The online sale of a cat that has been stuffed and turned into a rug has upset animal advocates who say the auction is disturbing and in bad taste.
The ginger tabby is being sold online as a "great little gift for the mancave". Bids close tonight.
Tauranga taxidermist Andrew Lancaster found the large male cat on the side of the Napier and Taupo highway, on the way back from a concert last month.
"I thought 'that's a pretty nice looking cat', did a U-turn and picked it up," he said.
Mr Lancaster thought the cat must have been "run straight over" as there was no broken skin, but bruising inside, he said. Since the cat was listed, interest in it "has gone ballistic".
"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, bidding was sitting at $251 for the cat. The auction will close at 8pm tonight.
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 online backlash which included being called "you sicko" or being told "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 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."
Trade Me comments
blackbettie: "Poor kitty-cat. However, I think it's very cool that you have made his life worth something by creating a piece of amazing art . . . I'm an animal lover and also collect vintage Victorian taxidermy. I'm also a vegetarian for ethical reasons. I'm not offended at all by this art installation and would encourage those that are offended by this to question themselves why .... this was created from a long dead animal. Upcycling!"
vixter: "Maybe send it to Gareth Morgan!"
akdm: Gross :(
tremcat: "That's the best cat ever, don't have to feed it. and it dosn't eat native birds "
- Trade Me
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