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thundershirt overview

ThunderShirt's patented design applies a gentle, constant pressure that has a dramatic calming effect for most cats.

  • Great for vet visits, traveling and grooming
  • Drug-free and easy to use
  • As seen on Good Morning America with Dr. Marty Becker

how thundershirt works

ThunderShirt uses gentle hugging to calm your dog or cat. With its patented design, ThunderShirt’s gentle, constant pressure has a dramatic calming effect for most dogs and cats if they are anxious, fearful or overexcited. Based on surveys completed by over two thousand customers, over 80% of dogs and cats show significant improvement in symptoms when using ThunderShirt. ThunderShirt is already helping hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats around the world and is recommended by thousands of veterinarians and trainers.How does ThunderShirt work? Experts believe that pressure has a calming effect on the nervous system, possibly by releasing a calming hormone like endorphins. Using pressure to relieve anxiety in people and animals has been a common practice for years. Below are several examples.

how thundershirt work

ThunderShirt helps keep animals calm so they are more comfortable in situations that were once frightening.

parents use swaddling to calm and sooth an inconsolable infant

Wrapping a baby snuggly in a blanket, or “swaddling”, is a very common practice for helping to calm an irritable or upset baby, or to help a baby to fall asleep. Medical professionals today routinely teach swaddling to new parents, and families and friends have been passing down this wisdom for centuries. Some experts believe that swaddling mimics the warmth and pressure babies experience in the womb. But whatever the reason, there is no denying its success!


Parents have been comforting and soothing their babies with the gentle pressure of swaddling for centuries.

people with autism use pressure to relieve their persistent anxiety

Many people with autism suffer from persistent anxiety. Dr. Temple Grandin realized that applying gentle pressure around her torso provided wonderful relief for her, and this led to the design of her “Hug Machine”. Now thousands of people with autism routinely use pressure to bring comfort. Over the years, it has also been learned that this kind of pressure can help with a wide variety of behavioral issues for both adults and children. “Pressure Vests” and “Weighted Vests” are routinely used by special needs teachers to provide calming and focus in a wide variety of circumstances.

ttouch® trainers use pressure to address a wide variety of animal anxieties

For many years, Tellington TTouch Trainers have been using pressure with dogs and other animals to help with a wide variety of issues, including fear of noises and separation anxieties. Prior to ThunderShirt, they frequently wrapped ace bandages around dogs and cats to achieve this pressure, but this was frequently very difficult to apply and unsafe to leave on an animal when unsupervised. Now most TTouch Trainers are using ThunderShirts because of their ease of use and safety. And ThunderShirts look great! As a component of TTouch Training, ThunderShirt is helping families, veterinarians and trainers increase an animal’s self-confidence, providing comfort in situations that were once frightening or stressful.


how to use thundershirt

ThunderShirt is an excellent treatment for many types of cat anxiety and fear issues. For many anxieties, we recommend just putting on a ThunderShirt and observing the results. You very well may see significant improvement for vet visits, travel, grooming, general fearfulness and others with no training. If your cat appears to not want to move in her ThunderShirt (what we term the “Freeze & Flop”), don’t worry! Please see our FAQ for instructions on how to work with this. For more complicated anxiety cases, we also recommend using ThunderShirt as part of a behavior modification program.

the thundershirt training center

We've recently launched the ThunderShirt Training Center! Thousands of trainers are using ThunderShirts across the country for dogs and now many are starting to use ThunderShirts for cats too. Click here to learn more about the results they are seeing and for suggested training programs.

introducing thundershirt to your cat, and how to put it on

Before putting ThunderShirt on your cat for the first time, we recommend offering a small amount of food to your cat using the ThunderShirt as a “plate”. Cats typically become more comfortable and trusting of something that “brings” them food or anything that they associate with food. So this is an easy little trick to quickly create a positive association with ThunderShirt for your cat.

ThunderShirt has been developed to be very easy to put on. Just lay it over your cat’s back and secure with the chest and torso straps. The fasteners make ThunderShirt very adjustable to many different body shapes. Or click here here for instructions on how to put the ThunderShirt on your cat.

thundershirt success stories

testimonial pic ThunderShirt is helpful in terms of making the trip to the Vet Hospital and while at the Clinic. We have seen that positive effect here with cats that we put ThunderShirt on. They relax almost immediately from the stress associated with a vet visit. I even use the ThunderShirt at home to help calm my cat while trimming his nails.

testimonial pic I was skeptical about the effect swaddling might have on cats. But after we returned from our first use of a ThunderShirt during a vet visit, I am significantly impressed with the ThunderShirt! Griffin was significantly less vocal during the entire trip, much easier to handle during the exam, appeared to have a much lower heart rate than usual for a vet visit (150 BPM versus 210 BPM), and was calm enough for the vet to hear his level 2-3 heart murmur, something she hasn’t heard since Griffin was a kitten. After he was released from the travel crate at home, Griffin did not dash away to hide under furniture for hours, as he usually does. Griffin interacted comfortably with me within two minutes of getting home, and showed no lingering stress from the trip. I’m optimistic about the improvement it will make in cats’ lives.

testimonial pic I just wanted to contact you to say thank you!!! We adopted our cat about 6 months ago. He was an outside cat that desperately wanted to stay an outside cat. He meowed all night, every night for months on end. Nothing calmed him. Then I saw an ad for the ThunderShirt for cats. What the heck, I’ll give it a try. For the first time in over 6 months, we actually got sleep. He slept quietly at the end of the bed all night long. AND he even purred. We never hear him purr. We got up, took his shirt off and he was as happy as can be. Thank you for giving us our sleep and our sanity back!!!

testimonial pic As a first time cat owner I noticed my fluffy all black adorable cat Dusty wasn’t fond of the vacuum, fireworks, routine apartment maintenance noises, the required monthly fire alarm test (that hurts my human ears!), tornado siren tests and cried (neighbors heard him) while I was away. He would hiss and growl at me if I just touched a back foot much less tried to trim the claws (he is front declawed, got him that way). He can be loud & squirmy when we go to the vet but since the ThunderShirt For Cats kept him way calmer through everything else I have no doubt it will keep him quieter and calmer when we do go for a vet visit. With 2 fireworks shows every summer and weekly vacuuming we’ll use it over and over again! ThunderShirt works for my cat and I don’t need a pheromone diffuser and refills!

why does thundershirt work?

With its patented design, the new ThunderShirt for Cats applies gentle, constant pressure to the torso and this pressure has a dramatic calming effect for cats if they are anxious or fearful. ThunderShirt has already helped many hundreds of thousands of dogs around the world and is now helping cats as well! Cat owners and veterinarians are amazed by the positive impact a ThunderShirt can have with cats.

As for WHY ThunderShirt’s gentle pressure works to calm a dogs andcats, anxiety experts believe that pressure has a calming effect on the nervous system and may release calming hormones like endorphins or ocytocins. Using pressure to relieve anxiety has been a common practice for years. For example:

Parents use swaddling to calm an inconsolable newborn infant.
People with autism use pressure to relieve their persistent anxiety.
Children with certain behavioral problems use pressure shirts and weighted vests to relax and focus.
TTouch animal trainers use pressure to address a wide variety of anxieties.
Veterinarians use pressure to relax cattle when they are administering vaccinations.

Until ThunderShirt, there just hasn’t been a well-designed, inexpensive solution commonly used for cat anxiety.

why doesn’t my vet know about this remedy for anxiety and fear issues?

Good question! The use of pressure to relieve feline anxiety is a relatively new concept and not well known in general. But we are working hard to change that! If you would like us to speak with your veterinarian, please contact us.

what training is required for using thundershirt for anxiety and fear issues?

For most cases no training is necessary! Just put ThunderShirt onto your cat and you will likely see improvement in the symptoms. However, cats are very sensitive to having anything put onto their bodies and the “Freeze & Flop” is a common initial response. When you first put on ThunderShirt, if your appears to “freeze up” or refuse to move, please see the “Freeze & Flop” section in this FAQ. For many issues, like travel anxiety or hating vet visits, a ThunderShirt may be all you need for success with your cat. For some more serious anxiety cases, such as severe separation anxiety, you should consult a good trainer for how to integrate ThunderShirt into a training program.

my cat freezes up, won’t move or falls over in her thundershirt. what should i do?

When first wearing a ThunderShirt, some cats will behave as if they are immobilized and may even “fall over”. Don’t worry! The ThunderShirt is not causing discomfort; they just need time to adjust to the new sensations. Cats are amazingly sensitive to touch and sometimes requires a little more adjustment time in the beginning. But this also means that many are even more responsive than dogs to the gentle, calming pressure of a ThunderShirt!

If your cat initially appears uncomfortable or does the “Freeze & Flop”, please do the following. Put the ThunderShirt onto your cat with very light pressure and for 5 to 10 minutes, try to engage your cat in play with a favorite toy or a laser pointer. If your cat continues to look uncomfortable or still refuses to move freely, remove the ThunderShirt for a short period and then repeat the process two to three times. If still no success, try repeating the process with longer breaks in between (e.g. wait a day and then retry).

what if ThunderShirt isn’t working for my cat?

We stand behind our product! ThunderShirt is a terrific solution for most cats suffering from anxiety. If you are having issues with like “Freeze & Flop” or otherwise not seeing the results you are looking for, we encourage you to review this FAQ for possible suggestions to improve your results. And we also encourage you to try using ThunderShirt at least four times before making a final decision.

But if for any reason ThunderShirt isn’t the right solution for your cat, return it within 45 days for a full refund of your purchase price (less S H). See below for detailed return or exchange instructions.

how do i return my thundershirt for the money-back guarantee?

If you purchased your ThunderShirt from another retailer:

Please return your ThunderShirt to the place of purchase for a credit; we are unable to process returns for ThunderShirts not purchased directly from ThunderWorks Company. If the place of purchase is unwilling to support the refund policy, please contact us at

If you purchased directly from ThunderWorks Company:

We stand behind our product! If for any reason you decide that the ThunderShirt is not the right solution for your cat you may return it within 45 days for a refund of your purchase price. To ensure we are able to process your return efficiently, we will provide you with a return label for your package.

Please contact ThunderWorks for your return label by emailing us at (Please include your order #) or you can Live Chat with us by clicking on the Live Chat link on the top of this page. You can also call us at 866-892-2078, and press 3 for customer service during business hours 8:00 am-5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.

Return Process:

Once we review your order history and confirm that you are still within your 45 days, we will email you a return label that you can use to return and track your package. When we receive your package, a credit for the original purchase price of the product, less $5.95 for return shipping, will be issued to your credit card within a week. In the event that we cannot process a credit, a check will be mailed to you.

If your return is due to product defect or shipping error ThunderWorks will provide you a return label at no cost.

Embroidery ThunderShirt: Because embroidery is customized we do not offer a money back guarantee, returns or exchanges on these

how do i exchange my thundershirt for a different size?

If you purchased your ThunderShirt from another retailer:

You will need to exchange the ThunderShirt at the place of purchase, as they received your payment. All of our retailers are aware of, and should abide by, our 100% satisfaction guarantee. You may need contact the place of purchase directly to find out their exchange procedures.

If you purchased your ThunderShirt directly from ThunderShirt:

If you believe that you may need a different size ThunderShirt for your cat, we will be happy to exchange it. Please send it back with the pack sheet or order number with a note stating the new size you’d like to: ThunderShirt Customer Service, 905 Jackie Robinson Drive, Durham, NC 27701. Please note that an additional charge of $10 will be applied if you are exchanging an embroidered ThunderShirt. We donate returns and exchanges to rescue groups and shelters. The returned ThunderShirt will be put to good use!

can i wash and dry thundershirt? remove hair from fastener hooks?

ThunderShirt is made with durable, washable fabric. When necessary, ThunderShirt may be washed in a regular cycle using regular laundry detergent and cold water. Hang to dry.

If necessary, to remove cat hair from your ThunderShirt’s fastener hooks, we recommend using a standard “slicker” brush (Available at most any pet store for as little as $2.99). A couple of strokes and the fastener hooks will be nearly completely hair-free.

how long can i leave a thundershirt on my cat?

ThunderShirt is designed to be safe to leave on your cat for extended periods of time when appropriate for the situation or issue that you are addressing. ThunderShirt is made out of light-weight, breathable fabric, so over-heating is very rarely an issue. When properly sized and properly put on with a comfortably snug fit, your cat should be very comfortable for extended periods.

If you will be allowing your cat to wear a ThunderShirt for extended periods over two hours at a time, during the initial periods, we do recommend removing the ThunderShirt frequently to check for any signs of irritation points. Irritation points are very rare, but best to be cautious

Is it safe to leave my cat unsupervised while wearing her ThunderShirt?

It is typically safe to leave a cat unsupervised while wearing a ThunderShirt. HOWEVER…before leaving your cat unsupervised for any extended periods longer than one hour, we strongly recommend the following:

Make sure that your cat is comfortable and moving freely.
Make sure that your cat is using the litter box without issues.
Make sure that your cat is not tending to slide her front paws into the neck hole and possibly getting stuck.

We do NOT recommend having an outdoor cat wear a ThunderShirt outdoors to avoid reducing her ability to escape from any potential predators.

ThunderShirt is designed to be safe to leave on your cat for extended periods of time when appropriate for the situation or issue that you are addressing. ThunderShirt is made out of light-weight, breathable fabric, so over-heating is very rarely an issue. When properly sized and properly put on with a comfortably snug fit, your cat should be very comfortable for extended periods.

How do I put ThunderShirt onto my cat?

We designed ThunderShirt to be very easy to put on your cat, even if she is already in a state of anxiety. Click here to see detailed illustrations.

What size is right for my cat?

ThunderShirt comes in three different sizes… Small, Medium and Large. See the table to find the right size for your cat. Like people, cats come in many different shapes and sizes, so if your cat has unusual proportions, you may need to go up or down a size versus the “standard” measurements. But the ThunderShirt is designed to be very adjustable to accommodate different cat shapes and still be easy to put on.
testimonial pic

Size Chest Size Weight
Small 9” up to 13” < 9 lbs.
Medium 13” up to 17” 9 - 13 lbs.
Large 17” up to 24” > 13 lbs.

Measure “Chest Size” as illustrated by red arrow below

is overheating a concern when using a thundershirt?

Except in extreme conditions (e.g. 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the sun), overheating is not typically a concern when using a ThunderShirt. ThunderShirt is constructed of a lightweight, breathable fabric. But if you feel that overheating might be a problem for your particular circumstance, please monitor your cat for any signs of overheating such as heavy panting or tongue hanging out of the mouth. Remove the ThunderShirt if you see any signs of overheating

How do I contact you about my ThunderShirt?

For customer support on how to get the most out of your ThunderShirt, see the below:

  • FAQ... Many questions are addressed in our detailed FAQ section.
  • Email... Send us an email at and we will respond within one business day.
  • Phone... If you prefer, call our customer support line at 866-892-2078. Our representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8:00AM to 5:00PM Eastern Standard Time.