Lake Oswego cat may spend afterlife in space


LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. (KOIN) — Steve Munt refers to animal care as his joy. Before he retired, the Lake Oswego resident did work for NASA and wrote software for the Hubble Space Telescope.

Steve Munt, Feb. 26, 2019. (KOIN)

But since he retired, Munt became credentialed in animal nutrition and adopted 7 cats. One of his cats, Pikachu, was euthanized last month and now Munt plans to launch his cat’s ashes into space.

On its face, this might seem strange or silly. But Steve Munt’s decision comes from a place of sincerity and appreciation from people the world over.

Steve Munt's cat Zee in an undated photo. (Courtesy of Steve Munt)

Five years ago, one of his cats — Zee — was given just 9 months to live. But with the help of experimental stem cell therapy, Zee fought her way back.

“She’s considered by many to be a miracle cat,” he told KOIN 6 News. “I decided to start a Twitter account for Zee.”

He put some personality into the account. “Zee became a character. I personified Zee. Zee is actually a quantum physicist.”

Thousands of people began following Zee, cheering her and Munt’s other cats on.

On Twitter: @growingupzee

“Mowgli was stuck in another world, a parallel Earth,” he said, “and Pikachu was sent to the rescue.”

He noticed when he posted Pikachu, the likes and retweets would soar. But Pikachu had his own health problems — diabetes and pancreatitis — and was euthanized in mid-January.

Steve Munt's cat Pikachu passed away in January. (KOIN)

“There was just an incredible outpouring of support on Twitter. I have literally thousands of condolences.”

Munt wanted to memorialize Pikachu both for him and his supporters. With his NASA background, he began to think about space.

That’s when he found Celestis Memorial Spaceflights.

For $5000, the company will launch ashes into space on a satellite that can be tracked as it orbits Earth. Pikachu would be the first cat to make the journey.

Steve Munt's cat Pikachu in an undated photo. (Courtesy of Steve Munt)

“I don’t see this as something frivolous,” he told KOIN 6 News. “I see this, to me, it’s a very deeply effecting experience.”

He set up a GoFundMe for people who want to help pay for the launch and he’s raised close to $1000.

Munt has already taken in another cat, who like Pikachu, is a ginger with diabetes.

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