- A TikTok creator’s 16-year-old black cat, Loki, was killed by a foster dog in February.
- Million are following along as TikToker Soren High documents the process of having Loki’s body freeze-dried.
- While many are effusive with support, others have criticized High’s orthodox grieving methods.
Over the past three months, High has documented the process of having the 16-year-old black cat freeze-dried. According to Animal Family Pet Preservation, which rendered the service, freeze-drying is an alternative to taxidermy, where cold temperatures are applied in a vacuum over a long time to remove moisture from body tissue.
“I knew I wanted to have [Loki] preserved the day I took her home,” High told Insider. “It was an immediate knowledge that we were going to be together forever.”
High first began posting about the plans in March and subsequently sent the corpse off to Ohio. They have since documented every step in the process, from packing up Loki’s coffin for shipping — complete with flowers and ice packs — to chronicling how to care for the freeze-dried corpse, including cleaning her glass eyes and maintaining her fur.
Several videos in the series have garnered millions of views. The most viral, where High unboxes Loki’s body, has 4.8 million.
“My cat arrived in the mail today if you’re ready to meet her,” High says at the top of that video as they’re seen opening the package and dissolving into tears holding Loki’s newly-preserved corpse.
High believes her cat would have wanted this memorial
Loki passed away in February in a tragic accident that High calls “the most traumatizing experience” of their life.
One night, when High was taking their foster dog for a walk, the large Dane mix lunged for a rabbit, and High lost control of his leash. But instead of going after the rabbit, the dog deviated and attacked Loki, who was sitting outside. The cat died on the way to the vet’s office, High told Insider.
Shortly after Loki died, High said their inclinations to have Loki preserved were affirmed while she was tripping on psychedelics. High “had an experience with [Loki’s] soul,” they told Insider, whereupon the cat condoned her preservation. “She told me to just love her and this was what I felt like loving her was.”
High ultimately opted for freeze-driying over taxidermy because it causes less harm to the body. It also “lasts a lot longer” and felt like “more humane practice,” they said. On TikTok, High explained that Loki hadn’t been skinned, and that all of her bones were still intact.
The procedure cost a total of $3,000, High told Insider, and the creator asked followers for donations in order to afford the costly venture. They ultimately raised $4,300 — with the remaining $1,300 going to two animal rescue organizations.
High said they were initially shocked and then warmed by Loki’s corpse
After they received the body, High was stunned by the finished product, including how all of the details — including Loki’s ear hair and bald eyebrows — had been perfectly depicted. She even smelled like herself, High said.
“I’ll admit it, it completely broke me at first,” High said of seeing her corpse for the first time. “And then you see how perfect and complete she is, and then suddenly you are whole again.”
In addition to Loki’s freeze-dried body, High has sought to memorialize the cat in several other ways. Loki’s heart was freeze-dried separately, and the rest of her organs were cremated to be stowed in a custom urn. High is also working with a ceramicist on Etsy to sculpt a pile of Loki’s food out of clay to be placed in her old food bowl.
For now, the creator is keeping Loki’s body on her bedside table, but is ultimately planning on displaying the cat on a shelf in the living room.
While most viewers have been supportive, others have criticized the unconventional way High is processing their grief. Most people wondered if seeing a dead pet’s body could be re-traumatizing.
“I could never do this. to see my boys face without him responding to me I’d be broken all over again,” wrote a top comment; “This would make my grieving process impossible,” another said.
Some have called the decision “strange,” and vile, and likened it to “demonic torture.”
But High said they chose to share the story to show viewers that freeze-drying was an option. And, most importantly, it was an option that soothed their mourning process.
“I think grief is incredibly complicated, and everyone’s going to do it a little bit differently,” High said. ” Whether this is grief or acceptance, I’m not sure. But I do know that everything in me said that she deserved this.”