How To Recycle Dog And Cat Fur
What Can You Do With Pet Fur?
If you have pets, you most likely have pet fur. That is, unless you shave your pets bald.
This author has three Alaskan malamutes, one of them a so-called wooly malamute, which means he's a long hair.
The picture below is just from one afternoon's brushing. You can imagine how much hair and fur we come up with each month though usually it's only this bad twice per year. Grooming an Alaskan malamute can definitely yield you an overabundance of fur!
In an effort to come up with strategies for putting all this beautifully clean, soft fur to use, I decided to do some research on the subject of what you can do with dog and cat fur.
Quite to my amazement, there are quite a few things that we can do with all that hair.
Turning Dog Fur into Yarn
Yarn made from animal fur is called chiengora. That is usually referring to dog fur but it can apply for any animal's fur spun into yarn.
I heard the term "chatangora" once meaning cat fur spun into yarn but I haven't ever been able to document if that is truly the term or not.
In Central Oregon, I found a yarn shop who wanted my malamute dog fur. A lady who works in the store has a spinning wheel and spins dog hair into yarn.
FACTOID: Dog fur yarn is actually 80% warmer than wool and it's waterproof.
Fur to yarn is most often seen with double-coated breeds such as my malamutes.
Here are a few others that can produce wonderful yarns:
- Great Pyrenees
- Australian Shepherds
- Siberian Huskies
This list is not all inclusive. The important thing to remember is that the soft undercoat is used, not the top guard hairs. The hair also needs to be at least 2 inches long to work when spinning by hand or by wheel.
The yarn is made by working the fur into strings, either by hand or on a spinning wheel. It is usually washed and air dried first though in my dogs' case, if the fur is stored in paper bags or open bins, it's squeaky clean and odorless.
The pet fur can also be pulled through two slicker brushes to get it to bind together, then easily rolled into cylinders for spinning.
Dependent upon the quality of the fur, sometimes the fur will be spliced with wool to make a sturdier yarn but most often, it's just plain fur.
Some people use long cat hair much the same way. Again, the fur will need to be at least 2 inches long.
There are many places on line where you can send your pet's fur and have it spun for use just like any other knitting or crocheting yarn. Or you can also contract with people in knitting shops or on line to knit you something from scarves to hats to mittens using your pet's fur.
The idea that you will have something of your pet forever (or fur-ever as one ad reads) is of great appeal to pet lovers everywhere. This idea is tops when it comes to recycling pet fur!
Other Uses for Dog and Cat Hair
You don't have to stop at turning your pet's hair into yarn though. There are some other simpler ways to recycle or reuse your dog hair or cat hair.
-Crafts with Pet Fur
There are many places on line (and probably in the brick and mortar setting as well) that use cat hair or dog hair to make things like decorative purses.
Flies for fishing are made by some crafters out of dog hair or cat hair.
One has only to go to YouTube to find clever craft ideas on how to recycle pet fur. Watch the video below on how cat hair handbags are made.
-Soak Up Oil with Dog and Cat Fur
Incredibly, when there is an oil spill, dog and cat fur can quickly soak up the greasy substance. Shipments of pet fur are oftentimes sent as a first line of treatment to the site of an oil spill.
This is a great thing to keep in mind on the home front as well should oil or something greasy be spilled. Reach for that bag of dog fur and soak it up. It works much like giant cotton balls.
-Gardening with Pet Fur
All things that can compost can be used for gardening. Mix pet hair and fur (and even human hair) into the compost bin and use it on flower gardens and vegetable gardens.
It's said that human hair especially (and some pet furs) will deter certain animals from coming into the garden and chomping up plants and flowers. The hair or fur gives off a scent that the animals interpret as threatening.
-Solar Power with Pet Fur?
Stranger things have been known to be true I suppose. There is a solar panel that uses human hair as the contact. It's been proposed that pet fur would work just as well.
-Birds and Cat and Dog Hair
There is a very simple video on YouTube which shows a quick way to make a bird nesting station with your dog or cat fur.
The man who made it used a flat small cardboard box with 2 holes punched in the ends, a bungee cord handle (one end stuck in each hole) and a huge mound of husky/shepherd hair placed inside the box.
He hung the box from a birdfeeder pole and watched the birds come and grab tufts of the dog fur to line their nests.
The YouTube video below shows another great way to hang the dog or cat hair out so it's readily accessible for nesting birds.
We have birds coming to our yard routinely all summer long. They swoop down and grab tufts of my long hair malamute's fur and happily fly away with it so I know this works. It's a great way to recycle my dog's fur. Alaskan malamutes require extensive grooming and this is yet another way to recycle and reuse their hair.
Recycle and Reuse Dog and Cat Fur
Those are just a few of the most popular ways that people recycle their pet fur. If you have some more great ideas, please add to the quality of the article by sharing them with us below.
In a day and age where everything seems to be disposable, it's comforting to know that there are some ways that we can recycle our pets' fur. Many people in Alaska have been doing this for centuries and these days, it's turning into a lucrative business for some.
If you knit or do fiber work, try some of the beautifully soft pet fur and see what you think. Or if you happen to have a lot of dog or cat hair that you routinely throw away, think about recycling it to a yarn store or shop.