Blue-spotted sock toads and Mother’s Day kittens

Hug Me Sock Toads by Elizabeth Ruffing, green with blue polka dots The mom of a girl named Emily, who has a collection of my Hug Me Toads, wrote to tell me that Emily’s grandma let her pick her own birthday gift this year, and a Hug Me Toad was her first choice. I thought that was so great. I felt very touched hearing that. Emily picked out her own colors, from the socks I had, green with blue polka dots, with an orange fleece heart. It turned out to be a super combination. I liked it so much, I made a toad sibling with a tomato-red-orange heart too.

Hug Me Sock Toads by Elizabeth Ruffing, green with blue polka dots The first toad is already on his way to Emily and the one with the tomato-red-orange heart is in my Etsy toy shop.

Hug Me Sock Toads by Elizabeth Ruffing, green with blue polka dots Another of my Hug Me Slugs left for France today. He stopped to pose with the toads before they got ready to go. One of my Super Slugs went to Paris just last week. My slugs are becoming well traveled.

Hug Me Sock Toads by Elizabeth Ruffing, green with blue polka dots I am still working on getting more sock dolls and fleece animals together. I will add them as I get them ready.

Hug Me Sock Toads by Elizabeth Ruffing, green with blue polka dots My workroom is full of fleece and socks right now!

Hug Me Sock Toads by Elizabeth Ruffing, green with blue polka dots This is my redone hang tag for my Hug Me Toads. I’ve been going through all my tags, sprucing up the designs a little.

Hug Me Sock Toads by Elizabeth Ruffing, hang tag I also scanned and resized our art doll body pattern for Max Bailey, and Max got right to work. I expected to see one or two bodies when I went in to look, but there are five! Max is always puzzled by my tendency to make things in groups, and I always say it is easier for me that way. So, I was extra surprised to see a group sitting on the desk.

Doll bodies by Max BaileyOn Mother’s Day, I went along with local rescue volunteers to see a huge group of real kitties. They have been working hard to TNR, trap-neuter/spay-return, a colony of feral cats. I went along to take photos, and took a tremendous number of them. They “debriefed me” on the way there, because the size of the colony was a shock to them when they first arrived. I had already seen photos, and so I was prepared for that part. I wasn’t quite prepared for the surroundings. There were also lots of goats and dogs on the property, which is owned by an older man, who appears to have a disability which gives him limited mobility. He has been trying to take care of all these animals himself, and more and more strays kept arriving. The rescue responded to his call for help, even though it is an hour trip each way, because there were no similar resources available to him where he lives. They’ve been working very hard for weeks, to trap all the cats and get them spayed or neutered and vaccinated. Several litters of kittens were newly born when they first arrived, and many of them disappeared.

Spring Hope rescue kittensWhile they were busy trapping cats, something they needed to do for hours, trying to get the few remaining unfixed cats, I wandered around the property, which had many, many old, abandoned pens and coops, looking for kittens. They found this first one, under the front porch, and I managed to reach in and grab him or her. He was in pretty good shape.

Then I went back to looking through the pens. Sadly, I saw a dead kitten, apparently killed by some predator, in one of the pens, and went in to look for others. It appeared that no one had been in the pen in a long time, probably years, and there were no open doors. The mama cat had to have carried the kittens in, over the roof. I squeezed inside, whacking at the tall weeds with a flashlight, not sure what might be in there, and wanting to scare off anything dangerous. On my first pass through, I didn’t see any more kittens. I went back and got everyone to come along. The owner told me there were poisonous snakes in there, but I knew I’d worry that there were kittens still in there, if I didn’t look, and I’d already been inside. Marie squeezed in the pen with me, while I poked at things, peeking around with the flashlight.

I was about to give up, when I was surprised by two little faces looking up at me! Two tiny kittens were wedged between a board and some rusted old chicken wire and corrugated metal, just a couple of feet from the one who had been killed. I tried to pull the board off, but couldn’t get it by hand. I tried to reach in, but the little tabby was scared and hissing. I asked Tia for a towel, and Marie helped “herd” the little ones out with a stick from the other side of the wire.

Spring Hope rescue kittensThe little hissy one seemed to be trying to protect himself and the gray kitten behind him, but he finally emerged. I waited for the hissy end to get past me, and grabbed him around the tummy. I passed him over the chicken wire to Tia, who kept him wrapped in the bottom of her T-shirt. The gray one came out next, and I passed him over to Tia too. She put all the kittens in a carrier and got them some food. The hissy one kept on hissing, and his one eye looked very bad. The gray baby had some eye infection too. Tia and Marie got them to the vet the next morning, and happily, they are all doing well. The vet even thinks she can save the bad eye. And…the hissy kitten stopped hissing. He just needed some love. The gray kitten is eating up affection too. They are staying with the rescue now, and when they are old enough, well enough, and fixed and vaccinated themselves, they will be available for adoption.

Spring Hope rescue kittensWe were at this location a long time, and I took a great number of photographs. I am working on getting the photos adjusted and resized in batches, and then I’ll put them together, like I did last time. A couple of my photos from that last trip are in Heart2Home Magazine this month, in a great article written by Tia all about TNR and how you can help feral cats in our community. The article starts on page 23 here. Please go have a look!

Update: I’ve uploaded my trapping photos to Facebook, along with captions. You can find the Spring Hope album here (my Mother’s Day photos start a few photos into the album), and the fast food cat-trapping photos here.

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