Kate Benjamin wants to dispel the unfashionable image of the 'cat lady'. That's why she teamed up with a jeweler to create unique cat 'hair ball' jewelry.
Benjamin, the Phoenix-based author of the blog Modern Cat and designer of innovative cat toys and products, wanted to do something with her cat's fur. Everytime she brushed him, she had lots of fur left over.
But could she do anything glamorous with it?
She turned to her friend, jeweler and fellow cat lover Heidi Abramson for inspiration.
"I started with a good grooming session with several of the cats, then I hand-rolled each ball of cat fur into a tight bead," she wrote in her blog. "By rolling the loose fur between your palms, the strands become felted together, forming a solid little bead. Heidi then transformed the beads using her silversmithing skills and her amazing eye for modern design, and voilà!"
Note to horrified readers: The accessories are made of shedded cat fur, never the wet, revolting clods that cats cough up.
"I think the latter would be pretty nasty," Benjamin told the News.
Benjamin's tips in creating cat hair balls: It's important to keep the fur in a loose pile before felting, otherwise you can end up with odd shaped beads.
It takes practice, says Benjamin.
While you might think that your long haired Main Coon would make the most luxurious hair balls, Benjamin recommends using fur from short haired cats.
And no flea-ridden fur, please.
"Be careful not to over-Furminate (the Furminator is a cat-brush with a cult following) your cats!," warns Benjamin. "It's easy to do and then they end up with what we call "pig fur" for a little while until it grows back. It's not pretty."
If cat hair ball jewelry isn't for you, what else can you do with all those mounds of fur?
"The biggest hit at my house is to make cat toys from the fur. Just a simple ball, about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter. The cats go crazy for the texture, and no, it doesn't have to be their own fur," Benjamin said.
Abramson doesn't just design cat fur ball jewelry for her friends – she'll also make it for you.
"I'd say, take your time, gather it up, send it to me and I'll go to work! If I need more, I'll let you know," she told the News.
But while you might love to wear a little bit of Fluffy every day, is cat hair jewelry a good idea for a gift?
"Probably the biggest concern would be with people who have allergies to cat fur," said Benjamin. "Hairball jewelry is not recommended for them."
Also, your sweet kitty's fur might be, well, kind of gross to someone else.
"I'm not sure if I would want to wear jewelry made from the fur on someone else's cats, it's kind of personal," she said.