Reports are coming in that the infamous Dennis Avner aka Stalking Cat has been found dead in his home in Tonopah, Nevada. Avner, 54, was found dead due to an apparent suicide on November 5. The eccentric ex US navy veteran had spent his life transforming himself into a female cat, using different body modifications, after a chance meeting with after a Native chief who inspired him to ‘follow the ways of the tiger.’
The troubled Nevada man was well known in the media for his long fingernails which he grew out to resemble claws, his many body modifications and tattoos. He had spent years of his life trying to emulate a feline and underwent such body changes as bifurcation (splitting) of his upper lip, surgical pointing of the ears, silicone cheek and forehead implants, tooth filing, tattoos, and facial piercing.
He also added to the illusion, a pair of whiskers and a mechanical tail. Avner, who liked to be known by his Indian name of ‘Stalking Cat’, said on his now defunct website, “I am Huron and following a very old tradition have transformed myself into a tiger.”
Most of Avners operations were carried out by Steve Haworth, who is a renowned an artist and pioneer of body modification techniques. Avner was descended from American Indians, and was highly recognizable wherever he went. Although the cause of his cause of death has not yet been established, there are reports that Avner may have killed himself. Shannon Larratt, the former editor and publisher of BMEzine and friend of Avner, wrote in a blog post: “Dennis’s boundary-breaking life was never an easy one, and as he was fond of saying, he “found fame, but never fortune”. A wonderful and complex person, he was at times as troubled as he was remarkable, and he recently took his own life at the age of 54.”
While Avner worked as a computer programmer, he often appeared at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! events around the world.