When Orville the cat came out on the losing end of an encounter with a car, he went to a higher place... no, not THAT one! Stuffed and “reborn” as the Orvillecopter, the formerly earthbound kitty now flies the friendly skies courtesy of four paw-mounted propellers and a hand-held remote control.

Kitty Hawk: Flying Feline Enjoys An Uplifting Afterlife As A Helicopter

At first glance it would seem to be any cat's idea of heaven: soaring among the birds who so easily escaped his most diligent stalkings while he was alive. On second thought, however, being made into a “half cat, half machine” who's part of a visual art project is an unusual way to pay tribute to one's beloved pet.

Orville, who was named after pioneering American aviator Orville Wright, is owned by Dutch artist Bart Jansen. When Orville used up his ninth life in an unsuccessful effort to avoid a passing automobile, Jansen was determined to help Orville live on, as it were, in a ghoulish sort of afterlife. According to Jansen, a member of the the Dutch art cooperative Generaal Pardon, “After a period of mourning he received his propellers posthumously.”

Kitty Hawk: Flying Feline Enjoys An Uplifting Afterlife As A Helicopter

After consulting with radio control helicopter flyer Arjen Beltman, Jansen arranged for Orville to be stuffed and mounted in a curious (to the taxidermist, at least) spreadeagled position. The next step was attaching a quartet of radio-controlled aircraft propellers to the ends of Orville's paws and the mechanical guts of the flying mechanism were implanted in the space previously occupied by Orville's organic guts. The result – the Orvillecopter's first test flight – can be viewed here.

Not exactly impressive but Orville's namesake also endured a lengthy trial & error process before his first triumphant soar into the clouds. As for Orville the cat, “He will receive more powerful engines and larger props for his birthday,” states Jansen. Not your average gift, mind you, but Orville's not your average cat... not anymore, anyway.

Kitty Hawk: Flying Feline Enjoys An Uplifting Afterlife As A Helicopter

Now that Jansen's set a precedent of sorts with the Orvillecopter, can we expect a raft of copycat copters to fill the air above our heads? Will the world's “artists” seek to one-up Jansen by mechanizing other kinds of deceased pets... or worse. We have the technology; we can rebuild them: but do we really want to?

We'll leave it to you to sort out the metaphysical implications of Jansen's so-called art. In the meantime, anyone wishing to observe the Orvillecopter up close & personal is advised to attend the Kunstrai Art Festival in Amsterdam. After that, who can say what's in store for the former Orville in his new, airborne incarnation but if David Letterman's looking for a new Stupid Pet Trick, the search ends right here. (images via Dennis van Zuillekom, available at Flickr under an international Creative Commons license)


*** UPDATED on December 29th, 2018 ***


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