Polocats founder, Julie Poisson, has an unmatched love for cats – particularly sphynxes. After discovering a lack of appropriate cat clothing, she began designing her own. This is her story.
Before Polocats, I was web designer and I had just experienced the loss of my feline companion who had lived with me 19 years. For four months my house was without a cat (and without hair all over the place) before a friend asked me to keep the sphynx cats he had bought for his wife (who was allergic to cats with fur, and, as it turns out, cats without fur) just until he found a new family to adopt them. I had never touched nor seen a true sphynx. I was smitten and decided to adopt them.
I was more than smitten, however. I literally fell in love with my twin sphynxes, named Juan and iCha (“i” as in iPhone, and “cha” as in the French word ‘chat’ meaning cat). They kept their names. They were 6 months old when they arrived in my life. When they were not running or jumping everywhere, they were warming themselves under blankets left on couches or armchairs. I wanted to find clothes for them that would help keep them warm, but was unable to find anything that matched their appearance or their need either online
or in stores.
I asked a family member to create the first Polo for cats using recycled fabrics. I liked being able to keep my cats warm and looking stylish, while simultaneously being environmentally friendly.
My models (Juan and iCha) were perfect and I wanted to create other pieces to share with the world! Thus, Polocats was born.
I did a lot of research into different styles and fabrics. I had to abandon the use of recycled fabrics as they required more attention (searching for good quality, quantity, and cleanliness) and limited my creative ideas and countries I could sell to. I researched new fabrics, with a focus on quality, went through a lot of trial and error in order to make the clothes appropriate for a sphynx’s body shape and physical needs.
All Polocats clothing must:
- Meet a need (ie. warmth, protection, absorption)
- Not restrict the movement of cats in any way (including litter box activities)
- Not contain mesh or “pill” after use
- Be easily washable
- Be created locally to contribute to the local economy
- Be the best price and use the best quality of fabrics, so I offer a range of clothes at different prices to reach customers and their varied needs.
All fabrics and models are tested on my own sphynxes first. We test extensibility during daily activities like using the litter box, friction with blankets, static creation and wrinkling of the fabric, and durability against licking and jumping. The clothes are sent to the laundry room to undergo several quality assurance tests. We dirty them, wash them in hot water and cold water, dry them, and twist them to observe how easy cleaning will be and if the fabric is affected in any way. If even one aspect is faulty, I alter what can be modified. Otherwise, we go back in search of fabrics or we change lines on the pattern so that everything is perfect.
We are always improving our products and strive to dress all breeds of cat (with or without fur) according to the seasons: warm clothing for cold seasons and protective clothing for warm seasons. We have sold over 5,000 clothes worldwide since starting four years ago.
Polocats is also engaged with an animal protection organization. I am preparing small cat games that are used to raise funds for organizations in my area to continue providing the necessary care for abandoned animals and to help find them a new family. This cause is particularly close to my heart so I hope to expand our fundraising efforts in the future.
We look forward to dressing your feline!