Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in London runs a knitting club with a difference, where animal lovers can spend time with feline friends while knitting blankets, toys and mice for the charity’s homeless moggies to enjoy! “We have a lot of supporters who like to knit, and thought this would be a great way to bring everyone together under one roof to share a mutual love of knitting and kitties,” says SuiLi Weight, Battersea’s Cattery Team Leader.
It might seem like a pretty out-there idea, but the monthly event is proving extremely popular. Janine Crooks, a civil servant from Surrey, started knitting aged just six, and she’s now bringing her wealth of experience to the Knitting Kittens club. “I’ve been knitting for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home since October 2014,” she tells us. “I’ve been to every meeting so far. Everyone is very friendly and there are different faces at each meeting.” Janine’s own cat, Archie, wasn’t a rescue animal, but that hasn’t stopped her from helping Battersea’s 250 homeless cats to stay warm and happy. “I love knitting blankets, mice and other toys, and make around two items per month,” she adds.
The Knitting Kittens club is an event that everyone can get involved in, even if you just love cats and want to come and knit your own project while an affectionate moggie nuzzles at your feet! People are asked to bring their own needles and yarn, but the club does provide patterns, light refreshments and even lessons for novice knitters. “We hope knitters of all abilities, including complete beginners, will join this fun and relaxed group for people who enjoy the company of cats,” says SuiLi. Admission to the knitting club is free, although a donation for the cats is always welcome and will go towards the highest standards of kennelling and veterinary care.
As for the knitted donations, they’ve been warmly received and greatly appreciated by Battersea’s cats. Blankets help to keep them cosy in the winter, while the mice and toys are great fun for them to play within their pens as they wait to be rehomed. “Our feline residents have already benefited from visitors’ skills and generosity,” says SuiLi. “We’ve loved seeing people enjoy Knitting Kittens, and hope the success of the club continues – and that more people come to visit our cats needing homes, too.”
For more information about the Knitting Kittens club and the date of the next event, visit www.battersea.org.uk/knittingkittens.
For further information on Battersea Dogs & Cats Home please visit www.battersea.org.uk.
If you’re not able to get to London for the knitting club, you can still knit for the cats (and dogs!) by donating knitted toys and blankets. Battersea Dogs & Cats Home are collecting blankets, which they are using to make up ‘doggy bags’ to accompany the pets to their new foster home then eventually their forever home. If you would like to knit a comfort blanket for a furbaby, you can get the free blanket template on Ravelry. Also on the website, you can download this great stash-busting knitted mice pattern for free.