updated 12/07/2009 AT 9:23 PM ET
•originally published 10/20/2009 AT 7:45 AM ET
Buying your cat a Halloween costume? Easy as pumpkin pie. Dressing your cat in that Halloween costume? Not so much.
We consulted pet costume vendor Salina Gannon, who runs SuppliesJust4Pets.com, for her best tips for putting a frock on a feline. Gannon, who has three cats of her own (Baby Patches, above, Locilu and Lucky) and Tweets under the alias @BabyPatches, tells cat lovers what to avoid, how sizing works and when is the best time to play dress-up.
1. Introduce dress-up before Halloween.
Don’t just bust out the beaver costume on Halloween eve! Try introducing the costume to your cat long before trick-or-treat. “As you keep dressing them up, they get used to it,” says Gannon, who’s used her own felines as models on the web. When you photograph a cat in costume, it may be easier to hold them. See more tips for photographing your pet here.
2. Watch out for their ears.
“Cats don’t particularly like their ears clamped down by costumes,” Gannon says. “If you’re not sure, and you’re just starting out, get a costume with holes for their ears. A lot of cat costumes are ones that go on the head. They usually try to wriggle out of it. You can really tell on the expression in their eyes, their eyes get really big and they will move around.”
3. Enlist a friend.
A helping hand from a friend may be needed to get your cat in a costume. “Try to have two people involved in the dressing process, especially with cats,” Gannon says. “It’s just easier to get them into the costumes.”
4. Get them when they’re relaxed.
A comfortable kitty is a better model. “The best time to dress your pet is when they’re relaxing,” she says. “I’ve noticed that my cats are more easily dressed when they’re lying down.”
5. Be careful about sizes.
Before you purchase the costume, bear in mind that each one is different. “Check each costume’s individual measuring. Don’t assume that one costume in an XL is going to fit the same way as another costume in an XL,” she says. “A lot of costumes run small.”