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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Arts and Crafts with Authors: How to Make a Cat Bed with Tara Fox Hall + giveaway

By Tara Fox Hall

Yes it’s easy, trust me. Why, you ask? Because as a rule I don’t do things that are difficult. I was never much for elaborate sewing, except the costumes that I made for my werecougar daughter Elle when she was young. If it was hard, I wouldn't be here giving instructions, I’d be giving directions to the nearest pet superstore outlet, lol.

This catbed recipe consists of an outer bed (or ring), and an inner pillow. The directions given are for machine sewing, but you could hand sew the catbed just as well, it will just take a lot longer. The catbed sewn here is made of a heart flannel pattern for the outer ring and solid black polar fleece for the inner pillow, with polyester stuffing, but you could use any material you have on hand, such as cotton, panne' velvet, knitted material, fake fur, indoor-outdoor fabric, etc. Just keep in mind that the bed will get hairy with use, so machine washable and dryable fabrics are best (read easiest to keep looking new-ish and non-hairy).

Why this pattern of outer bed and inner pillow? I tried several patterns out years ago with my own cats and this was the pattern they chose. This style bed also lends itself to an electric heater inserted under the central pillow, which is great for cats that are old, or ornery cats like my half-feral Asher cat who lived almost exclusively in the basement where it’s not that warm.

Why did I make catbeds in the first place? Because I needed some and couldn't afford to buy them. I had learned to sew while between jobs in an effort to make Christmas presents, and this was one of my first projects. Anyone who has a cat can always use an extra catbed. And if you can sew a new cover when the old one wears out, it’s a perpetual catbed, the gift that keeps on giving. So I made them easy, durable, and of simple design. But enough about me…let’s get to it!

finished product
1.5 yards of material at least 30” wide
Sewing needle
Stuffing (a 2lb bag will do, about the equivalent of a standard bed pillow)
Sewing machine (optional but recommended)

1. First.... Clear off your chair and sewing machine of other projects. This will only be a problem if—like me—you are either behind in your current dozen projects, or never met a project you didn't embrace like a movie vampire embraces a virgin. It’s too bad if your lover ripped out the stitches in your leather teddy during your last passionate encounter and it needs fixing. Put it to one side. Tomorrow is another day.

2. Decide on the material you want to use. You will need 1.5 yards, unless you really were looking for an excuse to visit the sewing store. Material needs to be 29" x 22" at least for the large oval outside of the bed (you need 2 of these) and inner oval is 18 x14" (you need two of these, too). You can make smaller or larger depending on the size of your cat or little dog.

3. Cut the two ovals out keeping in mind that you need two of each. The material does not have to match! You can make all 4 ovals different colors of the same material or different material.

4. Right sides together, i.e., inside out), sew the outside of the larger oval leaving a hole big enough for your fist to pass through easily. Turn right side out when done.
5. Sew another circle of stitching around the middle of the larger oval leaving no gaps about 3-4” from the outer edge of the bed. This is where the pillow will sit when the bed is finished, but this stitched circle will look much smaller than the size of the pillow.

6. Sewing the inner pillow is easy. Sew around the edges, right sides together. Turn right side out.

 7. Stuff inner pillow, spreading out stuffing with your hand inside so pillow is not lumpy (see pic). Sew the hole where you put the stuffing in closed. 
8. Stitch 5 -7 “stuffing secure-ers” (a.k.a tacking down the stuffing) around the inner pillow to keep the stuffing in place. Sewing through with the needle and thread from one side of the bed to the other at least twice before tying a knot does this. You can do more if you want to, but make sure to do at least 5. This helps secure the stuffing when the bed is being washed and dried.
9. Stuff the outer bed with stuffing, then sew the hole where you put the stuffing in closed. 
10. Use a sticky roller to remove all errant lint and stuffing wisps. Give to cat and see what happens! *

*The finished bed is not werecougar-proof. For ordinary normal size cats ONLY.

Lost Paradise (Promise Me Series Book#8)
While the vampire Devlin rejoices at news of his impending progeny with Sar, werecougar Theo braces for more challenges to his Ranked title, content that after Sarelle has the dhamphir child Devlin will be out of their lives forever. Yet when The Lust reappears, Sar’s world again turns upside down as old hatreds make themselves known, resulting in a steamy affair with the weresnake Lash, a new friendship with the werecoyote Serena, and the severing of Sar from the last remains of her old human life in favor of a new Paradise with Devlin.

Buy Links: 

“Theo hates Devlin too, maybe more than he hates me, Sar,” Lash went on. “He knows that you’ll stop being with me soon, but Dev will have you forever—”

“Why exactly is that?” I said, looking Lash in the eyes. “What has Devlin done that Theo hates him like he does? Is it because of Devlin’s treatment of Danial? The women he took from Danial over the years?” Lash had to have been around for something like that, being with Devlin for more than a half century.

Lash sipped his sake, and regarded me for a long moment. “The real reason is none of that,” he hissed finally. “Theo is jealous. It’s hard not to be sometimes, of Dev.” Lash eyed me, then looked away, running his hand through his shaggy hair, and settling back in his chair.

“What do you mean?”

“Devlin has an ease with women,” Lash replied. “Almost a power. They seem drawn to him like bees to honey. As a man, it’s hard not to be jealous a little, even when it’s your good friend. I’ve never had his smoothness, his charm, or his looks, even in my youth. Neither has Theo.”

That was sad but true. Devlin’s charisma was captivating, at least when he wasn’t being annoying, and he was breathtaking to behold.

“There were some women that Danial had, that Devlin seduced,” Lash hissed, as an afterthought. “I was only around for the last one, before you. It was about seventy some years ago, or so.”

“What happened?” I prodded.

His flat eyes held mine, unblinking. “It’s not dinner conversation,” he hissed curtly. “And our food’s here, so let’s eat.”

Deciding it wasn’t worth it to push, I dug in. My eel was delicious, and Lash seemed to enjoy his platter. As we ate, we stuck to safer topics, like Hayden’s gardens. “Can you show me around on Friday morning? The snow’s melted some.”

“Sure,” he hissed. “Just meet me in the kitchen at eight, like usual. Dress in warm clothes.”

That reminded me to ask him, “Do you have any mending? Any clothes that need seams fixed, or tears patched?”

Lash choked on his water. He swallowed quickly, then had some more water. “Why? Are you going to mend them?” he hissed finally.

“I’m teaching Serena to sew,” I said patiently. “Devlin asked me to teach her. I told her to ask her lovers if they have anything that’s ripped or torn, to get some clothes to practice on in real time and—”

“And you’re asking yours?” he finished with a grin, his flat eyes meeting mine.

Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She also coauthored the essay “The Allure of the Serial Killer,” published in Serial Killers - Philosophy for Everyone: Being and Killing (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). Her first full-length action-adventure novel, Lash, published in April 2012. Her vampire series begins in June 2012, with the 1st novel Promise Me. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.
Connect with Tara Fox Hall

one winner will win the catbed Tara made + an ecopy of the first book in the Promise Me series!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for having me at I Smell Sheep! :)

  2. I actually made a terrific cat bed for my now deceased cat. He was a stray that we kept feeding because... well he was there. It was a cold winter and we kept trying to lure him inside... finally he saw me come in with a new blanket I had crocheted (my work let us do crafts at our desks while on the phone) with this thick nubbly homespun style yarn. It had these tassels and was apparently very tantalizing. So the cat was all over this blanket... I ended up taking the leftover yarn and making a mini version that I then plumped around a pillow in a box... instant irresistible cat bed.
    I don't know if I would sew one even with the great patterns and fabrics out there... I think I would just make one exactly like the one I made for Chumley...

    1. Very glad you were there to take care of your stray cat in his hour of need. I really enjoyed your story. I love that do many people step up when there's an animal in need. Cats tend to love to "help" with crafts. Mine find my latchook rugs in progress irresistible lol. :) have a great day!

  3. What a fun project! I think this would make an excellent pug bed too. I've got some dog-themed fabric that would be perfect. Thanks for the instructions, Tara! Also, thanks to the Sheep for coming up with such a fun feature -- I love arts and crafts with authors!

    1. Hi Dani. Yes you can easily make this for a little dog instead of a cat :) you may want to use a heavier fabric like denim instead of cotton flannel, depending on how much they like to scratch at their bed before laying down :) some shelters use these for small rescue dogs, and they love them! Have a wonderful summer and glad you enjoyed the feature!

  4. Oh love it! I have a herd and catbeds are always good. But goodness yes they are pricey! I hadn't thought to make my own. Hmmm.

  5. Hi Anna. Hugs to your "herd" and good luck on making your first bed! They are much appreciated by catkind. Have a fabulous summer! :)

  6. horns and pitchforks. Me and cats don't get along :) So I'd really be making that for my dog! Thanks for sharing!

    1. You're welcome Erin! I hope your dog loves it! Give him a hug from me and have a Fab week! :)

  7. I have a boy kitty so I think a blue or black with moons and stars and sheep ;). Thank you.

  8. Hi Victoria. Yes that pattern sounds perfect ;) I keep an eye out for sheep fabric at the store, but so far have not been able to find anything "cool ". Have a great rest of the week!

  9. A lot of my friends have cats and small dogs which this would be great for. I liked one that my mom had and asked a friend who sews if she could make one smaller for my rats and she did. They loved it untul they chewed it all to pieces. lol

  10. Hi Mary! Wow I had never thought about a bed for rats. But you're right that making it a little smaller would work! Springfarm CARES in NY is one of the shelters I donate to and they have used the beds for their rabbits before. They probably can't resist nibbling either! Lol thanks for sharing!

  11. Great excerpt! And if I knew how to use my sewing machine, I would totally make one of those for my cats. Oh well . . . I guess they'll just have to be happy with their boxes ;)

  12. Hi Jessica! Trust me, that hunk of plastic and metal is not as intimidating to use as it looks. The instruction manual should have an easy set up guide to get you doing a basic zig zag stitch in no time, which is all you'd need to make this-no fancy stitches required! Give it a try! Have an awesome day!

  13. Glad to see you B100 :) hope your summer is good so far!