January 14th is National Dress Up Your Pet Day. We are not big fans.
First designated as a day of celebration in 2009, the holiday’s stated aim is to provide “a special day to celebrate with your pet and show of [sic] their fashion style.” One press release also says that “clothes can reveal your cat’s personality.”
Therein lies the problem. The clothes you choose for your cat reveal your personality. Similarly, cats don’t have a fashion style. Whatever style we ascribe to them is all ours. In other words, National Dress Up Your Pet Day is all about you, not your cat.
In fact, while putting a cat in clothing might be fun for some people, a cat has no clue what’s going on. She doesn’t know it’s a holiday or even that she’s wearing clothing. She just knows she now has material touching her fur, and she very well may not like how that feels.
Some cats are even afraid of being put in clothing. They will stop moving when dressed, crouching down and freezing in place because they don’t know what they’re supposed to do or how they’re supposed to move around.
Granted, there are some mellow cats who don’t mind having their head pulled through a collar or their limbs pushed through sleeves. If that’s the case, feel free to outfit your feline in some stylish threads. Those who encourage celebration of the day suggest that you might want to dress yourself and your cat in matching outfits and have someone take a few photos (although again, the activity and the photos will have absolutely no meaning for your pet).
Just make sure the clothing doesn’t have any loose ribbons or strings that can get caught on objects as she walks around the house or that she could end up chewing and swallowing. The last thing you need is your pet’s haute couture causing her an intestinal blockage. And ornamental features should be attached firmly. You don’t want your pet ingesting the fake jewels on a beaded sweater.
Finally, even the National Day Calendar says that “if your pet doesn’t like dressing up, let them sit this holiday out.” It adds that if you do put your cat in clothing, “be sure it fits” because “restricting movement or ability to breathe can cause injury or illness.” In other words, your cat’s physical and emotional comfort always come before your own amusement.