Why Do Cats Hate Clothes? ( Let’s Find Out)


If you think your cat would look fabulous in that chiffon dress or wearing your favorite team’s sweatshirt, you are not alone. Millions of people feel the same way. In fact, pet clothing and costumes are a big business. But when you try dressing up your cat, they may just freeze or fall over. Or they may run away, trying to tear off the offending outfit because cats hate clothes.

Cats do not like clothing because it makes them feel confined. Putting clothes on them stresses them out, and they will immediately freeze, fall over, or run. If you have ever tried to hug your cat, you may have noticed they do not like that either. 

Dogs may like hugs, but most cats do not like being hugged or cuddled. Clothes are like a never-ending hug for your cat, causing them to experience the fight or flight response. Let’s look at some other reasons why cats do not like clothes.

What is CIS-CIS?

It has been called costume-induced sideways cat instability syndrome, or CIS-CIS. You get the perfect Halloween or holiday costume for your cat, but when you put it on them, they have trouble walking. Some cats walk sideways and fall over. Some just freeze up. Others will tear at the offending clothes until they rip them to shreds. 

It is not really a syndrome or an illness of any kind, so don’t worry. You did not make your cat sick or mentally unbalanced. Most veterinarians and feline specialists still have no idea why cats react this way. But many of them believe it is related to a cat’s dislike for being hugged and cuddled

Why Do Cats Hate Being Cuddled?

Have you ever tried to pick up your cat or give them a hug? Or maybe pull them into your lap and hold them that way? Unless your feline has been brought up being cuddled and does not mind, you probably found out the hard way that they do not like it. You probably even got scratched or bitten. 

Seeing something big (you) standing over them and reaching out to grab them is seriously scary for your cat. They may see you as a predator. Some veterinarians believe that cats get overheated or that being cuddled scares them. Others have different theories. Here are some of the top reasons that cats do not like being cuddled: 

  • Cats are wild animals at heart
  • It is just not natural to them
  • Not being able to see is scary
  • They are afraid to be confined
  • They get too hot
  • They want to move
  • You may have a smell they don’t like, such as lotion or cologne
  • Your cat may not have been socialized properly as a kitten

My Cat Likes Clothes

Depending on your cat’s personality, you may be able to dress them in something without them minding at all. If you have one of these cats, you just have to make sure that your cat’s clothing is safe. And do not leave them alone while they are dressed up because they may get hurt trying to get out of their adorable outfit. 

Here are some safety tips: 

  • Pick an outfit that is made for cats
  • Get a soft sweater or light t-shirt that is not too tight
  • Make sure there are no small parts or pieces that can come off and get swallowed
  • Do not leave it on your cat for an extended period of time

Can I Teach My Cat to Like Clothes?

Of course, you can probably teach your cat to do anything. They are smart. But they are also stubborn. If you have a mellow cat that seems like they may be open to trying on some clothes, there is nothing wrong with trying it if you really want to. Your cat may surprise you by enjoying it. You never know. 

Size is Important

Another important thing is the size. Get a cat outfit made specifically for cats, not dogs. And then make sure it is the correct size. Take measurements of your cat, and then measure the outfit while you are at the store. Or check the measurements if you are buying the piece of clothing online. It has to fit perfectly for it to be comfortable and safe. 

Try a Collar on Your Cat

Many cats will not even tolerate a collar. If your cat does not have one and has never worn one, try that first. Because if your cat cannot even handle wearing a collar, getting them to wear clothing is probably not going to work either. Do not get anything with bells, jingles, or other jazzy stuff. Keep it simple.

Make Sure to Keep it Simple

A simple and plain outfit works best. Do not get your cat one of those fancy costumes with gemstones and glitter with dangling parts or masks covering its face in any way. No animal would enjoy that. In fact, most people do not like that either. A simple t-shirt or thin sweater is a good start. 

Let Your Cat Get Used to it First

After buying your cat’s outfit, wash it in a gentle, unscented detergent for babies to get any chemicals or scents out of it. Then just go ahead and give it to them and let them play with it. Toss it on the floor by them or put it in their bed. Let them paw at it and roll around on it, or whatever they want. This lets them get used to it and put their scent all over it. That is important. 

Timing is Everything

After you get your cat dressed, see how they react. If they are struggling to get the article of clothing off and are scratching or hissing, take the outfit off right away and try again some other time. Try it when your cat is happy and relaxed. Then when they do accept the outfit, do not leave it on long. Just a few minutes is enough for the first time. 

Take Some Pictures

Once you get your cat dressed, take a few pictures just in case you never get them to do it again. You will want to share the pictures on your favorite social media sites for your friends and family to see. Because let’s face it, isn’t that why you really wanted to dress up your cat? 

Keep Your Eye on Them

Do not leave your cat alone while they are dressed. Even if your kitty seems chill and calm at the moment, do not go anywhere while your pet is still wearing the clothes. They may suddenly try to get loose, causing them to get stuck, and they may even get it wrapped around their neck, cutting off their air. 

Reward Your Kitty

After you take the clothes off your cat, give them a treat. You can get a high-quality pet treat that cats love at any pet store or big box store. Or ask your vet what a good treat is for your feline. Never give your cat human food unless your vet says it is okay. Many human foods and seasonings are poisonous to your cat. 

Do Not Get Angry

Do not yell at your cat or get mad at them if they resist. It is just natural for them to dislike clothing. There is no reason to discipline your cat for not wanting to wear a costume, no matter how cute you think it may look.

Seriously, cats do not need a sweater or clothing to keep them warm. They are already wearing a coat, so they do not need anything else. Even if you have a hairless cat, they typically do not need any clothing to keep them warm, so do not use that as an excuse. Just let your kitty be happy and keep the dress-up fun for your dog

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The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this Blog article are not intended to amount to advice, and you should not rely on any of the contents of this Blog article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this Blog article. VesteForPets.com disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this Blog article.

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