RIP Stalking Cat

This morning’s post comes with heavy news, and I’m in the terrible position of reporting the death of body modification icon Dennis Avner, often better known as Stalking Cat or just Tiger. A US Navy vet more recently working as a programmer and technician, Dennis identified strongly with his feline totem animals and in what he told me was a Huron traditional of actually adopting the physical form of ones totem, he transformed himself not just into a tiger, but a female tiger at that, blurring and exploring the gender line as much as the species line. Much of his work had been done by body modification pioneer Steve Haworth, who rebuilt Dennis’s ears, lip, nose, and face to resemble a tiger, including a multitude of transdermals that held artificial whiskers. In addition to being almost completely covered in tattoos, he’d also sculpted his face and body with extensive silicone work, had custom teeth built to emulate his inner nature, and regularly wore contact lenses and an artificial robotic tail.

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 (August 27, 1958 – November 5, 2012). You can download an interview that Dennis and I did for BMEradio about ten years ago at this link: BMEradio/Cat.mp3. The photos below were taken at ModCon III by Philip Barbosa when Cat visited us here in Toronto. In the bottom photo he appears with fellow concept transformation artist, Erik “The Lizardman” Sprague.

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

77 thoughts on “RIP Stalking Cat

  1. Always enjoyed his interviews, he seemed like a very lovely fellow. Sad that we won’t be able to see what else he was capable of.

  2. Such sad news. i never had the honour of meeting him, but I know he inspired a lot of people to follow their heart when it comes to body mods. rest in peace dennis. thinking of his friends and family.

  3. such a sad lose to the world of body-modification, Dennis Avner/ Stalking Cat, was the first i have seen and is one od the many famous BMOD artists i beleive that should be recognized becuase of his collected transverse amount of work that which helped him realize his true self. it is sad that he took his own life.RIP Dennis Avner/Stalking CAT

  4. This is sad news indeed. Thanks, Shannon, not only for posting this but for providing a medium for many people to learn about Dennis’ transformation and for a lucky few of us, such as myself, to get to meet him and pick his brain a bit. He will always be remembered as a pioneer in the themed body transformation movement and his legacy will live on far beyond his years.

    Are you sure the whiskers were trasdermals though? I had been under the impression for years that they were just lip piercing with custom jewelry and I can’t even fathom how transdermals would work there. I have been known to be wrong before though, so perhaps they were.

  5. RIP tiger, always remember seeing a documentary about him when I was a child and being amazed and inspired. How tragic.

  6. poor guy man. i always remembered watching him on tv and it (besides The Lizardman) being a huge inspiration in modification. Too many unnecessary lives lost this year..

  7. I’m not really seeing anything credible about this online. His website has been hacked and I can’t find his agents info. A couple of places say this is just a hoax, a couple day it’s legit. Sorry situation either way. I hope Stalking Cat is ok, if not the mod community mourns the loss of one of the pioneers in extreme transformation.

  8. So wait, is it true or not? From that twitter link on the 7th of Nov – Kat the Leopardess ‏@Catwoman69y2k
    @Salem_Kapsaski Update from the same source I learned of the suicide rumor. Someone reached his agent and agent says he is alive.

  9. My apologies for previous comment, apparently Wikipedia states that the county sherrif’s dept. confirmed the death. :(

  10. blessed be, you’re beautiful. enjoy your path into the unconscious – you are here with us now in a way you never were able to be before in human form. may you find peace in a stellar world. <3 you have left an imprint on my chest.

  11. i met stalking cat aka tiger back in ac 2003 i believe it was. he was such a sweet and caring individual. i first found out about him through a documentary forgot what it was called back in the late 90′s after i found the furry community. i wish he never took his own life. he had so much to do and so much life to give. *sigh* depression affects everyone differently. i just hope he realized the impact he has made towards other people making their lives a little brighter just by having him in them. i will never forget you tiger.

  12. I remember appearing on Larry King with him. What struck most about him was his calm manner and the focus of his transformation. Where most people add to their mods at a whim, he knew where he was going and was steadfast about it. RIP Stalking Cat.

  13. What a sad day for the body modification industry. This was one person I wish I could have met. Sad when someone takes their own life. I think Joey Strange’s comment may be the best to describe Dennis’s focus, which came across in interviews.

  14. I do not want this to be true, but sadly am unsurprised by the news. One of the most misunderstood person in the world. Victim of knee-jerk reactions and closed-mindedness. He deserved everything he desired, but always seemed robbed of whatever he sought.
    RIP, Cat. You were an inspiration to so many.

  15. I did not want to beleive this he was my friend so I called the sheriff’s department they confirmed that he did die but no info on the cause as i did not ask.

  16. It’s always heartbreaking when, after all that, someone doesn’t find what they’re looking for. Peace to his family.

  17. May you’re spirit forever live in the hearts of those you have inspired and may you find peace. Blessed Be Stalking Cat.

  18. Oh no! That’s such sad news.. I remember him from when I was a little girl.. I was so amazed by his strength to stand up for what he believed in.. This is really sad news!
    Rest in peace, Cat!

  19. The world will never truly understand how truly great a man Dennis was. I feel blessed to have met him so many years ago when I was a teen, and it is painful news to hear of his passing. The wold is all the darker in his absence. May his greatness long live on as the amazing heart of him will. I will miss him greatly but also carry my time and his word’s to me on. May he forever be a symbol to other’s to not be afraid of who they are mean’t to be.

  20. This is Incoggeno from BME. I never actually knew Tiger, but we did talk on BME a few times always wanted to meet him. Shannon I am sorry brother for this loss. We never know why people do the things they do. Steve Haworth, you spent a lot of time with Tiger, probably knew him better than anyone, I’m sorry man. Hope to run into you again sometime soon, since we both live here in Arizona. R.I.P Tiger we will miss you…

  21. I hope this will make people more aware of, and get rid of the taboo surrounding suicide. People shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it. Help and prevention start by listening and talking…

    It’s especially sad because it takes a very strong person to undergo a complete body transformation the way he did. The world needs more individuals who aren’t afraid of sticking out and standing up for what they feel/believe in. His death is a big loss.

  22. you inspired me in ways other people seek inspiration from a carefully constructed song, or watching a sun set on a warm summers night. You gave me true hope that you can do what your heart wants. You kept me going when it seemed like everyone else in the world had given up. your sheer determination, your pictures, your interviews, they will not be archived to the back seat of the internet and forgotten. You will be remembered Dennis. I am just so truly sorry that you had to go whilst we are still at the tipping point, where so many people have modifications but it is still as rejected in mainstream society.
    You gave your heart and soul to modification. You let your life be disturbed to promote free will. We can only ever be eternally grateful. In your pain and loss, we can all try to find comfort in the origonal and personal messages you left each us with.
    Rest in peace.

  23. Pingback: RIP Stalking Cat

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  25. I was actually waiting to see if he completed himself. It is sad that he died, he was very interesting.

  26. I did meet Cat at ModConIII in Toronto. That was a get together which was a compilation of superlatives, and Cat was very much a part of it. He was a definite walking example of Steve Haworth’s genius, but he was also so personally unique that what Steve did was really an amazing extension of Cat’s persona. That persona will be with us, so long as an image of him remains.

  27. RIP Denis, you will be missed. I’m glad I got to meet you the several times that I did. I was hoping to see you again this year but I guess I will have to wait till the next life to see you again. You have been an inspiration to people all around the world who have wanted to express their own nature that they feel inside.

  28. Pingback: RIP Dennis Avner (Stalking Cat) | Playing in the World Game

  29. Avner was a beacon of light within the gay community, both as a gay man and as a lesbian. His pioneering exploration of what it meant to be homosexual will give others the strength to become Bat Women and Dog Men and Man Snakes and Tarantula Girls until the boundaries of inter-species existence eventually becomes – not a freak show – but the norm for the human race. Long live the Tigress!

  30. Why did he give-up after every thing he went through? I don’t understand it. Was he really that far gone with depression and no one close to him knew?
    I grieve for his loss.

  31. I met Stalking Cat when I was 11 years old–he was the first heavily modded person I had met and I remember being fascinated by him. We lived in the same tiny town in California and I saw him at the store and stuff every now and then. My mother told me he was demon possessed but he was very quiet and calm and I wasn’t afraid of him. I wish I had been a little older and had been able to really talk to him…I am so sad to hear this news. -_-

  32. Pingback: Stalking cat man Daniel Avner dies. Did he kill himself?

    Depression is not a motive for suicide.

    & Thank you Ward for your words, your comment raised my spirits !
    “Avner was a beacon of light within the gay community, both as a gay man and as a lesbian. His pioneering exploration of what it meant to be homosexual will give others the strength to become Bat Women and Dog Men and Man Snakes and Tarantula Girls until the boundaries of inter-species existence eventually becomes – not a freak show – but the norm for the human race. Long live the Tigress!”



    take it back then…………..

    + your sexuality !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Be yourself… Explore realities, not just the systems.

    (As for me when the world brings me down I look to the Tigress and I smile again ………… And we are so many to do so….. Thank you ….Oh….Gorgeous I wish we would have purred together …….What a dream, you inspire me, and my friends,/tribe …Gave us so much …..Raow…………..RAOW>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> )

    *The world was so stupid …..

    **Pushed around and kicked around—–Always a lonely boy——–You were the one————That they’d talk about around town—————–As they put you down=—————And as hard as they would try————They’d hurt to make you cry—————-But you never cried to them——————-Just to your soul———————No you never cried to them———————–Just to your soul
    + **Smalltown Boy Lyrics Jimmy Summerville

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  35. I have been in contact with Stalking Cats Brother Dave. He is getting down to the wire on needing the funds to obtain his brothers remains. The Funeral home wants 1,675.00, and so far the donations total about 700.00. If you can find it in your heart and wallet to help out please go to and make a donation of any size. So far the cost of obtaining the Cat Man’s personal possessions has not been released to Dave but he must pay the funeral home in full by December 5th….

  36. I’m sorry, I have to correct you on something, Shannon. Stalking Cat was not trying to turn into a female tiger. He once told me himself in person that the breasts he obtained were due to estrogen therapy following testicular cancer and an Orchiectomy. In his own words, “It was either I die from cancer or have bitch tits. I went with bitch tits.”

    Could you please correct the statement in this article? Wikipedia has now picked up on the statement from this article and I can’t fix it easily without a retraction. Thanks.

  37. I met Cat Six years ago at Home Town Buffett in San Jose CA. He was so gracious to myself and my young son. RIP….so sad.

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