As It Happens

Roadkill couture: New Zealand woman makes handbag out of dead cat

Artist and taxidermist Claire Third created this "glamourpuss" purse from a dead cat she found on the side of the road.
A New Zealand artist has made a bag out of a dead cat she found on the side of the road. (Trademe.co.nz)
Listen5:48
Maybe you've seen purses made from snakeskin on the catwalk, but Claire Third has created a whole new style: she has made a purse using a cat. 
The listing for the bag describes it as ""a very stylish handbag ...for the girl that has everything." (Trademe.co.nz)

The Christchurch, New Zealand artist and taxidermist sourced the bag's material, a ginger tomcat, from the side of a country road. It was dead when she found it. She kept the dead cat in her freezer for three months while she looked for the owner. When no one claimed the body, she made it into a purse. 

Third sold the bag on Trademe.co.nz earlier this week for about $520 CAD. Reactions in the Q&A section of the website were polarized.
There was also some dark humour in reaction to the cat bag in the Q&A section of Trademe.co.nz (Trademe.co.nz)

Third spoke with As It Happens host Carol Off: 

Carol Off: Why did you decide to include the cat's face on the purse? 

Claire Third: When I found the cat, he was dead on the side of the road. I found him and I thought that's a shame, what can I do with this situation? He'd been really badly injured, obviously, he was dead, and he had a really good face, and that's what I could work with. So I took that opportunity and ran with it, basically. 

CO: Is it possible that this was somebody's pet?

CT: You know, I've had a lot of flak about this. I would doubt very much it was anybody's pet, it was in the middle of the countryside. I would say he was pretty feral. He looked feral, he was skinny and had that look. 

CO: Have you made handbags out of dead animals before?

CT: Yeah, I have. I've made handbags out of other cats, admittedly I just used a little patch of fur. It's quite nice when you're out with your handbag, and um, I'm an anxious person, it's nice to touch your handbag. It's like taking your friend out with you, kind of. 

CO: Can you understand that some people might find it offensive when a cat is turned into a fashion accessory? 

CT: I can understand why they find it offensive, but it isn't a pet, that's the thing. It's a wild feral animal that decimates our native bird population, so, that's the actuality of it. I never, ever do pets.

The bag elicited a range of opinions on the website where it was sold. (Trademe.co.nz)

CO: What's the strangest thing someone has asked you to turn into an accessory?

CT: Probably someone's leg. Someone was losing his leg after a motorbike accident and tried to convince me to do his leg. 

CO: Make his leg into a handbag?

CT: Well, not a handbag. Just a piece. You know, I guess, for above the fireplace or something. I don't know. 

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