Only if I want to die

A few years ago, we bought a vest and leash for our cat, with the idea that she’d be able to play outside, supervised. She tries to escape at every opportunity, so we thought she’d like that. It was a nightmare. She was shape-shifting and twisting and clawing and yowling to escape, and ended up pulling a Houdini, getting out of it, and leaping in a single bound onto the roof of our house. We immediately gave up on trying ever again. You can imagine what I think of this idea for a Halloween Spider Costume for Dogs, Cats.

No way. Nope. That would not be cute. It would be more like a scene from John Carpenter’s The Thing, and for more versimilitude, it would be my guts spilled over the scene.

Although…I wonder if the large size would fit me?

P.S. If anyone has a similar spider costume for their pet, send me a photo and I’ll post them for Halloween.


  1. Rowan vet-tech says

    You have to train a cat to harness just like you train a dog to collar and leash. Patience, treats, multiple short sessions and starting inside. Working at a shelter I am faced all the time with adult dogs that have never been on a leash in their lives and they’re flailing and twisting at the end of that, too.

  2. Sean Boyd says

    I had what I think is an atypical experience with cats on harnesses. My late boy came to me as a one-year-old stray, wearing a collar and hungry as hell. When I finally made the leap to making him an indoor cat with harness privileges, he never once batted an eye on having a harness on. Where he complained was when I decided it was time to go back inside.

  3. blf says

    it would be my guts spilled over the scene

    Sounds about right for halloween — blood, guts, mysterious familiars, flying cats (trebuchet / broom not included), and magical candied apples. Beware, of course, the cheese — especially if there’s a penguin in the area…

  4. christoph says

    I saw a greeting card with a picture of a cat dressed in a costume. The caption was, “This is why I pee on your couch.”

  5. rojmiller says

    If you want a REAL cat harness (not a dog one sized for cats), you could try one of these:
    Mynwood Cat Jackets.
    My daughter’s cat has one, and they fit very snugly (with velcro), and a cat is very unlikely to be able to squirm out of one of these. We just ordered 2 for 2 of our cats – shipping is very quick, delivered to Canada in about a week!

  6. magistramarla says

    We just put our three cats through hell, so I wouldn’t even think of dressing the poor babies up.
    We drove over 1600 miles with them in a Prius, placed them in a cats-only boarding kennel while we house-hunted and left them there for two months as we sold a house in Texas, then bought a house in California. They are now settling into the new house with us, as we slowly make our way through piles of boxes.
    It’s amazing how well they have done. My husband’s Maine Coon has moved with us before, so he’s laid back about everything as long as he has his “Daddy”. My Lynx Point Siamese girl has been quite nervous, but now that she can settle into a recliner with me, she’s fine. The other cat is a three-legged stray who was found injured. She is still half feral. I’m amazed that she has done so well through all of it. She does seem calmer now with our furniture, which probably smells right to her and with the other two cats taking care of her.
    I’ve seen quite a few spiders living on our patio. California is a good place for them.

  7. says

    Just imagine your spawn of Satan with 8 legs to slash you with, 6 eyes to track you with and poisonous canines and be glad its not a spider.

  8. dangerousbeans says

    i’m sure we can find you a custom fursuit maker who will do you a spider suit. doing a good job of the extra limbs could be an interesting engineering problem

  9. hemidactylus says

    I prefer dogs though they are less independently minded and do really weird unexplainable stuff that leaves one flummoxed. Is doggy logic a thing? But they are far more amenable to people stuff given coevolution and tend to go with the flow and actually listen and give a shit.

    I think what I am trying to say is I tried to bathe a cat once. Still trying to get over that horrific experience decades later. Cats are not very amenable or pliable. I can brush or scrape plaque off my dog’s teeth without too much fuss. Clipping claws is a battle though. She hates that. She is fine with baths. Cats not so much. Again tried that once. Not cool.

  10. hemidactylus says

    And cats vs dogs in cars are night and day. My current dog can sit in my lap driving to vet and get poked, prodded and butt probed there without protest. Don’t fuck with her claws with clippers though. 8 pounds of MMA fury.

    Taking my cat to the vet in a carrier back in the day was no so easy. He was not a fan of car rides. Dogs are pretty cool with rides. And carriers. Current dog loved to bark up a fast food drive thru encounter back in her youth. A previous dog (chow shepherd mix) worshipped the AC vent. Cat growled and hissed and wound up under the seat when I tried taking him on a casual non-vet drive.

  11. hemidactylus says

    And dressing animals up in hideous degrading Halloween costumes is just plain wrong. I have sweater vests for my short-haired tiny dog for “winter” in FL but those are practical. If I had ever put my curmudgeon cat in costume to be “cute” he would have surely killed me in my sleep and swatted playfully at my toe tags as the coroner wheeled me out the door.

  12. Rowan vet-tech says

    Again, it’s all in training. Dogs and cats are not monoliths. They are not a hivemind. My current dog? Straight up has a panic attack in the tub, scaling walls, running, shivering, urinating… But many of my foster kittens? Nope. Love the water. Totally fine with being bathed. If their adopters kept up with that they’d be fine as adult as well. And for cars, my dog will get in them but she spends the entire time shivering in the passenger side footwell. Sundew? Doesn’t care. Hawthorne? Doesn’t care. Mallorn and Rowan both care. Glorious Gilmore? Totally fine. Bramble? No issue. Because those cats went to work with me four days a week for months, so they learned from tiny kittenhood that cars aren’t bad.

  13. says

    I don’t like cats and dogs being dressed up elaborately. So much of their natural communication is cut off. Like dressing a kid but with handcuffs and gags.
    As for the evil catg maybe an outdoor run with a wire mesh frame?

  14. blf says

    As for the evil catg maybe an outdoor run with a wire mesh frame?

    The mildly deranged penguin — who has very nice natural tuxedo, albeit smelling faintly of herring — suggests walkingflying the evil catg, or indeed cats, using a trebuchet-assisted launch with fully natural glide, yeows, and landing.

  15. lucifersbike says

    hemidactylus – I don’t drive. My cats get taken to the vets by bike, and let everybody know how much they hate it. I tried taking them on the bus but a woman at the bus stop had severe ailurophobia and reacted very badly to a plaintive mew from the cat box, and once on the bus the plaintive mew turned into a full-throated yowl.
    Giliel. Absolutely. Playing dress-up dolls with live animals is abominable.

  16. stroppy says

    Years ago when I didn’t drive, I took my cat to the vet by bus. She meowed. After a bit, a wag sitting up the aisle meowed, and by the time I got to the vet the whole bus was meowing.

    I’ve found it helps if you leave the carrier out for them to curl up in as they will. It makes it a safe box to hang out in when they go to the vet. Longer drives tend to be more problematic than shorter, depending on the cat. But all cats pretty much like a nice box.

  17. hemidactylus says

    @17- blf
    I am not entirely sure where you are going with the trebuchet thing, but from the cat’s POV it seems bad enough. From the POV of neighbors checking mail, kids skateboarding, dogs rolling around in the grass before barking at neighbors checking mail or even earth bound cats minding their own business, airborne catapulted cats coming in hot hissing with claws out seems horrific. My luck one would get entangled with a pissed off hawk and an incoming feathery furry ball of talons and claws would use my general vicinity as an unwilling landing zone. I’ll take my chances with bathing cats instead.

  18. hemidactylus says

    @18 and @19
    I wonder if people treat cats differently enough from dogs where walks on harnesses or car rides are so unusual by the time they mature that the window has passed. For cats more than dogs carrier or car may mean “going to vet”. Dogs get taken to dog parks to mingle. But cats are perhaps less social anyway. And better at running away.

    I admit walking current dog as pup was an adventure. She grabbed her leash in mouth and pogo sticked most of way. Neighbors seemed to be very amused. She ruined several leashes.

    Cats are easier pets, but I think I am mildly allergic. I have met some really friendly gregarious cats. Mine had a bit of a catitude. He did chase a pit bull away from wanting to be friendly with my mom and tortured one of my dogs by ambushing him and riding rodeo claws in on his back. He thought a good affectionate purr session should be followed by a “playful” bite.

    After a rat ate through the alternator belt on my car I think I should put bowls of kibble out to recruit feline mercenary strays to protect my car. Not a fan of cats peeing into my car vents. Not sure what that’s about. It is my car, not their convenient sleeping arrangement. I see the tell tale paw prints in the morning. But if they eat rats more power to them.

  19. Rowan vet-tech says

    People just don’t socialize or try to train their cats at all, which is why they have such problems. Or if they do, they try to train them just like a dog. Positive early exposure is key. If you’re trying to expose to new things as an adult, it takes patience and treats and more patience and absolutely no attempts to force a cat to do what you want.

    Cats are not dogs. Their ways of showing affection are different at the core. A cat existing visibly in the same room at you is saying “I like you”, but humans are used to dogs and instead say “my cat ignores me”. This is part of reason for the well known joke that cats go to people who hate them… because the same behaviour we humans use to ignore is the cat way of saying “You’re cool, I’m cool, everything’s cool and okay.”

    For the carrier, leave it out all the time. Put treats in there. Add some food to it during dinner time. Make it a safe place. Sometimes close the door (always putting treats in before). It just takes a few months of working on it. It’s eminently doable but people aren’t patient.

  20. hemidactylus says

    One thing about my cat is he knew how to handle dogs. There’s a video of a cat that did a hockey body check on an attacking dog. The cat was deliberately protecting a child and has my respect:

    When I was very young one of our dogs bit me trying to grab food from my hand. An older dog attached himself to the biter’s rear end as my dad was unceremoniously taking him outside.