Dogs have long since been rocking an array of garments and accessories including bandanas, coats and full body outfits. However, attention has now turned to our cats, with more and more owners deciding to accessorise their kitty for a more fashionable look.
There is divided opinion as to whether dressing our pets up is cute or cruel. Full body cat costumes can prevent cats from carrying out their natural behaviour, such as grooming their fur, and prowling, which in turn can cause them stress. But what about the latest trend, cat bandanas?
If your cat is used to wearing a collar then swapping to a cat bandana shouldn’t cause any real irritation for your cat. Of course, when owners start using cat collars for the first time when their cats venture outside, it can take a while for a cat to get used to the sensation of something around their neck - but it’s something they soon become used to.
But if your cat doesn’t use collars then it’s important to recognise the signs of stress in your cat and to take a few simple steps to ensure you use bandanas properly. Of course every cat is different and responds to accessories in different ways. So it’s important to recognise the signs of stress so you don’t force your cat to wear something they are not comfortable with.
Using a cat bandana for the first time
We caught up with Joanne at Bella’s Pet Fashion, a mother-daughter business who have taken their love for sewing into creating pet accessories.
Tip 1: Familiarising themselves with the bandana
Joanne recommends that cat owners should place the new bandana down next to the cat and let him/her sniff the bandana before placing it on. Just like training your cat to use a harness and lead, or a collar for the first time, pets need to feel safe and familiarise themselves with the item as putting it on straight away could scare them. Using treats to make them feel safe and non-threatened around the bandana could also be useful. Also using a spray such as Pet Remedy, with Valarian root can help make cats feel at ease, and relieve any anxiety about something new.
Tip 2: Taking it slowly
Joanne encourages owners to slowly and carefully put on the bandana so no fur gets stuck in the clip. If this happens then simply undo the clip carefully.
Tip 3: Use for short periods
Pet’s at Home recommend that bandanas should only be worn for short periods and always with supervision. If your cat seems agitated in any way and doesn’t appear to get used to the sensation of something around their neck, then do not force them to continue wearing it.
Tip 4: Recognising the signs of stress and knowing when to stop
What are the signs of stress?
- Excessive licking
- Backing out of the collar
- Clawing or scratching the garment
- Refusing to move
Of course, as with wearing a collar for the first time, your cat will get used to it. But with any excessive signs of stress, it is kinder on your cat to discontinue using the item.
Tip 5: Practice makes perfect
As with most things, getting a kitten used to a new sensation is much easier than with a full-grown cat. For example, owners will no doubt find it easier if they have trained their cat to use a harness, accessory or collar from a young age. Trainers recommend using treats to reinforce the cat that a harness & lead is not a threat, and with short practice sessions, they can become used to it very quickly, even with older cats.
So whether your kitty seems happy to wear cat bandanas, or they hands down refuse to wear anything else other than their natural floofy coat - it’s down to you as a cat owner to make that call, and ensure above anything else that your cat is happy & stress-free.