LAKE OSWEGO, OR (KOIN/CNN) - A cat in Oregon that was put to sleep last month may go where no other deceased feline has gone before.
The cat's owner wants to send his ashes to space.
Steve Munt, who previously did work for NASA, writing software for the Hubble space telescope, refers to animal care as his joy.
Since retiring, he's gotten credentials in animal nutrition and adopted seven cats.
"This is my retirement passion project, in animal, cat care and animal nutrition,” he said.
Five years ago, one of his cats, Zee, was given just nine months to live, but fought her way back with the help of experimental stem cell therapy.
"She's considered by many to be a miracle cat,” he said. “I decided to start a Twitter account for Zee. Zee became a character. I personified Zee. Zee is actually a quantum physicist."
Thousands of people started following the account, cheering on Zee and Munt’s other cats.
He noticed when he posted Pikachu, the likes and retweets would soar.
But soon, Pikachu had his own health problems, stemming from diabetes, and was euthanized in mid-January.
"There was just an incredible outpouring of support on Twitter,” Munt said. “I have literally thousands of condolences."
Munt wanted to memorialize Pikachu, both for him and his supporters. And with his NASA background, he started thinking about space, and found Celestis Memorial Spaceflights.
For $5,000, 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.
Munt has set up a GoFundMe page that, so far, has raised more than $1,200 of the $5,000 to get Pikachu to space.
"I don't see this as something frivolous,” he said. “You know, to me, it's a very deeply affecting experience for me.”
Pikachu is a few decades late to be the first cat sent to space. France actually launched a living cat, Felicette, into space in 1963. Remarkably, she returned safe and sound.