'Bad taste' cat-skin rug auction upsets animal advocates

By Kiri Gillespie -
The ginger tabby was found dead on the Napier-Taupo highway. Photo / Supplied
The ginger tabby was found dead on the Napier-Taupo highway. Photo / Supplied

The sale of a stuffed cat as a taxidermic skin rug has upset animal advocates who say the TradeMe auction is in bad taste and disturbing.

The ginger tabby is being sold online as a "great little gift for the man-cave". Bids close tonight at 8pm.

Tauranga taxidermist Andrew Lancaster found the cat on the Napier-Taupo highway last month.

"I thought 'that's a pretty nice looking cat', did a u-turn and picked it up." He thought the cat must have been "run straight over" as there was no broken skin, but bruising inside.

"There's been about 2500 views. I usually get 100 views a week on some of my other items," he said.

Mr Lancaster's typical stuffed possums usually sold for about $70. By last night, $251 had already been bid for the cat.

Mr Lancaster also had some more "unique" creations in his collection at his Kaimai's home - such as a possum-headed chicken with vampire teeth or a small bird with the head of a child's doll.

The UK expat said he did not know who bought his work or why but he enjoyed creating them, despite backlash such as "you sicko" or "hope this happens to you".

"I just respond with a smiley face."

Mr Lancaster upset animal lovers when a picture of a doll's face on the body of a possum last year went viral.

He said he expected the same issue this time but was pleasantly surprised at feedback, including comment from an ethical vegetarian referring to the cat as "amazing art".

Despite the creation, Mr Lancaster said he usually stayed away from working on pets like cats and dogs.

"It puts a lot of people's backs up. If someone has known their pet all their life, it's very hard to get it right when you work on them."

Eliot Pryor, from animal advocacy organisation SAFE, said the sale of the cat was "extremely bad taste".

"But there is also something distasteful about the attitude shown to an animal once it has died, as the description is light hearted and not respectful," he said.

-APN

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