EWTN Catholic Q&A
The churchs stance on animals having souls
Question from Jeffrey Pelkofer on 01-12-2013:

I would appreciate your - the church's religious and philosophical view of whether animals have a soul.

My wife and I have been discussing this for quite awhile with our not being able to come to a conclusion.

Are our perceptions of animals displaying love for each other, happiness when they play, or the grief they show at the loss of a loved one an anthromorphism as some believe, or are the animals behavior and sign of intellegence an indication that they have a soul?

Answer by Richard Geraghty on 02-28-2013:

Dear Jeffrey,

St. Thomas Aquinas maintains the all living things have souls, even plants. Aristotle thought the same thing. And since animals have senses and memory, they have a certain degree of intelligence. They are not robots or machines. They can give and receive affection. But they do not have rational souls as we humans do. Consequently, their souls do not survive after death. Our souls do.