Shocking but real! Dennis Avner made extensive body modifications, which were intended to increase his resemblance to a tigress.
For his 14 surgical procedures towards that goal, he held a world record for “most permanent transformations to look like an animal.” “Stalking Cat” was his chosen name.
Over the course of many years, Avner, who was a U.S. Navy veteran-turned-programmer, paid an estimated $200,000 to achieve his metamorphosis, undergoing several surgeries and cosmetic procedures, as well as getting a great number of tattoos and piercings.
Dennis identified strongly with his feline totem animals and in what he told me was a Huron tradition of actually adopting the physical form of one’s 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.
Sadly, he is believed to have committed suicide several years later in his hometown of Tonopah at age 54.