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Pride and cats: A meow mix of merch made in heaven

Instead of focusing on what company will or won't bake your LGBT cake, why not support the many artisans who are inclusive and get yourself a unique, handmade gift that also goes to support a true ally who couldn't care less about  your orientation.

As Pride season approaches and big box retailers, mainstream brands and other corporate labels make history by rolling out rainbow themed merchandise, there are lesser known crafters who try to make their bottom line by doing the things they love while also being inclusive. 

This may not be more apparent than creators who cater to the animal lover. Especially the frisky kind. 

Cat lovers often take the stuffing out of dog owners who claim they have the better companions. The adage "cats rule, dogs drool" has been the basis for many Hollywood films such as "Homeward Bound" and "Cats & Dogs." There has even been a scientific study which shows that in fact cats do rule and dogs do drool. But that was in reference to how they drink water. 

Either way, there might be no better pairing for cat lovers who celebrate Pride than to visit Etsy and search up the many handmade items that give reverence to felines making them our spectrum spirit animals.

I have gone through the Etsy search bar and found some truly adorable artisan made plushies that give homage not only to the Kings of the Forest but your domesticated couch companions too. 

Take Thunder Plushies for example. This Etsy business will hand stitch any part of your pride you want them to:

The creator writes: "Do you want your very own cat stuffed animal that embraces you? Here are the new PRIDE cats! Right now I have a Rainbow and Trans cat available; however, if you want a custom color, please message me! I'd love to make your flag, and I can get to work on it right away if I have the colors!"

The plushies range from $25 to $60 and they ship globally. 

Then there are the Shoulder Pets from NightengaleNeedles with the spectrum-specific underbellies. These items are designed to prop on your shoulder or just hang out on the dresser. They won't knock things off or follow you into the bathroom unless they're invited.

"These shoulder pets are soft floppy plush animals who just wants to hang out with you. They'll balance on your shoulder, or your head, and they'll ride around on your backpack with you. Drape them over the edge of your computer monitor, your bed, a shelf, or anywhere. Every shoulder pet is handmade with love and just waiting to find the perfect person to hang out with."

T-shirts are always a favorite because Pride festivals take place during the dog days of summer. One design that seems to be popular say "Purride." There are several Etsy creators who offer up this design from crew necks to tank tops

There are also non-fabric wearables. Enamel pins are pretty hot right now. Wearing your spirit animal may be as easy as attaching them to your shirt or messenger bag.

There is the Nayn Cat pin which pays homage to the internet meme of yesteryear. Although not Pride specific, it sure is cute. 

Says the seller: "Nayn Cat may be an old, dead meme, but it still holds a special place in our heart as one of the original YouTube memes of the early 2010s. We've immortalized this cute cat in a premium quality enamel pin."

Of course we can't leave our dog lovers out. In fact there might be more wares that cater to Pride dogs than cats on Etsy, although their merchandise is more accessories than stuffed animals. Such as this colorful collar

Not to be outdone, there are also Pride bats. Yes, that's right an Etsy seller is making those night flyers into cute symbols of Pride too.

As we approach Pride season and prepare to get inundated with brand names who embrace the community, consider supporting other products who may not have the same reach as corporations but will warm your heart nonetheless.

 And if you are looking for the real thing, remember The San Diego Humane Society has plenty of dogs and cats that could use a forever home.