Very soon you’re going to start seeing adorable pictures of cats in costumes popping up on Facebook, Instagram, and elsewhere. We understand the appeal. But the appeal is really for people, not cats, so we’re not big fans of dressing up your pet. Along with objecting to having something pulled over their heads and wrapped around their necks, a lot of cats simply are afraid of being dressed in a costume. Some will even stop moving when dressed; they crouch down and freeze in place because they don’t know what they’re supposed to do or how they’re supposed to move about. Why put a cat through that severe stress?
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Some cats don’t mind having clothing on. If you’d really like to dress up your pet for Halloween and want to find out if she’d be okay with it, don’t do it for the first time on October 31st.
Instead, weeks before the holiday, try putting a child’s t-shirt on your cat, head though the neck, front paws through the arm holes. If she seems truly sanguine about it, go ahead and try an actual costume. Just make sure it doesn’t have any ribbons or loose strings that can endanger your pet by getting caught on objects around the house or that she can chew and swallow. That could lead to an intestinal blockage. There should be no loosely attached decorations, either. The last thing you need is your pet swallowing the sparkles on a wand.
Put your cat in the costume two or three times before Halloween. If she’s fine with it and then balks about wearing it on the holiday itself (the doorbell keeps ringing, kids keep yelling, and she’s feeling more stressed than usual), take it off immediately. Remember, cats don’t have a clue about the meaning of the holiday, or even that it is a holiday. And your pet’s physical and emotional comfort always come before your amusement.