July 21st is National Craft for Your Local Shelters day, and it’s the perfect opportunity to break out your mad crafting skills for your local cats in need.
We all like to help homeless pets, and we don’t always have the extra cash lying around to help as much as we’d like to. But what do most crafters have lying around in abundance? How about that fabric stash that is threatening to take over your linen closet (or maybe two linen closets? Not naming names.) Or what about all of that extra yarn you picked up at the thrift store? Even if you are not, like me, a hoarder of all things craft supplies, I bet you have a top sheet that doesn’t go to anything, or a mismatched sock basket. I have great news for you! You can turn all of these things into fabulous gifts for cats and kittens waiting to be adopted.
Before you get started, make sure to check in with your local shelter to see if, a) they have any specific craft needs for their cats, and b) to make sure that they accept homemade items. If you get the green light, gather your supplies and maybe invite a few more sets of hands to help – the great thing about having a group for a shelter craft project is that you can do it assembly line style, and everyone can do a task that they feel comfortable with, skill-wise.
There are so many wonderful projects to choose from if you look around online, but for the purposes of this article, I am going to focus on sewing projects. This is because I have medium-quality sewing skills, and zero quality knitting or crocheting skills. If the yarn arts are your bag, this website is a good place to start: Knitting for Charity
Make a Cage Blanket
A snuggly blanket in a shelter cat’s cage can make so much difference in what is probably a bewildering and scary experience for a kitty. A simple comforter can provide warmth and security, and even help a cat get adopted by keeping the cat in a calmer mental and behavioral state. Who knew it could help so much? This tutorial from Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals on making a small cage comforter is easy to follow for beginning sewers, as is this pattern for Simple Sew Snuggles from the Snuggles Project. The Snuggles Project also has good patterns for no-sew blankets, and so much more.
It is in a cat’s nature to burrow for safety and comfort, and they love snuggle sacks. Here is a tutorial for a fleece and fur snuggle sack, but you can use any comfy fabric you have (just make sure to add some padding if the fabric isn’t cushy), or you can even use an old comforter, like for this DIY snuggle sack bed from Pet Helpful.
Cats love to hang out on cat hammocks! Hammocks get the cats off the floor of their cage to give them the feel of viewing their world from a higher vantage point and support their bodies in a comfy hug. Best of all, they are easy to make – here, again, is an easy to follow tutorial from Pet Helpful.
DIY Sock Toys
If all of that sewing just sounds like too much, you can make really simple catnip toys out of mismatched socks. It is best if the socks used are in good condition (if you’re like me, you have a bag full of perfectly good, nearly new, children’s socks that have no match), and are free from holes and stains. If the sock is large, you can insert a toilet paper tube, fill the tube with catnip, and tie off the end. If the sock is small, just fill the sock directly with catnip and sew the end, if there is not room to tie. Easy! There are some fun tutorials here.
These are but a few of many wonderful ideas out there for DIY projects to help shelter cats. Once again, check with your local shelter to find out what they need the most, and then get busy creating a labor of love for cats in need.