Cat Taxidermy: A Complete Guide
Taxidermy is a strange and fascinating field. Taxidermists preserve dead animals and transform them into works of art, furniture, and even clothing. All taxidermy is not created equally, and some taxidermists push the boundaries of what can be done with dead animals. Taxidermy of cats is no exception to this. It can be a unique way to remember a beloved pet and is a must-see for any animal lover. There are two distinct types of cat taxidermy: realistic and abstract. Realistic taxidermy involves preserving a cat’s actual appearance using various materials. On the other hand, abstract taxidermy focuses more on creating a unique piece of art with the preserved feline’s body as a canvas. Either way, this art form is incredible when done right and can be creepy if done wrong!
So, what is taxidermy?
Taxidermy has been around since Greek times, and the earliest known specimens were created by artists who would sew the skins of animals onto life-like models. The process was developed further in medieval times with early American taxidermists, including John James Audubon and Theodore Roosevelt, took on the profession.
Taxidermy is the art and skill of preserving a dead animal’s appearance through artificial means. The term “taxidermy” makes sense because it entails removing an animal’s skin from its shell before applying it to a carefully built duplicate of the animal’s body. Although some people find the procedure odd, Taxidermy is a sort of art that requires a depth of animal understanding, aptitude, skill, and competence.
Cat taxidermy is a taxidermy developed from a cat’s body to resemble a cat. It requires a lot of skill, patience, and an artistic eye to match realistic poses and details that are not seen but inferred.
Taxidermy is an artistic art form; each piece created by the artist is unique. Taxidermy offers the opportunity to create realistic cats that defy classification. It also allows those who cannot have a real cat because they are too much work to have a pretend one or who have passed away the opportunity to have something based on their favorite animal.
How does cat taxidermy work?
To create a lifelike replica of the cat, the craftsman must first remove the skin from the cat’s remains and build a reasonable estimate of the cat’s appearance. The pattern is typically created from polyurethane foam which is sculpted using heat and a knife.
How much does cat taxidermy service cost?
Several factors determine the cost of a this Taxidermy. These factors will see the price of taxidermy range between $1495 and $5000. The factors to consider when assessing the cost of Taxidermy costs include:
Depending on the client’s location from the taxidermist, shipping and handling costs may accrue. During shipping, the dead cat will need freezing for preservation which may further raise the shipping cost.
The client will be presented with various poses that the result should be made into at the end of the process. Some poses are more complex than others, and each pose informs the cost. The pose will need to be fixed before the taxidermy work is done.
Weight is the main factor that determines the cost of Taxidermy. For a cat that weighs six pounds and below, the cost is about $1495. An additional charge of about $39 per pound accrues for cats that weighs more than six pounds.
Depending on the cause of death, there may be a need to fix the skeleton that is not intact. The cost of fixing the skeleton again will differ depending on the extent of the correction. This cost will range between $250 for partial articulation and $3500 for complete articulation.
Can you do Taxidermy yourself?
While the taxidermy procedure may appear to be meant for a select professional, the following is a guide for the daring beginners who are willing to serve as their own taxidermist. Well followed, this guide should help you save time and money, which should otherwise be spent elsewhere. The following stages, with several steps, should lead to a very successful taxidermy project.
Cat preparation stage
Step 1: Freeze the cat until you are ready to prepare its Taxidermy.
While skin removal is supposed to be done immediately, you will need to ensure that all tools are in place for the project. Since this may take some time, it will be important to protect the animal from spoilage by freezing it until everything is set for the taxidermy procedure. Some of the materials needed will be:
• Sharp knife
• Sewing needle
• A sewing thread
• Stuffing or plaster cast of the cat
• A preferred preservative such as alcohol
Step 2: Form preparation.
A form of the animal may be prepared using a plaster cast or purchased ready-made. Consider curving a form from wood and then wrapping it using old polythene bags to give it the shape. You can also use recycled materials to come up with a form that reflects the shape and size of your cat. If you choose to prepare a plaster cast, you will need to buy a moulding agent such as the Plaster of Paris, two-part epoxy or any moulding material that you believe will be best suited for your taxidermy project. Use it to improve the shape of your cat on the form.
Create the mixture. Once you have settled on the plaster of choice, add a sufficient amount of water to it and mix it well until most of the lumps are dissolved. In case there are still some lumps, just give it a bit more mixing. After that, spread an even layer on your form and let it dry out for several hours.
After the form is complete, you will need to take a photo of the cat before skinning it. The photo will act as a template of what you will be working to achieve. When working on the form, it is advisable to use materials that you can manipulate at will to ensure you come up with the desired shape. While some parts of the cat are difficult to mould, you may consider purchasing ready-made forms for use as models, even for other future projects.
Step 3: Skin your Cat.
Cut a line up the stomach with a sharp knife. As you make your cuts, be very careful not to pierce any internal organs or body cavities, which could damage the skin. While dragging the skin back with your other hand, equally cut down the interior to remove the skin. Extract as much flesh and fat as you can while taking care not to damage or damage the skin. As opposed to other animals such as fish, reptiles, and birds, for the cat, you will need to remove even the head’s skin.
Skin Preservation stage.
The process of cat skin preservation involves a tanning process aimed at protecting the skin from wearing out during the period the Taxidermy will be preserved. The following is the tanning process used with mammal skin.
Using non-iodized salt about an inch thick, rub the flesh side of the skin and leave it for around a day. Repeat the same procedure one more time using fresh salt. Ensuring that the skin does not get dry to a point it becomes hard to manipulate, allow the skin to dry in a cool and dark room.
This process is meant to toughen the skin, and when this is achieved, you should then hydrate the skin using cool water, a Lysol disinfectant, and table salt. After hydration, rinse the skin several times to remove the salt mixture completely. Allow the water to drip off the skin by hanging it. At this stage, ensure you remove all the fat and any remaining pieces of flesh from the skin.
Heat up the tanning oil and rub it over the skin using your hands. Let the skin stay for several hours, and then store it in a refrigerator while rolled in a plastic bag. This is as it awaits mounting on the form.
It is important, however, to know that different preservatives are used to treat reptiles’ and birds’ skins.
Positioning and caring for the Taxidermy.
Step 1: Cover the form.
Covering a well-furnished form with preserved skin should be an effortless thing to do. Only ensure any irregularities on the form are smoothed before fixing the skin and sewing it up.
Step 2: Do the Sewing.
Using well-fitting colours of threads, bring together the seams, ensuring that the stitches are invisible and as tight as possible. After this, fix the artificial eyes and teeth to position using the appropriate glue.
Step 3: Position your cat taxidermy project.
Keep your cat Taxidermy in a place of your imagination that will keep it peaceful. This can be in a nap or any other place of choice.
Step 4: Care for your cat’s Taxidermy.
Don’t allow the labor you put into saving your cat to go to waste by abandoning it after you’ve done it. Keep your mounts in a climate-controlled room of your house, away from direct sunshine. Excessive moisture cause decomposition, and too much dehydration can cause the skin to split. Please keep it clean always by regular dusting.
Where do you find an excellent taxidermist to work on your cat?
Some taxidermists can fix your cat if all you need is a taxidermy. But not all will give you value for your money. A good taxidermist needs to find an animal’s natural center of gravity, so it can stand on its own after being stuffed. He should be able to make the animal look like a complete, lifelike creature from any angle. Below is a list of a few taxidermists with all the qualities you’re looking for.
- Chris Krueger from Krueger’s Creations in Az.
- Dan Moncrief in Joseph, Oregon
- Gary Bohochik and Doug Barnes of GB Taxidermy in Salida, Colorado.
- Imperial Taxidermy in Caldwell, Id.
- Big Cat Taxidermy in Craig.
- Lifelike Taxidermy in Carmen, Idaho.
Taxidermy of big cats
Big cats are large and powerful animals that include Siberian, Jaguars, and lions. Capturing these wild creatures for the purposes of Taxidermy is a highly delicate and dangerous process. They are challenging to manage due to their size, power and viciousness.
Federal law prohibits trade in cat and dog fur. The statute makes an exception for the importation, exportation, or transit of a dead personal pet, such as a domestic cat, including one that has been conserved through Taxidermy, for nonprofit uses.
During the closed season, special permits are required before possessing and mounting a taxidermy for some cat species, such as the Bobcat, Jaguar, and Cougar.
In conclusion, taxidermy is an art that allows for the preservation of dead cats for purposes of honoring them or even decoration purposes. Taxidermy can be done with the help of a professional taxidermist. If you want to become your taxidermist for your pet cat, you only need to follow the guide above, and the results will surprise you. While you may want to have a taxidermy to mount in your home or the museum, you need to be aware of the laws that govern the art of Taxidermy. Taxidermy of big cats present you with a spectacular scene, but laws restrict the seasons and the species that can be used for making them. While making taxidermy may be time-consuming and the cost relatively high, the result is usually worth it for many individuals. Taxidermy can be a perfect way for a hunter to maintain their hard-earned trophies without having to lug them around all the time or risk being arrested for poaching. Taxidermists are also able to bring animals that have gone extinct back from extinction and erect them in museums and zoos.