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Weekend: Sewing and Cats

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A new man will be entering my life, taking up residence with me by this month’s end. Weighing a whopping 3.2 pounds as of Monday, his name is Sage. Everyone, say hi to this furry cuteness. Oh my goodness!

I’ve hesitated to bring any sort of furry friend into my home, and cats, being the stealthy creatures that they are, were on the same level as dogs. One minute you see them and the next minute you don’t. I was afraid that if I wasn’t careful, they would eat a pin or swallow a button, and if they did, what kind of cat mother would I be!? I’m also not the most maternal woman in the world. Some ladies have a natural baby instinct. I don’t… or didn’t until recently. Maybe it’s the age, or maybe it’s my friends who are bearing their own children, or maybe it’s my family’s new cat that I fell in love with over Christmas, but my desire to care for something is finally coming to fruition. I’ve always been a late bloomer. I’m still waiting for set a set of boobs (because 2 is better than 1) and hips. Whether you love them or loathe them, we can all agree that cats run Instagram – #catsofinstagram! Even Jesse Eisenberg recently came out as a proud member of team cat. He’s so adamant about his felines that he skipped a movie festival to take Mr. Trunkles on a relaxing vacation. Cation Designs hosts her own cat awards. Cats rule and dogs drool.

So I’ve gone and done it with the rest of the sewing world, and now I’m asking for your advice. How do you handle cats around your sewing supplies? If you don’t have a room dedicated to sewing, how do you keep it away from your pins, needles and other notuons while your away? What about keeping it away from expensive household items in general?

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47 Comments

  1. Reply

    kylachristine

    Congrats on the little furry man! So cute! Thread is the worst. My cat back in college got into some thread after we decorated the Christmas tree with popcorn… ended up getting wrapped around her intestines and she had to have surgery to remove it. :/ So I guess I don’t really have any good advice 🙂 Just wanted to share and wish you luck with the little fella 🙂

    • Reply

      maddie

      Noted: Keep cat away from thread!

  2. Reply

    Lynne

    It really depends on the cat. My current cat likes to eat thread. I’ve had to train myself to never leave a sewing machine uncovered so he doesn’t eat it. Another cat liked to pick pins up in her mouth but never slowed them. Mostly cats like to sit on your projects. And the timing is impeccable. They know exactly what part of the project you are working on. But they are wonderful to have around while I sew. The current cat loves wool, so I have a big scrap that I have for him to sleep on while I work.

    • Reply

      maddie

      I hope he’s a sitter and not an eater. I might close the door to my room while away; that way he won’t get into my stuff without me in close proximity.

    • Reply

      Leila

      My cats have always been weird about wool or anything stuffed with feathers. They love it and want to sleep on it and chew it, but then they pee on it – even though they otherwise always use the litter box.

      • Reply

        maddie

        Pee on it?! Oh no! I hope that fabric wasn’t too expensive!

  3. Reply

    Jodie

    Congrats on getting yourself a little buddy! Kittens are not cats though so you may encounter it trying to play with everything. Everything. My adult cat is fine with my equipment, if he’s bored he might knock a pin cushion to the floor but otherwise he just sits on stuff I’m trying to sew, or on the ironing board. As long as you don’t leave things lying around you’ll be just fine.
    Top tip for free cat toys: my cat loves to play with long strips of fabric so I always save hem trimmings for him. He likes empty thread spools too, so I tye one on the end!

    • Reply

      maddie

      Great DIY toy ideas. Thank you!

  4. Reply

    Jan

    What a gorgeous kitten! I have three very playful cats and I have to keep things out of their way or assume they will be broken or eaten. I’m lucky enough to have a sewing room I can close to them when I have projects and tools out. Before they arrived we moved anything precious to parts of the house they don’t have access to or packed them away and then just kept moving things as required. I happily sacrifice a perfect home for a happy cat friendly home, and lots of cat toys and time spent playing with them seem to ensure they know what belongs to them. They do like to pad on completed projects, but I just take that as their seal of approval 😉 Jx

    • Reply

      maddie

      Seal of approval indeed! You must have three smart cats!

      I’m very organized and almost all of my tools are stored away save for a dish with a couple pins. I’ll just have to be more mindful when I’m working on a project.

  5. Reply

    MadebyMeg

    Cutie! Cats probably won’t eat your pins, but do be careful – my good friend’s cat ate all of the thread out of her bobbin and had to have emergency surgery! (From the comments, looks like she’s not alone.) Other than that though, she’s been a very good sewing companion. Have fun!

    • Reply

      maddie

      Yes! I’m going to keep my thread highly guarded after reading all the comments.

  6. Reply

    Kaoru Marie

    My cat is almost 3, but he’s still so active and curious. There have been one too many instances where I turned my back for a second and he was pulling pins out of my pincushion!! I don’t think he ever swallowd one, but he was close. He also likes to swat at my needle while I’m sewing on the machine so I’ve learned to use one hand as a shield. It can be frustrating and irritating, but cats are such funny creatures that it’s worth the occasional headache.

  7. Reply

    natashaestradalvn

    Good luck trying to keep them out of anything. They will play with anything they choose, sleep on anything they choose and **** on anything they choose. I have two and am resigned to my fact. Cats domesticated themselves you know so we must bend to their will.

    • Reply

      maddie

      So I have a lot to look forward to! : )

  8. Reply

    Penelope

    I’ve always had cats, & find them far more sensible than your average dog! Never had a problem with thread-eating, but sitting on the one pattern piece you need is definitely a speciality – I suspect one just has to learn to live with it. And my current feline friend, Miss Fifi von Slutwhiskers, has a serious tape-measure fetish – if I need to focus without interruption then draping a tape or length of yarn somewhere that she can bat it buys me at least a couple of minutes.
    Basically its a game of wits…..

  9. Reply

    Debbie Joanne Ferguson

    Hi there, yay cats! My cat Murky has always loved biting pins but never swallows them. I once found him on the window sill pulling my tailor’s dummy towards him with his paw so he could bite the pins left in it! Cats are however fairly easy to train, if Murky develops a habit for something, a quick spritz of tap water puts him right off. Now you don’t even have to spray him, you can just show him the water bottle. Cheap and harmless! 🙂

    • Reply

      maddie

      I’m getting a water bottle stat!

  10. Reply

    Stephanie

    Yay!! This is so exciting. I’m not maternal in any way whatsoever about human children, but can’t help myself with cats. About keeping cats away from needles and pins and things they shouldn’t have their noses and paws in – just be careful like you normally would and keep them off the floor. You’d normally do this anyway, so as not to tread on them yourself. If you’re working on a project and need to have it spread out, you’ll likely be around anyway to keep an eye out. If you go out, just give the scene a glance over and make sure any pins are firmly in the material and not lying loose.

    I found that with Minou, two tricks worked really well for training her where she could and couldn’t go. The first is a spray bottle with water. When she was a kitten and did something we didn’t want her to do a little spray with the bottle did the trick – if she didn’t respond to us calling or clapping our hands that is. Eventually, just leaving the bottle around was enough of a warning and she wouldn’t go near it! The other trick is a firm “no” and two fingers on the bridge of their nose. Gently, it doesn’t harm them, but they don’t like it and get the message. Clapping your hands and saying a firm “no” also helps. It takes time to train them, but it’s possible. Minou is 11 now and never climbs on surfaces so I know that we can leave stuff on the table and she’ll be fine. Also, once Sage is through kitten hood you’ll be able to relax a lot more as adult cats generally know what’s what and are very cautious.

    Wow. I’ve really shown my true cat lady colours here. Oh well, I’m not embarrassed!

  11. Reply

    HoopesParkStudios

    I’m so glad you finally decided to get a cat! Worst thing my cat does is bat around buttons/spools of thread/small objects that I am using (but not pins or needles). He also will jump up on my sewing table and sniff at the sewing machine when I’m using it. I just stop sewing while he sniffs so I don’t sew on his cute little nose. Then I take him off the sewing table. He also likes to sit on/walk across fabric while I’m cutting it (again, I just remove him from the fabric), which is the worst when I’m trying to cut slippery fabric. If you’re really worried about him being on the sewing table, I’d recommend getting a spray bottle of water and spraying him when he jumps on your sewing table (or whatever it is that you don’t want him to do). Cats hate it and get the idea pretty quickly that you don’t want them jumping up on the sewing table. Once he grows out of his ridiculously adorable kitten-ness into calmer cat-hood, he should be easier to manage around sewing. Good luck!

  12. Reply

    Linda

    Your kitty is very cute! But… yes, be EXTREMELY careful with your sewing stuff. I have a cat that likes to try and steal pins from my pincushion… with her teeth. We very nearly had a pin swallowing incident at one point. Ever since then, I have kept my pincushion in a ziplock bag and the cats OUT of the sewing room when I can’t monitor them. The ziplock bag with the pincushion also goes in a drawer if I leave the room. It’s a little like having a toddler that never grows older. LOL

  13. Reply

    Lisa

    Sage is adorable! You both are very lucky to have found each other.
    Two words of advice: lint rollers…..many of them 🙂

  14. Reply

    Jessica Poeppelmeyer

    He is so cute! Have fun with him! I have two cats and my youngest one, Ivy, loves to get into and eat everything, I’ve had to learn to ALWAYS put my pins away if I’m not in the room, never leave my seam ripper out( it’s her favorite to steal, lol) and never leave my serger out without a cover, cause she likes to play with the thread. But you never know every cat is different, my other cat almost never does anything she isn’t supposed to. It is wonderful to have pets though on most days I’m up in my sewing room with my dog laying on the floor at my feet and my cat in my lap 🙂

  15. Reply

    Nicole Morgan

    Definitely watch out for pins, rotary cutters, seam rippers, and anything else sharp. My cat Lentil loves to prod things with her nose to explore, and I’d hate for her to get poked! If I’m away from my sewing room, I just make sure I’ve put everything into a drawer or otherwise out of reach before I leave the room.

    Also, Lentil is attracted to the warmth of the iron, so just make sure the iron is never easy for Sage to reach when your back is turned and the iron is on!

    You might also want to watch out for your kitty licking/biting certain fibers, such as wool. If I leave a knitting WIP or even a sweater out someplace my cat can reach it, she will often bite off any loose strings and will bite the actual knitted fabric too, sometimes resulting in holes.

    Cats, and especially kittens, can be a little stressful at first while you’re teaching them the rules. But in my experience, your cat really will start to pick up on what they should and shouldn’t do pretty quickly, and if you show them love, they’ll show it back. Sometimes they’ll purposely misbehave for attention, just like kids do, but generally (at least with my cat), she behaves and just wants love.

  16. Reply

    sallie

    Awww!! What a sweet little dude! I’m a huge believer in the fact that our furry pals enrich our lives in countless ways. My cat and dog are my constant companions.
    As far as cats and sewing… hmm… well kittens just want to play play play so I’d just say keep your sewing space closed up if you can when you’re not in there to supervise what he may or may not be getting into, and try and keep things tidy and out of the way (always a good rule, no matter what, and one I should really try to incorporate into my own sewing space!!). Once he’s a mature cat he’ll mellow a bit. My cat is never in the sewing room without me because he’s basically glued to my hip! But he does LOVE to sit on whatever I’m working on, or the most expensive fabric in the house, knock tools off tables, and stick his head through the arm of the sewing machine. Usually if he’s getting too difficult to work around that’s when I know it’s time to set whatever I’m working on aside for a few minutes and give him some undivided attention. That either puts him to sleep, or pisses him off so he’ll go sit in a window for awhile. Either way, problem solved!
    I’m very excited for you Maddie! Pets are the best!

    • Reply

      maddie

      Thank you for sharing your experiences Sallie! Seems like you have some adorable rascals in your house! I’m very excited to get him – a new chapter is about to begin. Stay tuned for many IG uploads.

  17. Reply

    Lola

    I really lucked out with my cat. She’s a floor cat so she’s not jumping on things trying to knock them down nor does she go around putting strings or pins in her mouth. Which makes me even more lazy than I should be. I do have a few rules like I don’t like her in my bedroom with me, only every now and then and things like that. Cats shed so much, I’d advise on doubling up on the lint rollers. Since he’s a baby, you have so much time to train them right.. whenever he does anything you don’t want him to do.. set him down on his bed and ignore him for a bit.. they usually get the picture by the third time. good luck! can’t wait to meet your kitty

    • Reply

      maddie

      I hope I luck our like you and get a floor cat. I’ll just have to wait and see. Fingers crossed!

  18. Reply

    Charlotte

    Congrats – Sage is so cute! My cat’s a lot older, so lacks the energy to chase supplies around, but one thing I’m pretty sure all cats of any age love is to sit on your fabric whilst you’re trying to cut it out on the floor. One thing I always make sure to do is to pack away any sharp supplies when I’m not using them. If I’ve pinned some fabric ready to sew another day, I’ll try to put it somewhere out of reach, like on a high table or even packed away in a cupboard. All your hard work will be worth it though – cats are really fun to have around. Good luck!

    • Reply

      maddie

      Cats as pattern weights!

  19. Reply

    Becky

    Aww, how cute! I’m Team Dog out of necessity, because my husband is allergic to cats, but I grew up with both and still enjoy getting my kitty fix when I can. It really depends on the cat, but the sewing challenges I remember as a kid was stuff like the cat pulling pins out of my pincushion and dropping them on the floor, sitting in the middle of whatever piece of fabric I was trying to cut out–usually between pieces–or on my pattern directions, and smacking around bobbins or spools of thread. (I’m not always the best at putting my supplies away.) They are entertaining, though! Enjoy!

  20. Reply

    May

    Oh yay! Cats are awesome little furry companions and Sage is adorable! I second what’s been said here – my cat loves to eat thread so I clean up my thread bits and don’t leave spools in my machine when I’m not working. Cats also do have this uncanny ability to find exactly what you’re working on and sit on it. Like Sallie said, sometimes if my cat is getting in the way too much it just means she wants some focused attention. Mainly though, I think it’s a learn as you go process and you’ll have no trouble figuring out Sage’s personality and quirks 🙂

    • Reply

      maddie

      I’m sure he will have many quirks. I am definitely locking my thread away!

  21. Reply

    Kelly

    Yay!!! I’m sure you will find your maternal instinct just fine 🙂 My cat is actually a great sewing companion and he’s shown no interest in sharp things (as yet). He does love to play with spools and bobbins, though, which can be a pain and can be a bit dangerous if he eats the thread. He hasn’t done that yet, but I try to make sure there are always empty decoy spools around. He also makes cutting difficult/impossible. I have to cut on the floor, and he LOVES to burrow under fabric, or run down the hall and jump on top, sliding across the hardwood. I basically have to wait until he’s down for a nap to cut anything, which makes me feel quite like the mom of a human! The worst thing he does, though, is bite holes in fabric. If I leave a folded piece of fabric out, even for a little bit, and especially if it has wool in it, I will inevitably find bite marks later. He’s worth it, though! Congratulations!!!

  22. Reply

    Heather Lou

    My youngest is the worst sewing companion ever. He loves playing with glasshead pins and eating thread. Basically, get a magnetic pin dish to help pick up needles and sweep at the end of every sewing sesh. If he’s being naughty while you’re working, lock him out. They can eat a little thread without too much damage, but if it’s super long pieces it can get stuck in their gastro tracts. And thread poops are SO gross.

  23. Reply

    Lady ID

    Sage is cute!! I have a dog not a cat and it’s easier because she can’t jump on things.

    I do vacuum frequently because I worry about her stepping on a pin. She really likes to sit super close when I’m sewing but she sheds so I have to keep her at a distance when handling projects. She often just falls asleep about six or seven feet away. She won’t mess with large pieces of fabric but she likes to chew on small strips and on thread. So – again with the vacuuming 🙂

  24. Reply

    Carolyn

    Since I can’t physically keep my cat out of my sewing space (I have a tiny studio apartment), I put everything away when I’m not actively using it, especially thread, needles, and pins. If I’m going to be away for more than a minute or two, even just to go to the bathroom, the thread and pins go in a drawer! I always keep my machines covered and put all my notions in a covered box. Basically, I don’t leave anything out, ever, that I don’t want my cat to eat. She’s actually pretty good about stepping over things and not eating them, but she’s super curious and likes to play, so better safe than sorry!

    In terms of other household stuff, I didn’t really change much when I got my cat, but you do have to accept the fact that (a) your house will be filled with fur, and (b) there will be litter on the floor, no matter how much you try to clean them both up. 🙂

    • Reply

      maddie

      I didn’t even think about litter being on the floor. Better upgrade my vacuum cleaner!

  25. Reply

    Piper Springs

    Yay for kitties! Yay for sewing! Yay for so many fabulous people who love both!

    • Reply

      maddie

      I’m now one of those people who love both.

  26. Reply

    Amy

    Awww, 3.2 pounds is so little! Congrats I’m sure as everyone else has said–hide the pins. It really scares me how much my cats play with them and yes they push them off the magnet pin holder.

    • Reply

      maddie

      Sneaky and clever creatures!

  27. Reply

    Callie R

    My cat doesn’t mess with my projects at all! Of course none of his toys look like sewing notions. So as long as you don’t encourage playfulness with sewing related items, you should be fine!

  28. Reply

    Stacia | Paper Swallow Events

    My cat doesn’t overly mess with my things. He will chase my thread if it rolls away from me or a rolling button, but I’m normally around for those occasions. I keep a squirt bottle near me (set on spray not mist) and squirt him with it if he is getting into something he shouldn’t. I also recommend toys that aren’t similar to your sewing items (balls, not strings for example.) He looks darling!

  29. Reply

    Carol Gottselig

    I’ll second whatever else has been written here and add that hairballs can make a real mess out of your carefully cut out patterns or so my recent experience tells me. Good luck with the new cutie.

  30. Reply

    symondezyn

    OMG adorable new kitten!! Welcome Sage!! 🙂 He will be your best friend in no time!! I have no maternal instinct whatsoever for human babies, but my cats are my kids, and my fuzzy little girl follows me everywhere and even likes to help me sew – she sits by my machine and stares, and always wants to help by being a pattern weight – haha ^_^

    My advice: Get one of those fabric sticky rollers. Or five. They will sit right on a pile of brand new fabric as soon as your back is turned LOL. I don’t even bother de-hairing my garments until they are finished being sewn and hanging in the closet ^__^

    Also, I concur with the others to be vigilant about stray strings, threads, bits of fabric – some cats are worse than others; one of mine couldn’t care less, but the other loves to eat EVERYTHING so I always tidy up my floor on hands and knees after a sewing/cutting session ^_^ Also, I have to put everything knitted away because she chews holes in scarves and knitted garments!! 😛

  31. Reply

    Kat

    Hi. I changed to quilting needles (the ones with the big, flat heads) because one always ends up on the floor sooner or later (or is that just me!?!?). Now, they are at least reasonably easy to spot when going astray.
    When I moved in with my boyfriend and his cat, I was most worried about needles and threat, but luckily our cat is not too keen on those and a normal degree of tidiness is enough.
    Instead, I find that the iron is the most dangerous object in my sewing room. So I now close the door as soon as I switch it on.
    Our cat also loves to pull apart paper, especially tissue paper. She doesn’t eat it, so its not dangerous as such, but I regularly have to rescue patterns before they become unuseable. But that is a very small price to pay for all the joy and pleasure she gives us – enjoy!!!

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