Best Felted Wool Pet Sculpture Memorial or Birthday Gift For Cat Lovers by Layla Morgan Wilde
It’s my husband, Joe’s birthday today. He’s a real cat man who doesn’t like to celebrate birthdays so what to do? Joe was deeply bonded with Domino who died last November. Domino was a one person cat and that person was Joe. They had their daily and nightly rituals that defied Domino’s feral history.
Domino ruled our household with an iron paw. He demanded with a meowr, head tilt or sharp claw that Joe get into their leather lounger to watch TV or feed him treats in the middle of the night. If his demands were not met in short order, he’d follow Joe and literally herd him where he wanted him to go. Needless to say the very bossy Domino inherited the primo sleeping spot on the bed near Joe after Merlin died. What Domino wanted, Domino got. He deserved it after living outdoors for the first seven years of his life.
Domino and Merlin were very close but he relished having Joe’s undivided attention.
Joe, felt sad when Clyde died in January but reserved his deep grief for Domino. Joe placed photos of Domino on the lounger and never sat on it again. The living room felt empty without Domino’s larger than life presence. Some people like having their beloved pets ashes on a shelf but we like to bury. Domino has a lovely spot in the garden beside Clyde but Joe felt so sad every time he visited.
Then I remembered Felt2Rescue. Artist and cat rescue gal Judy, hand sculpts from felted wool replicas of pets. These mini-me doppelgangers are detailed works of art and labors of love. 100% of the proceeds are donated to the rescue of one’s choice. Judy always has a waiting list but it’s worth waiting a few weeks or months for. My only request was it be ready in time for Joe’s birthday.
And then I got nervous. I sent photos of Domino from every conceivable angle. Would she capture all his weird quirks like his crooked tail and, most importantly, would Joe like it?
Judy kindly sent photos in advance and I was thrilled. I wanted to surprise Joe and didn’t show him. He knew angel Domino 2.0 was in the works and that eased his mind.
Pet loss is the sad but inevitable for most pet owners. Everyone grieves their pet in their own way and time frame. There are no yardsticks or rules. Grieving is as personal a paw print. And yet we all agree some form of memorializing a pet is healing. It makes sense that everyone should choose what kind of memorial they want.
The day came and Domino arrived in a cardboard box wrapped in tissue paper. It was the strangest sensation seeing Domino again, the size of a new born kitten. It was as if he were born again except woolly not furry. Every detail was there from the notched ear, his unique piebald coat and even the color of his toe beans. The essence of Domino was back. Joe’s eyes lit up and his heavy cloud of grief lifted.
Joe carried Domino around the house. It was like the story of Goldilocks. Where would be the best place for him to sleep? On his desk? Too distracting. By the bed? Nou Nou didn’t like it. On a chair or the leather lounge?
We tried it for awhile but Joe still didn’t want to sit there so we placed him on his favorite little scratcher bed a few feet from where he died by the fireplace. Purrfect! Domino keeps us company every evening. The fountain is gone as is Clyde’s bed hideaway in the bookcase but I have no desire to have a Clyde doppelganger. Unlike Joe, I like visiting him graveside.
It’s so important to honor our grieving differences.
It was uncanny at first. I’d do a double take every time I’d walk in and see his blue eyes staring at me. We now say hi, Domino and it’s a huge comfort having him around. Our daffodils are blooming and I thought he’s enjoy being in the garden. Voila!
Odin still doesn’t know what to make of his old buddy. He stares at him, sniffs at him but he knows he’s not alive. It’s as if he’s thinking how did you get so small and why aren’t you moving?
There are tons of custom felted wool pet sculptures available on Etsy. Some are cheaper, some more expensive but I love that this gift is giving twice. And I like that Judy’s are made in the U.S. The entire $150 cost for Domino was donated to one of our favorite rescues Milo’s Sanctuary. Their focus is on special needs cats and like all rescue groups and shelters these days are desperate for donations.
To see Domino in all his glory, I was thrilled Judy posted a video on Instagram! Would you like a mini-me of your cat?
Coronavirus update: We are safe and okay sheltering in place at home. Stay well everyone!
Love, Layla, Joe, Odin, Nou Nou, Domino 2.0 and the meowvelous angels
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