For me, this is an unbelievably distasteful item. A New Zealand taxidermist, Claire Hobbs, has created a unique woman’s handbag from the pelt and head of a feral, ginger tabby cat. It is for sale on the auction site Trade Me for a starting price of $1,400 (NZD) – around £800 or $1,038 USD as at date of article.
It is described as a “one off glamour purse” or
“A very stylish handbag. For the girl that has everything a one-off purse that will grab attention where ever you go. This handbag will last for years and years as long as it is looked after. The purse strap is easily changed to suit your taste. This is not for the faint hearted … No animals were killed or hurt to create this piece.”
I have not read the reaction to this on the Trade Me listing but clearly many are disgusted by it.
One person asked whether she would do the same thing with a human corpse! No, clearly!
Others are impressed by her work:
“Great work, art is supposed to initiate discussion and invigorate emotion..”
The Telegraph newspaper poll tells us that 65% of visitors find it distasteful. This is unsurprising for me. It is exactly what I’d have thought would be the outcome.
Actually this bag is a symbol of the “cat wars” – the war between pro-birds and pro-cat or anti-cat and pro-cat.
People who dislike cats and who think they kill too many birds write this sort of comment:
“Nice job, one less cat eating our native birds.”
“Everyone giving bad feedback should get off there leather couch, throw away there cow skin wallets and purses out of there possum and Marino thermals and out from under their goose down duvet and jackets and look at them selves before judging others!”
These are the classic arguments used in cat wars.
The creator of this item thinks she has respected the cat:
“To spend all that time on tanning and sculpture and making it brand new shows the utmost respect.
“I guess because it’s a domestic animal people get a bit funny about it. I don’t kill animals for my work, it’s not as though I go around snuffing out animals thinking this’ll make a nice handbag.”
What do you think? I can guess.