The Cat Who Likes to Wear Clothes

Guest Post by Joann Biondi

People often ask me what I do to get my cat, Lorenzo, to wear clothes. Do you bribe him with treats? Use toys to distract him? Put him on tranquilizers? I do none of those things. In fact, I do nothing other than slip the shirts over his head and onto his furry little body.

Ever since he was a kitten, Lorenzo has loved wearing clothes. I have no explanation for this other than the fact that he is one cool cat with the patience of a Buddhist monk. Or perhaps, just perhaps, he is a reincarnated fashion model who was just a tad too catty on the runway and has suffered a karmic set-back. 

It all started when he was just a few months old and used to steal dirty clothes from my laundry basket. He’d drag them around the house, chew on them, and then curl up and go to sleep with them. It wasn’t much of a problem except when company came over and they spotted a rolled up ball of underpants beside the coffee table.

But one day I got mad at Lorenzo and decided to get even, so I placed a spandex tank top over his head and onto his body as a joke. Lorenzo was unfazed. He adjusted his shoulders, threw out his chest, and looked at me with an expression that said, “You think this bothers me? Well it doesn’t. In fact, I like it.” He walked around wearing that tank top for days.

For most cats, wearing clothing is unpleasant to say the least. Owners try to dress them up in silly costumes and take a photo for laughs. But the result is often a feline that looks as if it’s having an epileptic seizure—get this off me! There are other cats that just hunker down into a pose of utter humiliation and horror, especially if there is a hat involved. And then there’s Lorenzo, who struts his stuff like an Italian fashion model on the cover of GQ magazine.

I have had several cats before Lorenzo, and I never tried to put clothes on any of them. Nor did the thought ever enter my mind. But with Lorenzo, it seems natural. It’s as if he knows that that’s what he was put on the planet to do—wear clothes, pose for the camera, and make people laugh. I have been photographing Lorenzo wearing clothes for over a year now, and I must admit, doing it is one of the most fun and rewarding things I have ever done.

It’s fun because for Lorenzo, the camera is catnip. He responds to it, or more precisely, he responds to me when I have the camera in my hand. He knows what’s going on, and he is an active, earnest participant in the shoot. And when I know that I’ve gotten a good shot of him and I shout out loud, “bellissimo Lorenzo,” he preens, and turns his nose up in the air as if he knows that he has done a great job.

The rewarding part of the photography work is what I have learned from Lorenzo. One of those things is that the cliché of cats being stubborn and aloof is just that—a cliché. As I button up his shirt and then watch him through the lens, I marvel at how perfectly content he is while doing it. I marvel at how he has found his way in the world, and is totally willing to step outside the preconceived notion of a cat’s comfort zone. So what if he doesn’t act “normal” and defies the rules of standard cat behavior. So what if people laugh at him.

Yes, I may be reading more into this than other people can see, but I’ve always felt that we have a lot to learn from animals if we allow them to teach us. And what I’ve also learned from this Maine Coon cat is, shouldn’t we humans also shed what is safe and predictable in order to embrace something new no matter how weird we may look? Shouldn’t we humans drop the old clichés that have ruled our lives for so long?

Joann Biondi is a Miami-based writer and photographer. Her cat, Lorenzo, has his own website and his own Facebook page .

Watch Lorenzo model various outfits in this video:


19 Comments on The Cat Who Likes to Wear Clothes

  1. Sharon
    November 16, 2012 at 8:11 pm (8 years ago)

    My kitten Shelby does the same thing!One day, I caught her playing with our toy poodle, Pepper’s t-shirt that was too small for him so I just put it on to see what happened and she wore it for days, she only got bummed out when I had to take it off to brush her. She doesn’t like to be naked, it’s the strangest thing; but I’m glad to see I’m not the only one!

    • Ingrid
      November 16, 2012 at 8:29 pm (8 years ago)

      It’s definitely a rare cat who likes to be dressed up, Sharon!

  2. Ingrid
    November 28, 2010 at 12:00 pm (10 years ago)

    Sounds like your kitty has you well-trained to cater to his every need, TNK!

  3. TNK
    November 28, 2010 at 12:23 am (10 years ago)

    Love it!!! Our kitty loves clothes too!!! We have a coat on him today, and he just struts around like he is the bomb. He is such a princess. He only drinks water out of our cups or the faucet. He refuses to drink out of a bowl. He also loves cheese, milk and ICE CREAM!!!

  4. Ingrid
    March 10, 2010 at 10:41 pm (10 years ago)

    Loved the video, Jenny. Malibu’s markings are just stunning!

  5. Ingrid
    March 9, 2010 at 6:05 pm (10 years ago)

    So glad you enjoyed Lorenzo’s story and video, Jenny, and thanks for the link. I stopped by your site – Malibu is gorgeous, and I love the mural on your powder room wall!

  6. Jenny S. Hernandez
    March 9, 2010 at 5:45 pm (10 years ago)

    My experience with a Maine Coon cat is that it was very tolerant of being dressed up. I have put sunglasses, Santa’s hat, crowns, scarves, etc. on the cat during the holidays or for fun photo shoots, and the cat would be very obliging without any resistance.
    I got a kick out of your delightful video of Lorenzo and watched it twice. Thanks for sharing. I’m glad I stumbled upon your blogged. I have bookmarked it and linked to it on my website.

  7. Ingrid
    February 21, 2010 at 8:01 am (10 years ago)

    Too cute, Teri!

  8. Debbi Docherty
    February 17, 2010 at 10:13 pm (10 years ago)

    Lorenzo clearly doesn’t mind the shirts and is a natural in front of the camera.

    The first, and only, time I put a cute Christmas collar on Moe you would have thought I set his tail on fire. I felt so guilty that I scared him so much. Won’t do that again!!

  9. Ingrid
    February 17, 2010 at 3:21 pm (10 years ago)

    Bernadette, black cats are so hard to photograph, aren’t they? Your four sound like they have a lot of patience.

    Joann, thanks for stopping by! Give Lorenzo an extra pet or two from all of us here today.

  10. animalartist
    February 17, 2010 at 3:04 pm (10 years ago)

    I’m so glad someone else does this! Lorenzo is really spectacular providing himself as your model–they know when we need inspiration. I’ve tossed something on my cats now and then in the past but now I live with this group of four siblings, all black, who are happy to do pretty much whatever I ask. I’ve been trying them with jewelry (no piercings), bandannas, little hats, and it’s really a lot of fun but no good backdrop for a bunch of black cats yet.

  11. Ingrid
    February 17, 2010 at 2:40 pm (10 years ago)

    Mason, Amber wouldn’t stand for this, either. I have one photo of her with a bandanna tied around her neck, and the look she gives me and the camera is not one I ever want to get from her again :-)!

    Layla, I’m not crazy about people dressing up their pets, either, but I was absolutely captivated with Lorenzo, because he so clearly loves it.

    Elizabeth, isn’t he just too funny?

    Laura, glad you enjoyed the post and Lorenzo’s photos.

  12. Laura
    February 17, 2010 at 12:55 pm (10 years ago)

    “It’s fun because for Lorenzo, the camera is catnip.” You can totally tell just by Lorenzo’s gorgeous expressions in each photo! I’m a new fan of Joann and Lorenzo! What a great post!

  13. Layla Morgan Wilde
    February 17, 2010 at 11:15 am (10 years ago)

    Thanks for my morning chuckle. Cats never fail to surprise me. Normally, I hate it when people dress up their pets but Lorenzo clearly likes it. But, I’d like to add; just because he does doesn’t mean other cats will.

  14. Mason Canyon
    February 17, 2010 at 11:02 am (10 years ago)

    Adorable cat and video. No way would Little One sit still for that. She’s be one of the cats having a fit. He is a very special cat.


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