“Catghans” for Needy Kitties: Get One and Help Homeless Cats!

You guys!

A few months ago, I was contacted by a lovely lady named Kristen Verdeaux who wanted to send me my very own Catghan! Why? I wondered. What did I do to deserve this? Well, apparently two things:

1) I gave my blankey to Dot, the spina bifida kitty at Tabby’s Place

2) I came from Tree House.

You see, Kristen, many years ago, adopted one of her own kitties from Tree House. Later on, she started making these lovely little cat-sized blankets to give away to kitties in need. Now, I’m not in need, but Kristen said she was touched to see that I’d sent my blankey to Dot and wanted to do something nice for me. So I accepted! Check it out:

Catghan, modeled by me.

Catghan, modeled by me. Note the soft, comfy resting spot for my stump.

I had a little conversation with her to learn more about her catghans. Read further to find out how you can get a catghan of your own and help needy kitties in the process!

Crepes: Welcome, Kristen! Thank you for being here. Tell me, why do you make Catghans? 

KV: Why not?  Seriously!  It started as a joke. I used to make afghans for my friends for their birthdays and when I made one for my friend Linda, her cats took it over. So as a joke for Valentine’s day, I made little cats-sized blankets for her cats.  It just sort of snowballed from there – I started making them as “housewarming” presents for my friends who adopted new cats.  Then I read about this little cat in Florida named Stripy who had been shot in the face and I decided he needed one – this was the start of a friendship with Rowena Hover who cares for a feral colony.  One year, I sent her a dozen which she sold on Facebook and used the proceeds to buy cat food and medicine for the colony.

Crepes: Fascinating. Do you sell your catghans or do you always give them away? 

KV: Both.  Shortly after I “met” Stripy and Rowena, a friend recommended I read Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper.  Of course, Homer and his fur-sisters Vashti and Scarlett, had to have their own catghans – and that started my friendship with Gwen.  I’ve sent her several over the years and when she has posted them on her blog or FB, I ended up selling quite a few, always with part of the proceeds going to Blind Cat Rescue…  Also every spring I am on staff at a grooming show in NJ called Inter-Groom and there are always several rescue organizations there.  I plan ahead and each one gets five or six catghans to do with as they please.

I have two catghans: one in a pleasing maroon/gold; another in a contrasting yellow/purple, because those are my favorites.

I have two catghans: one in a pleasing maroon/gold; another in a contrasting yellow/purple, because those are my favorites.

Crepes: How many cats do you have now?

KV: Right now I am cat-less.  In 2002 I adopted a 3-year old Maine Coon, Beans, who passed away in 2006 from cardiac problems and a 6-year old orange tabby, Bud, who passed in 2009 from an infection in his heart after  an abscessed tooth.  Shortly after Bud passed, my partner was diagnosed with HP, a chronic lung disease that affects bird breeders (he has always has birds) and I have not wanted to risk getting another cat only to have to re-home it because of his lungs. So I live vicariously through all the kitties who have my catghans.

Crepes: Can rescues request catghans from you?

Absolutely!

Crepes: But how do you choose who gets one of your catghans? 

KV: I just see stories about cats and “know.”  Sometimes someone does something nice for me and if I know they have a cat, I give them a blanket.  Or if they have a sick cat. Or a new cat. Or they just ask. I’m pretty much a soft touch.

Catghans, not just for cats.

Catghans, not just for cats.

Crepes: Is there anything else you’d like to say?

KV: You can let your readers know that from any orders I receive, I will donate $5 per catghan to Tree House in memory of Murphy and in honor of the two of you. Readers can also request a Catghan for Courage ,which I send free of charge to any cat in need (truly in need, like Stripy or Smudge [a kitty who was beaten with a bat]…).  Otherwise I usually ask $20 – $25, depending on the yarn and number of colors involved.
***
Wow! You guys! Donations to Tree House in my honor and in honor of Murphy? So cool! If you’d like a catghan, please get one immediately! You can contact Kristen via email at catghansATyahoo.com. Thanks, Kristen, for all you do to help comfort kitties!

Love,

Crepes.
PS. The winner of the Revitamal Giveaway is… …. … DEZI!  Dezi, please email me at crepesATcatinthefridge.com to claim your prize! I’ll collect some information from you and it will ship out from the company!  Thanks for entering, everyone!

 

***This post was not sponsored and was run because we like Kristen’s project and appreciate what she does for charity. The catghans were sent to us as a gift, with no requirement of review or posting.***

**Edited for length by Alana Grelyak**


So You Can’t Adopt – That’s Ok, Here’s What You CAN Do

Hi Everyone,

Alana here. I was driving along today and I was thinking about how I cannot, in my current living situation, adopt any more pets. I felt a little sad, but then I started thinking about all the things I CAN do to help out in the world of pet adoption. I wanted to share some of those thoughts with you in case you want to help, too, but are also unable to bring more pets into your home.

When you foster, this happens.

When you foster, this happens.

First, find your goal. Do you want to specifically help cats? Dogs? Kittens and puppies? Older animals? Find your passion and see if there’s something you can do in that specific niche. Narrowing it down makes it easier for you to pick a focus and you’re less like to get overwhelmed by the thought that there’s too much to do and only one of you. There are a surprising number of niche rescues out there that focus on certain breeds, older animals, injured animals, exotic animals, etc.  My focus is on special needs. My second focus is on promoting proper nutrition. My overall goal is to help bring about a no-kill America. What’s your goal?

Working within that goal, here are some ideas for ways to take action:

1) Foster. Do you want to help care for pets but are unable to make a long-term commitment? Are you moving soon or are you a student? If you have a spare room in your house (even a bathroom will do), contact your local shelter and sign up to become a foster parent. Fosters are SO important to the adoption community because they offer emergency, temporary shelter to animals who might otherwise be euthanized due to lack of space. Imagine opening your home to six little kittens who want to snuggle, play, and nap all day. Commitments can range anywhere from 3 weeks and up, and you can determine what time frame you’re willing to commit to along with your shelter.

2) Volunteer to walk dogs. Do you love to walk dogs but you can’t have one in your apartment just now? Volunteer to be a dog walker. You and the dog will get to spend some time in the fresh air getting exercise.

3) Volunteer to socialize shy pets. Do you have a special knack for bringing shy kitties or other animals out of their shells? Volunteer to socialize. You don’t have to limit yourself to dogs and cats if you don’t wish to. I once spent a day socializing a mother rat and her five babies. With a few Cheerios and some patience, I had the mother sitting in my palm and the babies running up my arm in just one morning. Socialization volunteers are very important because they help ready pets for adoption, so if you’re good with shy animals, give it a try!

4) Help organize an adoption event. Shelters are often putting together adoption events or showcasing what they do at pet shows or other conventions. If you’re good at talking to people, volunteer to go out with the event and use your skills to talk about why your cause is important and offer information on how others can get involved, too.

5) Photograph for shelters. Many small shelters don’t have access to a nice camera or a good photographer. If you’re good at photography and want to build your portfolio, offer to take photos for a shelter. I’ve photographed for Tree House Humane and my work has ended up on their website and even in their 2009 calendar. Taking photos of their adoptable pets is also key so that every pet can put his/her best paw forward on their adoption profile.

6) Write. Do you have good writing skills? Do you have something to say? Then write! Who’s going to read what I’m writing, you might ask. Well, you’re reading what I’m writing right now, aren’t you? There are many different ways in which you can use your skills. If you have something to say on a specific topic, write an article and pitch it to a few bloggers or websites. Does your favorite shelter fall behind the others in the quality of their animal profiles? They’re probably so busy caring for the animals, that they don’t have time to write about them, so step in! Write letters to your local congressman or offer to help with shelter newsletters. Do you have A LOT to say? Become a blogger! The blogging community is very supportive and it’s amazing what they can help you with if you just ask.

6) Donate your art. Are you artistic? Perhaps you paint, draw, or sculpt. Offer to donate some of your arts to your local shelter charity event for auction or sale. Baking also counts as an art, so don’t overlook what you can offer to bake sales!

8) Social network. If you love to spend time on Facebook or Twitter, follow some of your favorite sites and help disseminate information for them. You can also volunteer to help them set up or run their social media pages.

8) Donate money or other items. If you don’t have time to do any of the above, you can always donate. Money is always helpful, but consider also donating your professional services directly to the shelter or for charity auction. You can also donate supplies. Do you have extra cat litter boxes or scoops? Sealed bags of treats you don’t need? Extra leashes? An old cat tree your kitty doesn’t use? Even coupons for litter or pet food are useful. Give them to your shelter! They’ll definitely appreciate it.

 

Has this inspired you to do something you didn’t think about doing before? Is there something I left off the list? Comment on it! I’d love to hear from you.

Alana.