I want to begin this article by making two very important points. The first is that every day, cats protect us from bad energy - at least, that's what my grandmother believed, and it's a theory that's spanned ages and cultures. The second point is that one of the reasons we dress up for Halloween - traditionally speaking - is to scare away wicked spirits. Given that Halloween is coming up, perhaps you want to amp up your kitty's natural ghost hunting abilities with some eerie apparel. All right, so cat costumes are kinda goofy, but... if you're getting dolled up, why shouldn't your furry little buddy, too? In this article, I'll give you some tips and recommendations for getting your kitty ready.
Sizing Your Cat Costume
When it comes to sizing your cat costumes, a lot of the same rules apply that you would use to fit a harness. Start slowly, offer treats or toys, be relaxed, then show him the things you'll be using - in this instance, just a soft tape measure, and perhaps some peroxide and bandages for you... you know... if things get out of hand!
Next, start your measurements. It's probably best to do this in a more enclosed space, like the bathroom. Once kitty gets a whiff of what's about to happen, he may suddenly disappear, so try to keep him close. You'll start by loosely placing the tape just at the spot where the neck meets the shoulders. Make sure you can fit two fingers between your cat and the measuring tape so as to keep things nice and roomy. Quickly make note of the numbers. Follow the exact same process around the chest, just behind the front legs, around the thickest part of his body. Again, do the "two finger" trick to make sure there's plenty of space. Finally, measure his entire length, from base of the neck all the way to the base of the tail.
If your feline is a fairly typical size, finding cat costumes to fit likely won't be too difficult. However, if your fuzzy little pal has some unique dimensions, you'll likely have to get a little creative. If you find that things are a touch too constricting or loose, you'll need to make adjustments accordingly. Furthermore, depending upon the type of costume, you may have to take some additional measurements - after all, nobody likes a hat that constantly slips off!
Cat Costume Preparations
Figuring Out Your Cat's Preferences
After you have all of your measurements down, but before you dive head first into dressing your cat, it's a good idea to work on the preliminary preparations. Prior to buying a costume, keep your kitty's likes and dislikes in mind. Is he freaked out by crinkly paper or shopping bags? Steer clear of overly noisome materials. Does he despise having his ears or feet touched? Nix the headbands and fake boots. Does he do the alligator death roll whenever you try to get him in a harness? Then you will want to avoid anything shirt-like in construction.
Getting Your Cat Comfortable
So you've figured out what he's likely to hate and you've gone ahead and picked up a fantastic costume... now what? Even if you've followed his preferences down to the last detail, chances are he's going to be hesitant, so take your time and get him familiar with his new outerwear. Leave it where he can see and smell it, pet him with it, let him rub and roll around on it - just give him a few days to become accustomed to it. Once it smells familiar, drape it over his back for a few seconds. While it's on his person, give him a treat, let him fiddle with the material, whip out his favorite toy - anything to help him associate it with good things. Now take it off his back, but leave it where he can see it. Repeat this process again throughout the next day or so.
Dressing Your Cat
Finally, engage him in a vigorous play session. Once he's feeling fairly calm, start dressing him. He may still be pretty shy of the whole affair, but just stay patient and work slowly. After he's fully attired, reward him in whatever way he likes best. Also, be sure to resume play for at least a few minutes after getting dressed. This allows him to get used to the feeling of the costume, and also lets him know he's still able to move - which might reduce the chances of him freaking out.
Ensuring Your Cat's Safety
Once you've finished all of your preparations and have your kitty fully dressed, be sure to keep an eye on him. Cat costumes can have lots of small parts, frills or strings, so be sure that he doesn't try to eat anything; gets caught up on anything; or gets partially out of his costume, then goes on a terror-induced semi-streak throughout the house. Also, watch out for his body language. If he's showing any signs of stress, undress him and let him go about his evening in peace!
Ideas for Cat Costumes
All right, now for the fun part - picking out some cat costumes! There are plenty on the market, and it depends on what you're going for. Some costumes are made up of simple things, like vibrantly-colored, bejeweled, or caped collars. Others are similar to the sort that you would wear, and may include full body suits, hats, shoes, etc. What you pick will depend on your theme, but more importantly, will also depend on what your kitty can tolerate.
Maybe this is your first Halloween with your kitty, or perhaps you just want to shake things up a bit. Either way, cat costumes can be a lot of fun! If you take your time, respect his boundaries, and ensure that everything fits properly, there's no reason at all that you and your fabulous feline can't hit all the spookiest parties in style!
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