Well, time caught up with the old blanket ... it started getting threadbare at the top. I had another piece of fleece to use for a patch, but I decided to wash the blanket first to see if it would survive.
It didn't. In fact, it made another **$%@!! mess in my washer.
But in case you were wondering, the fleece strip survived just fine. I cut it off before I threw out the blanket.
Maybe I will make that fleece pad for the cats after all.