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Starting to come around

Feral tabby kittens, photo by Elizabeth RuffingI moved Phoebe and Bertie indoors, into the laundry room, and they are continuing to make progress. Bertie is making great strides, and Phoebe is still the more skeptical kitten. They have been a tremendous amount of work, but seeing each breakthrough is very rewarding. I am so glad to have them out of the rain, and away from the bugs. We’ve had so much rain this past month, which is unusual for us, and cleaning a cage outdoors, even one tucked under a tarp, was no fun at all. They seem to like being inside now.

Feral tabby kittens, photo by Elizabeth RuffingWe got them a bigger cage, a “Cat Playpen“, and they took to the idea of climbing, in a short period of time. My dad helped me put casters on this two-story cage so I can move it around, and I put zip ties all over it to make it secure, so they won’t get their paws caught in any connecting areas. They venture in and out at will now, to explore the room, play, and lounge. These are some photos from today, of my mom feeding them baby food mixed with Fancy Feast. Gerber Chicken and Gravy 2 is indeed enticing to them. It just has chicken and water in it, no seasonings, and so it is safe for them.

Feral tabby kitten, photo by Elizabeth RuffingBertie likes being petting and scratched, and I was able to pick him (or her…still can’t get a look) up a few times today, only for several seconds at a time. Phoebe is much more standoffish. I am hoping she will see Bertie trying these things out, and give them a try herself. We aren’t pushing her though We are just letting each one of them learn to trust us, a little at a time. We try each new thing briefly, until they get used to it.

Feral tabby kitten, photo by Elizabeth RuffingBertie has been more open-minded all along, and more interested in interacting with us. They both like to play with a feather toy with us, and both kittens get very excited when they see our adult cats. Once they can be checked out by a vet, as long as they each have a clean bill of health, they will enjoy being able to finally reach them and play with them.

These videos (there is a set of three parts on YouTube) have been very helpful! So have the tips from the same incredibly patient man in the videos, Mike Phillips, on the Urban Cat League site.

There are more of their tips on socializing feral kittens here. A big thank you to them for this information! It has not only made a big difference for these kittens, but it made me feel like I could do this. I appreciated the reassurance and the advice. It helps to know that each kitten is different, and that there is no schedule to worry about, if one is slower than the other to want to socialize. They decide on their own what they want to do.

I have also just begun getting back to getting some work done. These are two custom, two-tone Hug Me Slugs, made of coordinating quilting cottons.

Two-tone cotton Hug Me Slugs, art toys by Elizabeth RuffingI don’t normally do these anymore as they are very difficult to do with my sewing machine. It has “fast” and “stop”, which makes machine appliqué into more of a roller coaster ride. In spite of that, I think they came out nicely. I have some Hug Me Toads waiting to be finished up, and many other art toys, waiting for me. We also have lots of original, one-of-a-kind cat art dolls to photograph. We’ll be posting our new original one-of-a-kind cat art dolls in our Ruffing’s shop.

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Some new Hug Me Slugs, and some new kittens…real ones

Feral tabby kittens, photo by Elizabeth RuffingWhat a week. I’ve been very busy, and I’ve been trying to fit in some sewing. Guess what? We have two kittens here. Meet Phoebe (left) and Bertie (right), or at least those are they names I’ve been calling them, guessing at their genders. They are temporarily in a big dog cage on our deck, getting used to being around us, as they are, so far, feral, and waiting to visit the vet. Bertie is a play on birdie, as they are both like caged birds this week.

Last week, while out in the evening, we saw a kitten, running around a busy parking lot. I got out of the car, and tried to get the kitten, who kept running under cars. The kitten looked fuzzy, and, I thought, about eight weeks old. At that age, kittens have a good chance of taming, and becoming adoptable. So, I borrowed two safety traps from a local cat rescue, thinking I could put one on either side of the dumpster that was nearby, but was flanked on either side by roads. I thought I could put the kitten at less risk for crossing running in front of cars that way.

Feral tabby kittens, photo by Elizabeth RuffingI was amazed that I was able to even find the kitten again, in the dark. I saw her from a distance, running into some bushes near a restaurant. I grabbed the traps, and set one up on either side of the dumpster there, while the kitten watched me from a few feet away. I couldn’t believe my luck. She hopped on top of the trap, then jumped inside. Wow, easy.

Only immediately, another kitten appeared, trying to get in the same trap. I moved the second trap behind the dumpster, and he jumped right in too. By then, some of the employees had come out, and one helped me secure the trap by holding the flashlight for me. It was very dark behind the dumpster, which had a fence behind it. They told me there were at least four kittens and a mama cat. Oh no. The boss was okay with having them there, but none had any shots or had been spayed or neutered. The kittens had just recently begun running around the parking lots as well as crossing the busy road. I brought the kittens home, hoping they would be young enough to tame.

Feral tabby kittens, photo by Elizabeth RuffingMarie came over as soon as she could, and guessed they were closer to ten weeks old, which created a dilemma…At twelve weeks they can go have their vet work done, because they’ll be old enough for their rabies shots. That’s two weeks here to wait for vetting, with no idea if they will tame. Without being tame, they can’t go into the rescue’s adoption program. Marie brought over the big dog cage, and set everything up for me, which I really appreciated, as did the kittens. They did not like being in the safety traps at all.

The kittens are a lot of work, and still aren’t at a point where I can touch them. I found a very informative three-part video on taming feral kittens, and I hope some of the tips will work for us. Part one of the video is here, and part two here, and part three here.

Bright light green fleece Hug Me Slug original art toy by Elizabeth RuffingIn between running here and there, cleaning up after the kittens, and moving them from one area to the next, to keep them comfortable outside, I have gotten a little sewing done. Here are a few new Hug Me Slugs. I will be posting my new handmade stuffed animal toys in our Ruffing’s shop.

Tomato red fleece Hug Me Slug original art toy by Elizabeth RuffingI’m hoping to settle into more of a routine, and get organized in regard to the new arrangement, so I will be able to get more done. Not knowing quite what to do about the kittens has been stressful, since they need to be checked out before they can come inside, and it is hard to get them to socialize much while they are outside. At least they seem to be very healthy, and they are relaxing, playing, and eating like kittens should. I have no idea how long it will take them to tame, or if they will decide they would even like to be tame. It does seem however, that they will decide!

Gold fleece Hug Me Slug original art toy by Elizabeth RuffingIn the meantime, I am looking forward to getting back to some sewing and repopulating my Etsy shop. I know it is now the time of year when I need to get moving, or I will miss out when the holidays come around.

Light lavender fleece Hug Me Slug original art toy by Elizabeth RuffingHopefully this weekend and coming week will go smoothly, and peacefully for everyone.

Dark lavender purple fleece Hug Me Slug original art toy by Elizabeth RuffingUpdate: These kitties were not tame enough to go to adoption events, and so…they are now our pets. They have adjusted very well and are enjoying life as house cats.

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Blue Polka-dotted Alley Cat Angel Sock Kitten

Blue polka-dotted Alley Cat Angel Sock Kitten by Elizabeth RuffingI have another Alley Cat Angel sock kitten, a blue one with dark-blue polka-dots, and a bright yellow fleece heart. Once again, ten dollars from the adoption of this sock kitten will go to a local cat rescue, Alley Cats and Angels of NC.

Blue polka-dotted Alley Cat Angel Sock Kitten by Elizabeth RuffingThis angel was photographed with our purple ageratum, which blooms for a long while this time of year. Most of the other flowers have gone to sleep until spring.

Blue polka-dotted Alley Cat Angel Sock Kitten by Elizabeth RuffingHere is a view of the fleece wings. My first Alley Cat Angel had sock wings, but I like to work with fleece. So, I switched. I like the soft fuzziness.

Blue polka-dotted Alley Cat Angel Sock Kitten by Elizabeth RuffingI will be posting my new handmade stuffed animal toys in our Ruffing’s shop.

Blue polka-dotted Alley Cat Angel Sock Kitten by Elizabeth RuffingI went to photograph more rescue cats and kittens. This is Miracle, who really is a miracle. The rescue has worked so hard to rejuvenate her, after she was very badly malnourished and her growth had been stunted. You can see what she looked like when she was first rescued, and the transformation is incredible. There are earlier photos of Miracle in this album on Facebook.

Miracle kitten from Alley Cats and Angels Rescue of North Carolina, photo by Elizabeth RuffingMiracle is doing great now, and as of the other day, she is just shy of two pounds, which is a huge improvement for her. Here she is playing with a kitten who is approximately her own age. That’s how tiny she is! Now she has a round belly like all healthy kittens should have, and she is playing with toys too. All major turns for her.

Miracle kitten from Alley Cats and Angels Rescue of North Carolina, photo by Elizabeth RuffingMiracle is only in a cage, which is quite ample for her, temporarily, for safety when she is without human supervision, because she has had an atrophied leg, which is improving.

Miracle kitten from Alley Cats and Angels Rescue of North Carolina, photo by Elizabeth RuffingI watched her wrestle with her stuffed animals before getting tired. She settled in with her pink teddy bear for a nap.