WARNING: The photos in the post may upset some people.
Some people believe in reincarnation, but no one predicted this cat would be a bag in its next life.
New Zealand taxidermist Claire Third took a dead feline and turned it into a shoulder bag — and yes, someone bought it.
The Christchurch-based artist sold the bizarre accessory on online marketplace Trade Me last Wednesday for the equivalent of C$524.
The piece, which she nicknamed Tom, is part of her "Glamourpuss Summer Collection on the catwalk," according to a label on the back of the purse.
"A very stylish handbag ...for the girl that has everything, a one-off purse that will grab attention wherever you go," read the listing.
Third told New Zealand news website Stuff that Tom was roadkill, and that after she found him, she put him in the freezer for three months while she checked community notices about lost pets.
She opted to turn him into a bag, she told the BBC, because "he had a particularly nice face, and the rest of him was squashed."
After the creation was finished — a process that took 300 hours — it sat in her freezer for about seven years before she decided to auction it off, Third told the BBC.
She initially listed it for the equivalent of C$1347, but dropped the starting bid to around $1 after criticism.
'It isn't a pet'
In an interview with CBC's As It Happens, Third said many people charged that Tom might have been someone's pet. She said she seriously doubted that, saying he looked like a feral cat.
"I can understand why they find it offensive, but it isn't a pet, that's the thing," she said.
"It's a wild feral animal that decimates our native bird population, so, that's the actuality of it. I never, ever do pets."
A lot of buzz around the cat bag was negative.
"That is sick !! I love animals and you are totally disrespecting them !!!" was a common comment.
But the taxidermist creates a lot of odd items that go beyond your standard bear head.
Claire Third is also selling this, which she describes as "an amazing unicorn, the only one in the world," on Trade Me. Bids start at the equivalent of C$6200. (Photo: Trade Me)
Canterbury Television profiled Third for a mini-documentary back in 2010, and showed off some of her creations, which included cats with bird wings and what looked like a half-duck, half-cat creature.
In the documentary, she said she always tried to find dead pets' owners before using them in her art.
She also maintained that she's never run over a cat herself.
New creation is now up for auction
Interested buyers now have another chance to own a cat bag. Proving that any press is good press, Third is auctioning off another "pussy purse" on Trade Me, this time a black and white feline dyed pink. She wrote that it's the only other cat bag in her collection.
But the starting bid is a lot higher this time — the equivalent of C$1347. We bet it'll sell for even more.
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