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Kitty Couture

Eugene cat vamps it up in costume
Photo by Dress Up Cat / Carla Hervert
Photo by Dress Up Cat / Carla Hervert

“Here kitty, kitty. Come put on this rosary and sit next to this golden chalice like you’re taking communion.”

So it goes for BooBoo, a 17-pound Eugene tabby whose dress-up antics have earned him five million views on the website Pretty 52 and his own greeting card Etsy shop (79 sales and counting!). 

Feline fashionista Carla Hervert of Eugene dresses her pal of 11 years into all manner of cat-sized costumes. Her Dress Up Cat business sells greeting cards of BooBoo in several stores in Lane County (Florence, Junction City and the gift shop at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend). 

BooBoo is one of those roly-poly dog-like cats who doesn’t jump at loud noises (I checked) and never misses a meal. He is a bona-fide sweetheart. He adores the photo shoots because it means chin rubs and kitty treats. 

“He loves sunglasses. Sometimes I put sunglasses on him in the backyard,” Hervert says. “He walks me to the mail every day.”

A year ago, UK media company Caters News Agency contacted Hervert to ask for the rights to her video about Dress Up Cat. 

The video, titled “Sassy Cat Will Dress Up for Chin Rubs,” went viral last January, and not because it sounds like a 2001 porn video. 

In the video, which now has more than five million views on Pretty 52, she dresses up BooBoo in a slide-by-slide parade of costumes. There is Iraq soldier kitty, beach kitty, the grizzled inmate kitty and rich ski-resort kitty. There is one shoot where he is supposed to be a “secretary” with a miniature typewriter, but the vampy red dress may also cast him as “sexy librarian” kitty. 

Hervert also sold the rights to BooBoo’s news story to another UK company, HotSpot Media. She was very surprised when a friend sent her a May 2015 edition of National Enquirer, which devoted a full-page spread to BooBoo and Hervert, along with several photos taken by Hervert. The headline reads, “The Ultimate Poseur Puss!” 

“They don’t tell me who buys the stories. I have to Google search to find stories,” says Hervert, who receives a small stipend from both media companies every few months. 

Here in Eugene, Hervert enjoys taking her greeting cards (retail $4.50) to various craft shows. She and her husband are avid photographers of Oregon’s scenic views, so her spread of greeting cards includes BooBoo, other cats and animals, as well as Oregon scenery. 

Hervert sees Dress Up Cat as her hobby, as she works full time as a nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center. On a weekly basis, she is always looking for props for the photo shoots. She had a Catholic friend who liked the idea of BooBoo as a priest. 

“She’s really Catholic. She wanted him to be a priest. I went to St. Vinnie’s and found a little gold chalice for the priest shoot,” Hervert says. “I used Necco wafers for the communion plate.” 

Cards are available online at etsy.com/shop/DressUpCat.