Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Making beds for troublesome cats

This large shiny new compass was one of my Christmas presents from Ian. So many times had he walked into the room to find me surrounded by upturned pots, pans and laundry baskets trying to locate just the right size circle to draw around for my latest sewing project that he sourced a special compass that has extension poles to turn its circle-drawing capacity from large to super large. It helps that it is so lovely to gaze at and that it looks like an architectural sculpture in its own right...it makes me think it will create a superior type of circle, one which I will go on to do great things with...but for now it assisted me in making some cat beds.

Looking at the cat beds in the pet shop was a whole new world. Two weeks ago I didn't want black fleece materials with paw prints over them around my house...so why would cat ownership change this, I wondered? I could almost feel myself being pulled into the vacuum of cuteness, but at the last moment I put down the fur-lined pyramid-bed that my children had been encouraging me to buy (it was a single bed, so two would have cost a whopping £70!) and told them that I thought we might just make some instead. Pet sewing was a whole uncharted water for me and I thought there might be fun to have there. The word fun doesn't quite do it justice though...it was utterly thrilling to sew thinking of their happy little faces resting on my creations and now I have worked some puffily padded Amy Butler loveliness into my utility room in the process. They have padded sides with a plump removable cushion on the inside... SO cosy. One of the cushions is even stuffed with duck-down as I thought that may make it especially luxurious...I was feeling less generous by the time it came to making cat bed number two though as there is no tidy way to stuff anything with down and the room had ended up looking like I'd had a pillow fight. So there is Bed No 1 on the landing...what could a cat do to endear itself more to it's new and a little stressy seamstress owner (for Bella especially is some kind of fur machine and so our bedroom/sewing room door can never be left open again, as lovely Pipany said, the idea of selling anything with cat hairs on is just too traumatic to risk it), than use the bed that she has just stitched for it...well, they sniffed it, and then they left it for a day...and then finally in the middle of the night I went downstairs and saw that Bella had secretly curled herself up in it and was willing to be photographed.

However, it must be said that her behaviour has been far from impeccable. Last night after tea we were alerted to the fact that all may not be well by the sound of frantic banging and mewling coming from inside the chimney breast in the living room. It didn't take me long to ascertain that not only was she stuck up the chimney, but that on her entry she had knocked the hatch in the fireplace down and, with her weight on top of the the hatch, she had effectively locked herself in there. Calm in a crisis, I screamed very loudly, making both the children cry before managing to recompose myself. Our task was to implore her to climb higher so that we might open it up again...what eventually emerged was a shockingly black cat that streaked straight across my treasured living room rug, splatted its paws at the sofa, before hurtling out into the hallway and up the stairs (and yes, the bedroom door really is always closed, so at least I knew my fabrics were safe, if nothing else). Frantic and hyperventilating (her, not us) we had no option but to try and bath her, which was only partially successful, as this is how she looked after the bath:

After looking anxiously at her grey matted fur all day today, and her depressed little face I finally decided that I may not be big enough to tackle this alone and took her to the vets where they offered to bath her with special shampoo. Two hours later I went and picked up my newly happy cat, who's previously snowy coat now has a slightly yellowish tinge to it, but is no longer grey and starry at least. Ian cheerfully tells me that I must look upon the challenges of her hair loss, terrifying mishaps and potential half-dead 'gifts' caught fresh from the garden as a great adventure...I am thinking that cat ownership may well be like an extreme sport with all the adrenalin rushes that might equally be gained through skydiving. I have not been previously known for my love of such things, but there seems to be nothing left to do other than to jump out of the plane joyfully shrieking: let the adventure begin!

So for now, Bella is back safely snuggled up in her bed probably dreaming up new misadventures (Honey has proved far less troublesome AND is enjoying her bed, what a perfect example she is attempting to set - if I had to pick a house prefect it would certainly be her...although Bella's mishaps are strangely endearing). Anyway, aside from the cat beds I really do have the most enormous stock-pile of sewing-related goodness to share now (for I fear it could seem as though this is turning into a feline-themed blog...which is just not the case at all). The time to blog seems fleeting at the moment, but I'm sure it's just around the corner and that I will be reunited with it soon. In the meantime thank you so much for all your lovely comments on my rather sporadic blog posts. x
p.s. If you want tips on hair control for cats then do go and look in the comments on my last post - Gigibird has left mention of promising products and I already have a Zoom Groom on order on her recommendation.

14 comments:

  1. Love your cat owneship-extreme sport analogy! Poor thing - she did look thoroughly miserable and sooty after her first bath.

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  2. Oh Florence, hat was so brilliantly told. I felt I was there every step of the way! I too am (unfortunately) known for my shrieking when faced with such cat misdemeanors of which there have been many. I always thought I was quite a calm soul, but I think I am losing the plot a little!

    The cat bed is wonderful and I'm sure there would be a huge market for one so beautifully covered if you could face making more? So many are really vile aren't they, but this is gorgeous.

    Thank you for the link lovely lady and glad calm is restored once more xx

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  3. what great adventures you all have in store...! I don't expect Bella will ever do that again though. Ours have never ventured up the chinmney as far as I know but they are black so maybe they have?!
    Lovely cat bed! I did the same and made some as the ones in the shops are pretty vile and far too expensive. I can honestly say that they have given me the most pleasure not particulary to create but the fact that they are loved by the cats,and as Rod said... 'they are not just going in them to please you'. Very cute.
    with love
    Ginny x

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  4. oh poor kitty, love the beds! our cats have a lovely box, but last night one of them chose to sleep on the cushion cover I had just finished....... it now has a muddy paw print design........

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  5. I love those cat beds!!! Poor little Bella though

    April xx

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  6. hehe ! You did make me laugh with that story! I don't know who must have been more alarmed! You, the cat or the children!! I'm glad the vet offered a professional cleaning service though as I for one would not fancy washing a cat. We used to have a snowy white, and fluffy husky dog which was particularly stressful in the winter after a muddy walk when he would end up looking rather like your Bella after a stint up the chimney. Mr M used to spend hour upon hour grooming him with Johnsons Baby powder after which he not only looked fabulous and literally sparkled, but smelled delicious too. The funny thing about that dog who was aptly named Kola which means 'friend' in Sioux, was that the hair behind his ears which was lovely and soft, used to felt itself into little pads which were a devil to remove but which I never did anything with. Oh but to have that dog again. Alas, the grooming was too much and the fluff too copious (black bags full of it!), so next time - it will be a labrador which will be tidier if less 'fragrant' and a good deal more obedient too ;) .. I think you may do a roaring trade if you develop a cat bed pattern to sell in your shop! xx

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  7. Oh My!! Let the fun begin!

    Cat ownership has its adventures! I think I could write a book.

    Firstly I have to say I SO predicted a beautiful cat bed to be on your blog at sometime. It is very very lovely indeed and I am a little intrigued because a cat bed is the next thing on my list of sewing. During the winter we have moved the cat bed from our porch into our hall way which has worked very well but it has become the favouite place for two of our cats and we have only one bed, so I have great plans to make another but I have to say I know it will not be as beautiful as yours!!

    Secondly, we have have a little 'cat up the chimney' story too! Our chimney is constructed by a metal pipe surrounded by some sort of brick and then dry wall (not sure if that is a British thing) anyway there is a cavity between the pipe and the brick which our cat Smokey found out about and climbed up to ceiling height. At this point she could get to the cavity between the ceiling and the floor above. This was one of her favourite places to explore and if you were in the bedroom you could hear her under your feet. Well, this was all well and good except Smokey LOVES her food and got fatter and fatter until one day she climbed up the chimney and got stuck under the floor/ceiling for a very long time. She cried and cried and could not get down. We were seriously thinking of cutting open the ceiling, but I figured what goes up comes down and eventually she did...never to go up the chimney again!!!

    I am sure you will grow to love your new feline friends and adjust to cat hair in your house!

    Good luck.

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  8. Oh! I know it wasn't funny at the time, but it is so fuuny. You tell the story so well. Thank you for sharing.

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  9. So cute - so sad - loved the post ;-) I'm glad she is all fluffy and clean again!

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  10. You guys sure had a rough time!

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  11. Oh my word,what a funny story! in our previous home ,our cats occasionally climbed onto our bathroom roof which ran alongside our bedroom window.They'd cry and miaow because they couldn't jump back in.We'd have to lean out of the window precariously (20ft from ground)and grab them back through the window,whilst they scratched our arms to pieces in fright!
    Rachel x

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  12. I'm pleased your cat appreciates such a lovely bed. They can be so contrary I wouldn't have been surprised had they refused to go near it.
    I too spend a ridiculous amount of time keeping cat and fabric / wool separated for fear of selling something that has come into contact with the cat.

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  13. Ooooooo your cats are gorgeous!!!!

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  14. Poor puss, btw, I'm glad you rescued her and got her clean, she does look so depressed in that photo!

    The story reminds me of my very first library book- it was about a cat who got stuck up a chimney. The owners couldn't find her for a while, so when they did they put a bell on her collar so that they would be able to hear where she was in future. Then they changed her name to Smokey.

    Gosh! I had that book about 36 years ago and still remember the pictures!!! I'm going for a lie down....

    :)

    you should sell those beds! I'd buy some!!!

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Florence x