Sunday, May 15, 2011

Custom beds for kitty shelters

Fabrics react differently to the same sewing techniques.

This is a very heavy red fleece that a friend donated (thanks Diane!).  It really zings especially with dark colored kitties and it's a dream to work with.  You can see a row of 'top' stitching about 3" in from the outer edges.  It's nice and square (done with ye olde cast-iron Pfaff).
This fabric is a heavy gray jersey knit and the top stitching dragged the fabric and kinda wrecked the look of the bed! Moral: Don't use jersey! Top-stitching is something some animal shelters insist on. It anchors the inside batting so it doesn't shift in the wash. I saw a ginger kitten bouncing around on this bed and he whispered in my ear that he loved it anyway.
The following few beds are enormous.  Some were 3' wide.  The shelter group I was making these beds for uses big cages where kitties are on display during adoption events.  They wanted custom beds so they can cover the entire base of the cages.  You can see here I started off with a central design (lots of mousies chasing kitty appliqué).
Then I realized kitty butt would likely render my handiwork invisible to the doting audience, so I shifted my designs to the corners: Sigh! Well folks, evolution didn't happen in a day either! Note the fake fur on the back of these beds. When one side gets soiled, the beds are reversible. Kitties like the fake fur and it's also kind of amazing how well that stuff stands up to laundry (knocks the heck out of sewing machine needles though: It's like sewing through carpet!).

I made this bed out of thin strips of leftover cotton fabric, donated by another friend.  That starry, spikey stuff kinda zings, don't ya think?  Starry, starry night!
These two weird triangle beds were made for shelves inside the large cages.  The shelves are made of chipboard and anchored high up in a corner of the cages, so I needed to anchor the beds well, in case flying kitties would knock them off and hurt themselves (everybody say 'Ah!').  I put the little straps on so they could be tied to the bars of the cage from the outside.  Have you ever tried to turn spaghetti straps?  It's not for the faint-hearted.  4 hours into that job, I screamed loudly, hurled a chopstick and went back to the sewing machine.  I folded the darned fabric and sewed them down, quick and dirty!

I goofed making these as the triangles are not isosceles and my high-school geometry is not what it was...duh!  So the white fur (being my last remnant, much to my chagrin) ended up on the back of the second one.  Luckily I had a small piece of the red fleece to use on top.
This bed is one of a whole bunch of 24" square beds I made that fit many of the cages.  I had a couple of small pieces of very thick, felty pink fleece and a totally gorgeous piece of 12" square pan velvet (well it's velvet anyway, with an elaborate design on it) in a similar color.  So I framed the velvet and sewed a bunch of mousies around it.  I'm soo proud of this one.  In fact, I think my hat size just went up a tad!  Heck...some stuff just works.

Please also note the cute little label.  I printed these off onto EQ Printables (by Electric Quilt Company) sheets.  It's the premium cotton lawn fabric (so much better to print directly on the fabric than fiddling with that iron-on stuff!).  The nice people at were so kind to exchange others I had bought that simply refused to feed through my basic printer.  I'm giving them a plug because the other sheets I had bought were over a year old when I tried (and failed) to use them.  It's rare to find a company that treats customers so well!


  1. Hilarious, but informative. Keep up the good work.

  2. Hi Kathy,you are very kind and generous to create nice and cheerful cat cage comforters !


  3. Difficulties Posting:

    It's not user friendly. I've had trouble too. When you go to post a comment, you must choose one of the options from the 'Comment as' box. You can always choose 'Anonymous'. However, when you hit 'Post Comment' you must see the scrambled letters to know you succeeded. It's a good idea to copy it before you do that. If you don't see the scrambled letters, your comment is lost forever but it doesn't tell you, so you don't even know about it.

  4. You help homeless kitties and sewers in need. You are a good soul!

  5. Imagine all the grateful kitties which have been, and will be, adopted when people see your bright happy cat beds! Such a wonderful service you perform.

  6. Thank you Butterfly. The foster gals surely appreciate it when they custom-sized beds for the show cages. It saves them a lot of time having to fold up odd bits of fabric and make them fit