My mother has lost a few cats in the last year, and mine aren't getting any younger. Suffice to say, end-of-life planning has been on my mind.
The problem is... I don't want to have them cremated; I feel that deliberately destroying their bodies isn't respectful. (For similar reasons, I don't want to have them taxidermied.) I'd also somewhat prefer to take some steps to stave off decomposition, though e.g. mummification seems a bit extreme.
I also don't want to feel that I'm "not letting go"... but neither do I want to bury them in the yard or even in a local cemetary (my current residence doesn't have much in the way of emotional attachment and I almost certainly won't be staying here indefinitely).
What I'd like to do is either preserve them somehow such that I can set them aside until such time as I find a more satisfactory "permanent resting place".
Is there such a thing as embalming pets? Are there other ways to preserve a body without destroying most of it? (Encasing them in artificial amber or something similar? Irradiating in a sealed container? I'd consider formaldehyde, but I'd prefer something less fragile.)
I don't think it's productive to nitpick what "respectful" means. The purpose of this SE is to be useful to many people; if we sit here debating what it means to me, that will limit answers and limit this question's usefulness to others. Please just reply with alternatives (ones that are practical in the US — and not outrageously expensive; say, $5,000 or less — are preferred). The whole point is to know what options exist.
That said, here are some examples that are definitely not what I want:
- Cremation (immediate and total destruction of the body)
- "Sky burial" / leaving the body to be eaten by scavengers
- Taxidermy (oh so many reasons...)
Please refer back to the bold text above; methods that accomplish that objective are probably on the right track.
p.s. No, the body does not need to remain viewable.