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Oakwood artisan finds joy in crafting cute toppers for tabbies

POSTED: October 11, 2011 1:30 a.m.
/For The Times

Amalia Davidson makes little hats of all shapes and styles for cats, as seen here on Pixie, and has been selling them over the Internet. Her hats styles have even found their way in to magazines, "Good Morning America," and the film "Bridesmaids."

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Dr. Seuss may have written about cats in hats, but Amalia S. Davidson has taken the concept a step further.

For the last two years, the Gainesville resident has been keeping busy by creating festive headgear for felines and other pets.

"I’m originally from Europe. In my very acute observations of the different aspects of (American) culture, one of the ones I noticed was how well Halloween was celebrated here," Davidson said.

Not only do folks go all out with Halloween decorations and costumes, they also have a fascination with dressing up their pets, too.

"Sometimes they would even take (dog costumes) and put them on their kitty cats," Davidson said.

"(Cats) are sensitive anyway, but to put dog things on them was really uncomfortable for them. I thought why not take this challenge to do something that fills a real need, even if it isn’t a big market."

What she came up with was a broad collection of pet-friendly hats.

"It’s so lightweight, that the cats almost don’t feel it," Davidson said.

"I started out with a witch’s hat because someone asked for a hat like that for their cat."

Although she does have character-themed creations, like the green-felt Robin Hood cap complete with a feather and even a wizard’s hat, Davidson isn’t overlooking the more practical-minded felines. She also has a line of sensible derbies and cowboy hats.

Her hats have gotten more than 3,000 "likes" on Facebook and have been featured in Brides magazine. "Good Morning America" gave them a "simmering" rating during a Pop News Heat Index segment.

Davidson’s berets — made from felt she creates herself — also made a cameo in the recently released movie, "Bridesmaids" starring Mya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig.

"What started out as a little, fun thing has turned into a real business," Davidson said.

"It took me by surprise that it has caught on so well. It keeps motivating me (to continue) when I get (feedback) from people saying I made their day or that the hats made them smile. It makes me joyful to be able to share that with other people."

To help folks get a feel for how their pets will look in the hats, Davidson uses her own cat, Pixie, as a model for her online store on the Etsy website.

"Pixie is very expressive, so I thought, ‘Why wouldn’t I use pictures of her so people can see," Davidson said.

She uses her online store and description of her wares to not only market her hats, but to also highlight the light-hearted nature of her part-time business.

"The name of my store is ‘To Scarborough Fair,’ like the famous Simon and Garfunkel song. I also chose the name because it was an ancient fair where you could find everything; it’s sort of like the fantasy coming to life," Davidson said.

"Part of the excitement with this is that I figure it out as it goes along. It’s a nice element of surprise. I didn’t have a goal in making hats for cats and mittens for kittens — that’s the slogan to kind of underline the whimsical side of it.

"I wanted a challenge, but I also wanted something that was fun to make."

If you’re planning to play dress up with your pet, Davidson recommends that you woo them with treats first and use a soothing voice to help them relax.

And if kitty doesn’t want to play nice, don’t force it. There’s always another day — and another hat.



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