I TOLD HER not to go outside dressed like that. If she did, she was not only inviting ridicule. She was asking to be verbally abused or, worse, attacked by some maniac on the street.

Of course she didn't listen, not even when I tried to deliver the message through her fellow females. In fact, neither my wife, LaVeta, nor my daughter, Eve, were alarmed by the scandalous outfit. Truth be told, they were in favor of it.

"She should be able to dress however she wants," they told me. "If the males have an issue with it, that's their problem, not hers."

"She's going to get catcalls!" I said.

"She gets catcalls anyway," they argued.

I totally disagreed, so I did what any good man would do. I blocked her way and kept her from leaving my house dressed like that. But she was sneaky about it. They all were.

They bided their time, waited for me to go to work, and then they did the inevitable. They dressed her in her pink and purple hoochie outfit, opened the door and sent her outside.

That's right, boys and girls. They allowed our cat, Styx, to take to the streets dressed in a tutu that left very little to the imagination.

The results, as I predicted, were disastrous.

It wasn't just that Styx's frilly tutu left her butt completely exposed. It was also the sheer ridiculousness of a cat in a tutu.

Maybe if she'd been born in captivity and raised in the house, she could rock a tutu without any concerns. But Styx is from the streets. She knows what it is to eat from trash cans and sleep under decks. She knows what it's like to have to fight for that meal she caught with her own two paws. She knows, in short, that she has no business outside in a tutu.

For one unguarded moment, she forgot that, because she just got too comfortable. Between sleeping on a cushioned cat bed and having food given to her on a plastic platter, she lost her edge.

She forgot that the cats she left behind don't have such luxuries. Perhaps worst of all, she forgot one of the core principals you have to remember when you make it off the streets.

Haters gonna hate.

I knew that, having been through my own street experience, but Styx probably expected the other cats to greet her as if she were the Tyra Banks of the cat world. I think she believed that her cat buddies would give her three snaps and a neck roll, punctuated by the words, "Girl, you better work!"

Alas, it didn't turn out that way. Styx came outside, all glorious in her hoochie wear, and nobody clapped as she strolled the catwalk. In fact, at least one cat attacked.

We're not quite sure how it happened, but Styx lost her tutu in the melee, and when LaVeta looked out the window, Styx was facing off with a male cat in our back yard. Styx had her back arched, the male was aggressively taunting her, and it looked as if the fight was about to begin.

LaVeta called out the window, and the male cat, which LaVeta believes is Styx's half brother, ran away.

He'll be back, though, because he and Styx are engaged in some kind of twisted sibling rivalry. Since he's been on the street for more than a year, and Styx has been in our house for more than nine months, he feels some type of way. And when he saw her in that tutu, he just snapped.

Of course, that's all speculation at this point. All we know for sure is that Styx hasn't been the same since the encounter. Her tutu is missing, she won't sleep in her bed and she runs up and down the steps as if she's working out in preparation for her next rumble.

We need to prepare, as well. If we're going to send her outside to face off against the cats she left behind, we can never again let her leave the house in a tutu.

Solomon Jones, whose column appears Tuesdays, is the author of 10 books. Listen to him mornings from 7 to 10 on WURD (900-AM). More at Solomonjones.com.