Do Cats Go to Heaven? Theological Perspective

By Charalampos •  Updated: 03/30/23 •  6 min read

Have you ever wondered what happens to our beloved family cats after they pass away? Many Christians wonder: Do cats go to heaven?

This has been a hotly debated question for years – and there are many different opinions on the topic.

In today’s blog post, we’ll explore the various theological perspectives from scripture and talk about the concept of afterlife for animals, dives into how other creatures may or may not have souls, and discuss the opinions of the Church Fathers.

The Soul of A Cat

Soul of A Cat

There is no direct answer to this question in the Bible, but there are passages that suggest that animals will exist again after the apocalypse.

Harmony Between All Animals

For example, in Isaiah 11:6-8, we read about a future time when all animals will exist with each other in peace. It says “the leopard will lie down with the goat”, which is very close to a cat.

Overall God doesn’t make difference between the types of animals, so we can be sure this verse speaks about cats as well. It also says that a little child will lead them, which can show that animals will be close to people.

This verse shows that there will be full harmony between animals and that they will exist on the new earth.

God Cares For All Creatures

Psalm 104 speaks of the Lord’s care for all creatures, including animals. The Psalmist writes that God gives water to all animals, for example for donkeys and birds.

This makes the world beautiful and the birds start singing because of it. We can assume that since God loves and cares about animals, He won’t stop the existence of their souls, although the difference between a soul of an animal and a human is obvious.

It is believed that people can strive for the love of God, and make decisions between good and evil. Animals are not capable of this, at least because of their instincts. Also, this world was created for humans, not for animals, and the Savior was sent to save people.

This is the difference between the nature of the human soul and the soul of an animal. Animals were given to man for use, and man became their master.

However, from that verse, we can understand that animals are important to God and that they are included in His care.

Will Animals Be in Heaven? 

Animals Be in Heaven

The book of Revelation describes a vision of heaven. Based on it we can assume that animals will exist in heaven.

John writes about the four living creatures (Revelation 5:6). The “four creatures” are described in Revelation 4:6-8 as a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle. While these may be symbolic representations, which show the power of God, they can show that animals will be in heaven.

There is also one passage in the book of Ecclesiastes which says that people can’t know whether a soul of a person will be in heaven and the soul of a beast will go down into the earth. (Ecclesiastes 3:21).

This verse shows that animals have a spirit that goes somewhere after death, but it doesn’t specify where. The nature of an animal’s soul remains a secret and people can’t fully comprehend it.

Another passage that shows animals have a place in the afterlife is found in the book of Revelation. It says that every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea will have an endless afterlife.” (Revelation 5:13).

This verse shows that all creatures, including animals, will give glory to God.

The Bible primarily focuses on the salvation of human souls and doesn’t provide much detail on the afterlife of animals. However, based on the Bible we can be sure all animals will have a second life, just like whole nature.

The Opinion of The Church Fathers

Opinion of The Church Fathers on Do Cats Go to Heaven

Saint Basil the Great believed that animals have souls and will be resurrected along with humans in the afterlife. However, this resurrection will have another nature, unlike the resurrection of humans.

He wrote: “Basil the Great says that animals, too, will receive resurrection, but it will be a kind of reproduction, not a genuine resurrection since they have no soul that is capable of judgment” (St. John of Damascus, An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, Chapter 26).

Saint John of Damascus shared a similar view and used the quotes of Basil the Great to prove his opinion.

He wrote: “Moreover, Basil the Great says that animals will be resurrected and that even they will participate in the joy of the righteous” (St. John of Damascus, An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, Chapter 27).

It shows that animals will feel joy together with humans. People will be happy because of God’s love, animals will probably feel that love too. Most probably the animals which were close to people won’t be far away from the owners.

A Different Perspective: Animals Are Soulless

On the other hand, some Orthodox theologians said that animals don’t have souls and therefore can’t go to heaven.

They cite the fact that humans are created in the image of God, while animals are not, as evidence that animals can’t participate in the afterlife.

For example, Saint Gregory Palamas said: “Beasts, being irrational, do not have souls; for in the sacred Scripture the term ‘soul’ is used only of rational creatures. For the irrational animal does not have the breath of life, by which Scripture signifies the soul” (St. Gregory Palamas, The Triads, Second Triad, Chapter III).

This quote supports the opinion that a soul of an animal is much different from a soul of a person. An animal can’t control emotions and instincts, unlike people. However, it’s still a creature of God that deserves love, and therefore will be resurrected in its own way.

Final Thoughts

It can be concluded that there are different opinions about the question. We know that animals have another soul in comparison with humans.

There is also a belief in the Christian tradition that animals may have a place in the afterlife, though they weren’t created in the image of God, they can be still resurrected.

Based on this information, we can assume that the cats will also have a second life and will be together with people.

St. Gregory Palamas, The Triads, Second Triad, Chapter III (1)
St. John of Damascus, An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, Chapter 26-27 (2)


Charalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.

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