Saskatchewan

Fabulous feline brightens Instagram feeds during pandemic

Prunella is a Canadian sphynx cat who shows chic fashion doesn't have to be on 'paws' during pandemic.

Prunella is a Canadian sphynx cat who shows chic fashion doesn't have to be on 'paws' during pandemic

Prunella is a five-year-old Canadian sphynx hairless cat currently living in Regina, Sask. (prunellasphynx/Instagram)

A cat's custom ensemble is turning heads after cat-walk photo sessions. 

Prunella is a diva drawing in followers on social media. The chic style of the fabulous feline is a result of her cat mom, Dee Kitsch, getting creative about keeping Prunella warm. 

"I got her as a kitten and didn't initially think that I would be the type of sphynx cat mom to dress her up," Kitsch said. "But as soon as I got her and she came in that first little adorable outfit, that idea was out the window."

Prunella is a five-year-old Canadian sphynx living in Regina. Kitsch got Prunella from a breeder at three months old and said the small, wrinkly kitten was adorable. 

"I was like 'Oh yeah, she's my little cat baby'," Kitsch said. "She's very personable and likes being around people."

Prunella arrived with an upcycled outfit from a sock, or sleeve of a sweater, as sphynx cats can become cold easily. 

However, using old clothing wasn't right by Kitsch's stylish, seamstress aunt. Her aunt started making Prunella and Kitsch's cousin's cat chic outfits to keep warm and look good while doing it. 

Bat cat beginnings

Kitsch is a photographer so it was a natural leap to posting pictures of Prunella on Instagram and making the style icon her own account. 

"I think the first time was Halloween, where I dressed her up and really decided 'Okay, well she's going to be bat cat for Halloween, why would I not post a whole album of photos of my bat cat?'"

"Since then, it's birthday photos, Christmas photos, sometimes Easter, whatever excuse there is for a little dress up and photo shoot."

Prunella's passion for fashion has gathered more than 2,500 followers on her Instagram account. Kitsch said the response to bare images, dazzling dresses and everything in between has been generally positive. 

"People like to have something to smile about," she said. "People love pets, and having that extra little touch of having an outfit on or a hat or jewellery on the little cat just brings joy to people."

Kitsch said some other sphynx accounts have experienced hate in the past, but she mainly has positive followers. 

"People are very supportive and love her exotic look," Kitsch said. 

During a pandemic, a dashingly-dressed cat can be a wecome break, she said. Kitsch said she works in social media and marketing and has found the pandemic tough herself. 

"It's stressful to scroll through those feeds because it seems that everything we see is negative and a bit of a disaster. The world is a dumpster fire right now," Kitsch said. 

"So when you scroll past a photo of Prunella, all of that melts away. All you can see is her little wrinkly face and her crazy outfit," she said. "They really have a moment where the world just melts away and they can focus on something extremely positive and wholesome for two seconds."

Doing the photo shoots and posts also gives Kitsch a break from the negativity, she said. 

"You can kind of forget about everything else and just focus on the thing you love for a few minutes and that's all you need," she said. 

Kitsch said she hopes to do more photo shoots in the future, and with the recent exposure Prunella is getting, she might have to step it up. 

"Maybe they need to get fancier. Maybe she needs bigger hats. I don't know," Kitsch said. "We'll have to consult with her fashion designer."

Kitsch said she would explore sponsored posts if the opportunity came up and matched Prunella's lifestyle, tastes and keeps her authentic. As for further expansion, Kitsch said photos will continue as runway video is a bit hairy.

"She's not great at the catwalk, she needs some work on her walk," Kitsch said. "What happens is she gets her little outfit on and kind of stands in one spot. This makes it very easy for me to do the photos — So if we need her to walk the catwalk, we might need treats."

About the Author

Heidi Atter

AP/Journalist

Heidi Atter is a journalist working in Regina. She started with CBC Saskatchewan after a successful internship and has a passion for character-driven stories. Heidi has worked as a reporter, web writer, associate producer and show director so far, and has worked in Edmonton, at the Wainwright military base, and in Adazi, Latvia. Story ideas? Email heidi.atter@cbc.ca.

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