‘Vet won’t release my cat’s ashes unless I pay £700 – I’m heartbroken’


A heartbroken woman has shared her agony as she’s been unable to grieve for her cherished family cat properly.

She says the vet won’t hand over her pet’s ashes until she pays a large bill – leaving her heartbroken.

The woman shared her story on Mumsnet about how her affliction was compounded by the vet charging an “extortionate” sum for euthanasia over the weekend, which left her feeling it would’ve been “cruel” not to proceed.

She recounted investing “thousands of pounds” at this veterinary practice to diagnose her cat’s illness, and until the unfortunate day they had to put the animal to sleep, her account was fully up-to-date.

“Now I owe £700, I paid £350 of that and set up a payment plan for the rest at X amount per month. But the vets are refusing to give me my cat’s ashes back until it’s paid in full”, she expressed with indignation.

The distressed pet owner lamented having exhausted “all her savings” on her beloved cat’s medical care, leaving her penniless.

Her message struck a chord with many Mumsnet users who were moved to tears when she added: “His poor ashes are just sat at the vet alone and waiting for me and I can’t bring him home”.

Bewildered by the lack of empathy from the vet’s office, she noted: “I’ve been with the vets for years with my other animals, have always been a good client, paid on time, never missed an appointment, no reason for them to think I’d just take his ashes and not pay since my other pets are registered there.”

She said that it would take “four or five months” to afford the rest of the vet bill. Expressing her distress, she added: “It feels so cruel of the vet to be holding him hostage like this when taking all the above into account, and how many appointments I had had there with this cat alone.

“I’d even sent them a card and chocolates after some of the appointments before to thank them for their work etc” she added. “Am I being unreasonable to think it’s super messed up and cruel that they won’t just give me his ashes now? “.

Sympathetic commenters weighed in on the situation. One person offered condolences, saying: “So sorry for your loss op and that you have to deal with this on top of it. I think it’s unfair on the part of your vet given the circumstances.”

Another shared mixed feelings, adding: “I do feel it’s a bit unfair but also you haven’t paid yet. Maybe they’ve had issues in the past where they’ve allowed people to take the ashes home before payment and then never got the payment or had to go to court over it which incurred additional costs.”

A third commenter expressed sorrow, as they said: “I’m so sorry for your loss, and this behaviour on top of it which is making you feel worse.”

Yet, some understood the vet’s stance, stating: “Too many people just refuse to pay. They have provided a service and need to be paid for it before they can release the ashes. You didn’t have to have him cremated, you could have buried him yourself. Would you pay £700 to a company on behalf of someone else with no guarantee that you would be paid back for it?”

Another person shared a heart-wrenching account mirroring the ordeal, writing: “I am sorry for your loss, but I could not get my Dad’s ashes until I’d paid the entire cremation bill to the funeral director. As I did not yet have access to any of his accounts, I paid out of pocket on my credit card.”

They added, “I think it is a standard business practice and I know it seems cruel and heartless but it’s really just a service and you do need to pay in full before taking possession of the ashes.”

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