It lacks whiskers, tail, and claws, but bristles with ambition and bite:

The Pussy Hat.

The woolen, two-cat-ear headgear has fast become the feline symbol of feminine protest for thousands headed to the Women's March on Washington on Saturday. Project leaders envision a sea of pink hats as the perfect way to tweak President-elect Donald Trump over his infamous remark about grabbing women by their . . . you know what.

"That word is kind of turned on its head," said Laura Richlin, 55, of Germantown, who teaches communications at Philadelphia University. "If we say there's power in this, then we're not hurt. It becomes a badge of power."

Two days before an estimated 202,000 people descend on Washington, thousands of hats are being knitted, traded, and shared. Knitting and crochet parties in Philadelphia and elsewhere churn out hats, while some ambitious handicrafters have produced dozens.

"For me, it's reclaiming something, after the terminology that was thrown around by the Trump campaign," said Dawn Sheaffer, 51, a health-care social worker who lives in Northern Liberties. "I was looking for a way to reclaim that in a positive way."

She's working on her fourth hat - a friend made 33 - and coordinating group knit-alongs, gathering women for craft and fellowship.

The movement started in Los Angeles, when screenwriter Krista Suh and architect Jayna Zweiman founded the Pussy Hat Project on Thanksgiving weekend.

They wanted to give marchers a way to create a collective visual statement, and offer a means for people who couldn't attend to show support.

The founders set two criteria for the hats: that they be pink and made with love. The project website provides basic instructions.

To make one hat requires a skein of yarn, costing $2 if bought in bulk, and about six hours of knitting time.

People were asked to mail hats to a collection site in Reston, Va., although many have simply given them to friends and relatives.

"I'm doing this as a woman. I'm doing this because I'm concerned for myself as a lesbian," said Lucinda Reichley, 63, a nurse-practitioner who lives in North Wales. "I don't feel safe anymore. And I'm more concerned for my African American and immigrant and transgender friends."

She has knitted 20 or so hats for friends, telling those who insist on paying to instead make a donation to Planned Parenthood. She customized her personal hat, adding the word resist on one side and an angry cat face on the other.

Not everyone likes the hats. Some conservative websites and commenters call the movement silly, absurd, foolish - and worse.

"The real reason these dames will be wearing Pussy Hats to Washington is to cover the hole through which the Women's Studies program sucked out their brains," wrote the American Conservative magazine.

An estimated 20,000 people from the Philadelphia region intend to take part in the March on Washington, timed for the day after Trump's inauguration. Thousands more plan to join one of 370 sister marches set for Philadelphia and other cities.

"When that video of him came out on the bus, that word, in that context, it was vulgar and disgusting," said Neeta McColloch, 48, a legal assistant who lives in Elkins Park. The hat "is a way to draw attention to that incident and point out that misogyny."

She has knitted six hats and expects to finish two more this week.

Headwear has power and symbolism, she said. At the 1963 March on Washington, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech, many men wore white hats similar to what a cook might wear in a diner.

In fact, they were "Gandhi hats," named for Mohandas K. Gandhi and worn to show solidarity with the nonviolent means of protest that the Indian leader and King espoused.

Richlin is going to Washington with her teenage daughter - but first wants to personalize her Pussy Hat, maybe by adding whiskers.

"The fact that this symbol of protest was incorporating the women's tradition of handcraft makes it all the more special," she said. "We are energized by the group, by the friendship, and the hugs. We will use this as a turning point."

215-854-4906@JeffGammage