Photos of an extremely tolerant cat wearing a Hello Kitty costume that made the rounds a few months back may have given the impression that this was a novelty item. Just the opposite – Hello Kitty suits are the cat's meow in Japan; so much so that even dogs want to get in on the act!

Hello Kitty Cat Costume has Gone to the Cats & Dogs

It's true, the Hello Kitty costume wasn't a one trick pony or, worse, a clever photoshop job. What it is, is big business for a clutch of specialty Japanese websites. Click on their Hello Kitty section and you open the door to a very new, very weird world where complete Hello Kitty ensembles sport prices nudging the $200 mark and satisfied customers (the human ones at least) send in pics of their pets in full HK regalia.

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What really knocked me for a loop, though, was that a couple of proud pet-owners sent in photos of their dogs wearing Hello Kitty costumes. "Hello Doggy"? Now really... that is just so wrong on a variety of levels! 

Hello Kitty Cat Costume has Gone to the Cats & Dogs

Right or wrong, sites like Pet Office seem to be the center of a thriving Living Hello Kitty phenomenon, ostensibly with the benevolent approval of Hello Kitty creators Sanrio whose trademarks are prominently displayed on the cat costume's labels.

Sanrio has been flogging the HK brand since 1976 with frightening success... and cat-lovers have bought into the brand (literally) to the point where pretty much anything featuring Hello Kitty goes. This time though, they've gone to the dogs. (images via jellynail and Amanda)