What does Kimiko Glenn in Orange is the New Black and these fierce kittens have in common? Besides being ridiculously cute, they’ve all done time in the slammer. The KittenBjorn is a tiny feline prison designed for the hissing, biting, vicious balls of fur that end up at the Animal Rescue League.
The shelter often houses orphaned feral kittens in need of socialization and adoption. Since no one likes a bitey cat, a volunteer came up with a creative solution for the time consuming, painful task of socializing the wild animals. Using her seamstress skills, she created the KittenBjron: a vest with a kitty-cage sewn onto the front.
The savage little felines are popped into the kangaroo-pouch on the front of the vest, leaving the wearer free to continue about their workday. The cats fight it at first, trying to scratch and claw their way out. Eventually every cat breaks, settling into their pocket-like home. They listen to the person’s heartbeat, can peer out of the mesh front and gradually become comfortable with human interaction. The vest has been known to work in as little to two days and no more than ten. The kitties end up less tiger, more housecat.
Although the League has been using the vest for over 10 years, it recently went viral after a Facebook post. Requests from across the country for the vests have been pouring in. If you’re crafty enough, you can make one yourself with the pattern posted on the group’s Facebook page.
Amanda McGuire, a Dedham Animal Rescue League staff member and “kitten wearing” expert has mastered the art of scooping a kitten into the pouch. She’s also known to wear bite-proof Kevlar gloves for the more surly kittens. The gloves are a sound investment for those kitten-wrangling novices itching to try. On top of the biting, hissing and general contempt radiating from your kitten-sack, McGuire states you’ll also get peed on. A lot.
Wild kitten-taming is not for the faint of heart, but the rewards at the end are purr-ticularily paw-sitive.