Catnip Pop Tarts from a House of Dreams, by Mollie Hunt, Cat Writer
House of Dreams in Portland Oregon is the little cat shelter with a big heart.
The volunteers at this free-roam, no-kill, all-volunteer-run shelter do more than take care of cats, however. They also chip in to make handcrafted items which they sell to bring in much needed funds to keep the shelter running. The creative folk at HOD have come up with a wide variety of saleables, such as one-of-a-kind knitted animal dolls, cat mats and beds, colorful napkins and household goods, and a wide range of cat (and dog) accessories and toys. One of the most popular items, universally loved by both humans and cats, are the Catnip Pop Tarts made by Jenn Johnson.
Jenn lives in a tiny house in Portland, Oregon with her husband and four cats. Elizabeth is a sweet torbie who seems to totally lack the usual feisty tortitude one equates with the breed. CathyCat is soft and flirty—Jenn’s husband Mark traveled nearly 900 miles to rescue her when she was abandoned in a campground in Utah. (Jenn comments that CathyCat is an expert Pop Tart thief!) Olivia, a long haired Siamese point mix, is another rescue, this time collected from Roseburg, Oregon. Their fourth cat Chloe is a shy tabby who only peeked at me from the loft.
Jenn tried several motifs for her catnip-filled pillows before deciding on Pop Tarts—mustaches, owls, peace signs, and pizza slices to name a few. All were made by hand from quality felt and stitched with colorful embroidery, but some designs turned out to be too labor-intensive, while others just didn’t pique Jenn’s imagination. Then in 2018, she came upon the Pop Tart concept, a toy that was straightforward to create and pretty to look at. (Not that the cats care, as long as they’re filled with that enticing 100% organic nip!) She unveiled them at that year’s Pretty Kitty Bazaar and sold out! The next year, she made twice as many. Again they were gone before the event was over.
I asked Jenn why she thought cats love the Pop Tart design so much. She answered, “Flingability!” I had to laugh, picturing my cats tossing and catching those flat little toys all around the room.
Jenn’s Catnip Pop Tarts are available only from the House of Dreams Etsy Shop, houseofdreamspdx, and the shipping is free!
House of Dreams and their much-loved bazaar:
For the past twenty years, the Pretty Kitty Bazaar and Silent Auction has been a unique holiday event with growing attendance each year. When Covid hit and in-person gatherings were canceled, the folks at HOD had to think outside the (cat) box. In the fall of 2020, HOD opened an Etsy shop and held their auction virtually online. The switch has been successful and they’re doing it again this year. For more info about this year’s online auction, check out the Pretty Kitty Bazaar Facebook page.
The houseofdreamspdx online store has just relaunched for the winter season so be sure to check it out. Every item for sale is made by House of Dreams volunteers and supporters and donated to the store. Many are limited edition, so if you like something, I suggest not waiting to purchase. They are adding new things several times a week. All profits go to support the kitties at House of Dreams.
About House of Dreams, from the House of Dreams website:
WHO WE ARE
House of Dreams provides shelter and care for abandoned and homeless cats, with the goal of finding them permanent homes or providing them a lifetime home in our facility. We are a free-roam shelter, where resident cats can explore, mingle, or curl up in their own private space. And we are a no-kill shelter, which every healthy or treatable cat can call home for the rest of its life—or until it’s adopted into a loving home!
We began in 1999 as an all-volunteer organization, and remain so today—so every dollar donated and raised goes to the cats! House of Dreams is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization. And we’re one of the only area shelters with facilities for geriatric and feline leukemia positive (FeLV+) cats.
WHAT WE DO
As we do not discriminate based on age or medical history, many of our cats are considered to be “difficult to adopt” in a traditional shelter. We bring these special cats to House of Dreams, where they find friends (human and feline), enjoy regular meals, and obtain quality medical care. Think of it as “assisted living” for cats.
Some of these older, medically-challenged cats will spend the rest of their lives with us—and we are happy to have them! Others will find their forever homes with qualified, caring adopters; meet the cats currently available for adoption here.
All of our cats have been spayed or neutered, tested for FIV/FeLV, and are current on vaccinations. We also provide any additional dental and medical care the cats may need during their stay with us.