A Box For Rags – Part One

Silver Box (in progress) For Rags' Ashes On My Mantel
Silver Box (in progress) For Rags’ Ashes On My Mantel
One thing I have learned from losing my Rags, my 19.5 Ragdoll cat who passed on March 30, 2009, is that people handle death differently.  In fact, I watched a documentary one time about how death is handled around the world and found it fascinating!  I wish I could remember the name of it, but I don’t.  Nonetheless, the way I have chosen to handle Rags’ death might seem strange or unique, but that’s how I am comfortable with it. I am taking a Metalsmithing class this summer and for those of you that are friends with me on Facebook, you have seen that I have been slowly posting stuff that I have been making. Right now I am working on a box for Rags’ ashes.  My plan is that when I die, I want my ashes mixed with his and then I want them scattered about in New Mexico or the Caribbean – two places I feel are the most beautiful places in the world. In the mean time, though I have to figure out where to store Rags’ ashes.  So I decided to make a box out of Sterling Silver to put Rags’ ashes in, so that I could also display it on my mantel (which my boyfriend thinks is totally weird) with the photo of Rags taken by Elaina G Photography in 2006.
Box for Rags - Start
Box for Rags – Start
The box started as flat sheet metal and cost $303 for the sheet metal alone.  My design inspirtation was a 1 – cup measuring cup from Williams Sonoma. I had taken the bag of Rags’ ashes to make sure that it would fit in the measuring cup, and so it did. The first step was to get the side piece in a circle – and when you’re dealing with 18 guage metal, that’s not a lot of fun. Nonetheless, after a lot of pounding, I was successful in my attempt.  Then I soldered on the bottom of the box – with the help of my professor who is a solder mastermind.
Rags' Box With Bottom Only
Rags’ Box With Bottom Only
After I soldered on the bottom, it was time to cut off the top, so that I could solder on the lid.  Sawing through a circular piece is not terribly fun – but I only broke one blade! The photo to the right shows that I had made the indent for the top, but I had yet to cut it out.  Since I measured the length I needed for Rags’ ashes to fit inside, I knew how high the top could be and that’s how I decided to make it that height. I did debate whether or not to share this with my readers – but then thought that every time something with Rags happens, I am going to share it because, quite frankly, this website wouldn’t exist and had he not existed – as he was my inspiration for this site in more ways than one!  So I hope you don’t mind me sharing this box with you.
Box with Rags' Ashes Inside
Box with Rags’ Ashes Inside
Now, I am at the point where I need to solder on the lid and then figure out a way to secure the lid and the bottom, so that it can stay shut indefinitely at this point. So here’s what’s left to do:
  1. Add the lid
  2. Cut off the square bits of metal – as this box is going to round – the circle of life is the idea with that.
  3. Secure the lid and the bottom portion somehow
  4. Add copper wire decoration
  5. Add Rags’ silver paw to the top of the lid – to use as a pull to take off the lid
  6. Polish and finish
Side View Of Rags' Box Without Lid Finished
Side View Of Rags’ Box Without Lid Finished
You might have noticed that this post said, “Part One” – so there is more to come.  Let me know if you have any recommendations!
Website | + posts

Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

Similar Posts


  1. Dementia Boy says:

    When you can’t yet say (thank you for dancing with me as long as you could), sometimes fiction helps:


    I kept everybody’s ashes on the mantel until the cats knocked them over playing leapfrog. Now the cats are ashes, too.

    Ashes don’t look like ashes, not the powdery charcoal of Ash Wednesday. They feel like kitty litter. Maybe that’s why some cats don’t use litterboxes; they sense friends, mortality.

    Now everybody’s ashes are mixed together in a big Walmart bag until I find the perfect container, something interactive, a plexiglass ball or hourglass. Sometimes I close my eyes and sift the ashes through my fingers, trying to remember the scents of Beth, Mama, Muffin.

    1. i need to go to bed – it’s 1:23am and I have a 9am conference call…

      omg on the leapfrog!

      yes, i made my sister look at rags’ ashes, as she was all freaked out and i said, “they look like sand from the Caribbean.” and they do to me.

      don’t think i could sift the ashes with my fingers – not because i find it gross, but rather because i hate a dry/caulky feeling on my skin.

  2. My first love, Murphy, was a beautiful white/cream Scottish Fold. I got him right after I graduated from college, May of 1991. I also lost him to old age in March, 2009.

    Three years ago, I rescued a kitten from petfinder.com who looks like a maine coon and ragdoll mix. When I had to leave town for three months to help a family member, I found out that Milo, the sweet, motorized purr/fluffball kitty (who slept at the top of my pillow with his front legs on my shoulders,) had adopted my daughter.

    I was glad he had done that for her, but I remain unforgiven. He didn’t even return to me when my daughter got a new kitten and locked him out of her room at night!
    After three years of mourning Murphy, I was finally at the point of considering another straight-ear fold, especially since Milo was so unforgiving.

    Max was the sweetest, most loving kitten and would not stop cuddling me (!). . . until my four-year-old fell and landed on him. He was fine, physically, but her screams and the freak-out fest of the two neighbor girls with her, Max became so skittish. It has been slow-going, but I am doing absolutely everything to regain his trust. I don’t know if he’ll ever stop being so aloof, but he will come out and sit in the same room with me after everyone has gone to bed.

    I guess I just felt the need to email you because as I was reading about your kitty Rags, I burst into tears missing Murphy . . .again. I, too, have ashes. My husband thinks I’m nuts to want Murphy and keep him, but encouraged me to get M’s ashes in hopes I’d somehow be better about him passing.

    I just don’t think I will ever truly “get over” losing him. My biggest fear is that I will never again love that much. Murphy taught me about unconditional love and I belonged to him as much as he belonged to me. I got him before husband, before kids, before other pets, and I am glad to know that there are not just cat lovers, but there are a few people who loved their #1 pet like I did.

    1. Oh that’s so sweet – thanks for sharing! My mom has a cat named Murphy! I hope your Max and your Milo come around. You never know!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.