What Is Pet Reincarnation? Processes Across Cultures 

Updated June 25, 2021
Pet Reincarnation

Can pets be reincarnated? Can people who have died come back as an animal? Are souls incarnated in animal forms before they become human? Animal and pet reincarnation are difficult to prove, since the animals aren't talking. But there are cultures and religions that believe in animal reincarnation. Discover what other people believe and come to your own conclusion.

Is Pet Reincarnation Real?

Reincarnation is the process in which a soul is born into a new body after its previous body has died. There are many stories of human reincarnation as well as a great deal of evidence suggesting reincarnation is a real phenomenon. When it comes to pet and animal reincarnation, however, it's a bit more difficult to find evidence as humans can't simply sit down with an animal and ask about its experiences. Animal communicators can, however, and they suggest that pet reincarnation is something that happens; a beloved pet that dies may return in the body of another pet--either to the same people or different people.

And while pet psychics indicate this is a possibility for pets, there are also cultures with specific beliefs about animal reincarnation.

African Beliefs

The clearest belief in pet reincarnation is in Africa, where the overwhelming ideology is death isn't an end of life, but instead is the continuation of one's life force under a different form. That "different form" is actually a new body that lives upon the earth in the invisible realm known as "the community of the ancestors." In time, the ancestors either reincarnate into the human form of a newborn child, or they can transmigrate into animal form, usually the animal that represents their ethnic clan. This is a reincarnation by choice.

However, the Zulu people believe in that a soul is first born as a lesser animal, such as an insect or rodent, and then through living and dying follows a path of spiritual evolution until the first human birth, which is followed by multiple human rebirths.

Hinduism and Buddhism

Hinduism or Buddhism also have beliefs in animal reincarnation. In these faiths, the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth is called saṃsāra. In these belief systems, a soul's karma evolves based on all acts and behaviors in each life. And the type of life they live then determines the life form to which they will reincarnate. Returning as an animal is a possibility if one has excessive negative karma, as many animals are viewed as lesser life forms. But souls that evolve spiritually can eventually achieve a state of spiritual perfection, escaping the process of reincarnation completely and existing at the highest divine state of being forever. Buddhist legends are filled with examples of Buddha in various incarnations that include animals such as a hare and an elephant.

Egyptian Reincarnation Beliefs

According to Greek historians, the Egyptians believed that the soul progresses through different levels of animal existence before being born as a human. According to Egyptian beliefs, important people could return in the form of different animals if they so wished.

American short hair cat

Animals and Reincarnation

There's no proof for animal reincarnation, but there isn't proof against it either. If animals have souls like people do, then it makes sense that animal souls can also reincarnate either by choice or as a matter of spiritual law. So while you may never know for sure if your current pet has the same soul as the one you had as a child, what matters is the bond you share.

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What Is Pet Reincarnation? Processes Across Cultures