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Within the last year Friskies dry cat food switched from a paper bag with a plastic liner to a type of woven plastic for their big bags of product. The paper bags my cats could chew through, but these new bags are nearly impossible to tear. Without a use in mind I began to tuck them away once they were emptied.

My girlfriend suggested that we start to bring our own bags to the grocery store recently. So we started to collect the canvas totes and conference bags that we had around to keep in the car for our next trip to the store. But none were very large and the pile was bulky and quite mismatched in size and style. Then I realized that the cat food bags could work well for our trips to the store.

If you have cats and shop at warehouse stores or a store that charges for bags these giant sacks might work well for you. Of course, it may take a while to collect enough bags to hold all of your groceries. We just found out that our grocery store gives you a two cent credit for each bag of your own that you use.

All you need to make these bags are a tape measure, a marker and scissors. I turned my bags inside out and washed them. Measure from your hand to the ground while standing. Now take that measurement and subtract about six inches. That should be where the top of your handle cut should be. Make certain to leave at least two inches around the top of the bag. Just use the marker to draw a hot-dog-shaped oval on opposite sides and then cut it out.

These bags can hold a lot of weight. To test the strength I stood in the bag and pulled up on the handles. The strands of the weave around the handles stretched but held except for the ones that were already cut. I then put 25 pounds of cat litter into one and then repeatedly dropped the bag -- stopping it just short of the ground. The strands around the handle seemed to tighten and stretch but nothing broke.

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