After brushing our pet’s coat, it rarely occurs to us to save the fluffy piles of loose fur. For pet-owners that do not own hypoallergenic pets, most of the time we are running around trying to rid our clothes, furniture, and floor of the fur piles. For allergy-sufferers who own pets the idea of hoarding cat fur or spinning it into yarn is unthinkable. While crocheting a cap out of fuzzy Persian fur might seem gag-worthy to some, there are those who enjoy finding artistic uses for pet hair. For environmentally conscious pet-parents that don’t want to be wasteful, there are also some practical uses for pet hair as well. Review the list below for both helpful and strange solutions to the pet fur problem.

Compost: Every gardener knows that adding balances compost to their gardens is of great benefit to the plants they grow.   When pet-owners apply small amounts of their dog or cat’s hair to the compost, the high levels of nitrogen in pet fur actually help increase the nutrients in the soil. Though the hair takes a while to decompose, your plants will enjoy a bed of healthy compost to flourish in!

Gardening and Pest control: Sprinkling pet hair into vegetable gardens, flowers, grass and trees is a helpful way to ward off rodents, rabbits, and even pesky larger animals like deer. Bugs and beasts will be more likely to avoid sneaking around guard dog or cat protected areas.

Oil Spills & Environmental Work:   Pet hair and human hair are both highly absorbent of oils, making the loose strands a coveted tool for oil spill cleaning and environmental work. Instead of tossing the wisps of feline fur, bag it and save it for an environmental organization’s next hair drive.  This is one way you can help animals in need who may be suffering from an oil spill crisis.

Pet Health Studies: Help scientists discover more effective allergy vaccinations by providing your pet’s hair to use for their testing. Though it is not common to see pet hair drives very often, keep your eyes open and use your dog’s shedding to the best advantage!

Nesting: Every spring, birds flurry around assembling supplies to make nests where their eggs can rest snuggly before hatching. While nest are often comprised of twigs, grasses, feathers and the like, using pet hair actually helps fortify construction of the next, while keeping the eggs warm. Next time you’ve finished brushing your cat or dog, put the excess hair into a small loose/open sack and hang it from a nearby tree where the birds can easily access it.

Bizarre Uses for Pet Hair

Weaving Yarn: Cat hair is quite dense and can stick together very nicely, particularly when spun into thread. Many avid craft-makers have found that cat hair make incredible warm yarn that can be knitted and crocheted into scarves, hats, gloves, and even toys. Though this isn’t for everyone, the concept of using pet hair to stay warm has been around for centuries.

Making Crafts and Jewelry
: The furry consistency in felt material should prove that fine hair can be a very useful took in craft-making to create felt figures and material. Some artists soak cat hair in rich dyes, and then wrap/spin them tightly into balls to make small fur beads using a wool roving tool. These small beads can then be strung into bracelets, necklaces and earrings.

Toys: Cats do seem to love the scent and taste of their own fir, so it’s no surprise that they would enjoy playing with toys that are so familiar. Feline hair can be rolled into balls, or tied in knots and connected to a string that can be pulled around. Some pet owners have even arranged the fur bits into the shape of a mouse, to perfectly suit the preferences of the predator.

Stuffing pillows: Though this might be counterproductive for people with animal fur allergies, who may not want those noses anywhere near their fur that makes them sneeze, some people like to stuff pillows with fur. When smooth materials like silk are stuffed with pet fur, it results in both a warm and bouncy cushion.

Next time you go to the groomers for your pup’s regular trim or shave, ask them to save the fur in a bag so you can put that fur to good use!