Is Angora wool cruel?

No.

Angora wool comes from the Angora rabbit, of which there are several breeds. All Angora rabbits are large, some startlingly so:

Woman holding a gigantic white rabbit, which pretty much covers her torso. The rabbit's head appears to be larger than the woman's, though this is because of the amount of fur on it.
FLOOFF!!

Their wool grows to about 3″ (7.5cm), though some can be up to 5″ (12.5cm).

An almost featureless squashed sphere of oyster coloured fur that occupies the entire top of a bedside locker, which on closer inspection, turns out to be an Angora rabbit just prior to moulting.
FLOOOOOOOOOFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This naturally falls out every 90 days, although some owners trim their bunnies regularly:

An Angora rabbit just after trimming. It looks more like a white scottish terrier than a bunny, but with rather longer legs, and sporting what looks like two huge, fluffy feather dusters on its head. I swear. I could just DIE of the cuteness.
Like a Scottish terrier with feather dusters on its head.

The main reason for keeping Angora rabbits is not for their wool – it’s for competitions. After competing for a year or two, they’re retired, often becoming pets as they are very used to being handled. They’re terrific fun, a mix of dog-like rascality and cat-like snuggles.

Their wool is harvested through regular brushing, moulting, or trimming. It’s actually possible to spin directly from a bun in moult:

As long as it’s moulting, it will happily sit there and let you. If it isn’t moulting, you can expect a surprisingly painful kick in the stomach. These are not coot widdle bunnikins, they can and will draw blood.

Most owners, however, will collect wool from brushings:


Now, a number of people have mentioned PETA. It may be true that some Chinese Angora farms have poor animal protections in place, and that abuse took place. I deal with that by never buying Angora from China, or from anywhere that is even slightly suspicious – but I do that for any fibre*. However, I would like to direct you to this website, and, when you have examined it in full, I would like you to think about whether PETA is the sort of organisation from which to get your information on animal abuse.


*: this means that I only work with substandard cashmere, for example, because the truly high-quality cashmere comes from half-starved wild goats. Starvation is the reason for the ultra-fine fibre these goats produce. NB: they’re not deliberately starved. It’s because their native environment (mountain grassland) doesn’t produce enough food. Cashmere goats living in, e.g., Australia or Scotland, are well-fed, and therefore produce thicker cashmere fibre.

Quora linky.

How easy is it to make “wool” out of pet hair?

Not hard at all. The only thing you need is the right kind of pet.

So goldfish and budgies are right out.

The best pets are the fluffy ones – the ones that grow a decent undercoat in winter. Huskies are good, and so are long-hair cats like Maine Coons. Also, Angora bunnies, and some lionheads, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some guinea pigs and ferrets didn’t produce small, usable amounts of undercoat.

The fluff can be collected through normal grooming. Keep it in a clean, sealable plastic bag until you have enough. When you have about 100g/4oz, you can try removing the hairs from the fluff, wash (if you don’t like spinning “in the grease”) and card, and spin.

This first spinning effort will tell you whether the fluff is worth spinning on its own – some of it may be too short – or whether you’d be better combining it with a longer fibre, like wool or cotton.

Here’s some people who made clothing from their dogs’ hair:

Two women in dog-hair cardigans, with their dogs - a Tibetan mastiff and a husky. I think - I'm not great on dog breeds.
Aman in a cabled dog-hair sweater, with a large hairy mongrel (probably).
A woman in a dark-brown dog-hair gilet, with rough collie who is too light-coloured to be the dog-hair donor.
A man in a bright white Aran-style cabled cardigan, with a beautiful white husky.
A woman wearing a black stole which looks like Persian or Astrakhan  lambswool, but which clearly comes from her huge Royal poodle.

These People Are Wearing Sweaters Made From Their Dog’s Shed Hair

There’s even a company – Knit Your Dog – that will do the hard work for you, if you’re not crafty:

And a woman who works exclusive with dog har, and writes about it:

——————

The main problem with cat hair is there’s comparatively little of it. I’ve only really heard of people felting with cat hair:

Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute to Make with Your Cat

Angora bunnies produce Angora wool, that fluffy, soft stuff that makes gorgeous, expensive sweaters, so that’s pretty mainstream and commercial. However, here’s a video of a woman who keeps Angora rabbits (and poodles), showing the process of producing items from bunny to needle, which would be the same for any other animal fibre:

Quora linky.