This is a Guest Post by Kristin Ragsdale. You can find her on Instagram and Ravelry under the name @Kristinistic
According to a three second google search, sixty percent of people in the US have some sort of pet. Within my own circle, it seems that this ratio is even higher amongst fiber artists. While there are exceptions, it seems that many of my fiber friends not only appreciate the fiber of animals, but enjoy their company as well. Personally, I haven’t met a mammal I didn’t like, but my best pal is my goofy cat, Hoodie.
This old man is 17 years old, but you wouldn’t know it from meeting him. He is playful, loud, loving, loud, food-motivated, and did I mention loud? This buddy’s dating profile would say “likes laying on the couch, chasing hair ties, and trying to steal popcorn.”
While Hoodie is an older cat, we have been lucky to not have had many health issues with him. That is, until the weekend before Thanksgiving 2018, when I noticed a large open sore on his arm. It was red, inflamed, oozy, and about the size of a half dollar. He didn’t seem to be bothered by it, but it made me nervous nonetheless. So first thing the next morning, we were off to the vet to find that Hoodie had a bacterial infection on his arm.
Now, this isn’t the worse diagnosis, really he just needed time to heal, an antibiotic, and to have the wound made inaccessible to any licking or itching for about a week. It’s that last part there that became the challenge. When we left the vet, Hoodie was wearing an Elizabethan Collar, also known as the Cone of Shame. Like most pets, he HATED this. He couldn’t figure out how to walk without looking down and getting caught on the collar and falling, how to use the litter box without seeing where he was peeing, or how to eat without scrapping the collar on the floor. Believe it or not this was all in the first 15 minutes of being home from the vet. By the time I was done cleaning up from the aforementioned litter box issue, Hoodie had begun ramming the cone against the wall repeatedly and had broken the cone into two pieces.
Well, curses. So now, with an open wound he can’t touch and a collar he can’t wear, I frantically used the “phone a friend” feature to call my friend Brittany, who used to be a vet tech. From here, it was decided to put my cat in a long-sleeved baby onesie. This way, his wound would still be covered, but he wouldn’t have a collar blocking his vision.
I left my cat and ran to Target to get a onesie, hoping he wouldn’t hurt himself in his drugged state in the short time I was gone. I would have loved to see what I looked like to the strangers in the store. A crazy lady wearing professional work attire, covered in a thick layer of cat hair, smelling of cleaning supplies and frantically holding up different sizes of baby clothes trying to decide what age range would fit a 14 pound cat tight enough to not come off but not so tight to limit mobility. (3-6 months was the sweet spot) Luckily, the onesie idea worked perfectly, and provided for many cute photos.
After a few hours in the onesie though, other issues arose. While it worked to keep Hoodie from reaching his arm, he also didn’t seem to understand that he could still function while wearing clothes. He would repeatedly fall over randomly and would walk like he couldn’t bend his arms. As a knitter, the first solution that popped into my mind was “I could knit that.” I knew that if I knit him something built for a cat, with more shoulder space and maybe some ribbing around the arms, he would be more comfortable.
This led to a knitting all-nighter. Fueled by the fear that he would hurt himself if left alone and motivated to make something that may fit him better than a baby onesie built for an infant with arms on their sides instead of out in front of them, I began to knit. I stayed up all night and made Hoodie a multi-colored sweater with sleeves long enough to cover his arm. Sure enough, he seemed much more comfortable in it.
But now a new problem arose. With the oozing of the wound, I needed to change his clothes every so often to keep the infection from getting worse and to wash the one he was previously wearing. One out of the five onesies I had bought didn’t seem to offend him, but the sweater definitely fit the best… So the needles kept flying through a dense fog of coffee, pu-erh, and delivery pizza until I finished another cat-tastic sweater.
While Hoodie never grew a fondness for his wares, I am glad for my needles for creating a more comfortable solution for my little old man of a cat. Luckily for him, he is all better now, and has returned to his normal hobbies of begging for food, drooling while purring, and sleeping in strange positions.
The start of a new year is refreshing and exciting for most people, though I find this especially true for yarn crafters. We have finally completed the mad-dash months, and we can turn back to fun projects and creations after days where every last second we spent with our heads down, eyes focused, and fingers flying as we tried to finish up all of the year’s holiday crafting, or in my case cat-crafting. Happy New Year, may your year be full of fun projects and cute critters!