While your pets bring you unconditional love, companionship and laughter, they can also bring a tremendous amount of unwanted hair into your home.
Did you know that there are plenty of practical uses for your pet’s unmanageable mane? Dr Ben Willcocks provides you with all the details!
Let’s begin with the most heartwarming of all pet hair uses – charity. Pet hair is actually used for a number of reasons, including the scientific development of pet allergy vaccines. Although relatively uncommon, when you do hear about an upcoming pet hair drive, donate! In one situation, it took researchers nearly a year to collect two and a half pounds of fur for vaccine development, which could have easily taken a few weeks with the collective efforts of a community. So if you don’t want to keep your pet’s loose strands, don't despair, there may be a local organization that does.
2. Felted Crafts
When ones sees felt, they often think “this looks like it’s made out of hair.” Well guess what – it is! If your cat’s hairy deposits are putting you on edge, you can use them to make all sorts of fun crafts, including pet toys, blankets, beds and more (if you’re really brave, you can make yourself a pet-hair hat)! If you’re great at DIY projects, take on this craft for a little while. You’d be amazed at the things your pet hair can make.
The crafty ideas continue! Pet hair can also be spun to make skeins of yarn, which can be used to make just about anything, such as sweaters, hats, blankets, doilies and funky socks. If you are not skilled in the art of yarn spinning, you can bag up your pet fur by the kg, and send it to a facility that will clean, card and spin it for you. If you think it’s weird to wear a sweater made from your dog’s fur, you’re not alone. You can, however, make your pet sweaters from their own fur. May the sustainable cycle continue.
4. Toys, Toys, Toys!
Whilst you can make pet toys through knitting or felted crafts (which are ideal for dog toys), you can also make homemade toys with cat fur alone. Cat fur sticks to itself, so after grooming your pet, simply take their fur in your hands and roll it together to make a sphere or cylindrical shape. Your pet will LOVE playing with it and since it smells just like them, it’s likely to be their favorite toy.
5. Environmental Clean up
Hair is one of the most absorbent materials of oil and when your hair isn’t making you frustrated for being flat, it’s being stuffed into large sacks to clean up oil spills. If you catch wind that an organization is running a hair drive, feel free to drop off your locks and the excess fur of your pet. Both are super absorbent of oil, and your pet probably sheds a whole lot more than you do.
6. For the Birds
Whilst most birds make nests from twigs, grass and/or mud, they will gladly rest in a nest made from pet fur. It’s durable and holds heat, like wood, but is probably a lot more comfortable.
7. Stuff It
Do you make your own throw pillows at home? Next time you run out your fabric and thread, grab your pet fur as well. Animal fur makes great stuffing for pillows and other insulated threads. If you don’t feel comfortable sleeping on a pillow stuffed with your dog’s fur, turn it into their pillow. They’ll surely appreciate it.
8. Pest Control
It is common knowledge that owning a cat keeps mice at bay. Did you know, however, that pet fur also keeps garden pests away? If you maintain a garden, sprinkle your pet’s fur around your plants and vegetables. The scent keeps tons of garden pests away, including snails, small mammals and more.
Pet hair contains high amounts of nitrogen, meaning that it is very nutrient-rich for your soil. It works best when placed directly in soil, as it takes quite some time to fully decompose, but it has a surprisingly positive effect on soil quality.
This one is admittedly pretty odd, but catching on. Some crafty jewelers make jewellery out of their pet’s fur, including necklaces, earrings, bracelets and more. These are not, for example, rings made solely from pet fur, but instead metal jewelry that incorporates beads or other fun shapes that are made from pet fur. If your pet is sick and nearing the end of its life, making a piece of jewelry from their fur may be a nice way to cherish their memory.
We hope you enjoy incorporating these fun projects within your home. Do you have other ideas for pet fur uses? Tell us about them below.
Dr Ben Willcocks is a Veterinarian and contributor to the pet website Vetico - www.vetico.com.au