Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Q & A

Thank you very much for your interest in Operation Happy Sock. Here are some basic questions and answers about our program to help you get involved.

Q: What is Operation Happy Sock?

A: Operation Happy Sock is an all-volunteer, nonprofit project that takes unwanted socks and turns them into catnip toys for homeless cats in animal shelters. We started in November 2004 and have been growing by leaps and bounds ever since.

Q. What is a “Happy Sock”?

A. A Happy Sock is a big, fluffy catnip toy that we make by taking a sock, stuffing it with a combination of polyester fiberfill and catnip, and then tying a knot in the ankle. The result is a durable, hugable toy that cats can lick, kick, and enjoy for countless hours.

Q. Who runs Operation Happy Sock?

A. You do! Seriously, OHS is a project that is well suited to almost any group – children or adults alike – who love animals and want to do something special to help them. Home-schooling groups, Girl and Boy Scouts, Roots ‘n’ Shoots, 4Hers, retirement community residents, book clubs, and local animal shelter volunteers have made thousands of Happy Socks. It’s easy, fun, and a great community service.

Q. What does it cost to make Happy Socks?

A. For every 100 socks you collect, you’ll need about $30 for other materials (catnip and polyfill). A group of 6-10 people can make at least 100 Happy Socks in an hour or two.

Q. What materials go into a Happy Sock?

A. It takes three things to make each Happy Sock: one sock, about a teaspoon of catnip, and a handful of polyester fiberfill – white, fluffy filler that makes the toys big and soft. For every 100 Happy Socks, here’s what you’ll need:

100 socks FREE (donated)
1 lb. catnip ($23.25 postpaid at the link at the top of this blog, right column)
36-44 oz. of polyester fiberfill (around $8.00) -- from Wal*Mart or craft stores

Q. Where do the socks come from?

A. Your group can collect unwanted socks from friends, relatives, neighbors, coworkers, or anyone else you can think of. You’ll be amazed at how happy people are to finally have a good use for their unwanted socks, and how glad they are to clean out their “missing sock drawer.” It’s a real win/win situation because those socks might otherwise end up in a landfill, but now they’ll have a wonderful “second life” as Happy Socks.

You'll find information for making a Happy Sock collection sign in this blog. Then you can put sock collection boxes in strategic places at school, church, or the local animal shelter. (Please be sure to ask for permission before placing a collection box.)

Q. Where does the catnip come from?

A. Catnip sources vary from place to place, so you may need to shop around. Many major chains (Wal*Mart, Kmart, Petco, PetsMart) carry catnip, usually in smaller packages than you may need – so buy several. Please see the “All About Catnip” posting in this blog.

Q. Where does the polyester fiberfill come from?

A. You’ll find plastic bags of fiberfill at WalMart and craft stores, for around $4.00 per bag. For every 100 socks, you’ll want to buy 36-44 ounces of fiberfill.

Q. How much time does it take to make Happy Socks?

A. People vary greatly in their ability to make Happy Socks. Some people like to take their time, enjoy themselves, and do creative things like tying two knots in the socks, which takes extra time. They may make about 20 Happy Socks per hour. Other people are very fast and can make as many as 60 per hour (one per minute). As a rule of thumb, YOUNGER people are BETTER at it!

Q. Can we decorate our Happy Socks with ribbons, bells, and colored pens?

A. We love creativity, but we encourage you to contact your local shelter for advice. If a ribbon or bell can be swallowed, a kitty could be hurt. And of course, any pens or paints should be completely safe for kids and pets – even if eaten!

Q. Is there an Operation Happy Sock patch my Girl Scout troup can buy?

A. You bet! We have a really adorable patch available at Just go to “Search” in the left menu bar, enter “Operation Happy Sock,” and be sure to check the box for “Match All Keywords”.

Q. Is Operation Happy Sock an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation?

A. No one makes a penny from Operation Happy Sock, but we are not a 501(c)(3) corporation so donations are not tax deductible. However, the donations we receive are always used to help groups who can’t afford supplies, or to ship Happy Socks to locations with special needs (like Hurricane Katrina shelters, Best Friends Animal Society in Utah, or the PAWS shelter in Kuwait).

Q. What is the largest Operation Happy Sock ever completed?

A. While Operation Happy Sock isn't a competitive sport, some folks get pretty fired up about it. In 2008, the largest known Operation Happy Sock was accomplished by Girl Scout Troop 3086 in Alexandria, VA. These amazing girls made an unbelievable 1,600 Happy Socks. That's a LOT of happy cats!

Q. Can I use that snazzy Operation Happy Sock logo?
The Operation Happy Sock logo, featuring our tabby mascot "Hugger," is available for use by anyone promoting the Operation Happy Sock mission of helping homeless cats. Please send an email to if you would like a downloadable file of the logo.

Q. Is there a way I can get all this Operation Happy Sock info in one handy-dandy file?

A. Sure! Just drop an email to and ask for your FREE Info Kit. The contents of this blog will be sent to you as one big Word file attachment.


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