Baby hats. Santa hats. Wizard hats. Pointy Elf Hoods. You name the hat type, and Animal Aid volunteer Leisa Refalo can probably have it knit for you before you can say, “Thanks! You’re one cool cat, Leisa!” And a cool cat she is indeed, which is why we’re so happy and thankful that the theme of Leisa’s knitting binge this year has been one of our all-time favorites: the cats of Animal Aid!
Matching the furry shades of our shelter cats and accompanied by a watercolor portrait of each cat (she calls them doodles; we call them masterpieces), Leisa’s cat hats were an instant favorite. “I brought them with me when I went to volunteer, suspecting that I could find someone to wear them,” she said. “They were snatched up by the staff, and other volunteers who saw them wanted one too.”
When not volunteering for Animal Aid (which she began doing last November) or spending time with her own kitties (one of them an Animal Aid alum, formerly known as Elaine and now named Jiji), Leisa works for Kaiser Healthcare designing and developing mobile apps. She is also currently working on a Certificate in Illustration through Pacific Northwest College of Arts.
“In the short term, I want to make little personalized illustrations and animations for family and friends. The response to the little drawings is so good that I have been trying to think of other ways to use them, including enamel pins, greeting cards, candles,” Leisa explained, going on to say, “There seems to be more demand [for cat hats] than I can keep up with, so we are talking about having a Knitting with Kitties event at the shelter to teach people who want to learn how to knit and have a knitting circle for people who do. Cats are fun with yarn.”
We dig the way you think, Leisa. Thank you for making Animal Aid apparel the height of fashion in Portland!