How to Make a Halloween Ladybug Costume for a Kitten

Ready to Trick-or-Treat

Three-month-old kitten in a ladybug costume.
Three-month-old kitten in a ladybug costume. | Source

We cat owners/parents (who can OWN a cat?) are a fierce and tenacious bunch. To us, it seems that pet retailers grossly favor dogs, offering many more toys and clothing than they do for felines. Yes, well, we will concede that leashes are not too successful with cats, so that product line would be a waste. (My Guyfriend’s matriarchal cat showed us how much energy and spunk she retains when she quickly Houdini-ed her way out of a leash I was attempting to use with her.) However, there are plenty of opportunities which retailers are missing to sell us clothing for our little darlings! In the meantime, though, the sewers and creators among us can make clothing and costumes for our cats – as for Halloween, Purim, and Mardi Gras.

More Views of the Halloween Kitten Costume

This kitten makes a long, thin ladybug with his costume.
This kitten makes a long, thin ladybug with his costume. | Source
Top view of kitten's ladybug Halloween costume.
Top view of kitten's ladybug Halloween costume. | Source
Kitten ladybug costume.
Kitten ladybug costume. | Source

MISTAKE TO AVOID

It's only one - but it is a biggie:

Measuring TOO early

Boy oh boy, did I mess up here. Because I enjoy holidays, I start preparing way in advance. For my new, precious kitten born in July, I mulled over many ideas for a costume for him. After considering ideas which fit for something tiny (a peanut, a shrimp, and so on), I settled on the ladybug idea. The fire engine red will contrast nicely with his fur color, whereas the peanut would be lost with his orange-brown coat.

Then, I went the easy route: I purchased a small red doggie shirt at a pet store to be the base of the costume. Amend that: I purchased size XS – extra small – as for a teacup Chihuahua. That was because my little boy weighed 1 and ¾ pounds when I bought the shirt in early September. When we got to early October, he had doubled his weight! He is now 3 and ¾ pounds and will not fit in the shirt. The moral of my story: Kittens grow! (Duh.)


If you heed my advice but still do not trust your estimation of your kitten’s growth, have some elastic or extra fabric on hand.


Do I Look Like a Longshoreman?

The kitten fit the red shirt when he tried it on a month before Halloween.
The kitten fit the red shirt when he tried it on a month before Halloween. | Source
Kitten in a red extra small doggie shirt from a pet store.
Kitten in a red extra small doggie shirt from a pet store. | Source

Supplies and Tools

Red pet shirt that you think will fit your kitten on Halloween (overestimate growth to be safe!)


Red fabric about 4 inches by 10 inches


Red thread


Black fabric paint or permanent marker


Measuring tape


Scissors


Needle or sewing machine


Red fabric (a washcloth) and a red pet shirt.
Red fabric (a washcloth) and a red pet shirt. | Source

Basic Procedure

Try the shirt on your kitten. You may need to snip the neck opening to enlarge it as I did (see picture below) for it to fit over her dear head. Then measure your kitten from neck to back legs. If this measurement is less than 10 inches, you will need to adjust the length of your fabric ladybug oval. Cut an oval from your red fabric. Sew it onto the shirt -- attach one end to the neck back and then sew down the "spine" or along the sides to keep the oval flat and attached. Some of it will extend beyond the shirt bottom.

Use your black marker or paint to paint a light line down the center of the oval - this represents the split between the 2 wings of the ladybug. Then make spots on the back. The black line at the neck is for a hint of the ladybug's black head.


An oval of red fabric for the ladybug costume's back.
An oval of red fabric for the ladybug costume's back. | Source
Sewing is required to make the costume.
Sewing is required to make the costume. | Source
Use a permanent black marker or fabric paint to make ladybug spots on the kitten costume.
Use a permanent black marker or fabric paint to make ladybug spots on the kitten costume. | Source

Rescue Procedure to Supersize the Kitten Ladybug Costume

If the shirt no longer fits your darling as Halloween draws nearer, first try enlarging the neck with a vertical slit. If that is not enough room for your growing kitten, cut the front open, as if it was a cardigan sweater.

Then, measure the circumference around your kitten's neck and belly. Make red fabric strips about one-half inch wide to sew across the shirt opening to hold it on. Attach to one side only.

With the rescue procedure, at least it is easier to sew the oval onto the back along a midline. After doing all your sewing to put the oval on the shirt, then sew the other side of the "extender strips" onto the shirt.

From there, follow the normal procedures.

One Way to Adjust the Costume

This was my original slit to make the shirt neck opening big enough to pull over the kitten's head.
This was my original slit to make the shirt neck opening big enough to pull over the kitten's head. | Source

When More Adjustment is Required

I had to cut the red doggie shirt entirely down the front center to adjust for the kitten's body groing and getting bigger all around.
I had to cut the red doggie shirt entirely down the front center to adjust for the kitten's body groing and getting bigger all around. | Source

Straps Go Under the Belly

Making sure the extension straps are long enough.
Making sure the extension straps are long enough. | Source
A view of the wrong side of the kitten costume with extender straps.
A view of the wrong side of the kitten costume with extender straps. | Source
The finished kitten ladybug costume.
The finished kitten ladybug costume. | Source

My Kitten is Worth It!

There is a lot I will do for my cat family members, and this is just one of the ways I love them up!

Awwww.....

My cute little kitten Cincinnatus trying on the shirt part of the ladybug costume.
My cute little kitten Cincinnatus trying on the shirt part of the ladybug costume. | Source

Photos and text copyright 2012 Maren E. Morgan

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Comments 10 comments

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Oh my that is too cute for words! How awesome for anyone who has a cat that will let you put clothes on it!


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Thanks, randomcreative. I am trying to train my new kitten so that he thinks it is perfectly natural. One of my cousins regularly dressed her cats in doll clothes. I think they tolerated it because they could "feel the love" coming from her. :)


perlongnina 4 years ago

cute


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Thanks, perlongnina!


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 4 years ago from United States

What a sweet little kitten! So patient. My old termagent would never put up with this! We tried sticking a Santa costume on him a few years ago, and he hid out under the tree in shame. Very creative!


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Well, that "shame" thing does seem to come into play. Our cats who have been "costumed" do seem to slink lower to the ground as if they want to disappear!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

The last time I dressed cats was when I was a child and I used some large doll clothes. Ha! Your little kitten is so cute with her ladybug costume. Voted up and useful and pinning this to my cats board.


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 3 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Thanks, Peggy W! I love to make sewing creations, so of course my cats are "victims." ; P


Bishop55 profile image

Bishop55 3 years ago from USA

This is adorable! My cat would be so mad if I did this to him. hahah! you provided great instructions on how to do this too!


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 3 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Hi Bishop55 - you are right about costume wearing not being something cats crave. However, they (or SOME of them) can tolerate it long enough for a photo shoot!

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