Handspun Yarn from Pet Cat and Dog Fur
Wear your best friend wherever you go with yarn made from brushings from your pet cat or dog. Pet fur makes a lovely fluffy yarn with a halo like angora and is very warm for its weight. I can spin your pet’s fur into yarn for you to knit, crochet or weave, or I can spin and knit it for you into mittens, a hat or a lacy scarf.
What kind of cats and dogs have good fur for
The main requirement is that the fur is soft and long enough to spin. A minimum length of about 1 inch is required, otherwise the yarn sheds a lot and may be prickly.
Many kinds of dogs have good fur to spin. Some suitable breeds are Siberian Husky, Samoyed, Malamute, Golden Retriever, Newfoundland, American Eskimo and Great Pyrenees but any dog with a long, soft undercoat is suitable.
Long or medium-haired cats provide the best fur among cats. Breeds such as Persian, Ragdoll, and Himalayan have long enough fur to make excellent yarn. But even short-haired cats can provide fur, although it will take a long time to collect enough to spin.
Note that the colour of a pet’s undercoat may be different from the outer coat colour. A calico cat may have a grey undercoat, for example.
How much fur do I need?
Not as much as you might think. Even 1-2 ounces of fur can be blended with wool to make a pair of mittens or a hat.
A sandwich bag stuffed full of fur weighs about half an ounce. A grocery bag of fur weighs about 8 ounces.
Why do you sometimes blend the fur with wool?
I cat blend dog and cat fur with about 50% fine wool to give added strength and elasticity and to create more yarn if you have a small quantity or fur. I can spin dog fur without blending it with wool but if it is knitted it may sag not bounce back into shape after it’s stretched. This may be fine for a scarf or throw, but may not be suitable for a hat or mittens. 100% cat fur will felt itself and become stiff and hard so it is not recommended.
Does pet fur yarn smell?
No, although dog fur can be very smelly, I wash it several times before I card and spin it. All yarn is washed after spinning as well.
How do I collect the fur?
The best fur is collected by brushing or combing your pet. You want the soft undercoat of your pet’s fur, rather than the stiffer outer coat (if your pet has one). Many breeds of dogs, such as huskies, shed their undercoat in a short period of time during the summer. This is the perfect time to collect fur for spinning. Washing your dog before you brush may encourage the fur to shed and also makes for cleaner and less smelly fur. Throw away any really dirty or short bits of fur.
You may also have your dog clipped. The clippings will include both inner and outer coats and you (or I) will have to sort the fur and pick out the stiffer and thicker guard hairs, unless you don’t mind a prickly yarn.
How do I store the fur?
If possible, store the fur in a cardboard box or paper bag, rather than a plastic bag, to prevent compressing the fur. This is especially important with cat fur as it will felt very easily if compressed. However, if you find the fur has felted, I can usually separate it again for spinning.
How do I wash my mittens/hat/scarf?
Wash it like you would wash any fine wool. I recommend you hand wash your items using mild dishwashing liquid in hot water. Rinse in the same temperature water. Roll up in a towel to absorb extra water and then dry flat on a towel.
Doesn’t it hurt the animals?
Of course not! Brushing your pet is a natural and necessary procedure. Most pets love to be brushed and it enhances the bond between you.
How do I know if my cat or dog has suitable fur?
For $5 I can spin a sample from a small quantity of your pet.
Can you dye my dog or cat fur different colours?
Yes, cat and dog fur can be dyed just like wool.
I have been an animal lover all my life.
I have been spinning for five years and am a member of the Ottawa Valley Weavers’ and Spinners’ Guild in Ontario, Canada. I learned to spin so I could spin the fur of my beloved cats. I now have four cats who provide me with lots of love and fur.
Includes washing the fur before spinning if needed (most dog fur needs to be pre-washed)
Includes all costs of spinning yarn