12/20/2014

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Click if you dare: Tacoma's rogue taxidermist creates macabre horrors

Click if you dare: Tacoma's rogue taxidermist creates macabre horrors

TACOMA, Wash. -- In a quiet Tacoma neighborhood, there is one house were Halloween happens year round.

It's full of dozens of dead things, and one very creative master of the macabre who's now a reality star. Her name, which she gave herself, is Acataphasia, but she answers to Cat.

Cat is an artist, a taxidermist and an all-around curiosity.

"Of course (people think I'm crazy). Lots of people think I'm completely nuts," she said.

She isn't nuts, but Cat does have a different way of looking at life -- or, more precisely, death.

"I don't think it's my own special world that nobody else is in. I just think your average person has been trained to look away," Cat said.

A tour of Cat's house is unlike any other.

"This, just like it says, is an eye from a barracuda in potato vodka," she said. "This is the other half of the bunny, who's over there with the fish tail that my uncle hooked for me. And these are taxidermy fish eyes, and this is a snapping turtle skull, which I particularly like the shape of."

She even has a dead cat, which died under a house. Cat's own cat Pete, who is very much alive, won't let her hold the dead feline.

Things get even weirder when you walk upstairs. There's a jar of tiny skulls, a drawer labeled "small whole animals," a dead mouse in a frame and a skull on a Teddy bear with lots of pins.

"I think it's a lot more respectful to do something with an animal of any sort, human or not,  after they're dead, than to say, 'Oh, now they're just bad, let's bury them, let's burn them, let's throw them away,'" Cat said.

When she's inspired, she mixes and matches carcasses and bones. Using animal instincts, she conjures up her absurdities.

When she was a kid, her mom had her see a psychologist.

"Finally he said, 'Your daughter's fine. She just has morbid  tendencies,'" Cat said.

Cat starred on an episode of an AMC showed call "immortalized," and it was there that she was introduced to her latest project.

"I don't think people look at dead things," she said. "Whereas I don't have any prejudice against it, so I look at it and say, 'Wow, it's beautiful. It's like a jewel.'"

Cat swears what she does isn't for shock value. She's going for beauty, and sometimes humor. It's just that her sense of beauty and humor create fantastic Frankenstein-like freak shows.

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