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Hearts and kittens and Wonder Bunnies

Wonder Bunny plush art toys in progress, by Elizabeth RuffingI made some more progress on my Wonder Bunnies and one Super Slug. They just need their capes now.

Wonder Bunny plush art toys in progress, by Elizabeth RuffingThey are the last of the toys I had stuffed and waiting in the box on my ironing board. I have many bodies to stuff, and there is another avalanche of fabric starting in my workroom.

Henrietta sleeping on my workroom chair, by Elizabeth RuffingHenrietta has been keeping guard in there for me, while Juno has attempted to help me with my hand sewing.

Juno kitten in my toy box with my Wonder Bunnies, by Elizabeth RuffingJuno tries to fit in the box with the toys I am working on, any way that she can. I’m not sure why she thought this headstand position would be practical.

Juno kitten in my toy box with my Wonder Bunnies, by Elizabeth RuffingOnce she settles in, it doesn’t take her long to get into attack mode. There is a thin line for her between helping and attacking me. First, she has to choose which part of me she would most like to bite.

Juno kitten in my toy box with my Wonder Bunnies, by Elizabeth RuffingIf thread or embroidery floss is involved, the choice is easy.

Juno kitten in my toy box with my Wonder Bunnies, by Elizabeth RuffingThe trick is to try to look sort of innocent, and then lunge.

Juno kitten in my toy box with my Wonder Bunnies, by Elizabeth RuffingShe took the whole box with the Wonder Bunnies in it with her for this particular advance. This is the point where I usually remove the toys from the box, and let her have it to herself.

Juno kitten in my toy box with my Wonder Bunnies, by Elizabeth RuffingOliver Bunny thinks she is crazy. I am still keeping them separated. Sooner or later she has to calm down. Right? Maybe? I hope so.

Oliver Bunny with his IKEA doll bed, by Elizabeth RuffingA lot seems to be going on lately, and I haven’t been able to catch up with my toy making as much as I would like. There have been a lot of doctor visits to go to, and my dad will be needing bypass surgery on his heart soon, for three blockages. He is likely going to have a long recovery period, when he can’t drive or work, and he’ll have some other limitations. There will be a lot to do, and I hope everything will go well all the way around.

I have been having chest pain myself, for the past month and a half, probably from stress, and have to go to the cardiologist soon. I will be the only one here who can drive, and I am worried about that too. I’m not sure what I will do if I need to have tests done that require a ride. I’m trying not to think about everything at once.

Scooter begging for treats, by Elizabeth RuffingTrouble, from next door, has offered to sit ready at, or under, my car, in case I need him, but I don’t think his paws will reach the foot pedals.

Scooter begging for treats, by Elizabeth RuffingHis brother, Scooter, has offered to help me clean up any dishes I need washed, especially if they have cat food on them. He comes over to the back door to offer this service regularly. He asked to take care of a nectarine pit and then some lettuce for me the other night. He was very sincere about it. Cats are so helpful.

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Juno, Junonimo! An unexpected lesson in abandoned kitten care.

Juno, orange kitten, four weeks old by Elizabeth Ruffing, abandoned kittens care

I got an unexpected lesson in abandoned kitten care.

The day after my last post, our friend Cheryl found this four-week old baby screaming by the side of the highway outside her house, at 1am.

Cheryl has been finding kittens in need of rescue almost every other day lately. She had to go to work in the morning, after staying up much of the night, trying to get the very upset kitten to eat, and put out a call for help.

I had no experience bottle feeding kittens, but I knew they have to be fed frequently and kept warm. I was home, and met her at the plaza to take the little one, who was still screaming, home with me.

Juno, orange kitten, four weeks old by Elizabeth RuffingCheryl had given her a bath, but couldn’t get her to eat on her own. Cheryl gave me some KMR, kitten milk replacer/formula, which is available at pet supply stores, along with a bottle for feeding kittens. Walmart had a version of kitten formula as well. Cheryl had some because, as I said, she keeps finding kittens.

Kitten formula needs to be mixed and then warmed first, before feeding it to kittens. Best Friends has more detailed information abandoned kitten care about what and how much to feed rescued kittens, how often to feed them depending on their age, and how to care for them. At four weeks, they are ready for gruel, kitten food mixed with formula.

I couldn’t get the kitten to eat on her own either. I tried putting a little mashed-up gruel of KMR and kitten food in her mouth with a syringe, but that didn’t work so well. I was concerned about potentially choking her, by trying to feed her with the syringe. She needed to take it in at her own pace, and it is hard to release food gradually with a syringe. She had to eat every few hours or so.

Newborn kittens have to eat more frequently. They should stay with their mothers at least until they are weaned, and should only be taken to be hand fed if you are certain they are orphaned or have no mother cat to nurse them. The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals has more detailed information about abandoned newborn kittens, what to do, and what not to do, if you find them.

My mom and I tried wet kitten food, dry kitten food, dry kitten food softened with water and KMR, but she wouldn’t take it on her own.

Finally, I got her to eat by putting the gruel in the palm of my hand. I cupped my hand, and put a small amount of dry food softened with water mixed with KMR formula, warmed, in the palm of my hand. I sat in a chair, with her on my lap, and held my cupped hand right near her muzzle. She stuck her nose in there, and kneaded me, while she ate.

She wanted to travel around my chest and neck. So, I kept moving my cupped hand with the gruel, offering it to her wherever she felt like kneading. Her face got messy, and so did I, but she was eating! Whew. We offered her food this way every three hours or so.

Juno, orange kitten, four weeks old by Elizabeth RuffingAny found animals should be kept separated from your other pets, at least for a couple of weeks, until they have the okay from the vet that they are in good health. Everyone needs to be up to date on their vaccines too. An extra room is best, but we didn’t have an extra room available right away.

I set her up in our extra bunny bin, which is smaller than Oliver’s. She yelled for a while, but then calmed down. I’m sure she was terrified, being left the way she was. She was only 14 ounces. She was extremely lucky that Cheryl found her and rescued her.

Juno, orange kitten, four weeks old by Elizabeth RuffingMy mom and I took turns feeding her and cleaning her up. Best Friends has more detailed information about cleaning kittens, as young ones need to be gently cleaned with a warm damp cotton ball, to help them go to the bathroom after they eat too.

We took her to the vet for a checkup, and got some other dry kitten food. We found that she liked to eat the softened dry kitten food out of the palms of our hands, so she could “nurse.”

The vet explained to us we would have to show her how to eat out of a bowl. We put a bowl right next to her, with the food, while she ate food from our palms. She was still kneading, like she was nursing from our palms. We tried to guide her over to the bowl, while she ate, adding food from the bowl, to our palms. Eventually, she tried taking it from the bowl, but not consistently.

Juno, orange kitten, four weeks old by Elizabeth RuffingEven now, we are still supplementing her diet with KMR, which she laps from her bowl, and she is, at long last, eating dry kitten food on her own.

She is very fussy about food, and we have to change varieties to keep her interested. She likes big cat dry food. That is probably because she likes to play hockey with the larger nuggets. She won’t touch canned food. She has strong preferences.

Juno, orange kitten, climbing a chair by Elizabeth RuffingShe has a feisty personality. She takes on everyone and everything in the house.

Juno, orange kitten, attacking the lettering on a box, by Elizabeth RuffingShe was showing the lettering on our cardboard boxes who the boss was too.

Juno, orange kitten, biting my hand, by Elizabeth RuffingOur vet said we can expect another couple of months of that, while she tries to prove to everyone that she is the alpha cat, which is odd because of her tiny size. He said once she establishes her position, she will stop trying to make her point. We’ll see.

I named her Juno, after the powerful Roman goddess, and after the independent Juno of the film by the same name. My mom dubbed her “Junonimo,” after Geronimo.

Juno, orange kitten, biting my hand, by Elizabeth RuffingShe loves to bite. I use a baby rattle to distract her so I can pry my hands loose, when I need to use them for something other than kitten chew toys.

Juno, orange kitten, by Elizabeth RuffingShe can be relentless.

Juno, orange kitten, attacking her reflection, by Elizabeth RuffingHer own reflection is not excused either. She is a fierce warrior.

Juno, orange kitten, napping, by Elizabeth RuffingLuckily, she takes long naps.

Juno, orange kitten, by Elizabeth RuffingShe has become an avid fan of our household game, “Ropey.” I had to get an extra cord because she tries to take it for herself and won’t always give it back.

Juno, orange kitten, with Ropey, by Elizabeth RuffingShe is getting leggy, but is still a pipsqueak.

Juno, orange kitten, approaching the big world outdoors, by Elizabeth RuffingOliver Bunny was prepared to like her, but has found her to be completely without manners.

Oliver Bunny finds the kitten to be rude, by Elizabeth RuffingI have to keep her away from him, until she calms down.

Juno, orange kitten, jumping on Jude, by Elizabeth RuffingRight now, most of what she knows of social interaction is smacking and biting and wrestling. The adult cats are supposed to teach her how to behave, by scolding her, if she gets too nervy. Jude is playing papa to her. The vet said if he hisses at her, he is just doing his job, teaching her what is okay and what isn’t.

Juno, orange kitten, napping next to me, by Elizabeth Ruffing Yesterday, she gave me a head bump, purred, and licked my nose, which was a nice change. Then she bit me, but progress is progress.

Juno, orange kitten, on top of Oliver's bunny bin, by Elizabeth RuffingShe is super fast. I have to confine her while I clean up Oliver’s litter in the morning, or she dives right into his bunny bin.

Juno, orange kitten, on top of Oliver's bunny bin, by Elizabeth RuffingHe doesn’t like that at all. He grunts at her and gets upset. She likes to run inside his Twigloo house. I’m hoping they will be friends when she calms down.

The three of us, bunny, kitten, and I, did manage to watch a movie together, “Fright Night,” which I thought was fitting for a vampire kitten. She was afraid when the characters were fighting, of all things. I kept the baby rattle on hand, for the moments when she got her own ideas.

Liquitex Fabric Medium and custom-printed eyeballs, by Elizabeth RuffingIn between feeding, cleaning, and kitten monitoring, I painted bunches of eyeballs and worked on a box of toys. I sealed a lot of my custom-printed eyeballs and emblems with my Liquitex Fabric Medium.

Hug Me Bunnies and Hug Me Kittens, art toys in progress, by Elizabeth RuffingI cut them out and pinned them to toys, and I’ve been hand embroidering them onto fleece bunnies, kittens, slugs, and sock monsters.

Hug Me Monsters, art toys in progress, by Elizabeth RuffingThese are photos of the toys in progress. I will post finished toys on our Ruffing’s shop. I’ll make blog posts for them separately, since my kitten photo album on this post is big!

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Wonder Bunnies and Super Slugs

Wonder Bunny, Hug Me Bunny plush stuffed animal art toy by Elizabeth Ruffing

Wonder Bunnies and Super Slugs!

This is my first Wonder Bunny plush rabbit, the superhero version of my Hug Me Bunnies. He (or she) has my pretty new custom-printed eyeballs and a “B” for bunny emblem.

Wonder Bunny, Hug Me Bunny plush stuffed animal art toy by Elizabeth RuffingHe also has a fancy cape, yellow with polka dots on one side, and red with planets on the other. I found some nice planet and star fabrics for capes for my Wonder Bunnies and Super Slugs.

Wonder Bunny, Hug Me Bunny plush stuffed animal art toy by Elizabeth RuffingI made a couple of versions of this cape before I decided I liked this size the best on him.

Wonder Bunny, Hug Me Bunny plush stuffed animal art toy by Elizabeth RuffingI made a special hang tag for my Wonder Bunnies.

Wonder Bunny, Hug Me Bunny hang tag by Elizabeth RuffingNow he’s ready to fly. I need to make some Wonder Bunnies in different colors. I will post them in our Ruffing’s shop.

Super Slugs, Hug Me Slugs plush stuffed animal art toys by Elizabeth RuffingI made these twin Super Slugs as a custom order. This was one version of the cape I tried. It was round on the sides and fuller.

Wonder Bunny, Hug Me Bunny plush stuffed animal art toy by Elizabeth RuffingMid-Wonder-Bunny, I ran into an issue which made me panic. My new emblems and eyeballs were shedding at their edges when I cut them out. Luckily, my mom suggested I coat them with Liquitex Fabric Medium, to seal the surface. It worked very well, thank goodness. The fabric medium is nontoxic and keeps everything in place. I didn’t encounter this with my monster eyeballs, because they had white around the colors. Any edge shedding wasn’t noticeable. Now I just need to paint my eight gazillion eyeballs and emblems with fabric medium. No problem. Ha.

Spoonflower fleece sample, eyeballs and emblems by Elizabeth RuffingI ordered all my fleece eyeballs, and emblems for my Wonder Bunnies and Super Slugs, from Fabric on Demand. They did a great job. Since then, Spoonflower came out with fleece as well. I had a problem with their black not being black enough on their faux suede fabric. I ordered a sample of their fleece (shown above), and was happy to find the black did print as black this time. The colors aren’t exactly the same from both companies, and so I would still recommend printing a color map if you need to match color.

Rainbow fleece, Elizabeth RuffingI was inspired to go out and get some rainbow fleece yesterday after seeing a rainbow display online at Target. Walmart (above left) and Jo-Ann’s (above right) both had some. I thought I might need some equality slugs or bunnies or kitties, or some of each, because the news and comments here in NC, and now across the country, are driving me right up the wall.

Pile of cotton print fabrics, Elizabeth RuffingI’ve collected some cotton prints from both stores too. Walmart now has Waverly prints, and they have a lot of pretty ones. I’m sure I have too many. I’ve been saying I’ll have to give up toy making because I can’t fit myself into the workroom.

Gumdrop Baby art toy by Elizabeth RuffingI’ve been redrafting all my templates for my toy characters. I experimented with my Gumdrop Baby, but I have a feeling I will end up going back to the original pattern. I can’t decide on a face, and whether I should go with a cartoonish more modern face, like the prototype above, or a more detailed antique dolly face. The original Gumdrop Babies are here on my blog. An example of a more detailed antique dolly face is here on Leah.

Oliver Bunny, and kitties Bertie and Jojo, hanging out, relaxing, by Elizabeth RuffingMost of the crew here outside my workroom door doesn’t seem to have an opinion. They like anything they can play with, cuddle with, or in Oliver Bunny’s case, lick.

Trouble black and white kitty cat sneaking up on Santana while he is sleeping, by Elizabeth RuffingThe crew outside doesn’t seem to have an interest either, unless a toy is filled with catnip. Trouble thinks Santana makes a good toy, and likes to sneak up on him while he is sleeping. Santana has no sense of humor about this. This photo was taking shortly before the yowling began. It was short lived. Trouble likes me to escort him home, where he falls over for pets.

Pets are important. Trouble comes looking for me if I don’t make an early appearance outside. Recently, he went all the way to my bedroom window, looking for me.

Trouble black and white kitty cat coming to see me, by Elizabeth RuffingTrouble comes running when he sees me come out in the morning.

Santana orange kitty cat, on the lookout, by Elizabeth RuffingSantana wants the porch and the deck to himself, and takes his guard duty seriously. They really both want me to pay attention to them and they don’t want to share. Eventually, they should get used to the idea. I hope.

Oh, I almost forgot…I keep going to doctors, and getting blood tests and biopsies. My circular rash turned out to be granuloma annulare, which is harmless, with no sure cause. My white blood cell count is consistently high, four times in a row now. We don’t know why. I don’t know if it is linked to the fatigue I have had. I have more appointments and tests, but we may only find out that I am weird. Or my blood is weird? I don’t know. It could be anything or nothing at all. I try not to think about it. I did pretty well, since I forgot to mention it through this whole blog post.

Got to go do stuff. Take care, all.