Skepticism

Afternoon Inquisition 11.22

I’m hanging out with my college roommate today, and she is attempting to take pictures of her cats in jingley little christmas collars to use as holiday cards.  Needless to say, the cats are not thrilled (though their humiliated faces are quite amusing).

 

So.  Clothing on animals.  What’s your take?

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47 Comments

  1. I saw a woman with a dog last night on a CTA bus, the first time I have ever witnessed such a passenger. I asked her how she does it, as they are banned. She said that if you put a cute coat/sweater on the dog and you ask real nice, most bus drivers cannot resist. I’ve always said that I love my dog so I do not attempt to put her in clothes. Now I’m not so sure…

  2. I have a pit bull who has very short hair and very little body fat. She wears a jacket and booties when we walk in the snow. I think clothes on animals is only acceptable when it makes the animal more comfortable.

  3. I think it’s the same as when one person in a couple makes the other person wear a matching t-shirt or jogging suit or something to a party. The forced-to-wear partner spends the whole night saying stuff like, “Yeah, she made me wear this…I know… I feel like a tool….” and looking sad and downtrodden. Because he is an d so are animals forced to wear clothes.

    (or, if you like, change “he” to “she”)

  4. Dogs are pack animals, so they’ll go along with the whole dressing thing. Probably OK with dogs.

    Cats, on the other hand … they are NOT amused by this.

    I would *never* do that to my cat, no matter how funny or cute she would be in an outfit.

  5. I can save the money I would otherwise spend on animal clothing and spend it on charitable donations, funding my own research into the skepchick drink contest to see if I agree with the panels results, or buying a cool new phone.

    I vote NO for clothing on animals (unless required by climate).

    I will say though that every year I “dress” my collie as Lassie for Halloween. Which isn’t hard because he’s a sable and white collie so all I do is put a leash on him and call him Lassie (and as Lassie was always played by a male dog anyway it’s really not a stretch).

  6. I have two beagle/basset hound crosses, and both wear winter coats when it’s cold. (I live in Canada and their coats are short.) One hates putting the coat on, but is more sensitive to the cold. The other doesn’t mind, but is a bit more hardy. Go figure.

    Clothes are good for winter on dogs who feel the cold. OK for fashion if the dogs don’t mind. Wrong for fashion if the dog is uncomfortable – i.e., most dogs hate hats or anything around their ears in my experience.

    OT, I once saw a gansta-wearing tough-looking guy on the streetcar holding a little chihuahua dressed in a pink coat with white fur on it. He looked around at the other passengers as if to say, “What are YOU looking at?” No one said anything.

  7. Collars, definitely. Bandanas, sure.

    Clothes/boots: Only if needed for the climate or conditions. (I have Shelties and they have all-weather coats. They think dogs that need clothes and boots are foo-foo dogs and won’t associate with them. LOL)

  8. I can sympathize with the “only for weather” folks
    … but the thing is, many dogs (and a few cats) are attention-whores, and will happily submit to costumes when it gets them praise and/or play.

    On the other hand, perfuming a dog is just mean — besides the obvious, it messes up with their social interactions with other dogs, which involve exchanging scents….

  9. I’m originally from Buffalo and have known a number of people who put a coat on their short- haired dog before taking them out during winter. The dogs seem to learn they they’ll stay warmer and can stay out longer. My brother’s Greyhounds (adopted through The National Greyhound Adoption Program) were especially like that. @DMS is right in that dogs will put up with whatever the pack leader does, provided that the threat is not severe. Also, dogs have been domesticated far longer than cats and don’t have the kind of feral instinct that cats do.

    I tried to put a leash on Charger (a beautiful Orange Tabby with a white bib and socks who is 8 years old now) ONCE. He would have none of it. He attacked it, then asked me what the hell I thought I was doing, then just laid down and wouldn’t move. Loki (now 3 years old and also a beautiful Orange Tabby) would get upset and probably take a swipe at my hand if I tried to put a leash on him. Charger wouldn’t try to rip my flesh if I attempted to dress him up, but I’m sure that Loki would. Cats don’t want any of that stuff done to them.

    Besides, while it might look “cute” or “funny”, isn’t it a bit degrading and humiliating to do that to a beloved pet? Would you enjoy being dressed up and paraded around as as a turkey on Thanksgiving or as a Christmas tree on Christmas?

    I’m not a PETA weirdo, but I think it’s a bad thing to do. Deliberately distressing an animal that is completely dependent upon you and is willing to give you all their affection is really just the wrong thing to do.

  10. while i am inclined to agree that it’s wrong to humiliate animals, and don’t generally inflict this sort of thing on my cats, sometimes i think they deserve it.
    i mean, i get woken up most weekend mornings to a 13 lb cat on my bladder, and when that doesn’t get me out of bed to feed her, she backs her ass right up to my face.
    i think i’m entitled to a little bit of revenge :D

  11. @carr2d2: I’m guessing that you feed your cats wet food, that you’ve trained them to a regular feeding schedule, and that on the weekend their feeding schedule is disrupted. If so, then they do the same type of thing that Charger and Loki do when they run of of food. All they’re trying to do is communicate as best they can that they need to eat. My brother and sister-in law are both veterinarians, and they’ve assured me that a high quality dry food is OK. They told me that Purina One is the best dry food short of what you can purchase from a vet. My cats vets in Phoenix and here in West Palm Beach agree. Charger leaned out a good bit when I switched. Maybe leave some food out for them, but seeking vengeance in such a situation is not a very good response.

  12. @Knurl: I think she was kidding. You seem to be under the common misapprehension that cats are unsuitable to training, especially so because they haven’t been domesticated as long as dogs. Early domesticated cats in Egypt were used to catch waterfowl and my cat, for what it’s worth, does tricks. There is no punishment for non-cooperation, only rewards for cooperation, and cats are smart and every bit as amenable to training as dogs. There’s no reason to put a cat in clothes except to have a bit of fun so long as, yes, it doesn’t upset them too much, but cats can and often are well suited to harness training (putting them on a leash is a dumb idea). I didn’t start training Casper early enough for the harness, but he does wear one designed for cats when I have to take him places. This is because he urinates in cat carriers, and because I would only transport him in soft carriers that open from the top (much less stress to the animal than being pulled out from the side) it got too costly and time consuming.

    …and furthermore cats are social animals, contrary to this weird belief some people seem to have that they are not. If you look at big cats, males tend to have territories that extend over the sub territories of several females. It’s like a spread out pride. Small cats form complex hierarchical social networks as well. Cats need control and will fight for dominance in their territory, but they dearly hate loneliness.

    Kitties don’t mind it when you have a bit of fun with them, so long as you let them win every now and then.

  13. My dogs sometimes come home from the groomers with jaunty little bandannas around their necks. We leave them on for a couple of days, but that’s as far as we go.

    It might be a different story if we had cats. I don’t want to hurt cats, but they can stand to be embarrassed from time to time, the arrogant little monsters.

    ;)

  14. @Knurl: i was actually kidding. i don’t dress my cats up, and am basically their slave (which is why i think it might be ok to be amused occasionally at their expense). and i do feed dry food, but have to do it on a schedule because said 13 lb cat would eat all the other cats’ food as well as her own. so rather than allowing her to get even more overweight, i choose to feed her on a schedule and endure the unpleasant awakenings, cuz she’s mah kitteh and i love her :)

  15. I’m all for necessary doggie clothes….I have two little dogs. One is a chihuahua and one is a dachshund. The chihuahua is the most chill dog ever, and she is 100% anti-sweater. If you put even the most comfortable blanket-type cover on her, she refuses to move. So I don’t put clothes on her.

    The dachshund, on the other hand, would put her own coat on if she just had the thumbs for it. When she sees me with it, she stands on her hind legs and holds her front feet out. It’s pretty cute. Anyway, she gets very cold and realizes that the coat will make her warmer, so she spends a lot of the winter wearing it.

    So the moral is, dog clothes are fine if the dog is okay with it.

  16. If your dog is making nice with my leg, I’d prefer he had pants on … or perhaps, a cod piece. Other than that I don’t care, but don’t we have famine, a financial crisis, war, climate change, and other things to worry about?

  17. I can only speak for dogs, which are pack animals. It’s all in how you make the animal feel and your reaction to the animal. The wrong thing to do is to coddle them and have everyone running up going “Awwwww!” This just gets them excited (but not necessarily happy) and is usually not good. People running up to dogs is also not good because this is not how you approach a dog anyways. They don’t just run up to other dogs and start doing the things humans do when they see a puppy.

    However, you could make this become associated with a good thing. For example, if he has it on, take him to the dog park. If he does a good dead, put it on and give him a treat. The dog eventually looks at the clothing as a reward and will actually have it on with a very prideful walk.

    Also, neither cats or dogs have a sense of “embarrassment.” This is a human trait that they do not have the capacity for. They can be conditioned, but they have no real sense of memory. This requires areas of the brain that they do not have (at least to the capacity of humans).

  18. I also have a pit, and she gets very cold in the winter, so she has a letterman jacket for when it’s under 30 degrees.

    I also have a pink tshirt for her that says “Princess”. She seems to enjoy wearing clothes. I enjoy dressing her up.

    Yes, I think dogs should wear clothes… and if your cat would let you, then you should dress your cat up, too

    The most important dog dressing rule only applies if your dog is a designer hybrid breed. If your dog is a “–poo” or a “–doodle”, you are required to dress him up, but the only thing you are allowed to dress him in is a costume that makes him look like a real, respectable dog.

    @Pinkbunny:

    My pit is also a beautiful brindle little girl.

  19. Ok, one, I wear the kilt in this house, two, I can’t have a pet in my new apartment. I gave my cat away to a nice rubenesque lesbian couple. If someone would invent clothes for pets that kept all the hair locked in, until emptied out, I would have kept my cat (a long haired tabby named Spock, btw) dressed from head to paw.

    But I just think projecting your clothing related idiosyncrasies onto your pet is odd. I saw a pug in a leather jacket that said “Bad to the Bone” once and all I could think was “He doesn’t know what that says, he can’t even read.”

  20. @PinkBunny: That’s interesting, because I live in WV near DC. We do get weather in the 20’s and snow in the winter, and no one here does that to their pitters. I wonder if it’s a regional thing? I do know that a lot of people don’t treat their pets as well as I think they should…

    BTW, I’ve never met a Pit I didn’t like and that didn’t like me in return. I think that they have been given a bad rap by poor breeding, bad training and dogfighters. :-) Michael Vick should be locked in a large dog crate and fed generic kibble for the rest of his poor, miserable existence for what he did to those Pit Bulls! But that’s just my opinion! :-D

  21. @QuestionAuthority:
    I have to admit I’m the only person on my street that bundles my pit up. Of course most of the pits on our block are owned by men/boys who think they make them look tough. I guess putting a sweater on them makes them look less tough. I have seen plenty of shivering pits on the streets and peoples back yards. In fact when I came home today our neighbors pit was in their yard shaking like a leaf. They let him in shortly after we came home otherwise I would have had a word with them…..

    My pit would be no exception to the friendly pits you’ve met. She loves everyone and greets most dogs with a sniff and a playful stance. I hate how people discriminate against the breed just because of what some people have done with them. If I ever met Michael Vick I’d punch him in the face.

  22. If the animal needs clothes to stay warm, then by all means put clothes on them.

    Silly ‘fashion’ clothes? if it’s occasional it’s cute, if it’s constant, it’s tacky. I admit to owning a couple of cat hats, because silly cat + silly hat that looks like a chicken is adorable. the cat hats are used maybe twice a year, and when the cat is clearly not having fun anymore, they come off.

  23. The closest I come is picking out cute collars for my cats. Because I don’t want to get the crap clawed out of me. However, my dog loves to wear clothes. As does my parents’ dog and my sister’s dogs. I think it’s hats they hate. Just a guess.

  24. @Elyse:

    I have a labradoodle puppy and he is indeed a real and respectable dog. My mom’s friend has two labradoodles and one of them looks like a wolf and the other like a sheep. As far as dressing up my dog goes I might dress him up for halloween or if he had a different coat and got cold in the winter time. I also think that those doggie backpack things are kind of neat as well as doggie life vests. I wouldn’t even attempt to but clothing on my cats. My one kitty Goth would tear my face off and I doubt Sasha would be very receptive to the idea either.

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