'Cat Copter' and Stuffing Dead Animals: Avoid Where Purr-hibited

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on June 08, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Orville the cat's nine lives may be over, but he's been revived as a unique art project: a remote-controlled cat-carcass helicopter, which many have dubbed a "cat copter."

Dutch artist Bart Janson prefers to call it an Orvillecopter, after his feline friend who was tragically run over by a car six months ago, the Los Angeles Times reports. The furry contraption has propellers attached to its outstretched limbs, and an engine where the cat's stomach once was.

The cat copter has gotten a lot of Internet attention since its debut at an art show in Amsterdam last week. But does this type of macabre animal corpse-handling fly, under the law?

In general, yes. Orville the stuffed cat copter may be an extreme example of taxidermy, but other, more exotic animals like bears and tigers are often similarly splayed out and displayed by hunters. Anglers are even known to mount dead fish.

A quick Internet search reveals pet taxidermy is also alive and well. But taxidermists have the right to refuse to turn a dead animal into a cat copter like Bart Janson’s, which you can see in this CNN report:

But there are some legal limits to stuffing dead animals. Endangered species are off the table. Federal laws also prohibit stuffing migratory birds and marine mammals without the proper federal permits. You’ll want to check with state and local wildlife agencies for other prohibitions as well.

And for the do-it-yourselfers out there: Health and safety laws generally state that you must leave the stuffing of dead animals to licensed taxidermists. You don’t want to end up spreading disease, or with a decomposing carcass.

As for Orville the cat copter, he’s set to hover over and eventually land at, another art show this weekend.

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