The advanced veterinary care of her cats Spike (with oral cancer) and Holly (with severe allergies) led Linda Ahrens, 79, to help pet owners receive the same care for their animals.
In 2005, Linda asked her daughter Tracy for an idea. The Illinois resident wanted to make 24-inch square flannel blankets that could be sold at the veterinary facility that treated her cats – the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. There they offer a Humane Connection Fund. This fund allows clinicians in the hospital to go the extra mile when treating pets. All quilting proceeds (sold for $ 10 each) will be donated.
Today, Linda’s Quilts for Cats & Small Dogs project expanded the sale of machine-sewn quilts through a Facebook page. All income from quilts sold through the site helps local rescue organizations.
“Cats love the softness (of the quilts),” says Linda. “(The quilts) are a lot of fun. And so I give something back. “Linda learned to sew when she was 8 years old and has also made clothing and traditional quilts.
By summer 2020, Linda had made over 1,400 quilts that were shipped to the United States and Canada, Denmark, Romania, Australia and the Philippines. Popular social media pets that have a quilt include The Oreo Cat, Louie by Sophie Loves Tuna, Winky the Dwarf Cat, the Official Taco Team, Benji the Wise Cat, Little Rocky Balboa, Old Man Tater, Rescue Logan, Moose the Sphynx and George Dewey, Azog Woodall and Tater Pol (owned by Dr. Pol on TV).
Tracy helps Linda collect sewing supplies, update her Facebook page, take orders, and ship. Every Black Friday, Linda and Tracy visit a fabric store and buy at least 300 yards of flannel for a low price and use it year round.
Linda said it was “overwhelming” to know that her two cats inspired a project to place their comforters in homes around the world and raise several thousand dollars for pets in need. Visit the Facebook page @quiltsforcats.
Featured photo: Tina Modugno
Read Next: 5 DIY Projects You and Your Children Can Make For Your Cats