Thursday, February 21, 2013

Around The World In 80 Cats #25: Paris

(Johh Kroll)

I was planning on showcasing interesting cat photography from around Paris, but that all changed when I came across an unusual photo of a feline tombstone. 

The grave, along with thousands of other pet memorials, can be found at Le Cimetière des chiens (Cemetery of Dogs), located in Asnières-sur-Seine, just on the outskirts of Paris. The cemetery is one of the oldest and largest public pet burial sites in the world, and while some may view it as morbid, I think it's quite interesting to see how people have paid tribute to their dearly departed felines throughout the years.


Paris for Visitors reveals that the Cimetière des chiens was founded by attorney Georges Harmois and journalist Marguerite Durand in 1899. They conceived the project after Paris city government passed a law declaring that deceased pets could not be thrown in the garbage or dumped in the Seine, but had to be buried in hygienic graves at least 100 meters from the nearest dwelling.


Today, it is the final home of over 40,000 animals, including cats, dogs, bunnies, and even a lion! Arguably, its most famous resident is the original canine who played Rin Tin Tin. The German Shepherd was brought back to France to be buried after his death in 1932. 

(John Kroll)

According to the photographer, the epitaph above reads:

"To Ramses, you are my cat, exceptional and so sweet. Paws and hands clasped, we have lived nine and a half years of love and of complicity but also suffering. Your absence is cruel and hard to bear. God help us. If your grave is abandoned then I'll be near you forever in my heart. -- Your Mom"


It should come as no surprise that the cemetery, which has been called everything from, "the most appealing graveyard in France" to "the strangest place I've ever been," is also home to some very live feline residents. A colony of feral cats have a shelter on the grounds, and are looked after by volunteers. 


The French government has classified Cimetière des chiens as a historical monument, however various reports suggest that it has fallen on hard times in recent years, and is in danger of closing.

(John Kroll)

If you're not planning on taking a trip to France anytime soon, the oldest and largest pet cemetery in the United States is Hartsdale Canine Cemetery in Hartsdale, NY. The site was founded in 1896, and is the final resting spot of over 70,000 beloved pets.




Sources: Official SiteCimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques (Wikipedia), Paris for Visitors, Lost & Fond

Previously: Around the World in 80 Cats 1 - 24

Know of any cat-themed travel destinations, or have any cool kitty vacation pics to share? Drop me a line at!



Unknown said...

Great story!! This is so beautiful to see. I have been in rescue since 2001. I have had a small army of rescue kitties and have lost many over the years. My pets are all buried at my fathers backyard. I find peace knowing they are still close by in spirit.

Tara Bliven said...

Wow - thank you so much for sharing this, Stephanie - I just love it and now I have another reason to visit Paris. :)

Sparkle said...

What an awesome cemetery. Even moreso because of the ferals who live there.

Anonymous said...

MORBID?? ooooh noooo way! To see how much people love and cherish their MOST BELOVED CATS is just the beautiful thing I have ever seen! Oh it should NEVER close! Why dont they contact other cat lovers & collect donations for this wonderful place! There is a place like that out here on Long Island, You couldwalk thru there for hours on end & read the phenomenal love that lives on for these precious pets! When my darling Lhasa, Niko & my beloved Himalayan Sammy went to Rainbow Bridge I was fortunate enuf to be able to have a beautiful square black granite box with an etching of their darling faces to keep their ashes in..for each of them...I have them in my room & set their most favorite toys right next to these special little boxes. Morbid? I hardly THINK so!!!

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