There are two types of attire for cat folx. There’s the fun, cute, stylish stuff – the sweaters and anything with knit-in cat ears. Things you wear for fun. The gift items someone buys you for your birthday. I have scores of socks, several tee shirts, and one bedazzled sweatshirt.
Then there’s the things you wear to actually work with the cats. Even that can be subdivided into what you wear with with the cats in your home, resident and fosters, from those items you wear in the community – trapping, maintaining your colony, trying to catch a runaway cat, etc.
These items are far from cute. Often they are simply our regular household chore type clothing, but not always. When we have new or young foster kittens, we have to be careful about transferring potential contagions to their weak immune systems – so we leave a pair of slippers in their room to slip on and off until they are immunized to avoid tramping the germs into the room. Or out.
With kittens comes an array of oral medications, ear cleaning, and more. Kitten time tee shirts are typically covered in vomit, drips of medication, urine, kitten poop, and occasional blood (mine.) Definitely the “old shirt” sort of work. Same with pants – old leggings and sweatpants to the rescue. What you must understand is that the clothing you purchased and wear actually belongs to the kitten. If the kitten wants to tear holes into the fabric, it will. If the kitten wants to imbue the fabric with DNA samples of your blood, it shall. If the kitten refuses to let go and insists on turning your shirt into its blankie, it must. There are many times where it is easier to remove your shirt with kitten clinging to it than to remove kitten from the shirt.
That’s why you must never ever dress cute for kitten who will sense that choice and act accordingly. The kitten is the cute part of that dynamic. Do not alter that balance. Wear things that are not cute and can withstand lots of spewing.
Our backyard colony is easy enough because it is just a few steps outside our backdoor. I can wear my LL Bean slippers and pajamas.
Then there’s the #FortFaulsey colony that, as I type, is melting into an icy mud pit. Dignity and self-respect must be left at the curb as you trek to the cats. I usually walk up, but in terrible weather or when I have to run an errand, I drive and stop.
Colonies are also not the place for super cute stuff unless it has a degree of practicality. A friend gifted me with a cat themed shoulder bag that is very useful for hauling my stuff back and forth. I wash it every once in awhile, but I know it is more of a work bag than fun bag so that stains and blemishes remind me of the work. This bag has very durable straps and while I usually put on my shoulder, could be put across my body if I needed to free up an arm. It has no pockets which is a bummer. I also have a sexy fannypack. I keep zipties, a Swiss army knife, batteries, my trail cam sd cards, wipes, an extra can of food, some treats, a plastic bag, and an alarm attached to it since I am often isolated.
but in reality, i cram and shove things all sorts of places – food, wet and dry, batteries, used and new, my phone, bags, lids to cat food cans, tissue, even hats can just end up anywhere because I am trying to balance on one leg while I dole out the food, pick up the old food, keep an eye on what’s happening behind me, and then bam! my nose is running and my glasses fog over. The moral is that everything must be washable.
- warm and dry feet. I usually wear my LL Bean hiking boots, year round. Sometimes I’ll wear tennis shoes. And in the deepest colds, I wear my Kodiak snow boots. I used to wear two pairs of socks, but now I just wear my Bombas socks. This is not an ad, just a revelation based on what I’ve learned this winter, standing nearly ankle deep in icy snow blowing around me as I cajole the cat food into the cat food dishes in the darkened night. Laura bought me the Bombas socks for Xmas and I plan to stock up so I have a pair every day to wear to the colony. Maybe I’ll do a photo series?
- pockets. you should wear at least one preferably two garments with pockets – sweat shirts, sweat pants, jeans, what have you. if there’s space to stuff things, cram things, sort things, carry things you don’t want to forget, find a stray Kleenex – that’s your item. I have a rotating array of sweatshirts with pockets. I also have an outer layer – two different jackets from Carhartt, one heavy winter sweatshirt and the other a lightweight rain repellant jacket. I have an old thin barn coat I bought circa 2000 from JC Penney that is good because it has deep pockets, but lacks a hood. i do spent a lot of time patting myself down trying to find specific items.
- pants. don’t wear shorts in the summer. it is tempting, but you’ll regret it. I wear leggings or very lightweight sweatpants. A long pair of cargo shorts would work. leggings are actually great, but no pockets. In cold weather, I wear a thin layer and a thick pair of sweat pants because I will inevitably end up with a cold and wet derriere.
- gloves. I keep bite gloves in the car in a little “go kit” but I keep a pair of leather gardening gloves in my cat bag. They have proven a godsend when my actual gloves end up soaking wet. I was gifted a gently used pair of gloves with touch screen friendly fingers and that’s been great working with the trail cameras and my own camera phone. You can never have too many pairs of gloves you’ll wear to your cat colony – keep your old gloves. Put them in your glove box, etc – oh, I just got why that’s unintentionally funny. I always ask people for old gloves. the stretchy ones are very useful, but they get overstretched quickly and are not very warm. I wear, wash on hot and high, then reuse until they fall apart.
- hats – i wear hats but they always fall off of my head. I have a cute little cat baseball cap (see above) but in cold weather I leave it behind. I try for the winter hat/hoodie combo with mixed results. So I do a lot of hat adjusting calisthenics. I have one hat that ties beneath my chin and try to grab that on especially cold days. Now , hats can be cute if they don’t fall into your eyes or off your head. I probably need another cap with a chin strap or tie. My head is a little small so I wait for kid’s stuff to go on sale. I have quite a few hats so I can’t rationalize buying something cute when functional is already sewn up.
Perhaps the most important item is a scrunchie. I do a lot of leaning and scooching so up goes the hair, then it gets cold so down comes the hair. I have used scrunchies to temporarily reinforce a cat trap when a zip tie is not at hand. They have held trail cams in place. They can be used to wipe up messes (and wash) and so much more.
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