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Santa makes salamanders!

Santana playing with his catnip salamander by Elizabeth RuffingMerry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone! I spent yesterday stuffing catnip into toys. I still have a catnip-induced headache, but the kitties were happy. Santana received his very own catnip salamander. I think he likes it.

Santana's catnip salamander by Elizabeth RuffingThe salamander is brown with polka dots on one side, and green with polka dots on the other. I’m not sure I have his legs going the right way. I was modifying a pattern, Simplicity 3953. It may no longer be in print, but there are some to be found on Etsy and eBay. I scanned the smallest version and made it a little smaller. Then I flipped and redrew parts of it in Photoshop. But you could use it as is and just fill it with catnip.

Santana playing with his catnip salamander by Elizabeth RuffingSantana loves getting special presents.

Santana playing with his catnip salamander by Elizabeth RuffingI wrapped the presents for everyone else. The cats needed a little help opening theirs. Oliver Bunny didn’t want to be bothered. I opened his wicker ball for him. He pushed it with his nose and grunted at me. I think he was more in the mood for a nap. It is unusually warm here and gray.

Santana playing with his catnip salamander by Elizabeth RuffingI received such a nice message this week, from someone who adopted a Hug Me Slug, and who has been having a rough time with stress and illness. I was touched that she read my blog, from the beginning, and found it calming. I hope she will keep feeling better every day, and that the package I sent her will bring her some joy and comfort. And, wow, someone made it through my blog. 🙂

Santana playing with his catnip salamander by Elizabeth RuffingI’m not sure what to do on holidays. I know what to do before Christmas, surely, but not what to do on Christmas. I feel like I should get back to work, immediately. We opened some presents, I ate some candy, and we’ll have dinner later. I sat outside for a while, with Henrietta. I’m trying to make a holiday of it. I would read a book, but my head hurts. Holidays make me feel like I am waiting around.

Santana playing with his catnip salamander by Elizabeth RuffingI should be good at relaxing. I have these fine furry examples all around me.

I hope you all enjoy your day!

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Handmade catnip pouches

Fleece catnip pouchesI made some catnip-filled fleece toys for my kitty, who was a very brave boy at the vet’s this week. He needed to have four teeth and one root of a tooth, that had dissolved on its own, extracted! He’s done very well, and as nerve-wracking as it was for him and for us, I’m glad we brought him in. No one could have anticipated what was going on in there, since he wouldn’t let anyone look. After having these extractions, and the seven he had done before, I think he’s got about eleven teeth left. The vet assured me that he had a great white cat who, after age twelve, had no teeth at all. He lived to be twenty, and he ate dry food. So, even though this may be a genetic problem that may likely continue, the prognosis is excellent for his continuing to happily eat whatever he likes.

Kitty playing with a fleece catnip pouchI waited for his grogginess to wear off before giving him one of the catnip pouches I made, and he dove right on his. I just drew a shape on some fleece, knotted and inserted a finished cotton strip (a sewn piece of folded bias tape would work just fine) into the seam line (the end of the strip goes inside the toy before you sew), and sewed around the shape, leaving a small opening for turning and stuffing. I then filled each pouch with organic catnip that I got at Target, and sewed up the opening on each one with a needle and thread.

Envelope for the Kitty Tooth FairyOur vet tech gave me his teeth in this envelope for the Kitty Tooth Fairy. She even drew a cute winged tooth on it. So, in addition to a catnip pouch, he may have received something special from the Kitty Tooth Fairy’s visit. If it was food, I think he ate it before I woke up. He was very hungry the next day after his surgery, and very cheerful too. He’s been on pain medication and antibiotics, and he’s not to have any dry food for a few days, so it won’t disturb his stitches, which will dissolve on their own.

Kitty playing with a fleece catnip pouchCatnip pouches also make great pillows on which to rest your chin while napping. He’s been doing a lot of that.

Kitties playing with catnipThe rest of the crew was a bit upset I didn’t make enough catnip pouches for everyone, and I am planning to rectify that as soon as possible. In the meantime, they all got some catnip to roll around on and sniff. I just put a few teaspoons of it on the carpet. They all react differently, playing or just zoning out and falling asleep. Either way, the catnip was a big hit.

Kitty taking a catnip nap

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Monster Chiller Horror Mouse Toy

Black-and-white cat napping with a toy mouse

Toy mouseWe went food shopping today, and I stuck this little toy mouse for cats in the cart, thinking it was cute. This cat toy is really called “The Cat Fancier’s Association Active Cat Solo Play Cat Toy”. I guess it looks kind of real. Kind of. Sort of.

Toy mouseThat’s what I thought anyway, until I heard the cashier shrieking uncontrollably. Mind you, at the time, the stuffed toy mouse was sewn to a card, which was printed in part with the words “cat toy” on it. “Oh, I can’t touch it! I CAN’T touch it! It’s the tail! IT’S THE TAIL! AHHH!!”

She got a paper towel and tried to pick up the toy mouse. She was still shrieking.

“AHHH!! I CAN’T!!! Oh, I can’t touch it!”

The man behind us picked up the toy mouse. I tried to get around the cashier, from the other side, to scan the card myself, but she was holding onto my arm. We were all laughing at this point, even the poor cashier, but she just couldn’t get herself together. She was shaking. I finally grabbed the mouse and scanned the card. She held out a bag for me to drop it into, while trying not to look. I said, “It’s all gone now,” and apologized for traumatizing her. I hope she has recovered by now!

Black-and-white tuxedo cat with a toy mouseBack at home the Monster Chiller Horror Mouse Toy wasn’t nearly as scaaary.

If you are in the mood to make some scare-free completely un-mouse-like catnip toys, check out my catnip toy tutorial for catnip squares, cigars, and kickers with free patterns.