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Meet DC’s Ultimate Cat Lady

How a DC Fashion Blogger Launched a Vintage Cat Boutique Called "Pretty Kitty"

Photographs by Arielle Lewis Studios

In 2020, Dani Sauter–a former Washingtonian Style Setter who works in IT government contracting but is better known by her blog and Instagram handle @Blonde_InTheDistrict—found herself looking for a little nostalgia. Like many, she’d been redesigning her home, and was doing so by shopping vintage home decor as shortages and delivery delays hindered other shopping avenues. The object of her quest: a “PURR-fect” porcelain 1970s cat like the one her grandparents had when she was a kid. She found one, got it home, and loved it. “From there, I started collecting and searching specifically for vintage cat decor.” 

Getting Pretty Kitty Started

A four-year-old note in her phone that says “Pretty Kitty” is a reminder that she’d always known she wanted to start some sort of boutique, but she hadn’t ever quite figured out what it would sell. As she started collecting more cats for her home, though, the idea fell into place: Pretty Kitty would be an online boutique of vintage cat decor.

With a website already set up and an expansive social media presence, Sauter says she spent “hours upon hours” collecting for enough items to launch an online shop. “Since I’m looking for a very niche product, it took me longer to curate,” she says. 

She planned to open the boutique in late 2021, but got the opportunity to appear on the The Drew Barrymore Show when it came to DC in September, so she bumped up the launch date. Sauter was on the show to talk about the Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation, where she’d rescued her own two cats, Peaches and Pinky, after her previous cat Chloe (whom she’d also rescued from LDCRF) passed away last year. Of being able to announce Pretty Kitty to a national audience the day after it launched, Sauter says: “You could say I got very lucky . . . “I even gifted [Barrymore] and Ross Mathews Pretty Kitty items during the show!” 

Pretty Kitty Boutique

The theme for the online boutique is kitsch cats–it’s mostly vintage, but there are a few modern items as well. “I’m looking for kitsch kitties that have character, charm, and ultimately, nostalgia,” says Sauter. “It all goes back to the porcelain kitty from my childhood. I want others to feel happy when they see the Pretty Kitty collection and have it bring joy and happy memories to their homes.” Items include statues, perfume bottles, flower pots, purses, framed vintage photographs, earrings, and more, and while the focus is mostly cats and kittens, there are a handful of other items, like a retro poodle savings bank. Sourcing online, Sauter says, can be pricey, so unless she’s looking for something very specific, she prefers to find things for the boutique in-person. “I like finding hole-in-the wall places that may not seem appealing at first glance–that’s where you find the best stuff!” One time, she says, she saw a handmade sign that said “VINTAGE” with an arrow on it on the side of the road in the Charlottesville area and had her husband pull over. “He wasn’t amused, but I found some cool items!” In 2022 she plans to start scouring estate sales as well. 

Currently, the Pretty Kitty collection is available online and in person at select pop-ups throughout the year–most recently, she set up shop at the Del Ray Vintage & Flea Market, and plans to vend again this year. A portion of the proceeds from Pretty Kitty are donated–in 2021, sales benefited Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation. 

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Amy Moeller
Editor, Washingtonian Weddings

Amy leads Washingtonian Weddings and writes Style Setters for Washingtonian. Prior to joining Washingtonian in March 2016, she was the editor of Capitol File magazine in DC and before that, editor of What’s Up? Weddings in Annapolis.