Monday, August 26, 2013

Dennis Avner Plastic Surgery Disaster

Dennis Avner, widely known as "Cat man", though he preferred his Native American name "Stalking Cat", has undergone extensive plastic surgery in order to resemble his totem animal, the tiger.  

Avner's modifications included:

1. extensive tattooing, including facial tattooing

2. hairline modification

3. piercing of his upper lip and transdermal implants on his forehead to facilitate the wearing of whiskers

4. facial subdermal implants to change the shape of the brow, forehead, and the bridge of the nose (a planned future implant on the top of his head for mounting tiger-like ears)

5. flattening of his nose via septum relocation

6. filing and capping of his teeth to have a more feline appearance

7. wearing green contact lenses with slit irises

8. having his ears pointed and the earlobes elongated

9. silicone injection in his lips, cheeks, chin, and other parts of his face

10. bifurcated upper lip

Avner, whose parents were of Huron and Lakota heritage, claimed that changing oneself to mimic one's own totem is an ancient Huron tradition. The former Navy sonar technician who worked as a computer programmer took on the name "Stalking Cat" and started his modifications after a talk with a Native chief who reportedly inspired him to "follow the ways of the tiger".

As a result of his bizarre image, Avner attained local celebrity status and frequently traveled to attend interviews and photo sessions. He appeared and was interviewed on such television and radio shows as Ripley's Believe It or Not!, Larry King Live, VH1's Totally Obsessed, Kerrang! Radio's The Night Before, BBC Choice's Anna in Wonderland (Episode 6), and Animal Planet's Weird, True & Freaky (2008 episode "Humanimals").

Many of Avner's body modifications were performed by Arizona-based artist Steve Haworth. The first artist to begin the extensive tattoo work on Avner's face was Larry Hanks of San Diego in 1985.

Glenn McGee, director of the Center for Bioethics at Albany Medical College in New York, revealed of Avner: "Cosmetic surgery is a practice based on informed consent that needs to balance the risks with the benefits. It is possible to have a coherent view that is nonetheless detrimental to one's well-being. This is a patient who's being harmed by medicine in the interest of his tradition."

Avner held the world record for the most body modifications. He died on November 5, 2012 at 54. His body was found in his Tonopah, Nevada home. Though no cause of death was officially stated, suicide was the suspected outcome.

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