Expert reveals you could be making your cat stressed if you do this

If you’re a cat owner, you might want to steer clear of any cute Christmas outfits this year.

While far less common than dressing up dogs, we’ve definitely spotted snaps of adorable cats dressed up in festive costumes at some point.

But it turns out that our little feline friends may not be big fans of the activity, and it could actually be causing them a lot of stress.

This is because the costumes restrict natural movement and don’t allow them to properly groom.

The warning comes from UK charity Cats Protection, who told Country Living magazine, “We strongly advise against dressing up cats at Christmas as it can cause them stress.

“Putting cats into clothes restricts their natural movement and makes them less able to express normal behaviour, such as grooming."

This also applies to any accessories, such as antlers, elf ears, hats and bows, which can also cause discomfort to cats.

Dogs might also not be entirely up for the annual dress up either, as the RSPCA previously advised owners to skip on the fancy dressing.

Dr Samantha Gaines from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) previously told The Telegraph: "Dogs use signals to tell us what they're feeling, they use their ears, their tails, body positions and their eyes.

"If we start to cover those up it makes it very difficult for them to communicate with us and other dogs. The RSPCA's general position is not to put costumes on dogs."

A recent study also revealed that dog training methods which involve shouting and scolding your dog could result in negative consequences later in life such as depression.

The study, from the University of Porto, Portugal, showed that dogs receiving negative reinforcement showed more signs of stress than another group of dogs receiving reward-based training.

Speaking to Science Mag, the researchers said, “Reward-based training may take time, but so what? At least the dog isn’t living in fear or constant stress.”

Mariana Cerqueira

Mariana is the managing editor of woman&home. She has previously worked for lifestyle titles including GoodtoKnow covering all aspects of women’s lifestyle - from the Royal Family, beauty and fashion to wellness and travel. She was nominated for AOP Digital Journalist of the Year in 2020, and for New Digital Talent of the Year at the 2016 PPA Digital Awards. She’s mildly obsessed with TV (reality TV shows included) and spends far too much time planning her next trip away.