Your cat’s always thrilled with anything that Santa brings, but how about giving the elves—and your budget—a break by opting for some DIY kitty gifts? Making presents for your pet will add some creative joy to your holiday merriment.
In addition to the basics like scissors, a needle and sewing thread, we’ll let you know what else you need to make these fabulous feline presents.
Catnip-Filled Mini Pillows
Cats love cuddling or tossing these around in any season.
Cotton fabric. Choose a cute cat motif or bright paw prints. Cotton, or cotton blend, works best because its tight weave prevents catnip from trickling through. A quarter yard of fabric will yield multiple pillows.
A generous supply of catnip for stuffing.
Fold fabric in half. On a piece of paper, measure and mark a 4 inch by 4 inch square. Cut out your pattern and place on fabric, then cut around the paper so you’ll have two back-to-back fabric squares. Place the right sides—the ones with the designs–together so you see the wrong side while sewing. Stitching about one-quarter inch in from the edge, sew around three sides, then three-quarters of the way down the fourth side, leaving a one-inch opening. Use that opening to turn your square inside out and gently press down the edges, with an iron or just your fingers. Sift catnip into the pillow through the open space until it’s full. Firmly sew the opening closed.
Brighten your cat’s meal station with a knitted placemat.
Knitting needles, size 7 or 8
One ball of ‘dishcloth cotton’ yarn, available at craft stores, in your cat’s fave color. This durable yarn, unlike wool or acrylics, won’t collect every bit of stray cat hair, and if a stain or spill happens, just pop the mat into the wash and it’ll emerge good as new.
Instructions: Cast on 30 stitches. Slip the first stitch without knitting, then knit across. Slipping the first stitch gives a nice firm edge. Knit every row until piece measures 10 inches for a small mat, 12 inches for a larger one, then bind off all stitches. One 100-yard ball of yarn yields two mats with some left over.
Felted Feline Hoodie
Because cats, unlike dogs, aren’t inclined to wear hand knitted sweaters, give a cozy hideout instead.
-100% wool pullover sweater—visit a thrift store or check your closet for no-longer-loved wools. All-wool content is needed to ‘felt’, or shrink, the fiber to a firmer consistency.
Instructions: Place sweater in the washing machine, add a few drops of detergent, an old pair of jeans or a sneaker to help with agitation and run through a hot water cycle. You may need two cycles for the best effect. The sweater that emerges will be smaller, with a tighter, more structured feel. Cut off both sleeves and stitch the armholes closed. If your cat likes to poke her head out the neck of your sweaters or sweatshirts, leave the neckline open, or stitch that closed for a bigger felted ‘bag.’ Your cat can now crawl inside for a long winter’s nap.
Jingle Bell Sock
Give the cheery sound of the season by hiding a jingle bell inside a new toy.
One sock, any size—maybe a fun seasonal design of reindeer or snowmen
One plastic ball with a jingle bell inside (better than a plain jingle bell because the sound won’t be muffled by stuffing)
Old tights or pantyhose for stuffing (alternative: shred an old t-shirt into one-inch wide strips, then roll them up.)
Instructions: Start by stuffing the toe of the sock tightly with the pantyhose or t-shirt strips. Then keep stuffing until it’s halfway full. Place the jingle ball inside the sock, then finish stuffing until about half an inch of cuff remains unstuffed. Fold the cuff over and securely sew it closed. Make two and keep one in your cat’s carrier to more easily lure her inside.
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