My cats have clothes in my closet. On hangers.
They also have a box full of shirts, sweaters, costumes that would make Joan Rivers proud, and a collection of hats large enough to outfit half the stands at the Kentucky Derby. We have bunny ears for Easter, birthday hats for birthdays, Santa hats for Christmas, and hand-crocheted mohawk wigs for whatever — every cat needs a hand-crocheted mohawk wig. We have something to wear for every holiday and season.
It’s part of being my cat. And it’s not torture.
People with vivid imaginations envision me running around my house, bumblebee costume in hand, terrorizing the cat, thrashing through curtains, flipping over sofas, and knocking over entire shelves of knickknacks just to get my cat to wear something. They think I prearrange trips to the hospital, assuming my arms will be shredded after the effort. I think they picture a poor, tortured cat, panting, exhausted, and hating the world after this incredibly horrendous act of cruelty.
People. It’s not like that.
See the photo? That’s what it’s like. That’s my cat, Moo, sporting his biker dude Halloween costume a couple years ago. He’s a ham for the camera. He’d wear a T-shirt all day without a care in the world if I let him (but I don’t, because I don’t want that T-shirt to be dragged through the litter box). It just doesn’t bother him.
My other cat, Pimp, has been dressing up for every single holiday, without fail, since he was a baby. He’s going on 13 now and has yet to disown me. He doesn’t “enjoy” the outfits as much as Moo does, but he’s learned that it’s only for five minutes and that if he sits really still and cooperates, I’ll snap the pictures faster and we can be done with it. He’s not hurt. He’s not chased. He’s not tortured by his bumblebee costume, Elvis suit, or elf hat. He might be slightly humiliated (Mom, this makes me look stupid!), but it’s adorable and a small concession to living as a king in this house full of love, plenty of food, more cat beds than you can count, and a basket full of toys. Tortured, these cats are not.
I’m not saying you should whip out a princess tutu and tiara and approach a lion. That would not end well for either of you. But for a house cat who is calm, happy, and loves you — and has been dressing up for years and is used to it — there really is no harm. Plus, the pictures are good blog fodder and, for some reason, cats just look so darn cute in clothes.
Seriously, though, I would never do anything to intentionally hurt them, so don’t tell me how to raise my child. I would never walk up to someone and yell at her for feeding her child hot dogs (gasp!) and regular white bread — nor would I tell her that the huge bow headband floating on her newborn’s head probably weighs more than the kid’s head itself. This is practically the same, right? You do it your way, I’ll do it mine.
This past Christmas, Pimp and Moo dressed up as usual for our annual Christmas portrait. I bought the silliest crocheted Santa hat from Etsy and a pair of reindeer antlers. I put them on the boys, sat the two of them on the bed, and started snapping away. As you can see from the video below, no shackles were necessary, and neither one was pinned down and beaten into Santa hat submission. And when they want the hat off, the hat comes off. Then they get treats, of course. No harm done!
So, please, all of you who judge people who like to dress up their cats, lay off a little bit, okay?
We want to know! If you dress your kitties like I do, do you do it for just holidays or whenever the mood is right? What’s your favorite outfit or hat you have for your cats? And … you can now upload pictures with the comments — share if you have a pic handy!