UPDATE: Taxidermist Defends Selling Handbag Made From Dead Ginger Tomcat!

NEW ZEALAND – A very controversial handbag, which was made of a dead ginger tomcat, has sold online for more than NZ$500 (US$365).

The “cat purse” was created from the pelt and head of a dead feral cat by a taxidermist in Christchurch, whose name is Claire Third.

Third was hoping to make more from her unusual creation, which has attracted mixed reactions from buyers in New Zealand and around the world.

Third explained to Fairfax New Zealand that she found the dead cat which had been run over on a rural road in Canterbury and had kept it in her freezer for three months while she searched for an owner.

Claire Third’s cat handbag which sold on online auction site Trade Me. Photograph: Claire Third/Trade Me

Claire Third’s cat handbag which sold on online auction site Trade Me. Photograph: Claire Third/Trade Me


When no owner came forward to claim the cat, she decided the cat was feral and proceeded to turn it into a handbag.

Third received extremely intense criticism for her creation during the online auction but she vehemently defended her work, stating the artistic focus and attention she paid to the handbag showed respect for the animal.

“To spend all that time on tanning and sculpture and making it brand new shows the utmost respect,” Third said to Fairfax.

“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 chose to feature the head of the cat because, in her words, it “had such a pretty face”, and wasn’t squashed, like the rest of its body.

Third defended herself by saying that if people eat meat and wear leather they should have no issues with using a dead cat in the name of fashion.

“There has been good reaction, bad reaction, and crazy reaction,” Third stated to Radio New Zealand. “People have been telling me to leave the country.”

The handbag was initially listed for a buy-now price of NZ$1,500, but on the very last night of the auction the reserve was dropped to NZ$1.

The cat handbag is the second time Third has used a cat’s pelt – she usually creates her work using deer, tar, goats, rams and bulls.