People are freaking out over this taxidermy cat bag, and we don’t blame them.

 

Warning: contains some confronting images for animal lovers.

Meet Tom.

Once a feral cat roaming around New Zealand, he’s now the main feature of a handbag causing outrage on the internet. Even better? He could be yours – for around $1355.

But don’t worry – it’s all quite legal.

The transformation came from Christchurch taxidermist Claire Hobbs, who created and listed the “one off glamour purse” on New Zealand-based selling website Trade Me.

Image: Trade Me/alientech

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"A very stylish handbag ...for the girl that has everything, a one off purse that will grab attention whereever you go," reads the item description.

"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.

And perhaps most crucially...

"This is not for the faint hearted... no animals were killed or hurt to create this piece"

Image: Trade Me/alientech

Unsurprisingly, the listing has caused a fair amount of controversy, with plenty of people letting the seller know their disgust.

"This is disgusting.. Not the slightest bit creative or artistic," wrote one, while another added "That is sick !! I love animals and you are totally disrespecting them!!!"

"This isn't really taxidermy. You have turned this creature into something it is not, and a crass object at that. An undignified end for this noble creature. A shame as you are obviously talented, but would you do this to a human that was killed in an accident?," read another.

They are  all allegations Hobbs refutes, and she says she does it for a love of animals.

Image: Trade Me/alientech

"To spend all that time on tanning and sculpture and making it brand new shows the utmost respect," she told Stuff.co.nz

"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."

According to Hobbs, Tom was roadkill she found after he had been hit by a car on backwash country road. He was kept in her freezer for three months while she checked community noticeboards for lost pets.

The current top bid is $155, which meets the reserve, with 20 total bids so far. The auction is due to end in a few hours.  (Post continues after gallery.)

Trade Me allows the sale of taxidermy items, but says it understands not everyone will agree.

"It is certainly a statement bag and while it's not for me, we suspect there will be a buyer out there who is keen. This is a pretty unusual bag and we expect the auction will attract a lot of attention over the next few days," spokesman Logan Mudge told Stuff.

"Where there's no legal line we often take a 'wait and see' approach, and let the community help navigate whether it's okay or not. We're letting this one run for now."

Image: Trade Me/Claire Hobbs

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