For some time I've been wanting to make Carm some sturdy quilted cushions for the animal cages she takes on her weekend tours, and for the pets awaiting homes at the shelter as well. I took the day before Thanksgiving as a vacation day, and found myself with a little time to make these:
Nobody wants to think of these animals as merchandise -- but the fact is, they do catch the eye of a potential new family if their cages are somewhat dressed up and not just lined with a newspaper or an old towel. So I had a lot of fun sewing these 5-inch squares together and thinking about the families that might be welcoming new pets into their homes.
The SPCA likes 18-inch-square cushions for their cages at the shelter, so that's what I made. The cage Carm takes on her weekly road shows is a bit wider and deeper than that, but we stacked the the cushions up yesterday and little Charlie and Jimmy didn't mind one bit. Their sister Lily watched from a distance, but soon all three of them were snuggled into a comfy corner for a nap.
Carm's cage measures 20 x 30, and we both liked the idea of the cushion curling up on the sides, like a padded bumper in a baby's crib. So I'll make her a 24 x 34 cushion and her little fuzzy friends will have a cozy place to nap. Of course, these cushions will stand up to many machine washings, too.
If you'd like to make cage cushions for your local shelter, be sure and call to check their preferred sizes. Some shelters will accept knitted or crocheted blankets, but the fabric seems to make a tidier liner with no potential for snagging on little claws. The five-inch scrap squares work very well for a simple patchwork. I used a high-loft batting I had on hand, but you can use old towels or worn mattress covers, too, as long as they're clean.
I backed the cushions with some leftover home dec fabric for extra sturdiness. For the edges, you can do the right-sides-together, stitch-around-the-edges-leaving-an-opening-and-turn thing. Or, leave your backing about an inch larger than the top, and fold it over to make a binding, machine-stitching on the top side. Make machine bar-tacks at each corner of the patchwork - no handwork at all.
A quick and easy project -- and one that can really help some deserving animals feel cozy as they get a whole new lease on life.