Is It OK to Dress Up Your Cats?

Cat lovers worldwide adore outfitting their feline friends, but is it OK to dress up your cats?

Some owners even wonder how to dress a Maine Coon cat and what they need to watch out for. Keep reading to find answers to these questions and more.

It is ok for owners to dress up their cats as long as they are responsible and prioritize the cat’s comfort, willingness, and safety first. In some situations, such as a medical requirement, using protective clothing may even be beneficial for the cat. However, some cats do not tolerate clothing, and it may cause them stress or discomfort.

In this article, we explain the balancing of safety and well-being when considering the factors involved in dressing cats.

Read the guidelines and best practices that benefit any cat owner considering cat clothing.

Is It OK To Dress Up Your Cats?

The Maine Coon cat breed is the largest domesticated cat breed in the world, one that is beloved by cat lovers and cherished for many reasons.

This gentle, family-friendly breed originated in Maine as a hunting breed.

Despite these wild origins, Maine Coons are caring, temperate felines who love the company of their owners.

Some owners adore dressing up their Maine Coon pets and make a habit of building a feline-friendly wardrobe, and outfitting their cats in various costumes!

So, should cats wear clothes, or is it cruel to put clothes on cats?

Is it ok to dress up your cat?
Is it ok to dress up your cat?

Reasons Why Owners Dress Their Cats

Below are some reasons why a Maine Coon owner may consider dress their cat:

1. Wearing a Harness to Go For a Walk

A proper cat harness can provide a safe and comfortable way to take your Maine Coon cat outside on a leash.

It is important that Maine Coon cat owners take safety precautions and ensure their cats respond well to walking on a leash.

Here’s how to train your big cat to walk with a harness.

Due to the Maine Coon’s large size, owners must ensure they use the correct harness size to avoid discomfort or safety issues.

Wearing a harness during an outdoor walk is a stimulating, engaging activity for Maine Coons that provides both exercise and enrichment.

2. Wearing Sweaters To Keep Warm

Maine Coons naturally keep warm thanks to their exceptionally dense fur coats.

Their long, thick fur is also semi-waterproof, so they naturally stay warm and dry despite harsh winter conditions.

This cat breed was genetically built for cold winters due to its origins in Maine, where winter temperatures range from 15 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 to -4 degrees Celsius).

The Maine Coon cat’s body is ideally suited to coping well with cold weather.

For example, their wide paws allow them to walk atop the snowy ground. Do all Maine Coon cats have big paws? Find out in this article.

Despite their wide paws, Maine Coons do not seek out cold weather, and they like to be warm.

If a Maine Coon is comfortable in a sweater and it does not restrict them, it may be an effective way to keep them feeling cozy.

3. Protecting Skin Due To A Medical Issue

If a Maine Coon needs to recover from surgery, injuries, or skin conditions, wearing protective clothing may be necessary to help the healing process.

Note that this topic must be discussed with the veterinarian.

If the vet approves it, a cat recovery suit may be an option to protect Maine Coons from excessively licking incisions or injuries that need to be left alone.

Recovery suits are made to prevent cats from removing bandages, pulling out stitches, or bothering damaged skin.

4. Wearing An Anxiety Vest To Stay Calm

Pressure wraps, also known as anxiety vests, may help cats who experience anxiety during the following:

  • Thunderstorms
  • Travel
  • Other Stressful Situations

Maine Coons may respond well to being dressed in pressurized clothing that presses firmly yet gently on their chests and backs.

This pressure releases endorphins, which may ward off situational fear, stress, or anxiety.

Here are some other common causes of stress in Maine Coon cats, that you might wish to learn about.

If you suspect your cat suffers from separation anxiety, click on the article link below:

5. Wearing Colors For Visibility

It is unlikely that you will lose your Maine Coon cat within the house since their extroverted nature means they are usually by your side!

But, for owners with dark-colored Maine Coons or kittens, dressing them in bright or reflective clothing may bring them comfort that they can always find their cat.

6. Wearing A Collar For Identification Purposes

Some Maine Coon owners dress their Maine Coons in collars for identification purposes, just in case an escape occurs.

Cat collars are a hotly contested subject amongst cat lovers, but those in support of them deem the collar to be a safety measure that provides the owner with comfort.

Furthermore, collars with bells can help owners hear their approaching cats, so they are always locatable.

Should Maine Coon cats wear collars? Learn the pros and cons in this article.

7. Dressing Up For Festive Occasions

Owners of Maine Coons consider their cats family, and it can be a pleasant experience to dress up the family cat during festive holidays.

As long as the Maine Coon is comfortable, it is a way to include them in the happiness and celebrations of holidays or themed events, and take photos to preserve the memory.

Reasons Not To Dress Your Cat

Is it bad to dress up your cat?

Below are some key reasons why dressing up a cat might not be such a good idea:

1. Restricted Movement

Wearing tight or uncomfortable clothes may be unpleasant for cats due to restricted movement.

If cats freeze while wearing clothes, they cannot behave normally, which is distressing for them.

Owners should consider that if clothing restricts their cats’ movements, it should be avoided.

2. Stress And Anxiety

Many cats do not respond well to wearing clothes because it is an unfamiliar practice that they do not know how to respond to.

If cats are stressed out and anxious while wearing outfits, dressing your cat in a costume is not worth the discomfort experienced by the cat.

3. Safety And Injury Risks

Cats who wear ill-fitting clothes may be at risk of becoming tangled in them and panicking.

If cats get their clothing caught on something, it could become a dangerous choking hazard or lead to injury.

If cat owners cannot effectively monitor cats while they are dressed, they should reconsider attempting this practice.

How To Dress A Maine Coon Cat

Many cat owners see adorable photos of dressed-up cats, so it is natural to wonder how to get your cat to wear clothes.

Below is the step-by-step process on how to dress a Maine Coon cat:

1. Choose The Right Clothing

Select a cat-specific, or better yet, Maine Coon-specific clothing that will accommodate a Maine Coon’s large size and muscular build.

Ensure that when selecting clothes for cats, the material is:

  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Unrestrictive

Cotton is ideal.

2. Introduce The Clothing

When dressing a Maine Coon cat, clothes and accessories must first be introduced to the cat.

Allow Maine Coons to explore and sniff the clothing so they become accustomed to the smell and texture.

Familiarizing your cat with the attire first makes them more likely to accept wearing it.

3. Choose A Quiet, Safe, Low-Stress Environment

Ideally, Maine Coon owners should attempt to dress their cats in a familiar, safe space.

The best place is at home, during a quiet time when the cat is normally relaxed.

4. Grooming

To prepare a Maine Coon to wear clothes, it is a good idea to gently brush them first.

This is relaxing for both parties involved, and it will also remove loose fur or debris before slipping on the clothing.

5. Start With The Head

Be careful not to pull or push too hard, whilst gently slipping the clothing over the cats head.

Of course, depending on the clothing design, it may need to be applied differently.

Throughout the process, remain gentle and do not provoke stress.

6. Front And Back Legs

Slip the Maine Coon’s front paws through the garment, then hind legs.

Support the cat’s body as you insert each leg.

7. Adjust

Once the garment is in place around the body and legs, make any necessary adjustments.

Ensure the fabric is not too tight or bunched up awkwardly.

It is important that the cat can still freely move around and does not feel uncomfortable or trapped.

8. Praise And Reward

Showering Maine Coons in praise and treating them to their favorite snacks or toys helps them form a positive association with the experience.

9. Monitor And Assess

After the dressing is complete, assess the Maine Coon for signs of distress and always monitor them when the clothing is on.

Keeping a close eye on your cat helps prevent:

  • Accidents
  • Tangling
  • Struggling

Do Cats Like Wearing Clothes?

Maine Coon owners and feline owners of every kind have long debated the topic of cats wearing clothes.

Each owner should decide according to the needs and desires of each individual cat.

On both sides of the fence, cat owners supply valid reasons for and against the practice of dressing up cats.

Below are the main reasons why some owners think dressing their cat is ok:

It Is Enjoyable For The Maine Coon

Some Maine Coons thoroughly love being dressed in feline outfits.

A normal question for these pet parents is, why does my cat like wearing clothes?

The simple answer to this is that in some cases, cats appreciate the warmth, comfort, or sense of safety they get from being outfitted.

Caring pet parents can oblige to their cats’ desires to be clothed.

Owner-Cat Bonding Time

Maine Coons love human companionship, and when their humans give them attention, it is valuable bonding time.

This is especially true when owners spend time grooming their Maine Coons before dressing them, and playing or cuddling with them while they are being clothed.

Health And Wellbeing Purposes

Certain kinds of feline clothes can help protect parts of a Maine Coon’s body, including:

  • Parts of the body that need to heal
  • Shield Maine Coons from frigid temperatures
  • Relieve anxiety during stressful situations

Below are the main reasons some cat lovers think it is wrong to dress a cat:

It Is Not Enjoyable For The Maine Coon

Many cats, including Maine Coons, do not enjoy wearing clothes.

In this case, there is no need to force a Maine Coon to wear something they do not like.

So, why do cats not like wearing clothes?

The strange, constricting feeling may trigger their fight or flight response, causing panic.

Some situations, though, like the need to wear a recovery suit as a veterinarian-directed strategy, may provide cause to overlook a cat’s discomfort to achieve a critical goal.


Maine Coons are well-adapted to cold climates, and they may overheat in hot climates.

If they wear thick clothes in a warm room or environment, they could begin to dehydrate or overheat.

Skin Irritation

Non-breathable materials may cause problems for Maine Coons’ skin.

Clothes may trap moisture and lead to irritation, or make existing skin conditions worse.

Safety Concerns

Putting clothes on a Maine Coon has the potential to be hazardous if the clothing becomes tangled or there are choking hazards on decorative clothing.

If an owner puts a harness on a Maine Coon incorrectly and goes outside, the cat may escape and run into danger.

Restrictive Litter Box Usage

Maine Coons may have accidents or discomfort due to limitations or immobilization caused by clothing.

The Dos And Don’ts Of Dressing A Cat

Before attempting to dress up cats, owners should be educated about a few basic dos and don’ts and what to look for throughout the process.


  • Appropriate Clothing: Do choose appropriate clothing specifically designed for cats.
  • Go Slowly: Do slowly introduce the clothing to the cat so they can become familiar with it before trying it on.
  • Stay Positive: Do use positive reinforcement techniques during the dressing process.
  • Keep Watch: Monitor the cat attentively to watch for signs of stress, like excessive grooming, panting, hiding, aggression, or attempts to remove the clothing.
  • Act Quickly: Do remove the clothes if the cat is not enjoying wearing them.


  • Never Use Force: Don’t force the cat to wear clothes if they do not want to.
  • Keep Watch: Don’t leave the cat unattended wearing clothes, which could lead to entanglement or injury.
  • Avoid Restrictive Garments: Don’t put restrictive clothing on the cat that stops them from grooming, walking, or using the litter box.
  • Act Quickly: Don’t ignore signs of distress.

How Long Can Cats Wear Clothes?

There is no specific timeframe for how long cats can keep clothes on, but pet parents should consider the needs of their cats to answer this question individually.

The answer may also vary depending on the type of cat and how they respond to the clothing.

Keep in mind that since cats cannot groom their fur when it is covered by clothing, it does not allow for the natural shedding process when they lick themselves.

Also, some cats do not feel comfortable moving around normally when wearing clothes, which in turn pauses their normal exercise, eating, and pottying routines.

Unless otherwise instructed by a veterinarian, leaving clothes on cats for a full day or hours is not advisable.

If a cat owner wishes to experience something new with their cat or take festive pictures, the length of time should be kept at a minimum.

Do Cats Need To Wear Clothes In Winter?

Due to cats’ natural ability to stay warm in the winter, most breeds do not need to wear clothes to stay warm.

This is especially true for indoor cats who live in temperature-controlled climates.

Hairless cats may be an exception, but they may only find a sweater useful when going through a cold climate, not in a heated home.

Why Do Cats Freeze When You Put Clothes On Them?

Many cat owners notice their cats freeze or go limp as soon as they finish pulling on a piece of cat clothing.

Below are a few reasons that explain this phenomenon.

  • Unfamiliar Experience: They are faced with an unfamiliar situation, so they freeze while they process the sensation and try to orient themselves.
  • PIBI: Cats have a biological response to being pinched on the back of the neck, called inch-induced behavioral inhibition (PIBI) or clipnosis, which causes them to freeze. This may be activated by certain clothing items or harnesses.
  • Feeling Restricted: They feel physically constrained and are not sure how to move properly.
  • Stressed: Cats may freeze due to feeling stressed out or afraid of the clothing on them.
  • Not Comfortable: The uncomfortable feeling of moving or rubbing clothing may cause cats to stop moving altogether.

Do Maine Coons Wear Collars?

Some Maine Coon cat owners prefer to use collars all the time, and some prefer not to use them at all.

There are respectable reasons for both perspectives.

For example, some Maine Coon owners use collars to distinguish kittens or for identification purposes in case their cats escape.

Owners of outdoor Maine Coons may decide to use reflective collars as a safety and visibility tool or collars with bells to reduce the amount of prey cats can catch.

On the other hand, other Maine Coon owners decide not to use collars to prevent safety issues if the collar gets caught on something or if the cat’s paw gets caught inside the collar.

One question to consider is, do cats like wearing collars?

Some Maine Coon owners can see that their cats do not enjoy wearing collars, so they decide against them.

Owners must therefore keep a close eye on their cats, to ensure they are happy wearing a cat collar.

Maine Coon Clothing For Humans

Many Maine Coon cat lovers jump at the chance to share their love of this adorable and popular breed with the world.

This love is often shown when wearing Maine Coon clothing, like the items below.

Splash Maine Coon Cat T-Shirt

Buy On Amazon

When it comes to Maine Coon t-shirts, this one adds a gorgeous splash of color, that is unusual to find.

This garment is a lightweight cotton shirt that comes in several colors and sizes to suit anyone looking for Maine Coon shirts.

Dark Side Of The Maine Coon T-Shirt

Buy On Amazon

Anyone looking for punny Maine Coon cat gifts may find this shirt useful!

The unique, humorous design makes cat lovers smile.

Plus, the shirt has a classic fit, is machine washable, and is made of lightweight cotton.


So, all things considered, is it OK to dress up your cats?

As you will have seen it is not a straightforward answer, as there are many factors when it comes to putting clothes on cats.

However, cat owners who closely monitor their cats and take appropriate precautions may find the experience to be pleasant for all parties involved.

Owners of Maine Coons may even enjoy choosing Maine Coon inspired clothes!

Should cat owners have any doubts about dressing up their cats or how to dress a Maine Coon, it is always best to consult their trusted veterinarian.

Maine Coon Central

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I’m a CRAZY CAT LADY! I've been in love with the Maine Coon cat breed ever since we welcomed an adorable male Maine Coon kitten into our home 10 years ago. We called him 'Pippin', but he also goes by the name ‘Pipsteroo’! Our enormous, kind-hearted cat genuinely thinks he's a dog and has convinced me that cats are Man's True Best Friend! UPDATE: We recently adopted two 4-year-old male Maine Coon cats. They are named Mika and Bali.

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