an angry scarf

Stories about pet hair yarn (sometimes called “chatangora” or “chiengora”) have been popping up online for a few years now. There are a handful of small business that will take bags of pet fur and turn it into yarn – and some will even do the knitting for you! I started thinking about this service tonight as I brushed all three cats and created a giant ball of tabby fluff.

It’s interesting to see how many people online find the idea of cat yarn repulsive. A lot of comments on the articles about it boil down to “gross,” “icky,” or just plain “yuck.” The criticism usually falls into specific camps: fear of allergies, worries about cleanliness, and general hatred of cats. I can’t really counter the third one. But I’m tickled by comments about cat yarn being a “lawsuit waiting to happen” for allergy sufferers, or people panicked about flea treatments or biological contaminants on the fur. A pet living in a controlled environment should be cleaner than the average farmed animal used to create wool or other animal fibers. The fur is washed thoroughly before being turned into yarn, which should remove the majority of allergens and other potential contaminants. Seriously, if you’re willing to wear wool – or touch just about anything in the world around you – why is cat yarn so disgusting?

Then there are a bunch of people freaking out that cat yarn will create a larger market for cat farming and “sweater mills.” So while the process of creating this yarn is humane, it could encourage others to abuse and kill cats for large-scale production. OMG PETA STOP THE MEAN KNITTING CAT LOVERS##@!!! I don’t think I’m buying this complaint, either. This yarn-making is a novelty for pet owners who want to wear their own cats’ fur. There’s no general demand for cat fur sweaters. So unless someone’s going to steal my cats, brush them a lot, and sell me back the fur… no.

I suppose I can best identify with the people who find the whole idea a little weird. It’s novel, yes, but I’ve mostly seen a lot of drab, lumpy, bland stuff made of pet fur. My tabbies would produce a brownish-grey yarn, not a particularly pretty color. I guess it could be dyed, but that seems to defeat the purpose. So besides being able to tell people that I’m wearing my cats, it’s probably not worth it to me. I guess the biggest advantage to wearing clothes made of my cats’ fur would be that their hair would no longer show up on my clothing.

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