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Comfort for Critters

Celebrating 16 years & 185,000+ comforted shelter pets!

     Winter 2024

 ~ Critter News ~

Happy New Year!

As we ring in the new year, I hope you are feeling great as you open this newsletter! So much happened in 2023, and 2024 looks to be another challenging year. I hope you find crafting to provide a chance to tune-out for a bit, relax and be creative, and know that you are making the world a little bit better place for critters.

In my never-ending quest to balance everything, I'm going to start issuing the newsletters quarterly, not bi-monthly. The list of shelters in each issue will be super-long, but that's a good problem to have! I'm also doing more generic "thank you's" to volunteers, since the emails are getting overwhelming. So if you use the form on our site to report the blankets you donated, you'll get a message immediately back with some information on the month and a heartfelt thank you from me. Please watch for those, so you don't miss out!

To balance these changes a bit, I'm going to try and do more posting on our Facebook group (The Comfort for Critters Team) to keep everyone up-to-date on our mission. I strongly encourage everyone to join the team to stay in the loop on what's happening. Remember, we keep it 100% positive, 100% of the time!

Speaking of which, SO MUCH GOOD happened for homeless pets in 2023 - thank you all! Here's a snapshot of what we accomplished together during this past year:

22,554 blankets donated in 2023!

431 different shelters supported!

 

Thank you all!

I sincerely hope your year is blessed beyond measure!

Linda

Your Beautiful Creations!

 

Mola brings neurodiverse Friends together for pets!

One of my many joys in running CFC is learning about other groups that are positively effecting the world. One such group is MOLA, or Museum & community of Leo's Art. This group hosts an arts & crafts program for neuro-diverse individuals. According to Martha Young, the group's Director, "we provide a supportive setting under the leadership of professional staff, to create and elevate opportunities for individuals with an Autism diagnosis, intellectual disability or other developmental delay." They encourage parents to also attend the art sessions, allowing them to "connect with others who are navigating a similar journey," says Young.

This amazing group has chosen to support our mission and create blankets and toys for shelter pets. The picture at left, shows Leo Sutcliffe, a youth artist with an autism diagnosis, holding the fabric he designed called "Orange Cat". He, and his neuro-diverse friends, assemble the blankets and toys from this unique fabric, as part of the MOLA program. 

The group has already sent blankets to 18 different shelters in Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont which participate in the CFC program! Their goal is to send blankets, and matching catnip toys, to each shelter on our list! Young explains, "it may take time, but we're a dedicated group." I have no doubt about that! A tdhank you goes to MOLA for all the great work they're doing and especially to all the wonderful artists and crafters working to comfort homeless pets!

Pets you are helping!

 

Shelters we supported in November & december!

Together we donated 1,743 blankets in November and another 2,294 in December. The homeless pets at 122 shelters in 34 states were comforted by you. Here are the happy recipients of your creativity and caring:

Adams County Humane SocietyFriendshipWI
ADOPTNapervilleIL
All 4 Animals RescueMishawakaIN
Almost Home KenneyvilleIL
Almost Home Dog RescueDoylestownPA
Always Hope Animal RescueHowellMI
Animal Care LeagueOak ParkIL
Animal Care ServicesSan AntonioTX
Animal Care Shelter for Kent CountyChestertownMD
Animal Friends of the ValleyWildomarCA
Animal Protective LeagueSpringfieldIL
Animal Rescue FoundationLisleIL
Animal Rescue League of IowaDes MoinesIA
Animal Rescue of TracyTracyCA
Animal Welfare SocietyKennebunkME
Arizona Humane SocietyPhoenixAZ
Ashland Animal Rescue FundAshlandKY
Aurora Animal Control ShelterAuroraIL
Austin Humane SocietyAustinTX
Beaver County Humane SocietyAliquippaPA
Buddy CenterCastle RockCO
Burlington Animal ServicesBurlingtonNC
Casper Humane SocietyCasperWY
Cat AngelsCaryNC
Cat Care SocietyLakewoodCO
Cat DepotSarasotaFL
Cat TailsOcean Isle BeachNC
Catman2CullowheeNC
Catnap from the HeartLaGrange ParkIL
(The) Cats House Adoption CenterBarboursvilleWV
Chatham County Animal ControlPittsboroNC
Chenango SPCANorwichNY
Collin County Animal ServicesMcKinneyTX
Columbia County Humane SocietyPortageWI
Cumberland Valley Animal ShelterChambersburgPA
Dane County Humane SocietyMadisonWI
Douglas County Animal ServicesDouglasvilleGA
Dumb Friends LeagueDenverCO
DuPage Animal Control ShelterWheatonIL
East Providence Animal Control ShelterEast ProvidenceRI
Eastshore Humane AssociationChiltonWI
Final Frontier Rescue ProjectRound RockTX
Fluff Animal RescueSeminoleFL
Fox Valley Animal Welfare LeagueNorth AuroraIL
Frankie's Friends Cat RescueNew KensingtonPA
Franklin County Humane SocietySt. AlbansVT
Golden Retriever Rescue of the RockiesArvadaCO 
Good Karma RescueMiddlesexVT
Granite State Dog RecoveryHooksettNH
Greenville County Animal CareGreenvilleSC
Grundy County Animal Control ShelterMorrisIL
HALO RescueSebastianFL
Hart County Humane SocietyHartwellGA
Headwaters Animal ShelterPark RapidsMN
Hillside SPCAPottsvillePA
House of HopeLibertyvilleIL
Hudson Valley Animal Rescue & SanctuaryArlingtonNY
Humane Animal PartnersNewarkDE
Humane Society of Fremont CountyCanon CityCO
Humane Society of Greater DaytonDaytonOH
Humane Society of Manatee CountyBradentonFL
Humane Society of South Coastal GeorgiaBrunswickGA
Just AnimalsMazonIL
Just Fur the Love of CatsPittsburgPA
Kane County Animal ShelterGenevaIL
Kendall County Animal ShelterYorkvilleIL
Kennebec Valley Humane SocietyAugustaME
Kitty HarborGriswoldCT
Lake County Animal ServicesTavaresFL
Last HopeFarmingtonMN
Lil Roar Cat RescueVirginia BeachVA
Lucky's Cat HouseLewisburgTN
Lulu's Locker RescueChicagoIL
Madison County Animal ServicesMadisonFL
Marion County Animal ServicesOcalaFL
McKamey Animal CenterChattanoogaTN
Mississippi Animal Rescue LeagueJacksonvilleMS
Monroe County Animal ShelterMadisonvilleTN
Montgomery County Animal Control ShelterChristiansburgVA
Montgomery County SPCAConshohockenPA
Nantucket Island Safe Harbor for AnimalsNantucketMA
Naperville Area Humane SocietyNapervilleIL
Nevada Animal ShelterNevadoMO
New Hampshire SPCAStrathamNH
North Shore Animal League AmericaPort WashingtonNY
Oakland County Animal ShelterPontiacMI
Operation KindnessCarrolltonTX
Orange County Animal ServicesOrlandoFL
Parkville Animal ShelterParkvilleMO
PAWSUrbana OH
PAWS - Pet Animal Welfare SocietyNorwalkCT
Paws 4 LifeBoltonCT
Paws and Whiskers Cat ShelterToledoOH
Pawsitive Cause Animal RescueHollyMI
Polk County Animal ShelterWinter Haven FL
Priceless Pet RescueChino HillsCA
Random RescueChelseaVT
Red Door Animal ShelterChicagoIL
Rhode Island SPCAEast ProvidenceRI
Royce's RescuesRichboroPA
SAFE Haven for CatsRaleighNC
Salem Animal Rescue LeagueSalemNH
Sandra Sue Benson Animal Adoption CenterAransas PassTX
Sauk County Humane SocietyBarabooWI
Save Our Strays, Inc.LargoFL
(The) Scratching PostCincinnatiOH
Scruffy Tails Humane SocietyCrookstonMN
Sioux Falls Area Humane SocietySioux FallsSD
South Suburban Humane SocietyMattesonIL
Southeast Kansas Humane SocietyPittsburgKS
SPCA of Wake CountyRaleighNC
St. Francis Society Animal RescueTampaFL
St. Johns County Pet CenterSt. AugustineFL
St. Sophia's Forgotten FelinesWheatonIL
Stardust Animal SanctuaryRichmondIL
Tails Humane SocietyDeKalbIL
Tiny N Tall RescueSt. CharlesIL
Tree House Humane SocietyChicagoIL
Wadena County Humane SocietyWadenaMN
Wags 2 Wishes Animal RescuePlainfieldIL
West Suburban Humane SocietyDowners GroveIL
Wright-Way RescueMorton GroveIL

One of the most frustrating experiences in any pet parent’s life is when they think, or find out, their cat is in pain. Sometimes pain is suspected, due to an injury or recent surgery. Other times it’s a complete surprise, happening when the veterinarian notices a condition that is surely causing pain, but the pet parent remained completely unaware.

Cats, to their credit, can be quite stoic. This comes from thousands of years of natural selection, when it was in the cat’s best interest to hide any weakness from predators and potential mates alike. Bottom line, it can be extremely hard to know when a cat is in pain. However, that shouldn’t stop a responsible pet parent from learning the subtle signs, so they can help their pet sooner, rather than later.

Know what’s normalThe first step is to be an involved pet parent and to learn what’s “normal” for your cat. What are their typical eating, eliminating and sleeping habits? Do they enjoy being around strangers? How active are they throughout the day?  Having the answers to these questions will help you determine when something’s "a bit off” with your cat.

Know the signs - If you do feel something isn’t quite right, check through this list of common signs of pain in cats:

  • A faster, or more shallow, breathing pattern.
  • Constricted pupils may indicate eye pain, while dilated pupils can mean there’s pain in other areas of the body. Cats may also keep their eyes closed, or squint, when in pain. In some cases, they may simply avoid a brightly lit area altogether.
  • A marked decrease in eating and/or drinking.
  • Less overall grooming than usual. However, if they’re injured they may do excessive grooming in the immediate area.
  • Hiding behavior, in a normally social kitty. It is extremely common for cats to hide when they’re in pain.
  • A cat that growls or hisses when they’re stroked or moved.
  • Decrease in overall activity, especially related to jumping and climbing stairs.
  • Trouble going to the bathroom, especially straining.
  • Sitting, walking or laying in unusual (for them) body positions. For instance, a lower head posture when walking, or the constant “flicking” of a tail can indicate pain.
  • Much less interaction with other household pets.

If you do suspect your pet is in pain, take precautions to keep them, and the people around them, safe. When a cat is in pain it is much more likely to bite and scratch. In addition, if your cat shows some of these signs, but continues to purr regularly, the purring itself may be another sign of pain.

If more than a few of these indicators sound familiar, it’s always better to have your cat evaluated by your veterinarian. Remember, “when in doubt, check it out.” If you catch something early, and your kitty has a chance to make a full recovery, you’ll be so glad you did!

Shelter "thank you's" ...

I ship hundreds of blankets each month, so I naturally get numerous thank you cards. These are truly meant for every volunteer and supporter of CFC, not for me! Please enjoy each one and thank you all!

  • "Once again, we wish to thank your program and the generous gift of blankets. You all provide a wonderful service that our all-volunteer rescue appreciates so much. 'Thank you' isn't enough, but we do value and appreciate you!!" ~ Hart County Humane Society in Hartwell, GA
  • "Thank you so much for the handmade blankets. Friends of Greenup Paws is run on donations, so we really appreciate all donations to help us better care for the rescue animals!" ~ Friends of Greenup Paws in South Shore, KY
  • "On behalf of all the animals, we would like to thank you for your generous donation of handmade pet blankets. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us to help more pets in need. We are extremely grateful for your support!" ~ Second Chance Animal Services in East Brookfield, MA
  • "Thank you so much for the shipment of handmade blankets you recently sent. We always prepare a gift bag of items that we include with our adoptions. I make sure the blanket is always included in the gift bags for the cats and kittens, as well as small dogs. We appreciate you thinking of us and are thankful for the donations!" ~ Hanover Humane Society in Ashland, VA
  • "Thank you so much for sending the handmade blankets! They do help provide comfort for the furry friends in our care!" ~ Animal Welfare Society in West Kennebunk, ME
  • "We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for your thoughtfulness in donating hand-made blankets to comfort our cats. Because of your kindness, we can continue to show cats entrusted to us a little bit of extra comfort and care, as they await adoption and live in a new and loving home. We also send each cat home with their special blanket. Thank you for your time, talent, and kindness!" ~ Montgomery County SPCA in Conshohocken, PA
  • "Rose (shown below) and the Good Mews kitties would like to thank you for making them blankets! As always, thank you for thinking of us!" ~ Good Mews Animal Foundation in Marietta, GA 

Think Two-by-Two when choosing dog food

When I adopted my first Labrador Retriever through a local rescue group, I could tell she had seen better days. She was clearly 15-20 pounds overweight and her fur was sparse. She had been abandoned, after living with a family for over five years, so I knew she needed to be loved unconditionally and to get the highest quality care. She received our love and care, as I prayed that overwhelming damage had not yet been done.

What I underestimated was the importance of a high quality diet. Once I transitioned her to a healthy diet, I was amazed at the turnaround. The pounds came off, though a daily walk certainly helped. In addition, her fur filled in to become thick and luxurious, changing her appearance dramatically.

I did quite a bit of research when choosing her food, and have stuck to these guidelines for two subsequent dogs. I consider these my “Noah’s Ark” guidelines, since they come in two’s. The first two ingredients on dog food are the most important, along with "two statements” you should always see listed on the label.

#1 The first ingredient should be always be meat, without exception. In addition, the label should specify what kind of meat it is. Terms like “beef”, “chicken” and “liver” are much better than the general terms “meat” or even “poultry.”

#2 The second ingredient should again list a specific meat, followed by the term “meal.” So again, “beef meal” or “chicken meal” is preferred over “poultry meal.”

Once you’ve covered the first two ingredients you clearly know the majority of the contents, since ingredients are listed in descending order of prominence. So the ingredient that makes up the greatest percentage of the contents is listed first.

Additional ingredients can be listed as “by-products” or grains. The term “by-products” turns some people off, but these are actually nutritious organs (liver, lungs, etc.) which add to your pet’s diet. Grains are fine as well, since they are a good source of energy. Of course if your pet has a specific allergy to a grain, that makes the ingredient off limits.

Next, let’s look for the two statements you should see on every dog food label:

#1 All pet food should have a nutritional adequacy statement. It will read something similar to, “This food is complete and balanced for all life stages,” or “this food is complete and balanced for adult maintenance.” These statements reassure the buyer that your dog’s complete nutritional needs have been taken into consideration and will be met by the food.

#2 There should also be a second statement which addresses how the manufacturer has verified that the food actually is “complete and balanced”. It may be done through feeding trials with actual pets (preferred) or simply formulated to meet the desired blend of nutrients.

As you evaluate various brands, keep in mind that there is very little regulation of what goes into pet food. The USDA and FDA are not involved at all!  The definition of commonly used terms, such as “holistic”, “organic” and “natural” is left completely up to the manufacturer. Don’t pay more for this extra bit of branding, unless you know for sure it’s more than just marketing. Good luck as you search for the perfect food for your perfect pet!

A year in the country covers our mission!

Recently a volunteer came across a book called "A Year in the Country" and look what she found. I'm thrilled to have the coverage of our mission!

 

Direct Shipping Benefits Everyone!

We are now donating 1,500-2,000 blankets  regularly every month, which is awesome! It's also A LOT of blankets to filter in and out of my house every month

With this in mind, we're asking all out-of-state volunteers to please donate your blankets directly to a shelter right in your own state!

I can help you find a shelter near you, and will do all the work getting them signed up. If you choose a shelter from our website list, I can promise you that in-state shipping will be less costly than sending them to me. I do ask though that you let me know....so that I can update my records!

Benefits of donating your blankets locally:

  • Cheaper than shipping them to Illinois (if you're out of state)!
  • You can email them for a tax receipt and possibly write off the donation (please check with your tax professional).​​
  • You'll also get to hear just how much the shelter staff appreciates the blankets. Thank you!!!

Homeless pets on your blankets!

181,103 blankets donated so far!

books to help you make blankets ... and help us ship our free blankets!

1200;1200;a61327022e90170182386f81310a9a3facd58f181200;1200;46feedd8dfb69317e3fdd56c71e8320de95930131200;1200;8940a58153e6bea6ac820eb6ada1bd6a78d7db321200;1200;9f74b9aad74216178b685d80d2233c010d43485f

Support our mission with the purchase of our pattern books: Crochet for Critters & Crochet for Your ComfortEach book has 30 crochet patterns that are perfect for pet blankets. They also tell the story of CFC and why crafting helps the crafter along with the pet! Every purchase keeps us going and keeps us shipping our free blankets!

E-books here!

Paperback "Crochet for Critters" on Amazon!

Paperback "Crochet for Your Comfort" on Amazon!

Why we help shelter pets...

I so enjoy sharing the comments I receive from volunteers, on why they make our comforting blankets. I find them encouraging, each and every time. I hope you do as well!

  • "I found your organization in 2020 and have been making blankets ever since. Last summer I coaxed by friend from Florida to try her hand at it. She had not crocheted in decades and she now says she is obsessed. She says the blankets give her a purpose and boosts her self-esteem. It is truly a blessing to be involved in this group." ~ Diane S. in MI

  • "I have rescued Italian Greyhounds in the past. I know how scared they were when they first came home to me. I'm just trying to make the process a little easier for the animals." ~ Koanne H. in Omaha, NE

  • "Providing comfort for homeless pets while in shelters helps me avoid bringing all those cold, frightened, adorable animals home with me!" ~ Lisa C. in Wilmington, NC

  • "I would love to just scoop up every homeless kitty I see and bring them home with me, but since I can't, these blankets allow me to show them that they are loved." ~ Renae B. in Choctaw, OK

  • "To make my blankets, I prepped all the fleece blankets so they were ready to be tied. A few of the rescue volunteers made a night of it, and had dinner and drinks and tied the blankets together. What a fun night we had!" ~ Regina H. in Orandell, NJ

  • "Volunteering for CFC is my way of expressing gratitude for all of the unconditional love that my pets have given me. Animals are my passion. I love them all!" ~ Debby K. in Ambler, PA

  • "God was kind and created animals that provide so much for us. I just want to be kind back." ~ Alise in Sioux Falls, SD

  • "I am a long-time cat lady with 10 fur babies of my own. I was looking for something that I could do to help cats and was thrilled to see the Delaware shelter that participates is the shelter that one of my adopted cats came from. I already love this program and what is stands for." ~ Deborah C. in Wilmington, DE

  • "Although I have always had rescues, my dog Bogie was my soul mate and I miss him terribly, even though it has been years. I make the blankets in his memory." ~ Diane M. in Hartwell, GA

  • "I love helping shelter pets, even if it is only in a small way. The shelter always sends a wonderful note thanking me for the blankets which are NOT perfect, but they appear to be greatly appreciated." ~ Christine P. in Bolton, CT

 

Get ready for Valentine's Day!

I was recently reminded that we have some great crochet patterns for heart-shaped blankets that would be perfect for February. I'm enclosing both patterns here in case you want to get started right away! These would be adorable to send to shelters in time for Valentine's Day!

Heart pattern #1

Heart pattern #2

Hope you enjoy them both!

Welcome new shelters!

Even though we currently support over 400 wonderful shelters, I am always thrilled to add more. If you know of a great shelter near you, please let me know. I'll contact them about our free program and see if they're interested in signing up!

Eastshore Humane Association in ​Chilton, WI

Final Frontier Rescue Project in Round Rock, TX

Humane Animal Partners in Wilmington, DE & Rehoboth Beach, DE

Clay County Animal Services in Green Cove Springs, FL

spread the word & join the fun!

If you'd like to keep up-to-date on our mission, follow us on Facebook and join our Facebook Group, "The Comfort for Critters Team".  We share what we're working on, pet & craft humor, and tip & tricks for making beautiful blankets. It's a private group that stays 100% positive, 100% of the time! Please join us!

Happy families!

Rover Rescue in North Aurora, IL recently shared these cute photographs of happy families going home with their new puppies! Of course each family also took home their CFC blankie to ease the pups transition into their forever home. Thank you volunteers, for making that comfort possible! 

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  • Easy ways to help pets
  • Lots of "thank you's"!

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Special thank you from Cat Angels!

"I  just opened the most recent box, full of gorgeous blankets. We are so grateful! I'm putting them in the cat rooms right now! Your blankets have been a treasure and our adopters love them so much. Thank you!"

~ Cat Angels in Cary, NC ~

Once you make blankets:

  • Local volunteers are welcome to drop off their blankets to a shelter near them or to CFC's headquarters in Glen Ellyn, IL. Please leave your name and email on whatever you drop off, so that I can send a thank you note.
  • If you're outside of our area, please check our "Animal Shelters We Support" page to find a shelter in your state. Then ship your blankets directly to the shelter or drop them off. Please let me know how many you donate, via email or by using our website form.
  • Patience is a plus! CFC is a small organization, with just one staff member! I do reply to every email, but it may take me a few days. Thank you!

Have questions? Check out our new FAQ page!

       3s139 Sequoia Drive         Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

Linda Kastiel Kozlowski Founder & Owner

Info@ComfortForCritters.org


~ Our Mission ~

To comfort all the animal shelter pets we can't adopt (but wish we could), and to be a blessing in the lives of every volunteer, supporter & shelter worker.