How To Turn Just About Anything Material in to Something Wonderful for a Shelter Cat: Part 1
There are two things I know about myself: I love cats, and I am a mediocre seamstress. My ability to execute a straight line with my sewing machine is questionable at best. Good thing cats don’t judge my abilities: they are too busy enjoying the results.
I have taken to saving all sorts of sweatshirts, socks, old waffle weave shirts, shrunken wool blankets and any fleece I can score on sale at the fabric store. With no more skill than a somewhat straight line, I have been making a variety of cat beds, toys and rice heating pads for the cats of the Animal Rescue League of Boston.
There is always a need for warm fuzzy things for the kitties, so I am hoping that there are sewing people out there who can help. Perhaps you. Perhaps your child’s scout troop needs a project. Either way, the more people sewing for cats the better!
The first project I’d like to share is by far the easiest and requires the least amount of work: the rice heating pad.
During feral cat clinic season, scores of cats are spayed and neutered. While recovering from anesthesia, cats have a hard time regulating their body temperature and get cold. The League’s caring staff devised a way to keep the cats warm using 6”x8” cloth bags filled with dry (uncooked) rice. These bags can be tossed in the microwave and viola!, a disposable heating pad for our recovering feral Fluffy.
Sewing a 6”x8” rice bag is quite simple, but I went one step easier: loner, solo socks. Take one of your numerous matchless socks (clean, and sans holes please), fill about ¾ full with dry rice (I’m a fan of the warehouse store 25lb bag), and simply sew the top shut. For shorter socks, I used the entire sock. But for taller socks, I cut off the foot portion and used the top tube portion. But there’s nothing to say you can’t use both halves.
Remember, these socks will be microwaved, so higher cotton blends might fare better than an all-synthetic sock material. Above all, perfection isn’t required. Cats are just so happy to be warm, and to know that you cared about them.
In addition to being a cat lover, Stephanie Murphy is also a dedicated League volunteer.