Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pet Project Woman Dresses Cats for Success

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pet Project Woman Dresses Cats for Success

Article excerpt

Jan Leitner dresses up her cats for fun - and profit. Leitner's furry friends are the inspiration for a line of greeting cards called Fur Ball Cards, now sold in 35 states.

The 48 cards in the line include photographs of cats wearing lederhosen, a motorcycle jacket, a sequined gown, a christening dress, a leopard print bikini, a cowboy hat, pajamas, a safari ensemble and a pink feather boa. Other cards show cats dressed as pilots, lions, bunnies, detectives, chefs, bears, senoritas, angels, maids and fishermen.

"You're not slowing down," reads the front of one card. The cat on the card is wearing a gray wig, granny glasses and a warm shawl. This is inside: "The mice are just getting faster." Another card, illustrated with a photo of a cat in a wicker chair, reads "Happy Birthday to the Nicest Purr-son!"

Besides birthday cards, the line includes friendship cards, get-well cards, thank-you cards and anniversary cards. They sell for $1.85 each.

Leitner, of Richmond Heights, gives her age as "in my fifth life." She is a portrait artist who says she has always lived with cats and has always dressed them up. In 1993, she went to a signing to autograph copies of her book "Precious Memories: A Cat Lover's Diary" (Brandywine, Ltd.). For fun, she took along Bailey, one of her cats, attired in a miniature prom dress.

"At first, some people thought he was stuffed. When they found out he is very real, they went home and got their cameras so they could have their photos taken with him," Leitner said.

Over time, numerous people suggested to Leitner that she produce a line of greeting cards featuring cats in outlandish outfits. The process took two years and lots of kitty treats. Photographing cats is extremely time consuming, Leitner said, and it sometimes took 200 shots to get one great picture.

"People think you can't train cats, but you can. …

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