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This Faux Taxidermy is Made Almost Entirely Out of Recycled Fabrics

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How do you reconcile an appreciation for the aesthetic of taxidermy with your distaste for the bloodshed involved? Easy: you fake it. Wisconsin-based artist Kelly Rene Jelinek found a creative way to mimic the artform by using recycled materials that are cruelty-free and much more vibrant than the palate of traditional taxidermy.

Jelinek creates the upholstered sculptures at Little Stag Studio, her workspace in Kiel, Wisconsin. The name is a nod to her own surname, which according to her website means “little stag” in Czech. (The affinity for fauna is clearly a birthright.)

“When I was a child, I spent most of my time with my nose in fairytale books,” Jelinek writes. “I absolutely marveled how the impossible was made possible in those stories.”

The desire to create a “magical and extraordinary” world like the one from her childhood is what inspired the artist to flip the 200-plus year-old taxidermy practice on its head, using vintage coats, recycled upholstery, and other fabric scraps to make decorative mounted heads, as well as full faux-taxidermy bodies.

“I think that many people find the twist of taking something traditional and perhaps nostalgic—taxidermy and upholstery—and combining them together is what makes them interesting and appealing,” Jelinek told GOOD. “They’re ‘out of the box,’ but not something overwhelmingly strange or foreign.”

Check out some of the artist’s handiwork below, and head to the Little Stag Studio website to find out how to get your hands on one.

Images via Little Stag Studio on Facebook

[h/t GOOD]

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Big Questions
Why Do Cats Freak Out After Pooping?
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Cats often exhibit some very peculiar behavior, from getting into deadly combat situations with their own tail to pouncing on unsuspecting humans. Among their most curious habits: running from their litter box like a greyhound after moving their bowels. Are they running from their own fecal matter? Has waste elimination prompted a sense of euphoria?

Experts—if anyone is said to qualify as an expert in post-poop moods—aren’t exactly sure, but they’ve presented a number of entertaining theories. From a biological standpoint, some animal behaviorists suspect that a cat bolting after a deposit might stem from fears that a predator could track them based on the smell of their waste. But researchers are quick to note that they haven’t observed cats run from their BMs in the wild.

Biology also has a little bit to do with another theory, which postulates that cats used to getting their rear ends licked by their mother after defecating as kittens are showing off their independence by sprinting away, their butts having taken on self-cleaning properties in adulthood.

Not convinced? You might find another idea more plausible: Both humans and cats have a vagus nerve running from their brain stem. In both species, the nerve can be stimulated by defecation, leading to a pleasurable sensation and what some have labeled “poo-phoria,” or post-poop elation. In running, the cat may simply be working off excess energy brought on by stimulation of the nerve.

Less interesting is the notion that notoriously hygienic cats may simply want to shake off excess litter or fecal matter by running a 100-meter dash, or that a digestive problem has led to some discomfort they’re attempting to flee from. The fact is, so little research has been done in the field of pooping cat mania that there’s no universally accepted answer. Like so much of what makes cats tick, a definitive motivation will have to remain a mystery.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Animals
Listen to the Impossibly Adorable Sounds of a Baby Sloth
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Sometimes baby sloths seem almost too adorable to be real. But the little muppet-faced treasures don't just look cute—turns out they sound cute, too. We know what you're thinking: How could you have gone your whole life without knowing what these precious creatures sound like? Well, fear not: Just in time for International Sloth Day (today), we have some footage of how the tiny mammals express themselves—and it's a lot of squeaking. (Or maybe that's you squealing?)

The sloths featured in the heart-obliterating video below come from the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica. The institution rescues orphaned sloths, rehabilitates them, and gets them ready to be released back into the wild.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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