A P.E.I. woman is making the purrfect cat bed, one sweater at a time

A Kensington, P.E.I. woman has found the purrfect way to recycle her old sweaters. Rona Burt is turning them into beds for cats that she donates to the P.E.I. Humane Society.

'A cat can really curl in to the arm of the sweater, almost like somebody is hugging them'

Rona Burt's cat Stitches checks out the latest sweater turned cat bed. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

A Kensington, P.E.I. woman has found the purrfect way to recycle her old sweaters. Rona Burt is turning them into beds for cats that she donates to the P.E.I. Humane Society.

Burt has a home sewing business and when she saw cat beds made from sweaters on social media, she decided to give it a try.

"I've cleaned out my closet with all my old sweaters that were beyond wearing and that's what I use," Burt said.

Burt sews shut the sleeves and neck of the sweater, fills it with stuffing and then seals up the bottom. She says it takes her about 10 minutes to go from sweater to cat bed.

The first step to making a cat bed is sewing shut the sleeves and neck so the sweater can be stuffed. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

A sweater, she says, makes the perfect cat cushion.

"Because the arms form a place where the cat can be comfortable and feel cozy," she said.

Burt found her cat, Stitches, at the P.E.I. Humane Society.

"My cat came from there and they do such good work," Burt said.

Adopted cat Ozzie checks out one of the new sweater beds at the P.E.I. Humane Society in Charlottetown. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

At the P.E.I. Humane Society in Charlottetown, the new sweater beds are a hit.

"I loved it especially for the cats, cats like to curl into beds and like beds with sides on them," said Jennifer Harkness, development coordinator at the Humane Society.

"I could definitely see a cat really curling in to the arm of the sweater, almost like somebody is hugging them."

Harkness said the organization receives an array of bedding, mostly hand crafted.
 
"Use your imagination, people are very talented and come in with all kinds of ideas to help the animals," Harkness said.

"It's really quite heart warming, people are in their homes and they're thinking about the P.E.I. Humane Society, they're creating these wonderful things."

Jennifer Harkness looks through the collection of bedding that has been donated to the P.E.I. Humane Society. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

While they provide a soft bed at the shelter, the donated cushions also serve another purpose when the animals are adopted.

"The really nice thing too is when people donate these items, we typically are sending those items home with them as well," Harkness said.

"So they still have those familiar smells while they are trying to transition to their new home."

Rona Burt puts the stuffing in the recycled sweater. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

Burt has made about 30 of the beds so far, and has cleaned out her closet. But she's not sure she wants to put out a call for sweater donations.

"I could use some, I just don't want to get overloaded," she said.

Ironically, her cat, Stitches, doesn't use a sweater bed.

"My cat's spoiled and he uses his own chair, a Lazy Boy, would you believe it?" Burt joked.

"I never really gave him a chance, I thought they were better not used when they're going to the Humane Society."

As for how many more cat beds are in her future?

"Until I use up my thread," Burt said, with a smile. "I enjoy doing it."

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About the Author

Nancy Russell

Nancy Russell has been a reporter with CBC since 1987, in Whitehorse, Winnipeg, Toronto and Charlottetown. When not on the job, she spends her time on the water rowing, travelling to Kenya or walking her dog. Nancy.Russell@cbc.ca