"I get cat hair sweaters and I don’t even ask for them."—Michael A., comment on Sweaters from Rover, Awful Library Books, October 15, 2009
Let's get the ignorance out of the way first:
- Pet hair sweaters are not pet skin sweaters. Just as wool is sheep hair, and cashmere is goat hair, pet hair is, well, pet hair.
- Pet hair sweaters do not smell like pets when they get wet, any more than sheep hair sweaters smell like sheep when they get wet.
- Pet hair sweaters do not cause an allergic reaction. People can be allergic to dander (skin flakes, mite dust, etc.), saliva, urine, or other glandular substances. All of these are thoroughly removed during the yarn-making process.
That being said, if you still get a negative gut feeling when thinking about a sweater made out of pet hair, then I can't help you. Read no further.
My Roomba picks up an unbelievable amount of cat hair from the carpet. I don't think even an ordinary vacuum would pick most of this stuff up, since the Roomba seems to thoroughly groom the carpet. Also, as stated in the quote above, I get cat hair all over my clothes and face if I even look at my cat. So kitty gets brushed every week or so.
The resulting ball of cat hair is soft. It's also gray, not at all like the tortoiseshell color it has when it's still on the cat, which is apparently normal. And when you get right down to it, the fur compresses a lot. The estimate from VIP Fibers in Texas (dead website) is that it takes a pillow cover full of compressed pet hair to get enough (dyed) yarn for one sweater.
I look over at my growing ball of cat fur, which I have been collecting for a year now, and realize I'd have to brush my cat for about a hundred years to get enough fur for a sweater. So maybe I'll settle for a vest. Or a scarf. Or a hat! A cat hat!