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You know that scene in The Lion King where Simba is lying under the stars with Pumbaa and Timon, and the lion tells the other two that he believes all those twinkling specks in the night sky are actually his feline ancestors? This is like that. Sort of.
Space geek Steve Munt wants his cat Pikachu, who recently lost his battle with diabetes, to be among those stars. Pikachu’s ashes will be flown into space for an out-of-this-world memorial. While a live cat has gone beyond the atmosphere before, Pikachu will be the first one to go to space in spirit, and the first cat ever to orbit the planet (albeit also in spirit).
“Pikachu will have a final send-off like no cat has ever had before,” Munt says on the GoFundMe page for the orange tabby’s memorial. “A portion of his remains, from his heart, will be launched into orbit, where he will watch over the Earth, and we can track his location as he showers the world with love.”
Celestis is a company that actually does this — for both animal and human memorials. While only $1,535 of the $5,000 goal has been raised, Munt has already paid for the memorial with his own savings. Pikachu’s ashes will stay in a container that floats around Earth until it gets vaporized when it eventually re-enters the atmosphere. Celestispets.com compares this sendoff to a shooting star, and in a way, it is.
Munt is eagerly awaiting a date for Pikachu’s remains to be launched into space as a small secondary payload that takes off with a satellite. Pikachu was also an angel on Earth, supporting Munt’s other cat, Zee, as she fought chronic kidney disease. Celestis has already launched the remains of two dogs, Apollo and Laika, into space, but never a cat.
The first cat to actually see space through her own eyes was French stray Félicette in 1963, who even found out what it was like to feel weightless in zero-G when she soared 100 miles above Earth. Maybe Pikachu will meet up with her somewhere out there.