Sweatshirt with kitten motif costs $477

This delightful sweatshirt with the extra long arms (! – is it made for men?) costs $477 from ANTONIOLI online. Actually it was reduced from that exulted figure to $143 but it is now sold out. Perhaps it was so popular because a celebrity who I had not heard of, Gwen Stefani, was photographed wearing it.

Gwen Stefani wears cute cat sweatshirt
Gwen Stefani wears cute cat sweatshirt costing (originally) $477 – now sold out

The pictures were share around the internet including on popsugar.com.

It’s actually a nice garment except the arm length is odd. They are about 12 inches too long. Maybe it’s trendy to have the hands hidden or the arms ruffled up. It would irritate me.

Gwen Renée Stefani is an American singer, songwriter, and actress says Wikipedia. Now I know. She looks great in the sweatshirt with a kitten motif costing $477. I think the price makes it look better. I bet it was made in Bangladesh and cost $5 to make.

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How does the Thundershirt for cats work?

Thundershirt for cats
Mickey in a Thundershirt.

The manufacturers of the Thundershirt claim that it works in the same way swaddling a baby works. I am not sure that this is true. The Thundershirt works for cats and dogs. I believe that the reason why it works for a lot of dogs may be different to the reason why it works for a lot of cats. I get the impression, by the way, that the product was created initially for dogs.

I am making the point by the way that its effectiveness will vary. It may vary quite a lot for cats because this product does not calm cats so much as zap them. It has a similar effect to a drug on many cats. There is a definite alteration to the mental state of the cat. The cat can look bemused and a bit confused. Cats stumble sometimes at least initially but they get used to it somewhat. Also cats can become slightly more affectionate. I think that is a fair observation.

They can lose their athleticism. They may flop off the bed rather than elegantly jump off and so on. It can affect coordination. This indicates that this is not so much a calming effect but an alteration to the mental state of the cat. For dogs it may have a calming effect but I have not observed dogs in Thundershirts.

All those things said, I like the product when used under certain circumstances because it can be very helpful.

But what is happening? How does it work? The pressure from the Thundershirt appears not to trigger the same emotional response as for babies in swaddling. Swaddling of babies is meant to replicate the feeling the baby had when in the womb. This is reassuring; hence the calming effect.

Putting pressure on a cat with a close fitting harness zaps the cat as mentioned. It can semi-immobilize a cat. I see a cat behaving as if on a tranquilliser. A possible reason why this happens is because the cat feels to a certain extent that he/she is being carried by her mother by the scruff of the neck. We know that this activity immobilizes cats. It is designed to do so as it allows the mother to transport her kittens to a new den unhindered by a struggling baby.

Therefore I would suggest that the Thundershirt works by replicating to a certain extent (i.e. not completely) the process whereby mothers immobilise their young when transporting them in their mouths by biting gently down on the scruff of the kitten’s neck.

How can the Thundershirt achieve this? I believe that it is a combination of the collar of the product pressing down on the rear of the neck and the pressure of the Thundershirt on the torso which tweaks the cat’s nervous system in such as way that the cat receives a similar signal as when being grabbed by the scruff of the neck.

An alternative theory is that we know that cats love boxes. They like to squeeze inside boxes. This puts pressure on their body where it is in contact with the walls of the box. This reassures them. The reassurance and calming effect may originate in the close – almost pressed together – contact very young kittens have with their mother and litter mates. It is feeling which is a throwback to when they were newborns.

This theory is more consistent with how the Thundershirt works for dogs too. For me, the bottom line is that something fundamental happens to the cat’s mental processes beyond simply feeling reassured in the same way cat owners reassure their cats with stroking for example.

Do you have a theory? Have you read about how this product works other than from the manufacturer?




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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: http://www.pugsandpics.com/— Photo of Coco Courtesy of www.cococouturecat.com

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.

Jo

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