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Out of the Cage! The Blog of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals

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Mother's Comfort ProjectOut of the Cage! (Fall/Holiday 2007)

Mother's Comfort Project Turns Out Cage Comforters for Shelter Animals

Nearly 100 cage comforters will soon be ready to make shelter cats and dogs a little more comfortable while they await adoption at NYC's Animal Care & Control shelter in Brooklyn. Volunteers of Mother's Comfort Project, a new program created by Rational Animal president Susan Brandt and her mother, Rheda, are crafting the comforters. Their goal is to create 500 cage comforters for NYC shelter animals. They created the program in honor of Rheda's mother, Fannie Shapiro, who was an avid animal enthusiast — obviously one whose passion has been passed down through the generations.

Cage comforters can make an animal's stay in a shelter more comfortable. (Photo by Michelle Aptman)

Cage comforters can make an animal's stay in a shelter more comfortable.

Photo by Michelle Aptman

The project got off to a strong start on November 17, when approximately 30 volunteers participated in a cage comforter workshop at Etsy Labs in Brooklyn. In a single afternoon the group completed 45 comforters and began constructing another 55 pieces. Volunteer Krysta Vollbrecht took the lead in organizing the event, Etsy Labs provided the sewing machines and workspace, and the fabric used to make the comforters was donated to Rational Animal by Materials for the Arts, a non-profit organization that distributes fabric donations from local retailers to its member organizations, of which Rational Animal is one. Instructions and coaching were provided by Mayor's Alliance volunteer Deborah Chieglis, featured in previous issues of Out of the Cage!, who has become known unofficially as the Queen of Cage Comforters because of her years of experience and inspiration in creating cage comforters for NYC's shelter animals.

Making cage comforters is becoming an extremely popular way to help homeless animals. The Mayor's Alliance routinely receives donations of these hand-made luxuries not only from Deborah, but also from individuals as far away as the Midwest. The Mayor's Alliance delivers all the donated comforters to its participating shelters and rescue groups.

Volunteer Michelle Aptman stiches up a comforter at the Mother's Comfort Project sewing event on November 17.

Volunteer Michelle Aptman stiches up a comforter at the Mother's Comfort Project sewing event on November 17.

Perhaps the reason that making cage comforters has become so popular is that they are relatively easy to make and provide a tremendous impact for the animals. Cage comforters are always welcome by rescue groups and shelters. Deborah's easy-to-follow instructions for constructing cage comforters can be found on our Cage Comforters page.

The Mayor's Alliance is extremely grateful to Rational Animal for developing its Mother's Comfort Project and for generating enthusiasm for this important — and fun! — activity for the animals. If you want to learn more about the project or wish to join in future sewing workshops, visit the Rational Animal website or e-mail


Rational AnimalAbout Rational Animal

Rational Animal is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that creates media and special events to increase awareness about New York City's at-risk animals. Rational Animal has produced TV spots, four annual editions of the first five-borough animal adoption map series Trails to Tails, the Orange Ribbons for At-Risk Animals campaign, Gingerbread Homes for Animals, a humane education exhibit, and the Gimme Shelter: Rock & Rescue NYC concert series celebrating NYC's goal of ending euthanasia in city shelters. In addition to campaigns for homeless companion animals, Rational Animal also campaigns for wild or captive and performing animals.