.
14. Commission an urn
While the urn market is plump with artists and designers alike, you may not have found one that’s suitable for your best friend’s memory. If that’s the case, look for a designer who gets it close and then chat with them about commissioning a one-off.
15. Create a video tribute
Even if you’re not a professional graphic designer or video-maker, you can still make a fantastic video tribute using the thousands of photos in your smartphone. Watch a few quick videos online to get started and then learn as you go.
16. Rescue a mom and her pups
If you’re like me, you probably question separating family members at the shelter. Some of the dynamics of sibling rivalry can lead to some issues, so do your research ahead of time. But if you adopt a mom and one of her pups, it’s likely things will turn out beautifully.
Different Ways to Honor Other Types of Deceased Pets
All animals are lovable, and no one knows that more than you. Fur, hair, feathers, scales, and lycra—they’re all deserving of the same love.
17. Craft a memorial
Whether you sit in front of an easel to paint something extraordinary or head into the garage to whittle down some wood, use your talent and skills to create something memorable for your lost loved one. Then display it somewhere in your home with pride of place.
18. Plant a wildflower prairie
Use whatever space you have—from a square foot garden spot or a back meadow to add some natural flowers. You’ll attract native species from bugs and birds to prey on animals.
Pro-tip: Assemble a sign with your pet’s name on it, then take pictures throughout the seasons to showcase their garden. Then build a photo collage using their portrait front and center.
19. Ash tattoo
If you’re looking for a creative use for pet ashes, have them inked. First, you’ll need to find an agency to blend the ash and ink, Then, a tattoo artist who is willing to use it.
Many people agree that the experience is as cathartic as it is healing.
20. Plant a tree
Planting a tree is both practical and inexpensive. If locations matter, you can find a nonprofit specific to just about any region in the world.
For instance, consider replanting natural habitats in South America if that’s where your exotic bird originated. Or, if you want a visual reminder, plant something in your yard or local to your area.
21. Become a foster
Fostering an animal in need is among the most selfless acts a person can do. The extension of safety granted to that animal is precisely the honorarium your pet would value the most.
Whether you foster an in-house or barn animal, there’s no more splendid show of love you can provide.
22. Volunteer at a rescue or sanctuary
Offering time instead of space is equally commendable. If you lost a bird, rabbit, or another kind of friend, you might find that a sanctuary has plenty of comparable visitors during the sunrise stall mucking.
Pro-tip: Craft stores often have rubber boots suitable for farm duty if you don’t want to spend too much.
23. Memorial bench
Assemble a bench from the local hardware store, then unleash your children with some paint. Seal it. Once it’s dry, place it somewhere in the yard where the sun will catch it, offering delight to your eyes whenever you see it.
24. Commission a memorial
You may have a brilliant idea—but no way of creating it or perhaps creating it well, so look for someone to tie up loose ends. Look for artists in online marketplaces and then send them a note. Together you create something perfect for your little one.
Creatively Remembering Your Best Friend
Anatole France said it best: “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Perhaps the next creative project you take on to honor their life will balance the pain with the joy in their memory.