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Cat Costumes: Purr-ific or Cat-astrophe?

Cat in a dinosaur costume

Halloween is coming up, and the rest of the holiday season will follow fast in its footsteps. These are festive, joyful times and, as cat-lovers, we want to include our feline family members in the celebration. Adorable pictures of cats dressed as flowers, pumpkins, witches, and Ewoks plaster our social media pages, and we all want to share special images of our own sweet kitties. But are costumes for cats a good idea?

The answer is: it depends. In general, cats are a bit finicky about the way they are handled. Many become afraid if clothing or hats are placed on them. A fearful cat may scratch or bite the person dressing them. Alternatively, cats may crouch down and become almost immobile with clothes; essentially freezing in place. They may not move around normally, and this can affect their eating, drinking, and elimination (they may stop doing all of those things or they may urinate or defecate outside of the litter box). A cat that is acting in one or more of these manners is feeling stress. This cat may enjoy the holidays more without a costume.

How Can You Test Your Cat's Costume Tolerance Before You Buy One?

Of course, there are cats that will not mind a costume and may even enjoy it, strutting around proudly and posing for pictures. Before you order that perfect costume or pick it up at the store, try putting a child's t-shirt on your cat (head through the top and front legs through the arms). You can also try a small headband or hat. If your cat fights or crouches low to the ground and stops moving, you should skip Halloween and other holiday dress-ups. If your cat acts normally after a few moments and doesn't seem to mind the shirt and headband, you have a green light for the cute costume!

Considerations When Choosing a Costume

If you do dress your cat up for the holidays, consider a few things first. Be sure to choose a costume without long strings or ribbons. These can catch on things around the house, endangering the cat, or they might chew on and ingest them. This can lead to significant health risks, including intestinal blockage.

Likewise, inspect the garment for loose buttons, snaps, or other decorations. Also, consider the type of material the costume is made from. A natural fiber article is preferable to one made of synthetics, which may contain chemicals that can be harmful if licked or inhaled by your cat.

Can I "Dress" My Cat in a Special Way Without a Costume?

It's easiest if your cat chooses his own costume!

Watch this cat put the Halloween
costume on and transform into a bunny!

If your cat falls into the group of non-costume-loving felines, don't despair. Your cat is not a Scrooge, but is simply a bit pickier about fashion. Most cats tolerate collars well, and there is no shortage of fun and festive seasonal collars (choose break-away cat collars) available. Many cats don't mind sporting bandanas around their necks, either. These can be purchased or made out of an endless number of patterned fabrics, and your cat will be adorable and photo-worthy. Just make sure you can slide two fingers between the collar or bandana and your pet's neck so your cat can easily get out of it if necessary. And don't put any costumes on cats that will be going outdoors–cats wearing clothing should be supervised.

Likewise, you can decorate your cat's claws with Soft Paws®. These are safe, non-toxic nail covers that are easy to apply and very well-tolerated by most cats. They are available in a large variety of colors and designs, so matching them to a special decorative collar will be easy.

Whether your cat enjoys being dressed like a sunflower or a Christmas tree or would rather avoid the accessories, one thing is sure: the holidays are extra special when shared with feline friends.

You May Also Like These Articles:

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The Dangers of Strings, Ribbons, and Yarn for Cats

Pica in Cats: Why Cats Eat Strange Things

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How to Keep Your Cat off the Christmas Tree

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