Kat Karnaky Uses Cute Cats to Make People Smile

The longtime textile maven puts a signature black cat on her T-shirts, sweatshirts, pants, pillows, and totes.


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Photo courtesy Kat Karnaky

Four years ago, Kat Karnaky started to make kids’ clothing after she couldn’t find cute, gender-neutral clothes for her toddler son. She named her unisex clothing line Baby Cats of California, after the signature black cat that adorns her T-shirts, sweatshirts, and pants, as well as hand-silkscreened tote bags and pillows.

The longtime textile designer has worked for a variety of companies, including Anthropologie and Williams Sonoma Home, and also teaches silk screening at the California College for the Arts, her alma mater. But Baby Cats offers an outlet for Karnaky’s unique, quirky vision — of cats hiding in flowerpots, bright green parrots, stately brown and yellow cheetahs, and her whimsical “Catsicle” line of cat popsicles debuting this spring.

The Houston native grew up in a house full of animals fostered by her mother, from cats and dogs to possums and peacocks. Beyond her signature kitty, she plans to incorporate more members of the animal kingdom into her line and donate some profits to animal shelters.

Since launching Baby Cats, Karnaky has added more sizes, including adult ones, since the buyers of her clothing also wanted to wear her “patterns that make people smile.” Still working full time in corporate textiles, she’d like to devote all of her energy to Baby Cats and “expand the company to a more sustainable model where there’s less waste and scraps can be used to make quilts. I’d also like to include more adult sizes for more body types.”

This busy working mom of two also creates one-of-a-kind pieces in collaboration with her sister under the label of Miss KK Sister and is involved with Wovenutopia, an artist collective connecting her generation of fiber artists to the previous one.

Baby Cats’ full line can be found at Claflin, Thayer & Co. in Temescal Alley. You can also find it at Bella Vita, Valentine’s Baby & Kids, and Resurrect, as well as online at BabyCatsOfCa.com.

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