Seeing cats with clothing, be it through photos or in person, is always an adorable sight! While it can be fun to put sweaters on cats, it may not be as fun for our furry friends. Your cat may find the extra layer of warmth uncomfortable, which may stress them out. In addition, their fur already provides sufficient heat, which may impede their ability to regulate their body temperature.
In some cases, your cat may need to wear a sweater, especially when they’re feeling chilly. Below, we share eight tips on how to get your cat to wear a sweater. But first, let’s take a look at some signs that your cat in fact needs some extra layers!
Signs That Your Cat Needs a Sweater
Even though your cat has fur, there are special circumstances that may not be enough to keep them warm. As much as possible, you do not want your cat in a situation in which they need a sweater. Sometimes, this may be unavoidable—especially if you live in colder climates.
- Tucking limbs and tail inside their bodies
- Actively seeking out heat sources, such as sunlight or heat from lamplights
- Constant snuggling to humans for warmth
- Constant snuggling under blankets
It is important to look out for signs that your cat may need to wear a sweater for added warmth. This can help keep them comfortable and prevent any illnesses due to the excessive cold.
The 8 Tips to Get a Cat to Wear a Sweater
1. Slowly Introduce the Clothing
Before actually putting on the sweater, introduce the clothing to your cat first. Try leaving it in your cat’s space and allow them to sniff and play with it on its own. Letting them explore the object helps them familiarize themselves, making them more comfortable. You can also begin rubbing the clothing on their fur to let them get a feel of the fabric on their bodies.
Introducing the clothing to your cat is a good opportunity to start associating the piece of clothing with a positive experience. You can play and provide treats as well, so that they enjoy being around it!
2. Start With Simple Pieces of Clothing
When starting your cat with sweaters, you don’t want to overwhelm them with a huge sweater that covers their body immediately. This can stress them out and further associate clothing with a negative experience, which could reduce the likelihood that they will ever want to wear a sweater again.
Start with small pieces of clothing, such as bowties or ribbons around their neck. After they get comfortable, you can move on to sleeveless shirts before moving on to full-body sweaters.
You can even try your own socks! While it may sound gross, cutting holes on your old socks for their head and front limbs can make a great “starting sweater” because of your scent. Be sure to use clean socks, rather than your dirty used ones!
3. Choose the Proper Size!
The size of the sweater is crucial when beginning your cat’s sweater-wearing journey. Sweaters that are too tight will be too uncomfortable and can stress out your cat. This can also cause them to overheat easily due to the compression on their bodies.
Big sized sweaters may seem like a good starting option, but the bagginess can affect their movement. Cats are also smart and nimble enough to be able to remove these oversized sweaters on their own!
Getting a sweater that is not too big, not too small, but just right is the perfect way to get them to start wearing a sweater!
4. Use Comfortable and Stretchy Fabric
In addition to finding a perfectly fit sweater, it is important to choose one with a stretchy and comfortable fabric! Stretchy fabrics make it easier to don and doff the sweater as needed—which is also helpful to you, as the one putting it on them.
Of course, since it’s your cat that will be wearing the sweater, you want it to be comfortable. Try to choose smooth and soft materials that provide enough warmth for the cold temperature!
5. Do Pleasurable Activities While Wearing the Sweater
When you finally put the sweater on your cat, continue creating a positive experience for them. While wearing the sweater, try to play with them and give them treats. Spend time with them and make the sweater-wearing experience enjoyable for your cat.
This positive association may take time, but it will definitely help your cat become more comfortable in the sweater. This can also help your cat look forward to wearing the sweater in the future!
6. Start Short, Then Build Up the Wearing Time
Like most things, you will want to work your way up with how much and how long you have your cat wear a sweater. During their first few times, keep it short and do not have them wearing the sweater for hours. Slowly build up the duration of wearing time, while making it a positive experience each time.
For instance, start with five minutes, then 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and so on. It is important to be patient and aware of your cat’s limitations.
7. Do Not Leave Your Cat Alone
It is important to keep your cat company while they are still getting used to sweater-wearing, as it can be overwhelming and stressful for your cat at first. Keeping them company can help calm them down and reduce their stress.
Your cat may also attempt to remove the sweater at some point, possibly getting their head or legs stuck in the sweater, which can make it a worse experience for your cat. Be sure to monitor your cat and keep them as comfortable as possible.
8. Monitor Their Behavior and Look for Signs of Stress
It is important to note that not all cats are the same. Some cats can get comfortable quickly, while others may be opposed to wearing the sweater and may take more time. It is important to understand your cat’s limitations by looking at how they react.
- Excessive pawing and scratching at the sweater
- Freezing or standing still when wearing the sweater
- Rubbing their bodies against the wall or on you
- Excessive vocalizing
- Heavy breathing
- Signs of aggression
As cat owners, it is important to know if it’s time to remove the sweater and try again next time. Sometimes, your cat may just never get used to the sweater, and you may have to resort to the use of blankets or other options of keeping them warm instead.
Cats in sweaters are absolutely adorable. While this can be a fun sight for us, some cats may find it stressful and unnatural. While cats generally don’t need sweaters, they may need it during the colder seasons. The most important thing to do is create a positive experience for your cat when wearing a sweater. It is up to us to know how to keep our cat warm, comfortable, and happy!
Featured Image Credit: Alena Ozerova, Shutterstock
- Signs That Your Cat Needs a Sweater
- The 8 Tips to Get a Cat to Wear a Sweater
- 1. Slowly Introduce the Clothing
- 2. Start With Simple Pieces of Clothing
- 3. Choose the Proper Size!
- 4. Use Comfortable and Stretchy Fabric
- 5. Do Pleasurable Activities While Wearing the Sweater
- 6. Start Short, Then Build Up the Wearing Time
- 7. Do Not Leave Your Cat Alone
- 8. Monitor Their Behavior and Look for Signs of Stress