Knit One, Purr Two

May 20, 2013 | By Kathy Blumenstock via Pet360

Knitting and cats are so interwoven in cliché and culture that we often see illustrations of yarn balls being batted by enthusiastic felines. In truth, cats, and particularly kittens, should never be allowed to play with yarn (or thread): they can strangle themselves with the strands, or swallow it and choke. Kittens are especially vulnerable because they’re apt to chew on yarn or get thread snared in their teeth. If you knit, crochet or sew and your cat wants to participate by playing with your supplies, supervise his every move, and play bait-and-switch by offering him a safer toy.

But cats are fascinated by the click of needles and the growing fiber that results—because each cat is certain that knitted item is destined to be HIS! Even if it is a magenta shawl-collar sweater or a pair of ruffled socks! You certainly can knit for your cat—a sturdy cotton mat to nap on, felted catnip mice, a placemat or bed—and you can also salute cats in a knitterly way with cat-embellished garments.

Designer Donna Druchunas celebrates her own cats, and yours, in her book “Kitty Knits: Projects For Cats And Their People” (Martingale & Company). Donna and her family (and cats) live in Vermont, and she writes that cats love to sleep on anything knitted. Her pattern for a felted cat bed, cozy and complete with a mouse adornment, will satisfy any feline’s napping instincts. She also includes instructions for pillows, sweaters, hats and slippers for cat lovers, who will especially enjoy a scarf with a lacy feline at each end and delicate ‘pawprint’ stitches in the pattern. Donna’s own cats approved her designs, and the book’s dedication to her sister June includes June’s extensive feline family.

The charming little book “Knit Your Own Cat” by Sally Muir and Joanna Osbourne features “Easy to follow patterns for 16 Frisky Felines,” as created from fine-gauge yarns and imaginative details. The authors, who also wrote “Knit Your Own Dog,” include fun facts about each cat, and guide you to creating a match for your pet or a friend’s. Fun photos depict their miniature gems sitting or standing, long-haired or short, exotic or familiar. The Turkish Van, called the “swimming cat,” because that’s what this breed does, is knitted in soft mohair with his signature reddish ears. The tabby boasts subtle colorations in his stripes, and the curled-up British Shorthair is so relaxed and cozy, you expect to hear the rumble of a purr. All the cats have realistic whiskers and expressive eyes, but each knitter will customize these designs, giving their hand-knitted felines individual touches such as favorite markings or unique collars. The knit kitties will never shed or claw your favorite linen jacket, and just as with real cats, you may find that one is not enough.

You can connect with other pet parents who celebrate their critters by knitting, stitching or in other crafts by joining the Crafty Paws group on Pet360.com.

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