My two cats are messier eaters than my son. I am constantly urging them not to play with their food and water...but somehow I don’t think they’re getting the message! And really, who can train a cat?! They seem to be fascinated with making a mess. Random items from around the house seem to end up in their bowls, such as hair ties and candy wrappers. They have even come up with a system for eating where one crunches up the large pieces and the other cat eats the leftover crumbs! The other night I caught the little one with her paw in the water, repeatedly batting at the edge and splashing water everywhere.
To counteract their mess I have created my own “cat mat” that can live under their food and water bowls – hopefully containing the spillage to the easier-to-clean mat and not my floor!
Here are the simple steps to create your own custom pet placemat:
1. Determine the size mat you need. For me, I based this measurement off the area of floor space the cats are currently dirtying up and decided that an 11” x 17” mat would do the trick.
· Keep in mind, if you’re going to have your mat printed later, sizes larger than 11” x 17” will be considered “oversized printing” and pricing is based on the sq. foot rather than the number of pages printed.
2. Design your mat. I used Adobe® Illustrator to create a simple design and color scheme, but you can get as crazy as you want, or use Microsoft® programs like Word or PowerPoint. You can even use wrapping paper or paper from a scrapbooking store to make your mat if you don’t want to go digital.
· An important note: if you’re going to use multiple pieces of paper or embellishments, you definitely want to glue them together so they don’t shift during lamination. But keep in mind, glue them together instead of taping – tape or scrapbooking adhesive squares will show through in later steps. ) Also, avoid any raised embellishments because the lamination will not seal properly.
3. Have your mat printed. If you went with a digital design, send your file to the local FedEx Office or take it in on a flash drive to get the final product printed out.
4. Laminate and trim your printed mat when you pick up the freshly printed copy. Glossy and matte laminate finishes are available. Be sure not to break the seal when trimming or else it will not be waterproof on the edges! You should be able to see where the seal around the edge is but usually keeping a 1/8” -1/4” border is safe.
· If you want the mat to stay in place, I recommend lamination on the front and adhesive on the back. FedEx Office has these for both 8.5” x 11” and 11” x 17” printed items. This solution gives you the protection lamination has to offer with a bonus of staying put when your pet is on it. Be sure to test the adhesive on a small spot on your floor, and note that it may not be safe for hardwoods.
5. Place your finished mat under your pet’s food and water dishes to protect against messes with your own personal style!