When Is It A Good Idea To Dress Up Your Cat?(And When Not)

We’ve all seen dressed-up Instagram cats and probably also lost our heads over them.

So, when is it a good idea to dress up your cat? While dressing your cat all the time isn’t a good idea, kittens who are shaved for medical reasons need extra layers of clothes for warmth. Some need barriers to stop themselves from licking their skin due to allergies. Your senior cat may need some socks for traction to help it walk around without falling. Other than medical reasons, there’s no need for cats to be in clothes. 

While it’s not the best idea to put a shirt on your feline to make it look cute, there are some practical reasons for clothes on kittens.

Is It Okay To Dress A Cat?  

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t dress cats. It makes them uncomfortable and restrains their movement.

With that being said, each cat is different, and while some cats might find clothing comfortable, most of them will show resistance to your efforts. You can give it a try, but don’t force it on if your cat struggles.

What Happens When You Put Clothes On A Cat? 

Cats naturally like to move around, and clothes can prevent them from walking freely.

Most cats will fall over to show passive resistance because they don’t find it natural. Clothes can get pressed up against their ears, whiskers, and belly, making them anxious and nervous.

Do Cats Like Being Dressed Up?  

No. Cats aren’t used to clothes, and they affect them negatively, which is why they find it weird to wear these layers. Don’t think that you can’t know whether your cat’s okay with it or not because your cat will almost certainly hate the whole idea.  

If you are dressing it up for a few minutes to take some pictures and post them online, it won’t change the fact that your cat doesn’t like it and can hurt itself. Your cat’s health and happiness should be your primary concern.

When Should I Dress Up My Cat? 

There are various reasons why cats can need clothes, but they are all related to medical issues. Here is when you should dress up your cat.

1. Your cat is hairless

Some cats need to be shaved off for surgery. Due to this, they don’t have anything to help them regulate their body temperature when it’s cold, so they need a piece of clothing to protect them. This also goes for some hairless breeds that have trouble staying warm.

2. Your cat is sick

Senior cats and cats with health issues such as a weak immune system need help against the cold. That’s why they need shirts or sweaters to keep them from getting sick.

3. Your cat is suffering from an allergy

Cats can be allergic to various things, which leaves their skin irritated and scaly. They’ll try to scratch and over-groom themselves to relieve the itching but end up with more irritation. That is why they need a T-shirt over them to protect their skin.

4. Your cat needs traction

Some cats, especially older ones, require socks to help them get around. They can keep slipping on floors made of marble or smooth tiles and have trouble walking up staircases. There are cat socks Available with padding made to aid them in walking. These are also helpful for paralyzed, arthritic, and tri-pawed cats.

5. Your cat is stressed

Sometimes stressed cats can be too much to handle, but you can help them with a calming coat. It’s a common way to calm stressed dogs, but occasionally it works on cats as well.

While these health problems require clothes, you need to consult a vet instead of taking the matter into your own hands. Professional advice is necessary when it comes to medical issues.

When Shouldn’t I Dress Up My Cat? 

It’s unnatural for felines to have clothes on them, which can affect them in different ways.

So, you should not dress up your cat all the time, except for a special event like Halloween, and make sure that the clothes don’t cause much trouble to your cat.

Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t dress up your cat.

1. Interferes with their senses

Cats rely on their senses, and when you dress them, they’re likely to have trouble with their hearing, vision, and sense of smell. Any sort of headcover will muffle their hearing. Some hats will even keep covering their eyes, making it harder for them to see.

What’ll piss them off, even more, is that they’ll be covered in a scent that’s foreign to them. Cats communicate through smell, and dressing them up takes away their scent. They’ll probably give themselves a good grooming session once you take off the clothes!

2. Risk of injury

Clothes can keep cats from moving properly, leading to an injury due to their attempts at getting the outfit off. They can also end up swallowing a button or another part of their clothes. This can happen if your cat starts chewing or trying to remove them. In this scenario, making your feline look adorable is simply not worth the risk.

3. There’s no need for clothes

Other than medical reasons, there’s no reason for cats to be in clothes. In fact, a normal, healthy cat doesn’t even need to be dressed up to stay warm. It has its fur for a purpose, and putting on a sweater makes it difficult to regulate their body temperature normally.

If your cat is so cold that you see it trembling, try to get heat from a different source. Turn on a heater to warm up a room or take it out in the sun. On colder days, stay inside instead of dressing up your cat and taking it out.

How Do You Get A Cat Used To Wearing Clothes? 

When you first start putting clothes on your cat, take baby steps. Don’t cover it from head to toe. Here are some things you can try to get your cat used to dressing up.

Start simple 

Remember that they feel weird and unnatural in layers of clothes, so start with a simple bow tie. You can also make it wear a collar. Once your cat gets used to them, you can go ahead and put a hat on it. Eventually, your cat will get used to wearing T-shirts, sweaters, and even socks!

Get the right size

Size matters. Don’t expect your cat to be happy with fluffy, huge hats or tight clothes. Ensure that anything they wear will allow them to breathe comfortably and walk around. This includes bow ties because a tight one will keep your feline from breathing properly.

Leave new cat clothes out

When you get a new garment for your kitten, leave it out in front of it. Your cat will smell it and play around with it. Once it’s used to the outfit, you can put it on, and you won’t get many protests in return.

Use rewards

If you’re trying the leaving out method, you can use rewards as well. Each time you put out the clothes, you can give your cat a treat so that it learns to associate clothes with positive things. It’ll help them show less resistance once you put the clothes on.

Get your scent on them

Your feline might find the clothes more comfortable if your scent is on them. You can try sleeping with the clothes next to you and later on, put them on your cat and see how it works out.

Never leave your cat alone

Anytime you dress your cat, be sure that someone’s around to keep an eye on it. It might try to get the clothes off and end up getting its head or legs stuck inside. This will, in turn, result in injuries from falling over or running into something.

Watch out for signs of stress

Make sure that your cat is not looking stressed out after wearing the outfit. If it seems that way, take it off instead of leaving your feline in distress.

Q&A section

We have covered the most important info in the article, but there are still a few questions left, let’s go ahead and discuss them.

Why do cats flop when wearing clothes? 

Flopping or falling over is a way of passive resistance for cats. Instead of making a fuss trying to get you to take their clothes off, they’ll lay there refusing to move until you do what they want.

They can also do this due to their heightened sense of touch. Their bodies are more sensitive than ours, and the fabric from clothes can feel strange to them.

Why do cats freeze when wearing clothes?

Clothes are odd for them, so they don’t understand how to respond when you dress them up. That’s why instead of biting you or running away, they end up freezing. Another reason for this is the discomfort. They can’t move comfortably and end up staying in the same spot.

Can cats wear dog clothes?

Yes, clothes for small dogs such as toy breeds can be used on cats. However, ensure that the size is correct and that the clothes are not too tight or too loose that your feline gets irritated or injures itself.

Final Words

It’s never a good idea to dress up your cat without an actual purpose. Only dress them up when there’s a medical reason. Even if you are putting clothes on your cat for the sake of a few pictures, chances are, your feline will resist and get nervous.