How to Get a Cat to Wear a Costume

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We have all seen the amazing array of costumes for dogs--from a canine Yoda costume to a canine cop outfit. Now our fabulous felines can also get in on the fun, as more an more cat costumes are available on the Web and at specialty stores. The problem is, our pet cats are often a bit more finicky and touchy than our pet dogs. It's just typical cat behavior. How do we even get our cats in that costume? It comes down to experimentation, and trying to figure out just what our kitty's tolerance to any type of material touching their fur will be. Some might be able to keep a costume on their cat comfortably just long enough for photos, while others might be able to keep their cat dressed long enough for the trick or treaters to come and go.

  • Experiment. See how your cat reacts to the costume once it is on. Does the cat seem bothered by one part of the outfit, such as the hat or a cape? Remove that garment for the best results and optimum comfort. You can always add it for a few moments just to take photos.

  • Don't torture your pet. Don't insist on keeping all these parts of the outfit on your cat if he or she seems upset, lethargic or stressed by it. Your cat's seemingly cute appearance isn't worth causing your feline to be stressed out. Stress can also manifest itself through cats in a variety of negative ways, including your cat spraying urine on your furniture or other places besides its litter box.

  • Opt for a costume that isn't restrictive. Chances are you'll have better luck (and won't waste the money--these costumes can get pricey) if you opt for a less elaborate and more comfortable costume. For example, angel halos, witches hats, devil horns, tiaras and crowns are all simple head ornamentation that may be less stressful for your cat. Same goes for the rest of the outfit. Opt for something simple, not necessarily a full-body costume, such as a cape or angel wings.

  • Make sure the size is right. You may want to go a bit bigger for comfort and safety. Many costumes are also one-size-fits-all, so make sure the measurements will fit your cat properly.

  • Choose durable fabrics and those which come on and off easily. This will make it a lot easier for you to get the costume on and take it off. This will also be much less traumatic for your cat. If need be, you may want to wear gloves to protect yourself from your cat's claws; however, if the cat is that upset about the costume, you should really consider passing it up entirely and opting for another way for your cat to express himself for the holidays--such as small bows which can be added when your cat is groomed, or a new Halloween collar.

  • Be respectful of your cat's tolerance. Each cat is different. Some may have a higher degree of tolerance than others. Again, monitor your cat's behavior. Remove the outfit or annoying garment or object immediately if your cat seems to be stressed for any period of time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Monitor your cat when he or she is wearing the costume. These costumes can be quite dangerous, if a cat gets some of the material caught on something, for example. You'll want to watch your pet at all times.
  • Don't let your cat wear the costume for an extended period of time. Again, cats have a fairly low tolerance as a whole to these outfits. The moment you see your cat feeling stressed or becoming lethargic, remove the outfit immediately.
  • Be sure to order the costume early if it's for a holiday event. Allow at least 2 weeks if you order online.
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