When animals die, do they go to heaven?


Good Morning,

New poster here. I was wondering what the thoughts are about when an animal dies, to they go to Heaven? I had a 16 1/2 year old cat that passed away in March and am often finding myself wondering if she is in Heaven. I would like to think that all of God’s creatures go there, but I don’t want Him to think I am being sacreligious. Any thoughts?



No offense, but I sure hope the cat in my house doesn’t. She is a mean nasty thing and the last thing I want to see in heaven. However, knowing God’s sense of humor, I’ll probably spend eternity changing heaven’s litter boxes.


I am sorry for the loss of your beloved pet-- I too had a well-loved cat die not too long ago. However, in answer to your question:

Only Man has a spiritual soul created in the image of God. Animals have only a material soul-- the animating life-force all living things have.

The Beatific Vision is the destiny of Man and the angels, not animals.

From the Catechism:

343 Man is the summit of the Creator’s work, as the inspired account expresses by clearly distinguishing the creation of man from that of the other creatures.

356 Of all visible creatures **only man is “able to know and love his creator”. **He is “the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake”, and he alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God’s own life. It was for this end that he was created, and this is the fundamental reason for his dignity

2415 The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity. Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man’s dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.

2416 Animals are God’s creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals.

2417 God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image. Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives.

2418 It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.


Thanks for the answers, but do you think God will be mad at me, or is it a sin to hope I see her again someday? Thanks again!!


God understands that we come to love our pets dearly. In time, your grief and attachment to this pet will fade to a fond remembrance.


All dogs go to heaven.

Cats - not so much.


Seriously, nothing in the catechism quotes above rules out life beyond this world for animals. I would also say that, not being dogs/cats/monkeys, etc, ourselves - we can only speculate about their relationship with God, and their understanding of God.

The fact is that the belief that animals don’t have souls has been used as an excuse for every kind of abuse you can imagine. And the idea that I should withhold medical care from my cocker spaniel because there is a poor person somewhere who needs that $100 is absurd. By that logic, we should all be walking around in sack cloth.

The catechism is trying put man in a special place, rightly - not trying to equate dogs and cats and dolphins with rocks and trees.


Absolutely not a sin!

I believe we WILL see our pets again someday. Heaven is perfect, and some of my pets tried to make my life perfect, so I believe they will be there.

In fact, my beloved Black Lab is chasing tennis balls being thrown by some angel right now!


CCC 356 quoted above deals directly with this and precludes your assessment. It clearly states that man alone was created to share in God’s own life-- and that is the Beatific Vision (Heaven).

It’s not a “belief” it’s a doctrine of the Church that man alone has a spiritual soul

However, CCC 2416-2418 address abuse of animals. It is contrary to Chruch teaching.

CC 2418 addresses this.

No one said that dogs and cats are equated to rocks and trees. However, they are not equated to Man either. And, Man alone is destined for the Beatific Vision.


It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery.

Sorry Ike, but this frankly is a bizarre statement in the CCC. I’m hoping it’s a mistranslation.

Taking this to its logical conclusion, we can easily derive that purchasing a pet in the first place is against Catholic doctrine - since this would initially, and at all points in its life, necessitate spending money on it.

So, is every dog and cat owner in the world going against Catholic doctrine?


It’s not bizarre at all.

Actually, this is not the logical conclusion. Feeding animals, giving the shelter, and detering dangerous diseases (i.e. rabies) through vaccinating animals is not contrary at all to church teaching. CCC2416 and CCC2417 address this.

CCC2418 is talking about *excessive *expenses such as exhausting thousands of dollars to treat a pet’s disease/injury; pet “spas” where owners pay hundreds of dollars for pet massages and facials; pet clothing and accessories that have become so rampant today (dog sunglasses, dog dresses, dog collars with real gemstones, etc); pet restaurants/food stores with luxury pet foods; and yes even pet plastic surgery that has begun to be popular.

This type of excess is giving pets affection due only to humans (CCC2418).

CCC 2416 - 2418 make it clear that they do not.


It does not use the term “excessive”. You added that. It says “spend money on them”.


Wow! Thanks so much for all of the input. It really means alot that you all took the time to read my silly dilemma. I just love all animals (except mice. LOL :smiley: ) and wanted to make sure I wasn’t disrespecting God in any way. :angel1:


I have said this before, but I will tell you now. My grandmother once told me, when I asked her the same questions, that whatever we need in Heaven to be happy, we will have. I know my beloved pets are waiting for me there.


In context, yes it does mean excessive. The CCC and all Church teaching form a cohesive whole. One sentence does not Church teaching make.

CCC 2418 states one must not give to animals that due only to humans. CCC2417 makes clear that one may domesticate animals for work or leisure.

If one domesticates an animal one must feed and house it. However, one may not cross the line and begin giving to that animal, and spending money on that animal, the types of things due *only *to humans.

Also, the Catechism is a summary of doctrine. I would encourage you to read also the source documents from which these summary statements come-- which are footnoted in the Catechism-- perhaps that will give you a more full understanding.


I’m hoping, right now, to see my beloved pets when I die. I know that they do not (currently) possess ‘immortal’ souls. But on reading Scripture (and prayerfully considering the life, words and works of St. Francis, to whom all creatures were ‘brothers and sisters’), I do believe that God’s plan for all (which we certainly do not know in its entirety) may include a ‘heavenly’ or ‘natural heaven’ place for His (and my) beloved ‘furries’, and if it is His will, loved pets and their ‘people’ will be reunited after death.


Sorry I disagree. I think that God has said that he takes care of all of his creatures, whether they would share in a human beatific vision or not.

“beauty” as a concept also is not human and technically should not share in the beatific vision, but I’m sure it will be in heaven.

Nothing in the Cathechism directly states either way.


It’s not a silly question at all.

We must always remember that Man and animals are not the same in the created order. It’s not wrong to love pets, but it is wrong to apply to them attributes that are contrary to Church teaching. As much as we may wish animals has spiritual souls, they do not.


Ike, what is due ‘only’ to humans? Maybe some of the posters are misunderstanding your words. I mean, not even ‘humans’ are really ENTITLED to spas, bling, and plastic surgery, right?


Well, I can give some examples.

We are not to love our pets the same way we love our children or spouse. Fido is not on par with your child. If you have to choose between the two-- Fido goes and there is no reason to feel *bad *about giving him away to the SPCA.

We should also not ascribe human emotions to our pets-- such as that they “love us” the way we love other people. Pet do not have intellect and will-- a spiritual soul-- and therefore do not “love” the way humans love.

Recently there was a thread on putting your life in danger for a pet-- that would be undue affection.

It means acribing to pets that which they do not have: an eternal soul in need of salvation; intellect and will; etc; and treating them accordingly, such as spending large amounts of money on them.

The supreme example of giving pets affection due only to persons (or God) is the statement (which is frequently made whenever the topic of pets in heaven comes up on this board): “If there are no pets in heaven, I don’t want to go to heaven.”

Um… that shows a complete lack of understanding of personhood, heaven, God, and the order of creation. It is completely insane to make a statement such as that-- “I don’t want eternal salvation if Fido won’t be in Heaven”.

And, yet, I see it EVERY time this topic comes up. Some people are beyond reason in this area, and that to me embodies exactly what the Church is cautioning against.

Entitled doesn’t enter into it. No one is entitled to anything, including life. That is a gift freely given from God.

However, it is not *wrong *to give these types of things as gifts to another person (spa day, jewelry, clothing, etc).

Edited to add: Plastic surgery is covered elsewhere in the Catechism as it applies to humans (restorative versus cosmetic) and the “cult of the body”.

And, yes, it could be morally problematic to spend excessively on humans, too. That is also covered elsewhere in the Catechism.


If there is one thing Cathechism teaches, then it is that God does His Will in any way He chooses.

While humans have been made “in image of God”, this does not interfere with the fact that God can do whatever He pleases. Cathechism is the book of strong and strict beliefs, however many of them have “open ends”- for example, Cathechism teaches that people who have mortal sin in the moment of their death are doomed to hell- yet Cathechism clearly states that people who commit suicide are not considered to be in hell. This is further explained that God has ways, unknown to us, on which He can do His Will- and only He can truely judge whether salvation is given or not.

Is hoping your pet will enter Heaven wrong? Not really- actually, if we remember how God told us that “those who are like children will enter Heaven” then we understand that simplicity and honesty of any kind in our heart is welcome- including the mentioned topic.

On the other hand, keep in mind that taking care of animals must never be in front of taking care of humans. One thing is buying food for your pet, the other is paying hundreds for five star-pet hotel with swimming pool.

Many heroes of the Holy Scripture showned care both for people and for pets. When prophet wanted to test David’s faith, he asked what to do to a person which stole poor man’s sheep and killed it. David said that man deserves death, since he knew what the this sheep meant to poor man- and prophet considered this as an act of rightousness.

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