Dead cat helicopter upsets people on internet (video)

[Video Link. Warning, may totally creep you out if you love cats. ]

Dutch artist Bart Jansen had a cat named Orville that he loved very much. When Orville died, he did what any cat-loving guy would do: transformed his deceased kitty pal's corpse into a radio-controlled DIY taxidermy helicopter. WAIT WHAT

The Orvillecopter, half cat, half machine. Named after the famous aviator Orville Wright. He was killed by a car. After that he received his propellers posthumously. This is Orvillecopter's first test flight, Soon to be flying with the birds. Oh how he loved birds. He will receive more powerful engines and larger props for his birthday. So this hopping will soon change into steady flight. For the catlovers: it is a tanned hide, just like the shoes you're wearing. For the RC lovers: it's a Lotus T580 (still)

People are upset. Daily Mail, LA Times, NPR. (thanks, Antinous!)


    1. Mine gets the neighbourhood rid of all the mice it can find. I think that is useful.

      She is also the house “weather checker” as if it is bad weather in any way she won’t ask to go out – we immediately know if it is cold or raining without checking. 
      The downside is  we don’t need alarm clocks any more, even in days when we can just sleep all morning – someone always has to get up at 7h30 to feed the scratchy fur ball. 

  1. I see nothing wrong with this.
    (locking flame suit helmet into place)…

    I mean, he loved his cat.  He had it skinned and preserved.  (I mean if anything was going to upset me that would have been it.)  Would it have been any worse if he had made a hat/cap (like a raccoon skin hat) out of Orville?

    At least Orville still gets to chase the birds.

    1. Exactly!

      The same upset people would no doubt be ok with carrying a rabit foot on a keychain. And have leather seats in their car.

      Hell they would probably be ok with a preserved fish made into an RC boat.

      The issue is probably that it has a face and is a common pet.

    2. Hey, when my cat died I put her in a shoebox and stuck her in the ground – is that any better?

  2. I’m upset that I have to keep seeing the teaser images at all the major web sites …

    Dead bodies are nothing to  flaunt.

    1. It’s not a dead body. It’s a preserved hide with the hair still attached, not much different from chairs upholstered with cowhide with the hair still attched. The stuffing is all synthetic as are the soft tissues like eyeballs.

    1. Seriously.  Everyone knows cats always land upright, it’d be like a built in gyroscope.  It would be crash proof!

  3. Drones = Dead Bodies seems like a useful visual metaphor anyhow. Is this worse than a nice shiny white pristine drone that fires missiles into a crowd? Oh right, KITTY.

  4. Actually, Roy Rogers tried to put jet-packs on Trigger’s stuffed corpse but couldn’t make it work.

  5. It’s not like he killed it for heli-drone conversion. I always wanted to, upon death, be converted to a Chucky Cheese animatronic horror… with rhythm. 

    1. This is a dream of mine as well. I’d like for no one to know I’ve been made animatronic until I sit up in my coffin and deliver my own eulogy.

  6. Ladies and Gentlemen, Boston Dynamics’ latest project and BigDog’s arch nemesis, CopterCat.

  7. Why? Seriously… why??? Fine… do a taxidermy. I have never understood why one would do that to a pet (my cousins’ family did that to their pet cat… urgh), but whatever floats your boat. But that “helicopter” is just… totally tasteless. Spread out looking nothing like a natural cat… why, oh why? Why not make a bigger helicopter and have it sitting like it was flying it?

    James May (of Top Gear fame) did in his Man Lab series a race between a dead cat and a dead budgie of who would fly the highest in their balloons, and then their ashes were scattered into the lower stratosphere. Much more fitting than that… thing.

  8. I found it oddly touching. I cried, but in a good way.

    If I had a magic wand, I might give my (living) cats the gift of flight so that they could chase birds in the sky. So it’s a sweet gesture to at least give that ability to a cat after death. Not that the cat can appreciate it anymore, but still.

    Note: I much prefer this video, with the Air Wolf theme–

  9. Is this any worse than a bear skin rug?  How about a dead cow that was turned into some leather bondage outfit to be worn during kinky sex acts?  Using dead cow skin to get off seems worse if you look at it objectively. 

    Humans, in general, often just very inconsistent when it comes to animals.  The majority of the world eats them, wears them, stuffs them, etc.  And that’s just the dead ones.  Live ones are used for manual labor, companionship, entertainment, etc.

    It varies by person, by use, by animal, by culture, etc.  And within all those things, there are contradictions.  Why in the land of cowboy boots are snakes, alligators, deer, ostrich, and cows ok, but other animals seem inappropriate?  It’s hard to find consistent rules.

    I think one of the things that makes this upsetting is that this cat highlights those contradictions and inconsistencies.  People don’t really want to think too hardly about what is or is not OK to do to animals (living or dead), because, for many, whatever rules they come up with, there will be some aspect of their life where they’ve likely broken that rule.

    But, as long as nothing unusual or out of the status quo happens, people can just go on living as things are without thinking too hard about it.

    1. Speaking of bearskin rugs, I think  Dan Savage’s column this week may interest you… and provide a baseline for evaluating our helicopterist’s dead cat antics.

  10. I keep imagining the look on the birds’ faces when the cat starts chasing them over the rooftops.

    1. In the CNN piece on him (and this thing), he said it would be great if something similar were done with his own corpse.

      1. I used to threaten my mother with post mortem taxidermy when I was a child and she was being uncooperative. Her funeral arrangements were so ironclad that she was already cremated before I got to the funeral home.

  11.  I love my cat dearly & I know I’m going to actually grieve when she dies (she’s a healthy 15, I know it’s inevitable that in the next 5-10 years, she’ll be gone), and have ideas that usually horrify my friends regarding her cute little corpse & her legacy. She isn;t a freeze-dry in sleeping position cat, she’s accepted my odd sense of humor for over a decade, with love & purring & nuzzling & surprises left on the back stoop. I actively want a little bear-skin rug, or mittens lined with her fur, or a little diorama where she plays the part of Beethoven or Lady Chatterly or something. If this guy wants to make a orinthopter out of his cat, why the hell not?

    1.  I always thought it would be lovely to have a pair of warm, soft mittens made of my beloved bunny pet when he died. When the moment of truth came, I had no stomach to do anything more than stroke his dead body for a while before consigning it to a spot beneath a tree in the back yard. I hope you have more determination than I did, but when you get down to it, skinning a pet is a lot easier in conception than in practice.

      1. Oh I shan’t skin her myself…handling sharp knives while my vision is blurred with tears would result in sloppy work. She deserves a professional (unless she gets diabetes and pees on everything like my childhood cat did. Spite will help).

  12. Can you imagine the utter sphincter-clenching terror that birds and small rodents will experience looking up and seeing Orville coming at them?

    1. At this point, it’s easier to imagine their mirth.  I was all set to embrace this as awesome, except the damned cat still can’t fly worth a hoot.

      I’ve never been sentimental about cats, it is true, but I’m also not particularly sentimental about corpses either.  I always wanted to be stuffed and mounted upon my demise, but I don’t insist on dignity.  Coat me in shellac and mount me as a hood ornament on a sandcrawler, or a figurehead on a Coast Guard cutter, I don’t care.

      Anyway, since nobody bothered to make the cat airworthy first, this video’s just dumb.  Had it actually flown, I’d have been happier.  And so would the Shade of Orville, I suspect.

      1. I think the video implies this is a test trial for the whole setup.  He had better motors and props on order so it could actually “fly”.

        1. Thank you thank you thank you!

          I’m almost ashamed to admit how much better I feel now.

  13. How insensitive!  Orville’s eyes are wide open and Jansen didn’t even give him aviator goggles.

  14. What makes it creepy is that it’s such a good taxidermy job.  The cat really looks alive.

  15. Before I watched the video, I thought the cat was the actual rotor and it was going to be spinning around really fast.

  16. I love cats a lot (raise hands if you kiss your kitty on the lips), and I sorta kinda get the rage over this… but not really. I get an ick feeling over anything that has to do with playing games with the dead bodies of any kind of living thing, but for some reason over this, not so much. I’m not even sure why.

  17. The only right soundtrack for the flying cat is this:

  18. I don’t have a problem with the guy stuffing his cat and making him into a helicopter. I DO however find it depressing. I think being able to see the cat’s head makes it a bit of a bummer ( though a headless cat helicopter would be worse)

  19. Creepy? Only slightly more than stuffing dead animals for display. Kind of endearing with the “take flight and chase the birds” angle.

    Meh, I’m over it. As long as this guy loved his cat in life and wasn’t somehow responsible for it’s death, I’m OK with it.

    When my cat passed, I chose the option to have his ashes put in an urn. I really don’t know why I chose it, and all these years later, I still think it’s strange.  If you shake it, you can hear teeth and/or nails or maybe bone fragments rattling inside. Or maybe it’s just pebbles and there’s no ashes inside (the lid is sealed). Whatever it is, it’s all rather strange when you analyze it. Who am I to say this is worse?

  20. Dutch artist causing outrage for using dead animals in their work?
    Tinkebell anyone?

    She even turned the hatemail she received into a book.

    David Shrigley also has a “I’m dead” sculpture series with animals holding up signs that state the ovious.'m%20dead&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=7xzQT8jlFZGq8QP4u6zXDA&biw=1603&bih=735&sei=9BzQT-acD5Oo8AOJ2_m_DA

  21. Personally, although I am a cat owner, I think this is hilarious. Face it, the cat doesn’t care, its dead. Obviously the body had a very good taxidermy job done on it. The sight of the cat in flight is really funny IMHO.
    All I can think of is birds sitting calmly on the telephone wires – thinking they are safe – when up comes Orvillecopter to meet them face to face, and the birds thinking “hang on, this isn’t fair at all” or something :P

  22. this video is offensive.  i wish i had my volume turned off.  a warning about the sound would have been nice.  my skin is still crawling because of those stupid crowd whoopers.  when will this stop? it has been a good 22 g-d-mn years now.  no one did this before the 90’s, no one, not before the simpsons at least.  in america, they even do this at tennis exhibitions now. why???  today, for my birthday, i wish that they all get stuffed and mounted with motorized propeller blades–then i will woo-hoo at their launch party.  oh what a joyous day that will be, it will be the only appropriate time to woo-hoo, ever.  a first.  a flying armada of these jokers all buzzing over my head, and i will woo-hoo the loudest because that is what they would want to hear if they were still alive.  please kickstart this into reality.

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