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Comfort for Critters

Celebrating 17 years & 195,000+ comforted shelter pets!

     Summer 2024

   ~ Critter News ~

Happy Summer!

With the tremendous heat we're all experiencing, it's hard to miss that summer has started! I hope everyone is staying cool and finding time for whatever brings you joy! If you're like me, making each blanket is a fun exercise in choosing a stitch, combining interesting colors, and then relaxing! Speaking of crafting, please check out the pattern I've enclosed in this issue. It's one of my favorites, so I do hope you enjoy it as well.

You'll also find in this issue lots and lots of thank you notes, directed to ALL our volunteers and supporters. Please give them a read and be reminded of all the good you are putting out into the world with every blanket you make! 

With that in mind, I hope you'll enjoy this poem I received from a volunteer recently. Jen simply wrote out these words in a note of thanks that she sent to me. It brought tears to my eyes, and I hope it touches your heart as well. Thank you Jen!

On a final note, I'd like to remind everyone that work continues on the list of shelters we support. Some get dropped, many more get added, each and every month. So please always double check that the shelter you're donating to, is still in our program. If you have a shelter near you, which should be added, just email me their information and I'll sign them up. 

Until next issue, let me thank, once again, the volunteers and supporters who have joined me on this journey. It's been over seventeen years and we've comforted over 193,000 pets. Could NOT do any of this without each and every one of you!

Happy July 4th!

Linda

Why do cats climb?

Did you ever wonder why your kitty always seems to find their way to the highest spot in the room? Well, the mystery has been solved, and the reasons are really quite interesting. Understanding this unique behavior will help you understand, and appreciate, your companion just a little a bit more.

Here are just a few of the reasons why cats love to climb high up in their environment:

  • Height is a sign of dominance. In a multi-animal household, this means the higher, the better!
  • When a cat is up high, they have a better view of what’s going on. Though your house may be a safe environment, this is a protective habit from their days in the “wild”.
  • In most homes, the warmest spot in a room is also the highest. As we know, kitties love warmth!
  • Many veterinarians say that climbing up, away from all the action, is a calming behavior for a cat. Apparently, they’re just chillin’ out!

So now you know why your kitty is “always up there”…unless of course there’s a warm lap available!

Your Beautiful Creations!

 

Thank you from orange county animal services!

  

"Thank you so much for the box of blankets! Our shelter animals, especially the cats, appreciate the warmth and comfort they provide. Here are two photos of two different kittens inspecting the craftmanship!"

Pets you are helping!

 

Shelters we supported in April - june!

Together we donated 2,312 blankets in April, 2,256 blankets in May and another 2,178 in June! A full 6,746 homeless pets were helped in the quarter! These pets were at 124 shelters in 33 states! Here are the lucky shelters who received your beautiful creations during this past quarter:

 

4 Paws RescueWhitehallMT
Adams County Humane SocietyFriendshipWI
ADOPTNapervilleIL
Allegany SPCAWellsvilleNY
Almost Home BloomingdaleIL
Always Hope Animal RescueHowellMI
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
Arizona Humane SocietyPhoenixAZ
Arkansas Angels 4 AnimalsJonesboroAR
Asheville Humane SocietyAshevilleNC
Aurora Animal Control ShelterAuroraIL
Aurora Animal ServicesAuroraCO
Austin Humane SocietyAustinTX
Beaver County Humane SocietyAliquippaPA
Berkeley HumaneBerkeleyCA
Biscuit Factory Animal RescueGreenfieldIN
Border Tails RescueNorthbrookIL
Bowling Green/Warren County Humane SocietyBowling GreenKY
Buddy FoundationArlington HeightsIL
CARE - Community Animal Rescue EffortSkokieIL
Caring for CatsNorth St. PaulMN
Cat AngelsCaryNC
Cat Care SocietyLakewoodCO
Cat DepotSarasotaFL
Cat Nap Hangout & AdoptionsHuntington BeachCA
Cat TailsOcean Isle BeachNC
Cat Welfare AdvocatesSan JoseCA
Catnap from the HeartLaGrange ParkIL
Charlies ArmyPhiladelphiaPA
Chatham County Animal ControlPittsboroNC
Chenango SPCANorwichNY
Chicagoland Animal RescueLombardIL
Collin County Animal ServicesMcKinneyTX
Colonial Capital Humane SocietyNew BernNC
Columbia County Humane SocietyPortageWI
Dumb Friends LeagueDenverCO
Faithful Friends SalisburyNC
Fayetteville Animal Protection SocietyFayettevilleNC
Feline Finish Line RescueBethlehemPA
Feline FriendsDeerfield BeachFL
Fox Valley Animal Welfare LeagueNorth AuroraIL
Frankie's Friends Cat RescueNew KensingtonPA
Friends of Animals of Metro DetroitDearbornMI
FurkidsAtlantaGA
Furrever Friends RescueCarpentersvilleIL
Give Me Shelter Cat RescueSan FranciscoCA
Good Mews Animal FoundationMariettaGA
Granite State Dog RecoveryHooksettNH
Grant County Humane SocietyElbow LakeMN
Gwinnett Animal ShelterLawrencevilleGA
HALO RescueSebastianFL
Happy Cats HavenManitou SpringsCO
Harley's DreamBerthoudCO
Hart County Humane SocietyHartwellGA
Heartland Humane SocietyOttumwaIA
Hinsdale Humane SocietyHinsdaleIL
Hope for BrevardMelbourneFL
Hopeful Tails Animal ShelterJolietIL
Horn Lake Animal ShelterHorn Lake MS
Hound Lover RescueWindsorMO
Hudson Valley Animal Rescue & SanctuaryArlingtonNY
Humane Animal PartnersNewarkDE
Humane Rescue AllianceWashingtonDC
Humane Society of Fremont CountyCanon CityCO
Humane Society of Greater DaytonDaytonOH
Humane Society of Manatee CountyBradentonFL
Humane Society of Putnam CountyGreencastleIN
Humane Society of SarasotaSarasotaFL
Humane Society of South BrevardMelbourneFL
Humane Society of Whitley CountyColumbia CityIN
Kane County Animal ShelterGenevaIL
Kansas City Pet ProjectKansas CityMO
Kendall County Animal ShelterYorkvilleIL
Kennebec Valley Humane SocietyAugustaME
Last HopeFarmingtonMN
Lexington Humane SocietyLexingtonKY
Lowell Humane SocietyLowellMA
Lucky's Cat HouseLewisburgTN
Lulu's Locker RescueChicagoIL
Mansfield Animal ShelterMansfield MA
Miss Fannie's FriendsWichita FallsTX
Misty Eyes Animal CenterAvonIN
Monroe County Animal ShelterMadisonvilleTN
Nantucket Island Safe Harbor for AnimalsNantucketMA
Naperville Area Humane SocietyNapervilleIL
Nevada Animal ShelterNevadaMO
Nevada SPCALas VegasNV
Noah's Ark Animal FoundationFairfieldIA
Oakbrook Cat RescueLakewoodWA
Orange County Animal ServicesOrlandoFL
Our House of HopeLibertyvilleIL
PAWSUrbanaOH
PAWS - Pet Animal Welfare SocietyNorwalkCT
Paws 4 LifeBoltonCT
Paws and Whiskers Cat ShelterToledoOH
Pawsitive Cause Animal RescueHollyMI
Pennsylvania SPCA - Danville BranchPhiladelphiaPA
Polk County Animal ShelterWinter Haven FL
Quailwings RescueCut BankMT
Rhode Island SPCAEast ProvidenceRI
Rover RescueNorth AuroraIL
Ruby Whiskers Animal RescueLemontIL
Safe Haven Dog RescueWheatonIL
SAFE Haven for CatsRaleighNC
Safe Shelter IncFlintstoneMD
Sandra Sue Benson Animal Adoption CenterAransas PassTX
Satchel's Last ResortSarasotaFL
Scratching Post (The)CincinnatiOH
Second Hand PurrsFranklin WI
Southeast Kansas Humane SocietyPittsburgKS
Spartanburg Humane SocietySpartanburgSC
SPCA of Wake CountyRaleighNC
St. Francis Society Animal RescueTampaFL
St. Joseph Bay Humane SocietyPort St. JoeFL
St. Sophia's Forgotten FelinesWheatonIL
Starlight Strays RescuePittsburghPA
Tails Humane SocietyDeKalbIL
Texas CARES Cat RescueProsperTX
Tiny N Tall RescueSt. CharlesIL
Two by Two RescueHelenaAL
Unicoi County Animal ShelterErwinTN
Valley Humane SocietyPleasantonCA
Washington County - Johnson City Animal ShelterJohnson CityTN
West Suburban Humane SocietyDowners GroveIL
Will County Humane SocietyShorewoodIL
Wright-Way RescueMorton GroveIL

Stressed? Knit or crochet your way to relaxation!

Yes, it’s true. Studies have shown, and all of us crafters know, that knitting and crocheting can be a huge stress reliever. I’ve personally heard this from many volunteers…that it’s a way for them to relax and unwind after a long day. But is this effect real or imagined?

Any repetitive activity can help calm the mind. A rhythmic chant in medication is replaced by the cadence of clicking knitting needles. It can help to clear the mind of worries, concerns and nagging thoughts, as you focus on row, after row, after row. I’ve heard from volunteers that they enjoy picturing the pet which will receive the blanket they are making. As they stitch bright red treble-crochets, they think about that jet black cat who will shine, as they sleep on this blankie.

Crafting a blanket is also a unique source of accomplishment, in a world that can be stingy on delivering this feeling. Few jobs deliver this, or even extracurricular activities. Most tasks need to be done, and redone. It’s unusual to be able to sit back and just take in something that’s “done” (never to be done the exact way again).  A completed blanket is something you can hold in your hands, knowing you are making a tangible difference to a homeless pet (and their forever family).

There’s also a wonderful feeling that comes from mixing colors, trying new stitches and just plain being creative.  I’m often asked if a different kind of yarn can be used, if the shape or size can be changed or even if a new method can be used to create a blanket. My answer is consistently “yes”, followed by a “please do!” Being able to follow your creative inspiration and experiment without worry is a wonderfully freeing feeling. I love that our volunteers can feel this with every blanket they make!

Recently, schools have begun knitting instruction for kids who would like to fine-tune their ability to focus. It helps them slow down, concentrate and accomplish a clear goal. Teachers find this translates to higher test scores, as they use the same ability to focus on assignments and tests. For kids, it’s also a great way to demonstrate the importance trying something new, persevering until you figure it out, and when all else fails unwinding your mistakes and starting fresh! Not many activities let you do that!

A few years ago (mid-pandemic) I surveyed CFC volunteers and it truly made my day to learn that roughly half of them (49%) found crafting to help them relax, be happy, do good, or all three! No wonder I’m so impressed by our volunteers!

Here’s the other ways volunteers told me that crafting helps them:

•            11% - It’s a much-need distraction right now.

•            8% - It’s active meditation.

•            8% - It helps with my anxiety.

•            6% - It helps me fill my extra time.

•            5% - It helps with my depression.

•            5% - It keeps my mind sharp.

•            4% - It helps me process grief.

•            2% - It helps my insomnia.

•            2% - It helps me manage chronic pain.

It’s not surprising that Christian B., shared this with me during the pandemic, “This CFC mission is so dear to my heart. It’s my life. It’s my escape into creating something positive out of all the negativity in this world. I love spreading kindness and love. It makes me happy! It gives me so much joy. It helps me feel good about myself and have a purpose in life.”

So is it the magic elixir for de-stressing or is it all in our head? I wonder if it really matters….it doesn’t to me!

Why we help shelter pets...

Here are just a few of the many reasons our volunteers find the time to help homeless pets. What amazing hearts they have! CFC is truly lucky to have such a team - no wonder we keep growing and giving more each year!

  • "I make blankets because when I look at their little faces I can't imagine them not having someone to love, snuggle and play with them. So to give a little of that, I make blankets filled with love and hope for them to get a loving forever home." ~ Linda R. in OH

  • "I'm happy to provide some comfort to kitties who are in the shelter's cages while waiting to be adopted. The yarn I use is thick and snuggly which I know they will love. I donate to Lexington Humane, and their motto is Give Love, Teach Love, Adopt Love!" ~ Marie C. in KY

  • "I see how much my dogs love to be covered up with a blanket I crocheted for them. Sometimes the blankets are folded and simply provide a place to rest their furry heads. That's motivation to me to make blankets! I'm so happy to have found this group." ~ Geni O. in IL

  • "I just love making special cushy and colorful blankets to make the shelter animals more comfortable and to give them something familiar in their new home." ~ Barbara B. in TN

  • "I make blankets because it's the only way I can provide any comfort for homeless pets. I have way too many of my own to adopt any more. I love this group and I love that so many are helping where they can! Keep up the good work!" ~ Robin F. in NE

  • "It breaks my heart that we can't help all the abused, abandoned, homeless and/or feral animals out there, but we can help them one box full at a time. We are a caring community of crafters with a common cause. I'm happy to be a part of this community." ~ Cindy B. in IL

  • "I am physically disabled and have chosen not to get a pet at this stage of my life. I adore pets! I love to make blankets!" ~ Ralph S. in IL

  • "I'd love to provide homes for all the animals in shelters and rescues, but I cannot. I enjoy making fleece blankets for those furry babies to have while waiting and being able to take something familiar home when they do get adopted." ~ Denise T. in GA

  • "For several years I fostered cats and kittens with my local rescue group. I have adopted my share of those fosters! So now I enjoy providing blankets for others who foster. This organization is amazing! Thank you for giving me so many places to which I can donate my blankets." ~ Ellen M in TX

  • "My brother passed away at the beginning of this year and I didn't crochet for a while. This is my first batch since starting again and it was really cathartic." ~ Jamie L. in WI

Shelter "thank you's" ...

These thank you notes were received by me, but they are meant for the volunteers who fill all those boxes I ship out. Please enjoy this gratitude and know that you are making a difference to many pets and the people who care for them!

  • "Thank you so much for the beautiful blankets our kitties and the new pet parents just love. These adoption gifts are perfect for the rescued kids to take up their new life in new forever homes! Please thank all the talented needle workers on half of the cats!" ~ Magicats in Buhl, ID
  • "Thank you very much for your kindness and for remembering us in southern shelters and rescues. With year round breeding seasons and many who fail to spay/neuter pets, we have so many unwanted animals who wait for a family to come take them home. Your beautiful creations warm our hearts and help us remember that many do care for all creatures great and small." ~ FUR/Friends Underwriting Rescues in Opelousas, LA
  • "Our shelter would like to thank you for your donation! The dogs and cats will LOVE it!!" ~ Ohio County Animal Shelter in Triadelpia, WV
  • "Thank you and all your volunteers for sending the beautiful, handmade blankets. It's wonderful to be able to send our pets off into their homes with such a kind gift. Thank you for all that you do!" ~ Animal Welfare Society in Kennebunk, ME
  • "Thank you so much for your generous gift for the animals. We are grateful for your generosity and we appreciate your support so much!" ~ Mississippi Animal Rescue League in Jackson, MS
  • "We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to you for 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. On behalf of everyone here, thank you for your time, talent and kindness!" ~ Montgomery County SPCA in Conshohocken, PA
  • "Good afternoon! We got your package today and just wanted to thank you so much for them! Our animals will love them here! Everything is so greatly appreciated!" ~ Baldwin County Animal Shelter in Summerdale, AL

  • "Thank you so much for the donation of blankets. The blankets are such a blessing and provide comfort for our animals. Thank you to all the CFC volunteers for making a difference!" ~ Two by Two Rescue in Helena, AL
  • "We would like to extend our gratitude for your gift of handmade blankets. Your support is appreciated and furthers our lifesaving mission! Supply donations like these go directly to our pets and help them in many ways! Thank you, again, for being a part of the solution to help animals in need." ~ Lynchburg Humane Society in Lynchburg, VA

did you know???

Of course we all know our pets are family, but here are some numbers to prove it!

Did you know...

  • 70% of people sign their pet's name on greeting cards.
  • 58% of people include their pets in family and holiday portraits.
  • 39% of pet owners say they have more photos of their pet, than their spouse!

Direct Shipping Benefits Everyone!

We are now donating 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!

194,184 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!

Diamonds are Forever!

This pattern creates a tight blanket with only minimal holes, and a very delicate pattern. I didn’t see it right away, and you might not either, but hang in there and wait for it to form. That’s a big part of the fun. Click here to download the pattern, which I hope you'll enjoy. 

As with all my patterns, please experiment with all aspects of it, including the border. You're the artist!

Welcome new shelters!

I'm thrilled that we added quite a few new shelters to our program this past quarter. Maybe one will be close to you!

Always check our shelter list before you donate blankets since new shelters are added, and sometimes a shelter is removed, each month. It's the best way to be assured that your creations will be used and appreciated!

Aurora Animal Services

Aurora, CO

Belleville Area Humane Society

Belleville, IL

Como Critters

Lake Geneva, WI

Halo Animal Rescue

Phoenix, AZ

Humane Society of Jefferson County

Jefferson, WI

Lucky's Cat House

Lewisburg, TN

Ruby Whiskers Animal Rescue

Lemont, IL

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!

subscribe to our free newsletter!

  • Updates on our mission
  • Pet information
  • Craft ideas & patterns
  • Animal shelter updates
  • Easy ways to help pets
  • Lots of "thank you's"!

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Have questions? Check out our new FAQ page!

Thank you from Chenango SPCA!

          

"We just received this fantastic box of blankets. We've had such a fantastic adoption month, they are almost all gone already :). This little black kitten came to us after being found alone in a field at about 6 weeks old. 

Needless to say I took him home, and it was touch and go for 10 days. The second photo is in his new home doing fantastic! Oh, did I mention that home is mine? LOL"

Chenango SPCA

Norwich, NY

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!

Raccoon dog?

Before I ran across this wonderful breed, I had never heard of a Raccoon dog. So of course I was intrigued! The "Tanuki," or racoon dog, are clearly dogs not raccoons, getting their nickname because they have a similar coloring and coat pattern to that of a raccoon. They also have facial markings like a raccoon, including the adorable "mask"! They are somewhat similar in size and shape as well, being anywhere from 8 to 22 pounds and only up to about two feet in length.

You'll find these adorable critters in forested areas, and sometimes near water. They tend to forage around, eating all sorts of things including berries, frogs, birds and even carrion (dead animals). They enjoy hunting around so much that when zoos house them they will scatter their food all around their habitat so that they can "hunt". 

Another fascinating aspect of Tanukis is when they enter a state of "torpor". In this state, their focus is on conserving energy, so they can survive with little or no food for days or even weeks. This ability is especially helpful in the harsh winter climates some Raccoon dogs live in. To prepare for torpor, these dogs consume a lot more food to gain a lot of weight in early fall. They also grow a nice, thick winter coat. Once they're ready to enter torpor, their focus is on 24/7 resting, getting up for a small meal only occasionally.

If you're thinking of them as a pet, you may want to think again. They are truly wild dogs and quite skittish of humans. They are also quite stinky! They are best left to their interesting lives of cuteness and rest! We should all be so lucky!

       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.