Tuesday, 5 July 2011
One Week Old
Today, the kittens have reached a week old, and boy have they changed. Hamster still isn't keeping up with the others in weight gain, who are putting it on like little pigs! Porker is as fat as butter, and the Baby is getting there. But Hamster is catching up. He gained 11 grams this last day, and that with help only seven or eight times. His tummy is filling out nicely now, and he's growing longer, just like his brother. The little girl has stayed nice and compact, and I suspect she'll remain much more petite than the other two.
Yesterday for the first time, I noticed one of them purring. Of course, it was the Baby, but Porker quickly learned, and this morning, I caught Hamster at it. All of them do it only when they are suckling, and only in sporadic bursts.
Fights for nipples are becoming ever stronger, with Porker bullying everyone else to steal their spot at the milk bar, even if he has the best one himself. Back nipples are always favoured as they produce more milk, but even if he's sucking happily away on one of these, the moment anyone else comes to join him and he realises they might have something he doesn't, he pushes them off to have a taste himself. He's really piling on the weight, and with tactics like this, it's no small wonder!
Their little personalities are starting to emerge now, or perhaps I'm just reading too much into things. Porker remains a bully, and whines terribly whenever he's moved to let the others have a chance, whenever he's cleaned by mum, whenever... Well, at anything really. Hamster is a quiet, gentle little thing, but pick him up when he doesn't want to be and boy can he scream! The baby is the cutest, or perhaps that's only because I know I'll probably end up keeping her. If I tickle her chest, she'll roll right over onto her back and lie there with paws akimbo. She even put her head up this morning and gave my finger a little lick. Hamster must have been watching (their eyes are almost all the way open now), because shortly afterwards, he did exactly the same. Porker still thinks I'm demon spawn though, because it's normally me who mediates his bullying to let the others have a drink, so I'm still seen by him as the milk stealer. It doesn't matter though. As soon as they start eating solids, he'll come round quickly enough.
Tia is still not settling very well with the kittens, and I blame the C section for this. She didn't bond tightly with them at the start, which isn't uncommon for a C section queen, but even still, she'd rather be with me than with her babies, no matter how much they cry for her.
Most cats like a dark, private nest, but with her, I've had to open the pen right up so that she can see me easily. Most cats don't like the nest being rearranged, but with her, if I leave them to go to bed, she stands at the front of the pen and cries herself hoarse, ignoring squalling, hungry babes at her feet and screaming until she loses her voice. As soon as I come back, she's happy as anything. I've taken to bringing them to bed with me. I have a small pen in there anyway, so they're secure at night, but I think it helps her to be near me, and she doesn't mind the moving at all. In fact, if I go to the bedroom and change into pyjamas before I carry them through, I'm subjected to a severe scolding when I get back to the living room. No, Persians definitely don't do mothering in the typical way. I have her shut in the pen at night, because I fear that if I didn't, I'd wake up with a pillow full of kittens!
Even when I'm up and about though, she'd far rather walk with me than attend to her babies, so I'm forever popping her back in the box. I even have to physically lie her down and stretch her out from time to time so that they can nurse. I know she won't follow me when they're feeding, thankfully, so it's in those precious fifteen or twenty minutes that I have me time, and am able to grab a shower or a bite to eat, or generally get some housework done.
If you have a queen like Tia, you can forget having a shiny clean house until kittens are all right to be left alone. I'm almost OCD about my cleaning, so that part is really, really getting to me. But when you hear the purring, or you get that tiny body rolling over in bliss as you rub its chest, well, then all the trouble just seems so trivial.
Weights at 1 week old:
The Baby: 165 grams
Hamster: 151 grams
Porker: 192 grams
As you can see, everyone except Hamster has doubled their birth weight, which is really what you're aiming for in the first week. The other two feel nice and solid now, but Hamster is getting there slowly but surely. As long as he's doubled his weight soon, I'm not too worried. I've been trying to supplement him with KMR, but the more I try, the more he fights it, and he doesn't gain a thing. I suspect he uses up all the energy I give him in the milk by fighting the syringe. Instead, I'm giving the Porker an occasional food to take the edge off his hunger and let the others have a chance. More tomorrow!