meet lula! & my giant floor pillow

so! we got a cat! we went to the humane society last weekend & i told the woman staffing the cat room, “i’m looking for a cat, preferably female & no older than three years old, that is likely to be reasonably friendly with a baby.”

she said, “you might like drew purrymore. she’s just over a year & very sweet, though she only has three legs.”

i was pretty much sold when she said “three legs”.


you can kind of tell in this photo that she’s missing most of her right rear leg. the people at the humane society don’t know what happened–if it was an accident or a birth defect or what. she doesn’t really like to have her stump touched, which makes me wonder if it was an accident. she’s going to the vet for a check-up on tuesday, & we’ll see if the good doctor can shed any light on the question. not that it really matters. she gets around pretty well with a kind of hopping style. she can’t really jump that high because she only has one leg to propel her, but that’s a good thing in my book. i don’t like it when cats are always jumping all over the tables & everything.

we named her tallulah & we call her lula for short. it’s only been a week, but so far, she seems like a great addition to our family. she’s really sweet & cuddly. she’s not at all scared of ramona, & ramona is surprisingly gentle with her. i expected to have to be constantly reprimanding ramona for pulling the cat’s ears or tail, but ramona seems to intuitively understand how to pet a cat & be nice to it. & lula seems to like ramona too. the other night, ramona was over-tired & over-hungry (there was a bit of a delay with dinner), so she was sitting on the floor, wailing inconsolably. lula laid down next to her & put her head on ramona’s lap, as if to say, “it’s okay. i’m here.” they even play together with lula’s cat toys (because i suspect that ramona is at least half-cat; that would explain why she purrs sometimes).

i’ve been trying to do some research on three-legged cats, but it seems like the only big concern is that it’s important to help the cat maintain a healthy weight because it only has three legs with which to support itself. lula is a very small cat–only six pounds, fully-grown. she’s nothing like charlotte, who was destined for enormity even from kittenhood, judging from the size of her paws & ears. hopefully it won’t be too difficult to help her stay fit.

in other news, lawrence finally got one of those giant snowstorms that everyone else in the country has been experiencing. we’d had a good run of almost no snow, but we finally got hit on tuesday: 13 inches. i HATE snow, especially living in a part of the country that doesn’t have especially brutal winters, meaning that no one really knows how to deal with snow. the lawrence plows scrape off the topmost layer of snow & then they’re like, “eh, good enough,” which just causes a thin sheet of treacherous ice all over everything. like 75% of residents don’t shovel their walks. i’m really not going to be able to take ramona out until it melts (luckily, we’re expecting some 50-55-degree days next week) because there’s no way i can maneuver a stroller through this shit & she’s too heavy for me to wear.


our backyard.

i spent the week in a sewing rabbit hole. i spend a lot of time hanging out on the floor with ramona, reading to her or playing with her blocks or whatever. & our hardwood floors get pretty cold. i told jared i wanted some kind of floor pillow to sit on for christmas, but then it occurred to me that i’m okay at sewing. i could probably just make one. i decided to really go all in & make the “honey bun pouf” by amy butler. the pattern struck me as needlessly complex, with its covered buttons, internal tufting, & layers of duck canvas & batting, but i was also curious about tackling a real pattern & trying some new techniques. it called for “six fabrics in complementary prints”.


it occurred to me after i bought these fabrics that i could have gone with something a little funkier. but…what’s done is done. & these look all right together.

the fabrics, canvas, & batting all had to be cut into wedges: 90 wedges in total. it took me HOURS to cut all those wedges. i mean, obviously i was taking breaks to attend to ramona &, like, wash dishes or put laundry away or whatever. but still. by the end of the day, i thought my arms were going to fall off. my rotary cutter got a real work-out. then they had to be sandwiched together & basted.


then i had to trim the excess batting & canvas out of the seam allowances “to reduce bulk”. this was far & away the most tedious part of the whole project. next, i was to “arrange the wedges in a manner that is pleasing to [me].” i decided to use three prints for the top & three for the bottom, like so:



& then i finally got to start sewing for real! the wedges were sewn together into “petals” of five wedges & topstitched to reinforce the seams. then the petals were sewn together. then i attached the ribbon to the inside for the “tufting” effect. & then i installed the zipper. by the time i got to installing the zipper, i was kind of exhausted. i managed to jam a straight pin all the way under my thumbnail due to sheer carelessness. the zipper does not look great, but it’s functional (& mostly covered). then i had to sew on the covered buttons, which was a complete disaster. i just could not figure out how to get them tight against the pillow. but it wound up not mattering that much, because once the thing was stuffed, it lifted the fabric to meet the button…more or less.



& it’s popular with cats!


i’m glad it’s done! it’s really comfy & cozy. it’s a great place to sit when i am reading to ramona or just relaxing with her while she plays. & it’s HUGE. the pattern called for it to be stuffed with polystyrene beads (like a bean bag chair), but i’m not wild about the environmental impact of that kind of thing, so i just stuffed it with stuff i had laying around. fabric scraps, batting scraps, the ginormous body pillow i used while i was pregnant, some random throw pillows that wound up in the closet, some old bed pillows that jared & i recently replaced…yes, all of those things are inside this pouf. & there’s probably still room for a little bit more to really fill the whole thing out. i was somewhat unprepared for how big it would be & how much stuffing it would require. i basically sewed a piece of furniture.


Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

2 thoughts on “meet lula! & my giant floor pillow

  1. I had a three-legged cat with my ex-husband. When Fijo was born his umbilical cord was wrapped around one of his hind legs, effectively killing it in the womb. I unwrapped it immediately & the dead part shriveled up & fell off within two days. We took the whole box of kittens, with Persephone, to the vet, where they removed the bit of bone sticking out & sewed up his stump. He didn’t like his stump to be touched, but he didn’t like his paws to be futzed with either.

    1. lula has a bit of shin bone sticking out. her vet theorized that she’d been in an accident as a kitten. she tries to use the leg–like to scratch her ear. it’s kind of sad. she gets around really well & is quite frisky, but she’s not always the fastest because it takes her extra time to get going with the missing leg. so she has been stepped on more in the last week than charlotte was in her entire life.

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