Posted: January 14, 2014, 2:50 p.m. EST
© Jessie Nolan
Some ferrets dislike hats, but not Jessie Nolan's TCChaser (left) or Kosmos.
Most people probably would never think of ferrets as being among the most fashionable of pet companions. However, think again. Here’s a pet that already makes a bold fashion statement, as the majority are naturally gifted with a mask giving them one paw up in the fashion world. And, unlike the extravagant collections of doggie couture and petulant kitty costumes, ferrets approach fashion with a flair that is quite, well, ferretlike: bold, adventurous, engaging and, at all times, participatory.
Humans have always demonstrated a desire to interact with their companion pets by dressing them in various ways. From common outfits like princesses, angels, cowboys and bikers to the more eclectic robots, flowers, superheroes, otherworldly creatures, vehicles, appliances and just about any other kind of animal than what they already are. And, every so often, for a show or competition, the owner may conjure a coordinating outfit to complete the effect.
What makes ferrets unique, however, is that they happen to be small, portable, curious and gregarious, and they enjoy being the center of attention. Though not all ferrets, according to their human handlers, enjoy being dressed, those who do relish the experience; however, they may also display distinct preferences in what they wear like Jessie Nolan’s ferret named Tater.
Nolan described several ferrets who loved dressing up. For one show she and Tater attended, "We dressed as King Kong and Fay Wray. I was Kong wearing a headdress with little planes around the crown, and I held Tater wearing a silver lame gown including little high heels hanging off his feet.” The pair won Most Creative Costume.
However, while he loved to dress in any outfit she made him, Tater refused to wear any sort of a hat. On the other hand, Nolan’s dark-eyed white, TL Ting, had no such wardrobe preferences and maintained an extensive collection of handmade outfits that included all sorts of hats and a variety of props. "She thoroughly enjoyed posing in all of them,” Nolan said, as did her other two fashion-conscious ferrets, Kosmos and TCChaser.
© Sheryl Murray
Neytiri, an Australian ferret bride, wore white for her 2012 wedding to an English ferret.
Dressing up ferrets is not uniquely American. Sheryl Murray in Australia has outfits for all of her ferret "business.” Her ferret Neytiri took center stage in 2012 for an international online wedding attended by many around the world via Facebook. Karen Davey’s Monsta, who happens to reside in England, was the groom. Both bride and groom were appropriately outfitted for the multinational occasion. Their finery was subsequently auctioned off following the nuptials to benefit a ferret shelter.
There are also a delightful subset of ethnic ferret "fashionistas” who can be found dressed in culturally significant outfits, such as kimonos and kilts to honor their human companions origins. Some outfits are quite detailed. Due to a ferret’s size and doll-like shape, many owners have been able to re-purpose certain types of doll accessories to embellish their ferret’s fashion creations. There is also a small cottage industry of people offering ferret outfits, including elaborate hats, for sale on the Internet.
There are lots of images accessible via Google and videos on YouTube of ferrets in their finery. They demonstrate an incredible array of human-ferret interaction as well as diversity and creativity in design. But those I personally found particularly striking are those showing ferrets racing off with bits of their wardrobe. Perhaps that is what makes ferrets so particularly unique in the pet world in a fashion sense. By both wearing and playing with their outfits, they manage to increase everyone’s fun.
But just how do ferrets really feel about dressing up? Well, I did not have the opportunity to interview any to gather their thoughts on the subject. However, given the number of images showing ferrets with hats, scarves and crowns jauntily perched on their heads; ferrets dressed as Santa, in gowns, gift wrapped posing for their close-ups, I’d say they are fine with it all. After all, what ferret doesn’t love being involved in everything? It is part of their inherent charm!
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