Taxidermist auctions off cat-skin rug
Taxidermist Andrew Lancaster has stuffed everything from possums to a giraffe, so when he saw a ''nice looking cat'' dead on the side of the road he just couldn't resist.
And now his finished product - a cat skin rug - is getting a lot of attention on auction website Trade Me.
Mr Lancaster was driving home from a concert in February, on the road between Napier and Taupo, when he saw a flash of ginger on the highway.
''I saw it on the side of the road and I just went straight past and then I thought 'that looked like a nice looking cat'.''
He did a u-turn, drove back and scooped the cat up.
''I was sort of in two minds about whether to do it and then I thought 'it's a perfect specimen'
''So that was my first thought - just turn it into a rug like I do with the possums.''
Mr Lancaster, who lives near Tauranga, has been doing taxidermy as a job for the past year, but has previously helped his brother, who is a taxidermist in England.
He's already stuffed rabbits, hares, pheasants, magpies, possums, stotes, weasels and ferrets, but it's the first time he's done a cat.
''I usually sort of steer clear of cats and dogs because you get a lot of people who say they're pets and should be left alone and not stuffed.''
But since posting the cat skin rug on Trade Me it has already attracted more than 3000 views and bidding is up to $396.00.
He said his other auctions, which currently include a stuffed possum and goldfish, usually only get about 100 views.
''To be honest I expected more people with nasty comments. I think there's been one,'' he said.
''Everybody's entitled to their own opinion. Some people like taxidermy and some people hate it.''
One person who commented on the auction took offence, saying "I find this disgusting".
"This was someones pet and you took it and are going to profit from it ... And for those of you on here who think its great think about it this way how would you like your beloved animal taken in that way by this person or someone else and have this done to them?" (sic)
However, another person who commented, who claimed to be an animal lover, said it was "a piece of amazing art".
"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!" (sic)
The auction for the cat skin rug closes at 8pm tonight.