Meet Coco The High Couture Cat and her Guardian Teri Thorsteinson

You may or may not agree with putting clothes on cats. If you disagree, I hope that you will be able to suspend your initial negative reaction for a moment to read that in this particular instance these kitties are dressed up only for special occasions, and for fund-raising purposes to help cats in need.

I never gave much thought to how I felt about kitty guardians dressing up their cats in costumes. Whenever the subject of what kind of costume they were planning to have their kitties wear for Halloween, or what elaborate outfits they should bedeck them in for other special occasions, I always wondered what would inspire any passionate felineophile to consider enhancing the perfect attire with which Mother Nature has already given them since most cats already come adorned in such an array of magnificently colored fur coats.

High couture cat: coco and teri the owner

Photo credit: Teri with Coco – Photo by Kim J. Gifford — Kim Gifford’s website:— Photo of Coco Courtesy of

On the other hand, however, I grant you that there are many cat lovers who do get pleasure from gussying up their kitties. In fact, the topic of dressing up cats came up during an interview with Cat Daddy Jackson Galaxy last March with the Austin Chronicle.

Knowing the adoration that Jackson Galaxy holds for kitties, it didn’t surprise me that he is certainly no fan of dressing up cats in outfits at all. In response to the question, “What do you think of people who dress up their cats in funny clothes?” Jackson responded, “I hate ‘em. Yeah, no, I ‘m not a fan of dressing up animals. I just- I’m into animals for the sake of them being animals and I want to celebrate them for that.”

However, while signing up at the registration desk at the Blog Paws 2012 Conference,  the first person I encountered was Teri Thorsteinson greeting people while parading Coco, her gorgeous Cornish Rex around the area in a pink Catillac carriage. Coco was so beautifully dressed to the “nines” in such a stunning outfit, that although I historically frowned upon cats in costume, I couldn’t help but begin to re-evaluate my opinion shortly after I had a chance to speak with Teri and learn about some of the fabulous things in which she and her cats are involved. I found myself starting to strongly appreciate what these “high couture cats” can do to contribute to kitties who are less fortunate.

Teri was excited about how warmly her cats were received and thrilled with the overwhelming attention and the positive feedback given to her about her colorfully costumed cats while she attended the Blog Paws Pet Blogger conferences. It was then that she realized that what was first just a fun activity for her and her kitties was leading her to turn into a new direction; “helping rescue organizations increase their exposure and raise funds through fashion.”

With Coco’s innate fashion sense and her exquisite taste in wearing apparel, both Teri and her extraordinary kitty’s goals is to truly make a difference in the lives of cats that are far less fortunate. Coco hopes that by modeling these extraordinary kitty fashions created for her by cat savvy designers, that her gowns will then be auctioned off with the proceeds contributed to a sanctuary or other rescue organizations she supports.

Enjoy a moment of fun high couture kitties strutting their Feline Fashionistas on the Cat Walk, watch the charming video uploaded to YouTube by Teri Thorsteinson

Perhaps Coco and her guardian Teri have given me pause to reflect that there are times when tastefully dressing up a kitty in a unique and clever costume has its merits. What do you think? Tell us what you think in a comment.


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Meet Coco The High Couture Cat and her Guardian Teri Thorsteinson — 30 Comments

  1. Some cats are quite happy for the dressing up and attention. It is just pretty unusual that’s all. That’s how I see it.

  2. ‘there are many cat lovers who do get pleasure from gussying up their kitties’
    That says it all to me, the cat lovers get pleasure, not the cats!
    I’m totally with Jackson on this and I make no secret that I HATE seeing cats dressed up, they are not people, they are not babies, they are CATS and they like being cats and cats do NOT wear clothes.
    To tell the truth I’m not a violent person but the exploitation of cats makes me see red and I hate Teri Thorsteinson and others like her who abuse or exploit cats, with a vengeance.

  3. Teri is a nice person and she looks after her cats well. I can judge that by looking at some of her videos. She just likes to dress up her cats. Personally, I don’t like to see a cat wearing clothes other than what nature gave him.

    However, I am to a certain extent with Marc on this. I don’t think it does any harm and it gives people pleasure. Provided the cat is well treated and loved then occasionally dressing him or her up in clothes is okay by me particularly when the person involved hopes to be able to sell the clothes in aid of charity.

    Thanks for the post Jo.

  4. well i dont think my cats would like that. As they’re cats after all. I guess its down to the individual person thats my view anyway

    • You are so right Kylee, they are cats and cats don’t wear clothes and I would never degrade our boyz by putting clothes on them, there are other ways to help charities without involving animals.
      I hate seeing cats being forced to do something against their nature and I don’t think any real cat lover would do that.
      That women should get herself some dollies if she wants to play dressing something up.

    • That is a good point because I’m not sure many cats would actually accept it. It would seem to me that the cat would have to get used to it and that would require persistence on behalf of the cat owner. I know how hard it is to get a harness onto a cat in order to attach a lead to it so I’m sure that clothes like this would have the same problem.

  5. While I am not a huge fan either of dressing up cats, since I have had the pleasure of not only personally meeting Teri and having the opportunity to play with her kitties, but also becoming friends with her, I can vouch for the excellent care that she gives her kitties.

    She never forces her cats to wear the beautifully designed costumes made for them. The cats that I have met at two Blog Paws conferences really seem to enjoy being in the spotlight and having a blast with all the attention that they receive. Additionally, meeting the goal of helping needy kitties is extremely important to Teri (and her kitties).

    So I am with Marc on this as well- it is innocent fun with a purpose! And these cats are not being forced to do anything they do not want to-and I can purrsonally attest to this after meeting her cats:)

  6. I just don’t like it and never will.
    I trust Jo when she says the cats enjoy being in the spotlight and getting loads of attention; but, that doesn’t mean they like being dressed in order to get it.
    I really don’t see contented expressions on any of the cats’ faces.

    • You are right Dee, some of those cats look distinctly uncomfortable. Tight belts! woolly jumpers! silly hats! ‘cutie’ little child clothes! To me it degrades cats forcing them to wear clothes and yes they ARE forced because they wouldn’t choose to wear them if they had a choice. Let’s just hope idiots don’t follow this stupid fashion and dress their cats up too.

      • How could a cat get used to washing/licking glitter and sequins instead of fur?
        Can we REALLY believe that they would like this?

        • Good point Dee and I hadn’t thought of that, cats are constantly washing to keep their fur beautiful and to have it covered by materials meant for humans must be very frustrating for the poor little souls.
          Cats having to ‘get used’ to something un-natural is wrong, they ‘get used’ to being declawed is an excuse people use who want to justify declawing their cats.
          Fancy glittery collars are not for the cats benefit either, only for the humans looking at them.
          Why don’t people just let cats be cats, they are perfect as they come!

  7. Kitties who are hairless or almost so may actually like clothes if they become accustomed to them while still young. We have Sphynx friends who are very spiffy dressers.

  8. while I thought most of the kitty models in the video didn’t seem to mind the clothes, some were clearly annoyed by them. I had a dog that LOVED his bandanas and was miffed when I removed them. That said, I personally would not dress my cats, but I think this is a wonderful cause. I guess if the cat is OK with it, then it would be alright.

  9. I’m sorry if this offends anyone but I found that video distasteful I hated seeing those cats stuffed into clothing that seemed to me to be designed to make them look ridiculous. They didn’t look to me as though they were enjoying it at all, and why should they, they are cats, not babies, not dwarves and not dress up dollies, if these ladies feel the need to make miniature clothes and dress something up then it should be a baby or an inanimate doll, NOT an animal. Further although it seems in a good cause to use this parody of a catwalk to make money for unfortunate cats I personally don’t think that using cats in this way to raise funds for other cats is justifiable, there are much better, more compassionate ways of raising funds.

  10. Thanks for an interesting article. I have to say that I am not a fan of dressing up cats but bling on collars etc. is fine. I do have to admit that our cat used to wear a shirt that said, “Don’t Bug Me I’m A Local.” He ws a bit of a celebrity because he loved to ride in the truck and enjoyed visiting the post office, vet office and PetSmart. Now he blings up for the angels in heaven but it was fun to watch him show himself off and enjoying wearing his sun glasses and other clothes.

  11. Some kitties love to dress up. Look at Daisy the Curly Cat. I do know people who are very upset by the practice. I think it is wrong if the cat doesn’t want you to dress it up and you do it anyway. It’s just selfish. I would never do it. But you have to admit, it is darn cute (when kitty is in to it.)

    • I tend to agree with you Dan. At one time I was dead against it and I still don’t like it but if the cat is okay with it and the cat is not exploited in some other way and it gives pleasure to someone that I can’t see any harm in it.

  12. Our RSPCA may have faults but at least they are clear on this subject:

    ‘Forcing pets to wear clothing could be harmful, and in some cases there may even be grounds to prosecute,there is a dizzying array of products on sale, from bootees, pyjamas, all-in-one trousers and even hoodies.
    Under the Animal Welfare Act that came into force in April 2007 owners have a duty of care to ensure that all of their pets’ needs are met. One of those needs is to express normal behaviour and it could mean that with restrictive clothing they are not able to do that properly. We are concerned that any pet should be viewed as a fashion accessory. Taking on an animal is a long-term commitment. It’s quite humiliating and sends out the wrong message about pet care’

    Thankfully not a single one of my many cat contacts here thinks dressing up their pet is acceptable, if they did they would soon be an ex cat contact.

    • Glad the RSPCA made a stand against it, I hope it never catches on here I think it’s unkind, and not even a little bit cute.

    • I think the trouble is that some people go too far and are insensitive about their cat’s feelings and do it in a selfish way. Then it can be cruel. I agree with Barbara that is is good that the RSPCA have made a statement about this.

  13. yes i agree its ok for dogs or animals in the cold. i personally wouldnt do it for my animals as i just know they would hate it.

  14. I for one totally disagree with putting cats or dogs in stupid “designer clothes” just to make a “statement”. With indoor cats I believe a simple collar is enough, anything more than that is the owners idea of “fancy, or classy”. I believe that short coated dogs, and cats that might go for walks on a leash should wear common sense coverage. They don’t need bright colors, feathered hats, glasses and what not. Simple is better, cheaper and the animals are probably happier with out all the extra “luggage”.

  15. First, what a great article. It’s wonderful to spread awareness on the unique and varied ways we can help raise money for our furry friends. I have met Teri and Coco (the picture above is one I snapped at Blogpaws) and I have to say that the two spread smiles wherever they appear. I understand the well meaning intentions of those who do not believe in dressing up their pets, and have to confess that my pugs often wear costumes as well. I take them dressed to area nursing homes and Trick or Treatin’ and like Coco and Teri they bring smiles to people’s faces. I love that Teri has turned this into a fundraising effort. With so much need all around us, I know that many organizations struggle with how to raise funds, etc. and are always seeking new ways. A local shelter in our area actually put on a pet fashion show. I think Teri and Coco should be praised for their ingenuity and not judged. No one needs to put their own pets in clothes if they find it goes against their beliefs, but Coco is far from abused, this cat strutted it’s stuff on the red carpet at Blogpaws eating up the attention. My pugs rush to the clothes bin because they know it means they will be getting attention. Seeing Teri and Coco was one of the treats of Blogpaws and I didn’t even know all the good she was doing with her getup. I just knew that she and Coco looked fashionable and happy, and that made me happy. I’m so thrilled to know there is even more good that comes from this. And, even if there were not, I think Teri’s dressing of Coco and Coco’s acceptance of it (that cat was not struggling in any way to get out of its duds) shows that the two spend a lot of time together. Coco is loved and that love reaches out to a lot of people. Way to go both of you!

    • Thanks Kim. I totally agree. Teri should be praised for the what she does for cat welfare. Some people will disagree with putting clothes on cats which is fair enough but there is a good cause behind this and that needs to be recognized and praised. Thanks for commenting.

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