Track the progress of current Moonspun Persian Cat litters as well as gain insights into the life of a cat breeder!

Monday, 27 July 2015

6 weeks old and growing fast

Well, another week has come and gone, and kittens are even bigger and
even badder if such a thing is possible!

They've become so so mobile this last week, and are now able to run
and pounce at top speed without falling on their faces. They've
started the sideways crab walking too when they're out playing which
is incredibly funny to see. all kittens do it. They puff right up to
look their fiercest, then they eye the unfortunate brother or sister
who is the target of their hunt. Then they stop a little and think
things through, because they're clever, you know. The thought process
goes something like this.

If I just walk right up to him, he's gonna see me coming. then he can
run away. Hmmm, maybe if i work it so he doesn't see me, that means he
has no warning so he can't run away so I can bite his ear really,
really hard! After all, it worked with that toy earlier on. It didn't
stand a chance! Hmmmm, now how to do it without being seen. (kitten
then wiggles around a bit and assumes different positions until...)
Eureka! I've got it! If I turn sideways, I can't see him any more! So,
if I can't see him, then that must mean he can't see me! Now if I just
walk sideways at him, and do a little jig every now and again to face
forwards and have a quick peep to make sure I'm still on course, well,
he'll never know what's hit him!

There then follows a session of back arching, tail swishing, crab
walking hunting, which always ends with the stalkee casually walking
off with a look of disgust, and the stalker left completely bemused as
to why the flawless plan appears to have, well, a flaw!

They're out much more now, and tend to only go into the pen when
they're ready for sleep (which is not very often sadly!). They had
their first foray into the living room today, which means that my
house looks like one giant cardboard box! Why? Because I use old boxes
to block off areas that I don't want them getting to. It helps me keep
cables safe too, and although it's not very attractive, it is very
practical! They tried their hardest to scale the barriers, then gave
up and just settled for trashing the accessible parts of the house
instead. They've discovered that human feet are good for biting, and
that if you tug very hard with all your teeth and all your claws, you
might even be able to steal a human sock... And they make wicked toys!

I'm introducing a new concept to them this week... The cuddle
punnishment. There's no point in telling a kitten so young off for
doing something you don't want it to do. It just doesn't work as their
concentration span is so miniscule that they just won't remember 2
minutes later. If you tell them off, all you do is teach them that the
human is scary. Instead, when they do something I don't like, like
attacking my foot, chewing my jeans or trying to shed my leg, I pick
them up and hug them until they give up and lie still. They don't want
the hug but they can't get away either. They also can't help enjoying
it because they're being tickled and kissed. So what you end up with
is frustration to get back to play. you have to be consistent, but do
this every time and soon they don't bother with the undesirable
behaviour unless they actually are tired and do want a cuddle. It's
starting to work with these guys, but they're slow learners. Win win
for me as it means I get to do lots of cuddling! Sadly, bite
inhibition remains more of a concept than a reality, but again that's
not unusual, particular, I've found anyway, with raw fed babies.

A couple of them fell asleep in my lap today, but little left knot
stayed the longest. She appears to seek me out wherever I am and make
herself comfortable, something that's very dangerous as it makes me
want to keep them... And I decided I wasn't this time!

They are now all eating unaided. I've had to split their feed into two
bowls now as they all want to eat at the same time and get very cross
if they can't chow down exactly when they want to! They're now getting
through about a KG of raw a day between them and mum, and obscene
amount of food considering that a fully grown cat should only eat
about 100-120G a day. My other 4 can't even manage half a KG between
them on a good day! They're little pigs! Everyone who sees them
comments on how jolly and roly poly they are, but that's just the way
I like my babies, fat and healthy and happy.

They had another visitor on Friday who took all these photos. They're
a little wary of new people but this is more due to lack of interest
than fear. They're going to have lots more visitors soon as they are
due to start interviewing their potential new homes, the bit that I
find very, very sad. The first of those visitors comes this weekend.

I'll leave you with some more pictures of them taken at just under 6 weeks old.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Update at last!

I'll start with an apology. It's been ages since I blogged. It started
with horrible illness in my family which took the heart out of me for
blogging for weeks. Then kittens got sick and I was too busy looking
after them to blog. Then I had events to attend so didn't have the
time. Then I looked at it and realised how much time had passed and
what a massive post it was going to have to be to catch you all up,
and I've been so tired and just couldn't face it. And the longer I
left it, the longer that post would have to be. And that brings us to
3 whole weeks. All I can do is apologise and try and bring you up to

When we left off, they were 2 weeks old. Now they're over 5, and such
a lot has changed.

The visitors came and fell in love with the kittens. Unfortunately
though, mum continued with being unhappy. Once again, she stopped
letting milk down and kitten weights suffered as a result. I made the
difficult decision to restrict all visiting by people Gabby didn't
know until kittens were eating solids and were much less dependent on
mum. This meant cancelling a lot of people, most of whom had made
plans to travel from the other side of the country to see us! But as
always, mum and kittens come first, and she was clearly telling me
they were unhappy with strange people.

Not much changed over the next week. Babies continued to grow fatter
and learn to walk. By the end of that week, they were all able to
stand fully, walk well, and only sometimes fall over!

At 3 weeks old I introduced food. Normally I wean straight onto raw
weaning paste, but unfortunately, as I've changed suppliers, I don't
have any any more. Instead, I used baby pate which they absolutely
loved. I normally wean by mixing food with a little water to make it
mushy, popping it on a glass saucer and warming it in the microwave.
Warming makes the food smell extra nice and for a kitten so small,
it's really important that all food they get is at body temperature as
anything cold will chill them and upset their stomachs. They all went
at the food like pros. Normally, i have to finger feed, then gradually
lower my finger towards the plate to teach them that they need to put
their heads down to eat. With these guys, all I mostly had to do was
pop food in their mouths, then just show them where the bowls were.
Left knot unsurprisingly was the most difficult. He's very very quiet,
and it's normally the quiet ones, in my experience anyway, who resist
food the hardest.

The very next day, I found my first tooth. That came from little 1
knot who is the biggest of the bunch. It didn't take the rest long to
follow suit though, and now, at 5 weeks old, they're all in nicely...
And very, very sharp!

Then things took a turn for the worse. Little one knot started to
vomit. He lost a 10th of his body weight overnight, and the next
morning was listless and disinterested in play despite my force
feeding fluids all night long. It was off to the vet for an emergency
trip. Poor little lamb needed fluids putting into him and then
supplementing with milk all through that day. Unfortunately, he's a
fighter and hates, hates, hates formula, so it was a struggle to get
it into him! By the end of that day he'd gained 10G so I decided to
see how he'd do overnight without interferance. Thankfully he hasn't
looked back since, and although he went from the biggest to the
smallest almost overnight, he's now fighting fit.

It was at this point that I decided I needed to order more baby pate,
so took delivery of 60 trays of the stuff... It was also at this point
that kittens decided that mum's food, and only mum's food, was good
enough for them. I swear, I'd be better off just going outside and
throwing money down the drain sometimes.

So, mum's food they got, and loved! There's been one more incidence of
vomitting with a couple of different kittens this time, but thankfully
I managed to force fluids straight away, and so that didn't require a
trip to the vet. I used Manuka honey diluted with water, and would
recommend that all breeders keep some of the good quality stuff in.
Not only is it good for the humans on toast, but it's great for
settling baby tummies, providing an energy boost, killing bacteria and
stopping hypoglycaemia, one of the biggest killers in newborns. Again,
fluids should always be fed at body temperature, and only drip fed.

So where are we now? Well, over the next few weeks, kittens learned to
eat for themselves. Originally I'd just put one at the plate at a time
so they could eat without being disturbed or distracted, but 3 days
ago I started just putting it into the pen with them and showing them
where it was. They still need a little help to find the dish and some
need coaxing to eat occasionally, but I suspect that this is because
they're helping themselves to the food when I'm not there and are just
not hungry when I want them to eat. They've graduated from a small
saucer to a big one, then to mum's bowl which is fab as the mess is
so, so much less! They've gone from tiny baby litter trays (old
chinese food containers are amazingly good for first litter trays), to
very low sided ones, to the big boy trays which are just slightly
higher sided, about half the size of a normal height one. They are all
using the tray consistently at 5 weeks old. Well, they were from about
4 and a half weeks actually. This litter is incredibly advanced.
normally it takes until about 5 or more weeks for them to find the
bowl on their own, and about 6 or 7 for them to be accident free.
They've graduated to the big pen in my hall instead of the newborn one
at 3 weeks, something which normally only happens at 5, because they
wanted the space and were busting out of it. They're able to jump and
cling to the top of a foot high barrier across the door, and push over
the top, so that's had to be reinforced, something i wasn't expecting
to have to do as I thought they'd be out of the pen long before they
were big enough to scale the barrier! They play with toys and can run
after a moving ball without falling. They're now fighting with each
other so much which is good for them as it teaches them to be gentle.

4-7 weeks is a crucial socialising period where they must learn lots
of skills. It's in this period that they will learn to have their
faces cleaned (today was the first day and none of them liked it at
all), their claws cut (dreading that one as they're so fiddly), their
bodies bathed (next week) and their manners with humans. We're working
hard on bite inhibition this week, so my fingers are covered in tiny
pinpricks. It's very hard to teach them not to bite whilst also
teaching them that humans want to play with them. All they seem to
want to do is eat me, and one has to be very careful to strike the
right balance between play and teaching. I'm using toys to give them
something to bite other than me, and if they pester, they get picked
up for a cuddle instead, something which they really, really love.
Little red boy, 1 knot, no knot and left knot will all purr now when
they are cuddled in their pen, but only right knot has purred when
picked up by me, and red by housemate.

They came out yesterday for the first time to have an explore in the
hall. It was bedlum! 6 kittens ran in 6 different directions, and poor
mum just sat down forlornly in the middle and cried because she
couldn't be in 6 different places at once! Kittens had a cracking
party as there were 2 humans to bite and play with, 1 massive
scratching post to climb (even though you're not supposed to cuz it's
very, very high and you might fall off), 3 litter trays to kick sand
out of all over the floor, and 5 other kittens who all have tails that
must be chased, caught, then bitten, very, very hard! After half an
hour, I don't know who was more exhausted, mum or me! But now they
know there's a world outside their pen, they are ever so curious to
get out and explore propperly. Over the next week their time out will
be gradually increased. I don't know how quickly they'll be allowed
out full time as normally they're only starting to explore at 6-7
weeks (nobody comes out until they're accident free), so I'm in
uncharted waters with such young babies.

Thankfully, now that they're all so good on solids, I can have
visitors in again which is fab as they really need that contact over
the next few weeks. My goal for this week is to introduce them to the
brush, the bath, the claw clippers and break the biting habbit. I'd
also be happy if they would tolerate face washing without a massive
fight, but that might come later. I'm also going to stop weighing them
daily and move to weekly. I hate this as I'm almost OCD about record
keeping, but to be honest, they're all so good on solids now that
there's little point unless one of them looks a little off, in which
case I'll weigh immediately. They're all well over the 400G mark now
and almost 500G, so although they're a little light, most of that has
been put on on the solids, so I'm not concerned. All my babies do
this. They stay so light that I worry sick when they're suckling. Then
when they wean, they pile it on and become big fatties!

Anyway, I'll leave you with some photos of them at 4.5 weeks old.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Tense household, but happy kittens!

Yet again, I've had no sleep. I'm sure my cats are the most spoiled,
demanding, high maintenance creatures in the whole entire universe!
Exaggerating? Not much...

Gabby has now decided that it must be my responsibility to tell her if
and when she should feed the babies. She is more than happy to leave
them alone for up to 5 hours (that's when I chickened out and made her
go in as she'd successfully out-weighted me) without showing any
distress or discomfort, all the while letting herself engorge with
milk. Babies are more than happy to sleep in a big kitten heap, and
unhelpfully, don't make a peep! As soon as they squeak she's back in
there, so if I could only teach them to tell her when they're hungry
instead of just burrowing under the pile for warmth and waiting for
food to show up, then that would be great! But do they? Well, why have
a human and meow yourself! They just wait placidly for my alarm to go
off, wake me from a dead sleep, and for their mum to be pushed in to
feed them. Oh, the joy of it!

I must look like crap. I haven't slept propperly now in 2 weeks, and
it's really telling. My body is bone tired, my energy is at rock
bottom. I'm not eating propperly as I'm too tired to be bothered with
cooking. Am I selling this to you?

The other cats know there's something new in the house and some are
not happy about it. Millie, who is the best mum I've ever had, is
desperate to find these little squeaking babies who so obviously, she
thinks, need her help! Every time they cry she goes into a complete
frenzy, and has gotten to the point where she's taking out her stress
on the others. She had to be separated from everyone but her mum
yesterday as Tia's the only one Millie will not dare to pick on... Tia
is most definitely top cat in this house and everyone with any sense
respects that. This morning though, she's mothering Apache to death.
Poor Apache came for a cuddle to get away from her, sopping wet from
being over-groomed and over-mothered, but if it keeps Millie happy
then that's all well and good. Unfortunately I'm having to monitor the
kittens with a baby monitor, so Millie does hear every time they kick
off. I can't let her in to see them as Gabby and her have a hate hate
relationship and Gabby isn't leaving the nest for long enough yet
(well, not leaving from outside it should I say) for me to sneak
Millie in so she can investigate and see that they're Ok. Once she's
done that she'd be happy enough.

Gabby is only happy with Tia and Apache, but as she wants the pen
constantly open, and the other two would sneak in and eat all her
food, they're not allowed in. So now I'm running a 3 way separation.
Gabby in with me, 2 cats in the hall and another 2 in the living room.
It's taxing!

Kittens are getting so much better at taking affection. Today, I was
able to tickle the fattest out of the bunch, one of the little white
ones who surely must be a boy because he's so big! He was loving it,
rolling around, stretching, getting rubbies all over his little fat
tumm and chest. He's the first to actively, although clumsily, play
with me though. He was able to sort of bat at and catch my finger,
which he then proceeded to gum viciously. I was also able to pick up
little left knot (this referring to where I've tied knots in their ID
collars to work out who's who), another white, who stayed happily
curled up in my hands fast asleep while I kissed the kitten belly.
Well, it would be rude not to!

I love the baby smell of them. All milk and fat bellies and warmth.
They lose that all too soon and I'm sad to see it go, but right now
it's really delightful.

2 of the babies have now broken the 200G barrier which is fab news.
Little Mr fatty and red boy are the two biggest, with one of my whites
now as the smallest. That one's being watched very carefully but is
gaining so well. It's so difficult to find names to call them without
pet naming them, something I said I'd not do this time around as it
makes it so, so much harder to part with them, as if I don't find it
hard enough! So for now, there's 1 splodge who was the smallest at
birth and has 1 black splodge on his head, 2 splodge who is second
smallest and has 2 black splodges on her head (a her because I'm
completely in love with her outgoing, affectionate nature so need her
to be a girl so I can justify keeping her! I mean not keeping her),
red boy, left knot who is a white and the really quiet one of the
bunch, right knot who is the smallest of the group and another white,
and fatty 1 knot who's another white and a huge chunk!

They'll be 2 weeks old tomorrow and will be receiving their first
visitors. I have a couple of friends coming down who say they're
coming to see me, but I know the truth. They will have cameras at the
ready, so there'll be lots of new photos for next week! Can't promise
to blog over the weekend, but if I get time, I'll pop something down

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Apologies, but update at last!

I can only apologise that it's been a while since my last update. On a
personal level, this week hasn't been one of my best ones, and has
been manic in the extreme, so blogging had to take a back seat to the
pulls of real life I'm afraid. Must do better!

But still, I'm back now, and so are the kittens! They're 12 days old
now and living life to the fullest. This is the most advanced litter I
have ever bred, and they're running me ragged! You know that material
bed I told you about? The one with the really high edges? The one that
they couldn't get out of? The one that would keep them all in one
place and easily available for mum? Scuse me while I laugh heartily at
my own stupidity! It lasted until yesterday. Yep, a whole 4 days
before the little sods worked out how to claw their way up the side,
then do a head over heels chuck yourself off the top type maneuver to
get out. Didn't matter how many times I'd put them back in. Out they'd
come again! And who cares that you can't get back into the stupid bed
when you've just had so much fun getting out? It was only 2, but they
were insistent! They clearly wanted a cuddle because if I put my face
down to theirs, they were content to just hang there and get rubbies
and lovins, but stop and off they went again! With a heavy heart, I
decided that all beds must go. Instead, they've been popped onto
bedding which lines the whole floor of their pen. This means the nest
is now a lot bigger, but that means great fun! They've had a whale of
a time charging around from one side to the other, squeaking and
yelling the whole time as they give a running commentary on what
they're doing. "Oh, this is great! Watch me go! Look, I'm up on all
four feet! Hussain Bolt eat your heart out! I'm moving at at least
half a CM an hour! Oh dear, my head's too heavy. Can I run with it
down? Uh oh, it's got stuck. Oops, I fell! Funfunfun!" And on and on
it goes until both me and mum have resounding headaches! They're so
wobbly on their little legs. Think of a baby learning to toddle and
you'll get the picture. Except when you have 4 legs to control instead
of two, and a huuuuuuuge heavy head that you can only just about hold
up, it does get interesting! For the first little while of their
lives, they use swimming motions to get from place to place. They
sometimes forget when they're walking, so half walk, half swim and
fall over when the wind blows the wrong way. Their tails are going
like little windmills the whole time, and the cuteness factor is
through the roof! Wonder if I can get someone to video it for me?

Normally, newborns should eat and sleep, so naturally my worries
massively increased when they started this squalking a few days ago. I
tried turning on the heatpad but then they got too hot. Turn it off
and they just slept in a big kitten pile. I thought they were hungry.
They refused the bottle. I thought they needed toiletting. They
didn't. In the end, I've just accepted that they're a very vocal, very
lively, very, very noisy litter!

They've all more than doubled their birth weight now and are gaining
steadily. There's always 1 who doesn't gain as much as the others, but
as it's always a different one and they all consistently refues the
bottle, I've made the executive decision that I'm not going to worry
about it unless they tail off for more than a day... I figure if I
keep telling myself that, then I might just take my own advice one

3 kittens now have their eyes completely open. Surprisingly, it was
the two smallest whites with black splodges that started first,
unsurprisingly closely followed my Mr naughty red boy who is a drama
queen extraordinaire! The other 3 are a bit slower, but they'll get
there. The tiniest kitten at birth is now the 4th biggest, but
surprisingly she still has part of her chord attached to her tummy.
I'm just waiting for that to fall off. Shouldn't be much longer.

They squabble so much now, sometimes fighting just for the sake of it
even though they all have a nipple already. They seem to take an
unholy pleasure in pulling each other off just to see who can scream
the loudest!

Gabby continues to demand free access to the pen, and point blank
refuses to jump through a top opening. This has meant that we've had
to construct a barrier to stop kittens simply throwing themselves out
of the door, the same way they did with the bed. They're very, very
cross about it, and constantly test their might. So far they're
failing, but something tells me it won't be too long before my bedroom
isn't safe from little fluffs!

They'll move into their much bigger kitten pen and out of the newborn
one probably in about another week. Again this is something I normally
leave until they're about 5 weeks old, but I think these guys are
going to want the space to run and be little hooligans!

Thankfully Gabby has now decided that she quite likes her raw food
again. this has done wonders for milk production, and she's so full
that kittens can have fat little tummies within about 10-15 minutes of
starting to suckle. Again this is new for me as mine in the past have
taken a good half an hour to be full up and sleepy. The only thing I'm
sad about is that she never seems to want to cuddle them. She's happy
to lie near them outside where they can't get to her, but of course,
as soon as she goes back in they think it's food time, so all she ever
knows of them is when they're suckling on her. I just wish she could
get the pleasure of going to sleep with a big purry pile by her tummy,
but she won't let them.

She's still squashing them, although not as much now that the bed has
been removed. I'm hopeful that I can start leaving her alone for short
periods now, although last Sunday was a disaster. She got so upset by
having the cat sitter in that she stopped letting milk down, and all
kittens lost weight. Not really sure how to handle that one. I've
already cancelled a show this weekend which has lost me a lot of money
(not that that's important when it comes to her happiness), so yet
again, one of the unexpected costs of breeding. She'll need to get
comfy soon though as I've got a wedding to go to on the 11th of July
which I simply can't miss! I'm hoping by that point that kittens will
be well on the way to being weaned, so less dependent on her.

As for my sleep, I'm getting no more of it now than I did almost 2
weeks ago. She still wants my help to get everyone arranged to her
satisfaction for feeding. I suppose I've made the rod for my own back
because I'll keep getting up and doing it, but if I don't, I just lie
in bed and imagine poor little hungry mewing, freezing kittens
(ridiculous I know) who feel lost and can't find their mummy as they
wander the barren wastelands of the warm, comfy pen, and so I don't
sleep anyway! Then Mr 2 splodge will come trundling over for a cuddle
when she (really hoping it's a she as I'm a bit in love) sees me come
into the pen. Then a friend will wonder what 2 splodge is up to and
come investigate. Then they'll divide into two groups. then I'll put
them back with mum. Then they'll race each other to see who can get
back first for another tickle. Oh and on and on it goes! My eyes are
hanging out of my head with tiredness as I won't leave until they're
all latched and feeding, and their capacity for cuddles is great, so
it takes a blooming long time for them to give up!

Wow, that was a bit longer than I thought it would be! Anyway, I'll
leave you with some photos taken at 8 days old, and will promise to
try and be better about updating in the next few days.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

1 week old

It's hard to believe that exactly a week has passed since these babies
arrive. Normally for me, the first week is the slowest. It feels like
it drags. Kittens do nothing but eat, sleep and cry, and mum normally
does nothing but squash them. Although Gabby's done her fair share of
that, her kittens haven't needed excessive involvement and are all
fat, chubby and very, very viggorous. Even little tiny 2-splodge is
fighting merrily for her nipple, and normally my tinies need an awful
lot of input which you'll see if you look back at the posts from
previous litters.

Gabby seems to be back on form and more willing to feed. We've worked
out a compromise. She's very insistent that she wants free access to
her pen, and while this concerns me, i.e possibility of her moving
kittens, if she wants it, I can't really do much about it. She's an
awkward cat at the best of times so it doesn't surprise me that even
in kitten raising she insists on having her own way. So far, and I'm
saying this very, very quietly, she hasn't even attempted to move
them, but I'm giving her clean bedding as often as she wants it,
sometimes twice a day! However, as I say, we've compromised. I let her
come and go as she likes, and she feeds the babies on a rigid 1.5 to 2
hour slot. I put the heat pad on to keep them warm in between and she
lies in front of the door to the nest and guards them against any
possible fierce predators (my house is full of people just waiting to
swoop down on poor unsuspecting kittens and kiss them and cuddle
little squidgy fat bellies). She squeaks at me to tell me she thinks
they need fed, and I get up and move them for her so she can lie down,
or move them so they wake up. She hasn't quite grasped that you have
to lick your babies to make them wake and let them know you're there,
and gets quite indignant when she cuddles down ready for nursing and
they completely ignore her!

She seems to be over her off colour stage. Weight gains were amazingly
good yesterday. Not so hot this morning but not terrible either, and
no baby wanted the bottle last night which is a good sign. All tummies
are nice and podgy and fat, and my biggest kitten is looking like a
little barrel! They've all grown in so much more fluff than they had
when they were born, and are a lot more sociable. nobody has their
eyes open yet, but it won't be long. They are already starting to hear
as they now get quite animated when i come into the nest, probably
because they know it normally means that mum isn't too far behind me,
bringing yummy milk.

None have doubled their birth weights, but mine rarely do in the first
week. They always start small, then grow like weeds from about week 3.
By the time they're ready to go home, they're big monsters and well
over the average weight for their age, so I don't worry about it at
this early stage.

This, for me, is where the fun really begins. This is where they start
to develop and blossom so quickly. Already, they're all purring when
they suckle, and 2 are just starting to purr for pleasure. Today, the
thing that always makes me melt happened. As I popped my hand into the
nest to help pop kittens against Gabby's tummy (she likes me to do
this so they don't shriek for too long), one of the little whites
lazily rolled over, put their paws in the air and just lay there
showing off his tummy (don't know if it's a he, but I can't call a
kitten it, so they can all be he until proven otherwise!). Well, what
could I do! I started tickling, and this tiny little 1 week old kitten
started stretching his paws right out, wiggling, and nibbling on my
finger. When lying on his back was too much, he rolled to his side and
just lay until I was good and finished. I actually had to physically
move him to the milk bar before his sibs drank it dry, as he was quite
content to stay there and purr and be cuddled.

They're already climbing all over my hands when I put them in, and
soon they'll start doing that to actively seek attention instead of
just because they're there. They only moan now instead of distressed
screaming when I take them out to weigh, and quiet almost immediately
when picked up and held again.

Persians really are the sweetest breed for taking affection when
they're tiny, and already I can see this in them. Typically, it's the
2 smallest ones that I'm falling in love with. I just have to remind
myself that I don't want to keep any! Cuz that's worked really, really
well in the past...

We're snapping photos of them on and off today, so will pop some up in
tomorrow's post. They got a new bed because they were too mobile, and
busily chucking themselves out of the first one. Again, I've never
seen a litter do this so young. They can't stand yet, but they were
purposely moving out of the old one, one after the other, and even
when I returned them to mum, straight out they'd come again. This new
bed is a material one, so sadly will have to be binned after they're
done with it, but it has much higher sides. So far, it's kept them in
one place, and if Gabby does squash one, the sides are soft enough
that the kitten shouldn't be in any real danger, something which might
mean I get more sleep at night now!

It's funny. With all my other girls, they accidentally squash kittens
for the first few days, then stop altogether. With Gabby, she was very
careful initially, but now if she lies on one, she just continues
feeding the rest like nothing is happening, while the poor unfortunate
kitten screams blue murder from underneath her!

The kittens have a first tomorrow. I'm getting someone else to watch
them so I can have an afternoon away from the house. I can't wait!
Cabin fever is extreme at the moment. But when you're cuddling a
sleepy bunch of babies, it all seems worth it.

Anyway, enough waffle for today. Photos tomorrow hopefully!

Friday, 19 June 2015

The drama continues

Well, it's been a very eventful day in the nursery.

Last night was marginally better than the night before. I was able to
get 3 hours of unbroken sleep at one point which is some kind of
record for this week I'm sure! However, every time I got up, Gabby was
not in the box with her babies. In the end, I pulled the bed out and
just plopped them all straight onto the vetbed on the floor of the
pen. This meant that wherever mum was, kittens could be there too. In
terms of weight gain, it had no effect whatsoever.

Gains remained poor, and when Gabby stopped responding to even the
cries from her babies, enough was enough. I rang the vet first thing
and got them to come straight out to see her. unfortunately, we were
all worried that she might have retained a kitten, and because her
bladder was very full, the only way they could check for this was an
xray. This meant that she had to be taken to the vets for a quick
trip. Simple right? Wrong.

I had to move the kittens into a bed to stop them crawling all over.
Big mistake. As soon as I did, they started shrieking for their mum.
I've never seen 6 day old kittens so mobile before. They were crawling
everywhere and literally throwing themselves out of the bed to look
for mum. I tried putting vetbed over them. They climbed it upside down
like monkeys and clambered onto the top side. I tried holding them in
my hands but they shrieked more.

I've been considering for some time now whether I should top these
babies up to help mum with the feeding. It's a 2 edged sword though.
On the one hand, it eases the load on mum and promotes big weight
gain, but on the other, it reduces the demand for milk.

A mum's milk flow is determined by the amount the kittens drink. She
adjusts this accordingly. If I top up regularly, I will effectively
reduce the kitten demand for milk, and rather than creating an
abundance, it will simply dry up to the right level. Once you start
that, it's very difficult to stop, because once you do, there's not
enough milk for everyone any more.

However, with 6 very distressed kittens, I thought it was worth a shot
to make them sleepy on full tummies.

Only 4 out of the 6 took the bottle, but I've never seen kittens drink
as quickly in my life. I let them suck it through a teat and out of a
syringe. Normally, I have to press the plunger for the syringe to help
the milk flow. These kittens sucked it straight out themselves and
took down 2.5 mls in about 10 seconds! I've never seen anything like
it and was actually very worried that it was too quick for them.
However, it was all done at their pace and controlled by them, and
there was no choking or spluttering afterwards. Interestingly, as soon
as the 2.5 was done, none of them wanted a second lot despite gulping
so fast.

I've never had syringe feeding so easy, but then I've never used the
Miracle Nipple. Breeders, they are welll worth the investment.
normally my babies fight the syringe like it's poison. With this, all
I had to do was smear the teat in milk and it was straight in without
a fuss at all. You can get a normal one and then a short one for flat
nosed breeds like mine. I'd probably use the short one on everything
though. The nice bit about it is because it doesn't go very far into
the mouth, they can very easily spit it out. Milk drops directly onto
the tongue reducing the risk of choking as they then have more time to
swallow before it potentially feeds into the lungs.

Even on full tummies, the kittens remained incredibly distressed, to
the point where I called my vets twice, the second time stating that I
was coming to get her and would talk to the vet at another point, no
matter what. Thankfully though they were finished their testing by
then. Strangely, Gabby showed no signs of a retained kitten, no
infection and completely normal blood work. So nobody knows what the
problem is. I'm shuddering at the likely cost of xray, blood work and
a call out at 8 in the morning, but I'd rather be very safe than

So, home she came, and straight in with her kittens she went. After a
good feed they were all happy. Gabby even ate some food without too
much of a fuss. However, the next drama was unfolding.

She hadn't done a wee since Wednesday evening and it was now mid
morning on Friday. The vets knew her bladder was full, but didn't
express it as it wasn't at bursting point yet.

I decided to close everyone else out of my bedroom and give her free
access to come and go from her nest as she pleased. Normally I don't
allow this as, if mum moved a kitten, I'd struggle to find it. This
could be fatal. Left unattended, kittens chill very quickly. This is
not good news. I was also worried that, now that they'd learned to
throw themselves out of their bed, they would simply crawl out of the
nest along with mum! I grabbed my baby monitor (yep, I have a baby
monitor for kittens...) and listened closely, praying that this
privacy and freedom would mean that she'd use her tray and not be used
as an exercise in relocating the nest.

She did use it, but not for a wee. I got more worried. Normally she'd
just go in and do both straight away. Why wasn't she weeing! She must
be desperate by now. it had been almost 2 days!

I tempted her with all sorts of delicacies. Blended food with added
water, chopped chicken in broth, water with probiotic in (normally a
massive favourite) in an attempt to increase her fluid intake and
force the issue. She sampled all but didn't commit to any.

At 5:30 I could take it no longer. I called my vet again, asking for
advice on the best course of action.

I'm sure my vet thinks I'm mad. Actually, scratch that. I know she
does because she's told me. If I'm at all concerned, my cats go to the
vet. Their health is my absolute priority, so if I can't fix it at
home, off they go. My normal vet regularly says that my guys are the
healthiest cats she's seen all day! But again, I'd rather be safe than

They advised that we wait, but only until tomorrow. If she still
hadn't gone, we'd have to manually express her.

The phone must have been set down for all of a minute when I heard the
best noise ever. Someone was scraping in the litter tray. I ran in
there like my life depended on it, and with anxiety mounting, I
checked the tray. Thank goodness, there was a wee there! The biggest
wee I'd ever seen, but who cares! Today was another first for me. I've
never kissed and cuddled a cat just because she'd done a wee before! I
felt like I'd won the lottery.

So, again, it's a waiting game. Gabby's eaten well today and appears
perkier. Interestingly, she's much more content to lie with her babies
when given free access to come and go, so I'll give her as much of
that as I can I think. I'll carry on with occasional topping up and
hope that it doesn't progress to anything more regular. Hoping for big
weight gains tonight though!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Trouble in Paradise

Apologies if this post is a little all over the place, but I'm
exhausted, so don't know how coherant it will be.

Gabby had me up every 2 hours last night with crying, unhappy babies
and an unhappy mum cat. I don't know whether she's feeling under the
weather or whether the food isn't agreeing with her (she's having
stuff she doesn't normally get because her apetite isn't great at the
moment), but she had an upset tummy yesterday and threw up quite a
lot. Thankfully there's been nothing since then, but kitten weight
gains haven't been as good as they were previously, so I'm keeping a
very, very close eye.

So, back to our story. That first night was about as peaceful as a
first night after labour can be. Because I'm a worrier, there was
still frequent checking going on, but to be honest, they hardly needed
me. All babies were feeding well, and when I weighed them the next
morning I was shocked to find that most had gained 10 grams. Newborns
normally lose weight due to the energy requirements of birth, then the
fact that mum's milk is still coming in and is cholostrum rather than
full fat at that point, but not these guys!

And that was how it went for the next few days. There was hardly a
sound from the nest as babies were kept fat and happy with full
tummies. Weight gains were good and steady, with nobody losing weight
at all until yesterday when mum was unwell.

Gabby is, or should I say was, the kind of mum who wanted to be with
her kittens all the time. She came out once a day to use her tray and
then was straight back in there again. Eating was another matter. She
ate all her placentas meaning that in terms of nutrition, she was Ok
for a few days. However, I don't like it when my girls don't eat,
particularly when they're nursing such a large litter. I tried her
with raw which she turned her nose up at. Then pouch food which is
normally a big treat. That one got some interest, but not enough. Then
it was tinned which again got a little interest. The only option left
was dry.

I hate dry food. I won't get into it here as this will then evolve
into a food and nutrition lecture. In brief, dry food has a
generalised dehydrating affect on the cat, not ideal when you have 6
little leeches attached to your tummy sucking the liquid out of you.
But dry was what she wanted, so dry was what she got.

Then she decided that dry was beneath her... And so the saga
continues. Today she's in favour of pouches, but I feel like a buffet
with the amount of tins and packets I have to open before something
meets with madam's approval! Still, she'll get what she wants
regardless, so all I can do is keep trying.

If things don't improve today then I'll obviously have the vet
straight out, but kittens are still gaining, albeit small gains, and
she's now showing more self-awareness and having a good old clean up.
Now it's a waiting game.