The love that exists between me and my cat, Daisy, runs deep but often feels one-sided. She is my constant companion, the best little roommate, a fickle presence whose affection I chase daily, only to be rebuffed at every turn. It is not that she wanted to be picked by me, necessarily, but she was, and so we are locked in an arrangement that will end only when she shuffles off this mortal coil. A fitting end to my time with this cat, who seems to merely tolerate my presence? Taxidermy, naturally!
My inspiration for this idea is Luisa Zissman, a British equestrian and TV presenter who had her horse, Mandrano, stuffed and mounted after he was put down due to cancer. I read about Zissman and Mandrano while idly petting Daisy, in an attempt to smooth over any hurt feelings that resulted from an earlier grooming session. Zissman’s story stirred something within me. “I can’t describe the overwhelming heartbreak when Madrono died I spent a week in bed and got stress induced vertigo 🙈 (pathetic I know),” she wrote on Instagram, in a caption accompanying the video of the horse’s reveal.
Part of my pre-grieving process is to remind Daisy that one day, she will no longer exist. According to the vet, she needs to lose 3 pounds and eat one sardine a day for her hair, but she is otherwise healthy. Still, I know the score. Our time together will come to an end, and I know that I will react in a similar fashion. I will take to my bed, I will be despondent, even as I spend the next few months picking up clumps of cat fur from the rug, the sofa, and the duvet.
Though I have made the joke many times that when Daisy kicks the bucket, I will make her into a little muff, I know that I couldn’t bear the thought of the process. Taxidermy’s process is something I also don’t want to think about, but the end result would be something similar to what you see above. Unfortunately, a quick search revealed that taxidermy is prohibitively expensive, but if British equestrians are getting their horses taxidermied, maybe there is room in the market for a disruption of this vital service, so that more people can experience their pet’s eternal love. People like me.
Daisy’s never really been an active animal per se, preferring to lay down on the ground and sigh heavily, just like her mother. Having a stuffed version of Daisy lurking in the corner of the living room where I sometimes accidentally step on her because I didn’t see her there would be very similar to having the real deal.
Perhaps it would ease my transition, letting me grieve by moving my stuffed cat around the apartment until I no longer feel the need to see her. Then she could live in the closet, back by my sweaters, lurking like a reminder of our pleasant times together, where I chased her love for over a decade, and she simply stared at me, blinked, and went back to sleep.