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Global Ideas

Catfight over taxidermy feline purse

A New Zealand-based taxidermist has feline lovers up in arms over her handbag made from a dead ginger cat.

Cat-lovers in New Zealand got their backs up recently over the online auction of a handbag made from the pelt and head of a stray feline.

The "real glamour puss purse" fetched NZ$545 (US$399) on the online auction house, Trade Me but not everyone was impressed with taxidermist Claire Third's work, with some commenters on the site calling it "sick" and disrespectful to animals.

Third, who lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, brushed off the criticism, saying the animal was not a pet and was found dead in the countryside.

"A lot of people think I'm a cat hater, animal hater - I'm absolutely not. I'm the softest thing out there when it comes to animals," Third told Fairfax New Zealand. "To spend all that time on tanning and sculpture and making it brand new shows the utmost respect."

Most of the animals Third uses in her work come from friends who shoot pests on official natures reserves. The taxidermist said she rarely finds an animal on the road but when she does, she stores it in her freezer. She then puts up notices to see if an owner claims it and checks community notice-boards for lost pets.

Third, who describes herself as "really squeamish," told Kiwi media she is an artist and started learning taxidermy about 15 years ago. She has a host of other animal creations in her home and up for grabs on Trade Me, including a chicken-cat hybrid and a "unicorn."

The Kiwi says the parts of the animal she uses in her work, depends on what is salvageable. In the case of the cat-bag, "he had a particularly nice face, and the rest of him was squashed," she said.

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