Julie Jackson's obsession for cats in wigs inspires a book, Web site and business

By Liz McNeil
Updated December 08, 2009 02:09 AM

The most surprising thing about Glamourpuss, the new picture book featuring cats donning colorful wigs? “I was surprised at how many cats were cooperative,” says the author, Julie Jackson. “It’s amazing what they will do for attention.”

Jackson, who lives in Dallas (with her husband and two cats) first got the idea when searching for pictures on Flickr.com. “It’s just something that came out of the blue,” she laughs. “You always see dogs in costumes but not cats. Cats are harder to break into the idea – and that’s part of the challenge.”

Jackson first ordered some doll wigs “that were cat size” and a friend then offered to take some pictures. They used their own cats, plus those of a few friends, and set out to have some fun. She searched for colored wigs, even pigtails. “Bright colors work better,” she explains. “The colors that are close to cat fur don’t work as well.”) The shoots were quick – from thirty seconds to three minutes tops. (The wigs, she warns, are for pictures only. And not for long term play.)

How to set the mood for a kitty photo shoot?

Music is key: Bossa Nova, lounge music, “gets everyone relaxed.”
Food helps mellow everyone out: Jackson recommends a can of cat food before the shoot. “That helps them calm down and be content,” she says. (Canned tuna was often a reward for a good session.)
Sweet talk your subject: The photographer, Jill Johnson, was an expert at fawning over the felines. “The cat really responds to the attention,” she notes.

Jackson says Siamese kitties are the most natural models. (“They are easily amused,” she explains.) As the project took off, she eventually launched a Web site: kittywigs.com, where you can order custom-made wigs for your felines. Wigs sell for about $50, and come in a case with… a catnip toy.

“Cats,” says Jackson. “Just want to be part of your life.”

Check out photos from Glamourpuss here in our gallery!