New Zealand taxidermist criticised for selling bag made from dead cat

Claire Third defends selling of 'glamour puss purse' on online auction site

New Zealand taxidermist criticised for selling bag made from dead cat

Image: Claire Third/TradeMe

A taxidermist in New Zealand has defended her decision to sell a bag made from a dead ginger cat.

Claire Third faced strong criticism after putting the bag up for auction online, fetching a final price of NZ$545 (€358).

The item is described on sales site TradeMe as a "glamour puss purse" and "very stylish handbag".

A description on the online listing says no animals were hurt or killed in creating the piece, which was eventually bought for over 500 times the sum of its final reserve price.

The note remarks that the handbag will "grab attention wherever you go" and "last for years and years" if properly looked after.

"To our admirers with no money good luck!! [To] our haters taxidermy aint about money!!" it says.

The sale sparked outrage online, with comments on the auction posting describing it as "sick" and "morally wrong".

In an interview with Fairfax, Ms Third dismissed accusations that she had committed animal cruelty.

"To spend all that time on tanning and sculpture and making it brand new shows the utmost respect," the Christchurch-based seller said.

She added that the roadkill cat used to make the purse was kept in a freezer for three months while she tried to find its owner.

Ms Third told Stuff newspaper that she decided to then turn the feline into a bag because "he had a particularly nice face, and the rest of him was squashed".