Ungrateful customers (the four-legged kind)

In a previous post, I described making a pillow for my cats out of fabric scraps. This upcycling project was appreciated by my furry friends, who enjoy sitting on the soft tuffet and looking out the window. 

It was such a success that I decided to try again, this time creating a weather-proof version that the boys could enjoy in their outdoor space (a.k.a. the "catio," rhymes with "patio"). 

Always supportive of my creative efforts, my mother-in-law recently gave me a lemon-yellow gortex jacket with instructions to "turn it into something fun." She used to wear the jacket out to the barn when she tended her two horses. A bit stained and worn but still intact, this barn jacket seemed a perfect candidate for upcycling into all-weather cat pillows.
At first glance, the jacket didn't look big enough for two pillows, so I started with the sleeves, hoping there would be enough fabric for one pillow. I started by lopping off the sleeves. Then I detached the lining, putting it aside to use later. I trimmed the cuff from each sleeve, saving the velcro.
Using a ruler, I marked off the largest rectangle I could on one of the sleeves. I pinned the two sleeves together and then cut them out. Then I did the same thing with the sleeve lining, making the rectangle slightly smaller than the original.

I wanted to keep the pillow stuffing as dry as possible, which is why I made a "pillow within a pillow." I sewed the rectangles made out of the sleeve lining on 3 sides. I turned the pillow right-side out and then stuffed it with fabric scraps.
I didn't want to stuff the pillow too full, just enough to make it 2-3" thick. When I was done, I folded over the raw edge and sewed it together. The inner pillow was done!
Turning to the outer layer, I decided to add a little embellishment. I took the REI label off the jacket's lining and sewed it to one of the gortex rectangles. Then I put both rectangles right-sides together and sewed along 3 sides. I wanted to be able to remove the pillow to wash it separately, so I added a white separating zipper at the top of the outer sleeve. 
I probably could have stopped there. But I didn't. I decided to cover the zipper with the snap strip from the original jacket. Nothing's too good for those felines, right?
I cut each strip off the edge of the jacket. Then I folded over the strip edges and sewed them, to hide the raw edges. I sewed one strip to the back of the outer pillow and the other to the front, making sure to line up the snaps.
Almost elegant, isn't it? I was very happy with the final result. The flap would protect the zipper from the rain, and the stuffing  would stay dry under all that gortex.

I put the pillow outside, into the catio, and spinkled a little catnip on top, just to prime the pump. It wasn't long before our most adventurous cat Philo investigated.
To make a second pillow, I used the front of the jacket. I removed the zippers from the pockets and sewed them shut. Again, I used the lining to make a pillow within a pillow. I added a zipper on the top of the gortex pillow (but no snaps -- I was losing steam). Voila, a second pillow for a second cat.

My husband and I sat on our deck, watching the cats inside their roomy cage. They seemed to be avoiding the pillows! After a lengthy analysis (familiar to all cat owners trying to figure out their pet's strange behavior), we decided that the cats would prefer that the pillows be on the cage floor, not on one of the higher perches.

I went inside the catio to move the pillows. I picked up the first one I made and noticed what looked like a stain, one I didn't remember from the jacket. I sniffed. Yes, the worst had happened. Someone had used the pillow in lieu of a litter box. Or decided to "mark" the pillow as his own. In any case, it was ruined after only a few hours of use.

I was disappointed, but not surprised. I tried not to take the criticism personally. I'm glad most of my two-footed customers are much easier to please.


  1. Perhaps, but more likely that they like marking their territory.

  2. Ohh, it's too bad that they didn't see to take to this one. It's such a cute idea what with the outdoor fabric and all. Love that you call it the "catio"!!

    1. I've learned my lesson -- I'll test fabric out first to see if it's "pee worthy."


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