An art teacher from Florida creates a terrifying Frankenstein’s cat after trying to immortalize the deceased animal through taxidermy.
Taxidermy is the art of preserving an animal’s body through mounting (over an armature) or stuffing, for the reason of display or study.
The word taxidermy is from the Greek words taxis and derma. Taxis means “arrangement”, and derma means “skin” (the dermis). The word taxidermy translates to “arrangement of skin”.
Jennifer Clark, 46, from Citrus County, unintentionally created “Frankenstein’s cat” when she brought home a lifeless cat that she found at the roadside to work on.
Clark explained that she wanted to improve her art skills, but the month-long practice became problematic than she first imagined. Things started to go wrong when the dead animal’s skin began balding and stretching as she prepared it for stuffing.
The art teacher tried to save the project by sticking its fur back on and stuffing it with coat hanger wire. But her attempts left the cat with a lengthy body, skinny legs, wide mouth, and watching eyes looking like “something from a horror movie”.
Clark lives with her 41-year-old boyfriend Neal Richardson and daughter Paris Clark, 17, and described what went wrong.
“Once you’ve removed the insides, you turn them inside out, put salt on them, then wash it off after a few weeks, but his hair started washing off and his feet dried up,” Clark explained. “That’s why he’s standing on his tiptoes because his feet went hard and I didn’t know what I was doing wrong.”
“He was bald but I just thought I’ve come this far I have to keep going,” she continued. “When I was ringing the water out of it like a towel, the skin just kept getting longer and longer and longer in my hand, and apparently, that’s very easy to get wrong.”
“The mouth kept stretching too, so I didn’t know what to do with this giant, gaping mouth, so I decided to put some felt in there,” Clark said. “I think that looks quite cute though. I kept thinking ‘it’ll get better, it’ll get better, I can fix this.”
“I thought I could add some fake fur and do some touch-ups and it’d look better but no, I didn’t do a very good job.”
Although it doesn’t turn up the way she wanted it to be, Clark took pride in her work a displayed it on her front window sill since completing it in December 2021.
“When it was finished I thought, oh good lord, do I ever want anyone to see this?” she said. “Sometimes you want to preserve your animals but if you bring a cat back from the dead you might get something like the Pet Cemetery movie or Frankenstein’s cat, and this is like that.”
Clark has successfully stuffed squirrels, raccoons, and a possum too, but confesses that cats have been the hardest animal to master so far.
She named her project, Oscar, after the US hot dog firm Oscar Mayer because of his body’s bizarre length but said she wasn’t sure of its gender.
The elementary school teacher from Citrus County also shared snaps of the cat on Facebook and then decided to give it a photoshoot after users called it “disturbing”.
“I am posting to make you all feel better about your own accomplishments,” the caption reads. “I soft mounted this deceased cat. If the end goal is an elongated hot dog with hair missing, then I was very successful.”
“I have seen other mounts of cats on this page who also had great success with hot dog cats,” she said. “I tell you, it just keeps stretching and stretching.”
“I also couldn’t figure out how to close up the mouth that also stretched to double the size so Oscar Mayer is forever vomiting or screaming my failures at me,” she continued. “So, take a good look and then pat yourself on the back today because you are better than this.”
Clark’s post went viral gaining more than 20,000 shares, likes, and comments with several teasing her project.
It also went viral on TikTok which has been viewed more than one million times but she’s faced some negative reactions saying her project was “disrespectful”.
However, Paris, Jennifer’s daughter, quickly defended her Mom and posted a TikTok response saying her mom’s intentions were pure.
“There’s nothing sinister about it,” Clark said. “I’m not a super creepy weirdo.”
“It’s an art form and sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t,” she continued. “The fact I’m an art teacher makes it so ironic that I did such a terrible project, but it was with the best of intentions.”
The determined art teacher claims she is not giving up taxidermy after her post went viral. But she admitted that she’s learned some lessons.
Clark also advises that if it’s a beloved pet and you want it to look correct you’ll just have to leave it to the experts.
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