A heartbroken woman spent £4k having her beloved cat stuffed looking like it’s curled up in its basket – and insists it’s the best decision she ever made.
Harriet Peace, 28, was gutted when her pet pal Tango died after being hit by a car in September 2021.
And the nursing assistant couldn’t stand the thought of burying her cat – which she said was “like her child” – so opted to have him preserved.
The process took seven months and Tango had to be sent down to a special business in London.
But, after collecting him last month, Harriet says it was worth every penny of the £4,000 price tag – and it’s the best thing she ever did.
Harriet, from Mauchline, Ayrshire, said: “When Tango died, I was devastated – I couldn’t bring myself to have him cremated.
“When someone mentioned taxidermy it sounded like the perfect way for him to be with me forever.
“I was really nervous when I dropped him off because I was worried he would look different and I would have made the wrong decision.
“But when I picked him up it was all worth it.
“He looks so realistic. He’s exactly how he was and I’m so happy I have him here to remember him.
“Everyone jumps to the conclusion it is disgusting or degrading or prevents an animal from being at peace, but it’s done very respectfully.
“If you had the chance to have your pet preserved how it was before for the rest of your life, wouldn’t you do it?
“It is the best decision I ever could have made.”
Harriet was left completely distraught after Tango tragically died on September 12 last year.
But despite being hit by a car, Harriet said the cat had no visible injuries and he just looked asleep.
She decided she couldn’t bear the thought of her pet being buried or cremated and was unsure what to do – until someone suggested taxidermy.
The process involves preserving an animal’s body to remain looking life-like and only a select few businesses in the country offer it for pets.
Harriet said: “He was like my child, it was a huge loss to me.
“He had been through so much with me and I thought I’d have him for at least ten years – he was my wee sidekick.
“Taxidermy sounded like the perfect way for him to be with me forever.”
She said her ex-partner, who she formerly shared Tango with, was horrified by the idea – but that didn’t stop her.
Harriet put Tango in the freezer straight away and soon after, she was travelling from her home in Scotland all the way down to specialists Get Stuffed in London.
The procedure involves using different oils and chemicals to preserve the body correctly and takes seven months.
But heartbroken by the loss of Tango, she was convinced it was the right decision and began the process so she could have him back at home as soon as possible.
She chose to get Tango in a sleeping position with his eyes closed, so the specialists wouldn’t need to put fake ones in.
Not everyone agreed with her decision – and Harriet told how told how many people thought it was a bad idea.
She said: “I thought it was an amazing thing to do, but I learnt quickly that everyone has different views on it.”
Despite brushing off negative opinions, Harriet said as time passed waiting for Tango to be ready to bring home, she did grow concerned she had made a bad decision.
“I got really quite scared at points,” she said. “You don’t really know what to expect.”
But when the time came on April 26, she went and picked Tango up from London to bring him home.
And as soon as she saw him, all her worries disappeared.
Harriet added: “I couldn’t believe it. His fur and everything – it was amazing. He is so realistic.”
Harriet wants to help challenge some of the mixed, and often negative, thoughts about taxidermy – and encourage people who can afford it to consider it.
She claims the ‘bad rep’ that taxidermy often gets – with people thinking it is disgusting, or offensive, or disrespectful to the animal – is totally unwarranted.
Harriet said: “You hear a lot of bad things, and it costs a lot of money, so I was worried.
“But as soon as I walked in and saw him sat with all the other cats I just knew he was absolutely perfect.
“Tango is exactly how he was. It’s not for everyone but honestly, I couldn’t thank the man who did it enough.
“After losing my best friend it’s the best gift anyone could give me. It’s the best decision I ever made.”