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

Monday, 22 August 2011

Eight Weeks Old

Well, the little monsters are eight weeks already. I've spent over half my time with these kittens now, and it's terribly sad. There's only five weeks left for me to love them, and then they're off into the big, wide world to reek havoc on someone else's house. I'm gonna miss them so, so much.

The worming went well, except that when they did get the runs, which would have been about Thursday I think, my carpet suffered. They didn't have accidents everywhere, just near where the trays were, but when they had them, they did it in style! Poor kids. They felt pretty grotty for a few days, and the weight gains really, really suffered. I lost sleep over the Baby. She was losing steadily until I started dosing her with nutri drops, something I haven't needed to do since they were wee tinies. She piled it on as soon as I did though, and at one point, she ate so much that I swore she was going to burst. Her belly was so full that her skin was actually taught. I don't know how she did it, but she ran straight off to play on a belly that size. I think I'd be sick!

Porker and the Baby learned to growl yesterday. It all started with a toy. It's a tiny little mouse made out of felt on the end of a short pole that I won in a blog competition round about Christmas time this year. Tia loves it, but not as much as these kittens do. The Baby grabbed it first, and actually tried to drag it across to the other side of the room. She was growling so much that I checked her thinking that someone else was beating her up, but no, it was all while having the toy in her mouth. Her solitude didn't last for long though. All the noise woke Lazy Porker who came to investigate what all the fuss was about. As soon as he saw the toy, he took it off the Baby, and then copied her, except that he then added hisses. I can't tell you how hard it was for me not to burst out laughing listening to him running around the place with the toy in his mouth and hearing all the moans and groans coming out of him. At one point, he got so into it that he sounded almost like he was choking! I did grab my dictaphone and hit record, the closest thing I have to a camera, but for some reason it didn't do it. I'm going to try again tonight and then I'll upload it to Youtube. You might not be able to see him, but in this case, it's the listening that's the fun bit anyway.

Tia's jacket came off last night, and as soon as it did, Porker was straight in there and attached to a nipple. He's so greedy. Every time Tia lies down he's on her like a magnet. I know he's not getting anything because I've started her on the Urtica again and she's got no milk in her teats, but he just won't give up. It's not comfort suckling either. He's too voracious for that.

Hamster is slowly learning to purr. It's taking him time, but I've had him purring for me twice now when I've picked him up. He did exactly the same as the other two when they started. They begin by purring away contentedly, then it's almost like they realise that it's the big scary human who's making them feel so good. At that point, the head comes up, the legs go in four different directions, and the kitten struggles frantically until it has all four feet on the ground again and can run away. He's going to be a very special cat though, because when he does purr, he turns into a huge puddle of mush. He goes so limp you'd swear he was boneless, and his head snuggles right in against your neck. I know when it clicks for him as it has done with the other two, the results are going to be spectacular.

They've discovered how to climb onto the top of the pen now. This week saw the changing of their large PVC pen for a smaller mesh and wooden one. I actually had to move this away from the wall because it took them about two seconds to work out that they could climb it, and another nanosecond to figure out that from that height, a jump to the window sill was child's play. Blinds have super cords for playing with and chewing, except that this here human didn't think the idea was super. So I was a kill joy and pulled it into the middle of the room. I'm sewing a quilt at the moment, so had put that on top just out of the way. Well, I'm not sewing it any more. It's turned into the favourite sleeping spot, ad I just haven't the heart to move them when they're cuddled up on top of it.

They've also worked out how to get onto the scratching post, the back of the sofa, my shelves (I'm really not happy about this), my cabinet, the TV and the little side table. Tia's at her whit's end. no space is sacred any more. They're even consistently using the covered litter tray which she's not pleased about. She tends to use the tray they use least. First it was the one by the TV, but then they decided that was their favourite one. Next it was the one by the computer, but they followed her there. Now it's the covered one which I'm pleased about as I want them to graduate to using those and nothing else in the next few weeks.

Tomorrow I take delivery of two low covered trays, and when I do, they'll be set up in the hall and the kits can have free run of that. I think they're getting bored in the living room, so I'm hoping that by extending their play area, my shelves and ornaments might just survive. Only time will tell though.

This time next week, they'll be on their way to the vets for their first injections. I'm debating whether or not to have their leukaemia done. It is typically passed by cat bites, and as these won't be outdoor cats, it's a bit of a toss up as to whether it's necessary. On the one hand, it'll keep them safe, but on the other, it's giving their tiny little bodies yet more to deal with, and I don't know if it's worth it. Any thoughts?

Yet again, the problem of naming my little girl has reared its ugly head. I had been swaying between Dora and Tillie for her, but she's definitely not a Dora any more. She's far too cheeky and quirky for sucha name. Tillie is too old maidish for her I think, so what else to name her? There was a cat called Kim in the vets the other day, and I quite liked the sound of it for a cat, but she's not a Kim either. At the moment, I'm leaning towards Ellie. Why? I couldn't tell you. It just seems to fit her.

As usual, I'll give you their weights for this week. and there's also pictures!

The Baby: 808 grams. I'm so pleased! All of that has been gained since Thursday!
Hamster: 893 grams.
Porker: 977 grams.
They're all turning into big fat lemons!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Seven Weeks Old!

Well, they're seven weeks old now, and boy are they making the most of it!

They've been running around like lunatics the last few days, sleeping where they fall, playing as hard as they sleep, and then sleeping some more. A friend mentioned today that I must have to be quite careful with the kitten herd under foot, and boy is she right. I sent her a response in an email which she's told me she found so funny that I must post, so I'll oblige!

Stalking on the carpet

Treading lightly is an understatement! I've developed an excellent Kitten Shuffle. It involves walking very slowly, saying "move, move, move" over and over again (Tia responds to that and I'm hoping they'll pick up on it and do it too), never picking your feet up from the carpet, stopping frequently to cuddle and kiss the one you've just barely nudged with your toe on the way past just in case you frightened it, stopping again to disengage the claws of another who thinks the top of your foot makes the ultimate transportation device, then just giving up and collapsing on the floor with them because the third one's crying because they didn't get any attention and the other two did! Meanwhile, the one you're cuddling is chewing on your earlobe and the one on your foot is now on your knee and shrieking because it doesn't know how it got inside the leg of your jeans, nor how to get out again! Then mum comes to see what's the matter, and she needs reassuring too... And all that just to get a drink of water!

They're incredibly cute, even if they are little ratbags sometimes. Hamster won't purr any more, and beats me up, bites me, claws my face when I rub it on his belly (I'm doing this to all of them so that if they go to little children, there's never a danger that the cat will panic and claw at their faces). The other two love this. Porker curls his body around my face, and the Baby, when she's not too excited, puts her two paws on my nose and just lets me get on with it. She beats everyone up and has to be regularly evicted from the sofa because she's hassling the other two when they're trying to sleep mind you, so she's no angel, but she's always the first to come for a cuddle.

Lap Wars!

Lap Hog

She's so funny though, and almost painfully cute. Last night she was chirrupping away to herself. She's the only one who does this actually, and has done since she was about three and a half weeks old. The others just meow and cry. Anyway, she was running around chirrupping and obviously very pleased about something, so I got down on the floor to share her achievement. It took me a while to work out what she'd done, but it turns out that she loves pipe cleaners. I was sent these by another friend in a big toy exchange package from here in the UK to America, and Tia loved them too. The Baby had found one that I'd put out for the kittens, and, as I watched, she snatched it off the floor, held it in her mouth and did a lap of honour of the living room, still chirping away. Back she came and dropped it in front of me, then waited, obviously expecting something to happen. Dutifully, I made the pipe cleaner wiggle, and as soon as it did, she was off again. She moves so quickly, and her pouncing is incredibly accurate. I have a Da Bird for them as well which I'm introducing them too, and she can now jump from the floor to the sofa to catch it. She's a clever little chicken! She's so small though that her chirp sounds more like the chirp of a bat then a cat noise! Honestly, imagine a sleepy, content bat and that's the noise! Laughing yet? I do every time I hear it.

Porker is the real lap cat this week. He wants to sleep on me or near me and just loves his grooming and his fuss time. He's mostly stopped biting now, which is more than I can say for the other two! I thought the Baby had this sorted, but she showed me she hadn't today. All of them still get a tap on the nose when they do it, but Hamster's being the most persistent with not giving up. He's also still not purring, although JP, the resident friend, says that he's had him purring for him. Perhaps he's just a man's cat. All good things come to those who wait though, right?

They all went to the vets today for their first worming. I worm with Panacur, but to measure and administer the liquid when you can't see what you're doing is almost impossible. I didn't even try it. Everyone needs to turn into an octopus to hold a squirming kitten, pull up the right amount of liquid in the syringe, pry unwilling jaws apart, squirt it in, disengage the claws from your arm, rub the kitten's throat until it swallows etc, but when you need another few to feel where the bottle is, measure accurately, locate the kitten's mouth... Well, even the thought of the carnage that would have caused makes my blood run cold. I chickened out and thought I'd ask my lovely vet to do it instead, and I'm glad I did! Even though they're tiny, it took the two of us to hold and medicate them. They all had a fine time though having cuddles from the vet and her nurses, but weren't too thrilled with the idea of travelling in a carrier to get to and from the place. Tia went too as she needed a worming, so they're all done. I'm just waiting for the diarrhoea to start now. They always get runny bums when they're wormed, but so far mine have been poo free. They've been quite sleepy today though. Let's hope they have the runs when they're locked in the pen overnight, so that my poor carpet doesn't have to suffer!

Hanging with Tia

They got introduced to a new concept today; the covered litter tray. I wouldn't have done this for another few weeks yet, but the problem is that Tia, in her usual "I'm gonna be difficult" style, has chosen to use not the adult sized tray I put out for her, but the smallest kitten tray. She likes to pee right in the corners too, but when she tries to do this in such a small tray, her bum hangs over the edge and she misses. Luckily, I'd put incontinence pads down around the trays just in case the babies had an accident (they always seem to do this right next to the tray), so it didn't get as far as the carpet. Still, something had to be done.

Cube wretsling

It was the tray they used least, so I wasn't too worried about removing it for something they potentially weren't going to be able to use. My covered trays are deep, so it's quite difficult for them to climb in. Still, when I put them in one by one, they seemed willing enough, and thanks to the depth of the litter inside, they could get out easily. So I folded a towel to give them a step up, and they loved it! It's been an adventure for about the last hour to go in there, have a dig around, come out again, run around like a mad thing, then race each other to see who can be the first back in again. Of course, Tia has now started using the adult sized tray in the other corner. Typical, eh? I don't mind though, and the covered tray will stay. The sooner they use those ones, the better. I'm going to try and find some low entry covered ones to use instead, and I think I'll use them from the start with the next litter. The open ones are so, so messy, and terribly stinky too!

I've just said not so long ago that Hamster's not much of a cuddler this week, so guess who's just come up and snuggled right into my arm? Yep, that's right. Sometimes, I love sod's law!

Face washing

I've got pictures for you too! Again, I'm relying on my usual friend to post them, but I know she will. The problem was with getting them, that's where the hold up was. you should have them later on today, so please do check back! I'm hoping she'll post some five week ones as well as some seven week ones.

As usual, I'll give you their weights. I'll give you them as of last night just for the sake of continuity!

The Baby: 674
Hamster: 770
The Baby and Porker didn't quite gain their 100 grams for this week, but he doesn't need to as much as she does. I wish she wasn't so much smaller than the other two! Oh well, just gives me something else to worry about, right?

(note from the photo-adder:  More pics at Tia's blog, Cuddles & Catnip!  There will be better captions as soon as I get straightened out which kit is who, stay tuned...)

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Day 48

I did think about not updating today, because if I do, I'll have very little to tell you tomorrow, and I'll definitely update then because they'll be a whole seven weeks old! Isn't that amazing? Doesn't seem like yesterday when I was telling you they were six weeks, and doesn't seem like a minute before that that I was whining and complaining about all my sleepless nights trying to get Hamster to suckle. Time flies, and they develop so quickly.

There's so many things to tell you about. The Kitten Attract litter is doing reasonably well. There were a couple of accidents in the pen, but not too many, and none since I changed the inco pads again. It's probably my fault. I hadn't needed to change them for a few days thanks to the litter, so I guess their little feet tracked eaux the poo from the tray and onto the pads. Natural then that they should poo there. I'm starting to think that it's associative too, as the poo is always in the same places. They've never had an accident while out, she says with crossed fingers, or if they have, they're hiding it so well that I can't find it. Anything is possible though, and I haven't seen too much usage of the outside litter trays. Only time will tell I suppose.

They've been coming out more and more frequently. Yesterday they spent half a day out, and as they coped well with it, today they've been out since this morning, and won't go back in until tonight. They're very sociable, or they are with me anyway. JP, a friend who's spent a fair bit of the summer here, is a nice guy to play with, but they purr more readily for me than for him, and will fall asleep more quickly on me too. It's a nice feeling to know that after all my hard work I'm flavour of the month!

The Baby did a wonderful thing yesterday. For the first time, she actually jumped on me for attention! Previously she'd climb, but yesterday she launched herself at my leg, hung on and squeaked until I picked her up. As soon as my hands were on her, she was all purrs and wiggles. She's a very busy little person, and even when she's loving on you, she rarely sits still for more than a tenth of a second! I've started to stop touching her as soon as she walks away from me now though, and she's getting it. Today she thought about walking away, then changed her mind and crawled onto my shoulder instead. The mood was somewhat spoiled when she attacked my earlobe, but it's the thought that counts, right?

Porker has started a trend which seems to have gone down very well in this house. Yesterday, he sat down, thought long and hard about it, then jumped straight onto the top edge of the sofa and climbed up. Then he proceeded to make himself comfortable and go for a snooze while his sillier brother and sister contented themselves with the less comfy carpet. However, it didn't take them long to realise he was missing, and once they did, they had to find out where he was. The Baby was next up, closely followed by Hamster who needed a little bit of help. They were so proud of themselves when they got there! All three decided to have a celebratory nap in the human's lap. Said human was very pleased with the arrangement until I realised that I had been sitting there for two hours barely moving, and I had things to do!

Hamster had his turn at being the leader too. He climbed right to the top of my largest scratching post. This is about 3 ft high, so when he looked down from the very top, which he'd gotten to surprisingly quickly actually, it's no wonder he felt a little panicked! He came down almost as quickly as he went up, and none of them have tried it again.

Where one door opens, another one closes. yesterday, the opening was with Porker. Somehow it clicked with him that humans are nice things that give nice tickles and tummy rubs, and that really, it'd be a good idea to purr for them. He's getting as good as the Baby now! Only problem is that Hamster has taken that as his cue to stop altogether. I haven't heard a rumble from him in days. Oh well, all in due time I suppose. Can I be blamed for being impatient? Hamster did snuggle an awful lot yesterday after he'd been groomed. It was perhaps one of the tenderest moments I've had with these kittens so far. I'd just finished doing his tummy and he was quite sleepy. I put him up by my shoulder, and he spread his paws, put the two front ones around my neck, snuggled his head in against my skin and hung on. He stayed like that for minute after minute, as calm and quiet as you like, just enjoying the closeness. Today, mind you, he fought the brush tooth and nail. He's unpredictable!

Tia's milk seems to have totally dried up thanks to the Urtica. Kits are still keen to feed, and because I don't want it to start straight back in again, I've been putting a soft cat jacket on her during the day so that they can't feed. They have a comfort suckle two or three times a day, but that's about it. This way, she can still socialise with them, sleep with them and cuddle them. They don't seem overly fussed that they can't suckle.

They're all eating from a bowl now, although I haven't seen them eat much since they've been out either. I think I'll put off weighing them until tomorrow so that I don't worry myself. They're all happy, healthy and absolutely full of beans, so I know there's nothing wrong with them, and I don't need the extra anxiety!

Right,that's about it for now. I'll tell you more tomorrow!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Day 46 and Tia Update

Well, it seems as though things are conspiring against me to make sure that I don't update this every day, or every other day even. I'm just so, so busy lately that I never seem to have the time to sit down and write. Last night, the first peace I got was at about half 12 at night, and by that point, my eyes needed match sticks to prop them open.

Ok, so what to tell. Litter training continues to be a problem. They will wee in there consistently, thank goodness, but pooing is another matter entirely. One of them is going in there just fine, perhaps two, actually, but someone would still prefer to poo on the pen floor. Thankfully, nobody has done this while out. I did find a poo right beside the litter tray, but it was on an inco pad, so it didn't matter all that much. I went out yesterday and bought some Kitten Attract litter from Pets at Home on the recommendation of other breeders. They say that this sorts all of their problems out if they have stubborn kits, so let's hope the same is true for mine. I haven't done poo check yet this morning, so I live in hope... For another 20 minutes.

They still tend to sit down when they use the tray. This results in, to put it in a straightforward way, clingons on the starboard bow. Nobody likes having them removed or indeed removing them. I've been tempted on more than one occasion to shave their bums, I can tell you! Hopefully they'll get the hang of it soon, but when, I don't know.

Tia has been kept mostly separate from them until yesterday. Kittens were desperate to feed and she was in a right tizz as she wanted to nurse them. I spoke to the vet, a different one this time, who said that it would be fine for them to nurse a few times a day. I couldn't believe my luck when Hamster latched onto the nipple that was the most affected. Tia was too busy with watching the other two as they muscled in for a drink too, so didn't notice until he was well and truly going, or else she'd have kicked him off. It must have only been sore for her for the first few minutes though, because after that, she allowed him to nurse for a full 5-10 minutes. She got very uncomfortable towards the end, but I got down with her and coaxed her to stay still. I could see he was draining it, and indeed he did. I kept her food intake low yesterday, and she didn't balloon again. Kits have been allowed to feed once since then for their comfort's sake, and will probably do so again this morning when they come out.

Yesterday was the first day that all three ate together when I put the food in. Previously, they had to be shown where the dish was, or would simply find it by ailessly wandering that way one by one, but yesterday they very definitely came for food. It was nice to see! Separating them has definitely sped up the weaning process.

I managed to buy a card reader for the computer yesterday. This means that now, when pictures are taken, I can actually get them onto the computer and upload them which means you get to see them! I hate depending on others for picture taking like this. It never seems to happen often enough, and it drives me mad. I don't often dwell on my blindness as a disablement, but at times like that, I can't help but get cross about it. If I had my way, I'd have pictures of them every day for you to see. I'm going to hassle to get some taken today, so we'll see what happens. I can't hold someone to randsome, I guess, no matter how much I really want to to get the photos!

Oh, Porker purred for the first time yesterday! It wasn't for long at all, but he did it! I'd picked him up after a mad half hour, Ok, probably more like two hours, running round the living room and attacking anything that moved, or didn't, and he just flopped on me and purred. They're all much more cuddly after they've run around a bit. The Baby is the only one who will actively seek a cuddle. If I get down on the floor with her after she's run around, she'll climb on me and settle down for a purr. I'm glad she's staying. I think I'd have a hard time letting go if she wasn't.

That's it for now I think. I'll post again as soon as I have pictures!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Rough Day

Well, it's been a rough day all right. A rough few, actually.

I've been so worried about stupid things and not so stupid things lately that my sleep has been broken every night. This leaves me tired, crabby and generally pretty miserable. Last night those worries were added to.

Tia has always been a great producer of milk. If a kitten so much as thinks about suckling, she goes off like a fountain. now that they're weaning, however, this is causing a problem. They still suckle, which means that she is making oodles of milk. However, because they don't suckle that often, the milk she creates has nowhere to go. Yesterday afternoon I noticed that one of her glands was very swolen. There was a lot of milk there just waiting to be guzzled. I didn't worry. Normally it goes down when she feeds kittens. The problem was though that no matter how much I tried, I couldn't get any kitten to feed from that particular nipple. I went to bed with it on my mind, and woke up this morning to find that the gland was now massive. I couldn't express any milk from it, so I called the vet and took her up there.

My calling it was just right, for poor Tia apparently has mastitis. In typical me fashion though, it's not straightforward. While the gland is swolen, it's not hot to the touch which is typical of mastitis. Usually this stops milk flow, but they were able to express some of Tia's milk, so again, that's a bit strange. however, it could have been to do with the hot compresses I'd put on her before leaving the house. They put her on antibiotics as she had a slightly raised temperature too, and she's not allowed to suckle the kittens at all. Milk is produced on demand, so no demand should help it go away more quickly.

I've also drastically cut her food and water intake today as I'm told that can help to dry up the milk too. So far I haven't seen a reduction in the swelling though, but perhaps I'm looking at it too often and not noticing the changes. She's been as miserable as sin all day though, and it's really upsetting to see. She'll come begging for food, howling her little heart out, following me to the kitchen, to the kitten pen, climbing on my knee and crying, crying, crying. I've tried to spend most of the day out of the house. I'm too soft, and I hate to see any of my animals upset. I knew it was time to get out and do something when I caught myself getting teary as she went to her food bowl, licked the empty bottom, then came back and pawed at my leg. I'm useless! I'm not sure it's working though, so may give in tomorrow and let her eat as normal. I've asked some other breeders for advice, so we'll see what comes of that.

Of course, because kittens aren't allowed to suckle and she's not allowed any of their food, they've had to be kept mostly separate. They scream for her about three times a day which doesn't sound like a lot, but believe me, it's terrible. They are almost inconsolable during these periods, no matter what I do. They all climb the bars towards her and she cries at them from the other side. That set me off today too! I've had them out and running around in the living room so that they can have a cuddle with her, but the only problem is that when they do, their overwhelming urge is to feed. It's security for them, and it's terrible to have to pull them off and force separation again when they do it. I really wish that one of them would get so desperate that they would drain this full gland for me. I'd let them suckle if they'd only do that. They're too young to be stopped completely, but what else can I do!

They got their pedigree names yesterday, as I registered them with the GCCF. The Baby is now Moonspun Isn't She Lovely, Porker is Moonspun Mercutio (he's going to someone who studied English lit at university and Mercutio is my favourite Shakespeare character so I thought it appropriate on many levels), and Hamster is Moonspun Red Hot Gossip as he's a red point kitten. I quite like the names myself!

Perhaps unsurprisingly, pictures haven't been taken today. Nobody was in the mood. The kittens were even subdued during their last play session of the evening, and it's not like them! Hopefully people will be happier tomorrow. until then. Oh, and if any of you have any advice on mastitis, I'd love to hear it.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Six Weeks Old!

Well, what a time I've been having! Kitten proofing a house causes more problems than I had thought possible, and it's the reason I haven't updated in ages. I use a wireless keyboard, and that transmission is picked up by a small USB dongle which plugs into the back of the computer. The only problem is that there's a load of other wires that plug in there too, and with kittens around, and small, hooligan kittens at that, all wires need to be protected because if they chewed through them... Well, it doesn't even bear thinking about, really. In short, to kitten proof, I had to block off the back of the computer with a load of cardboard. The only problem is that it dulls the signal pick up from the keyboard, so every time I type, half the letters are missing. It's a real pain, and the only way I'm able to type now is by sitting in a really uncomfortable position with the keyboard balanced at an angle on one knee. I'm hoping that I'm able to think of a way to combat this soon.

I've spent the last two days just kitten proofing my living room. Holes have to be blocked, and cardboard is the cheapest way of doing it, but it needs to be cut to size then taped in place, and that all takes time. Cables need to be covered in protectors which are expensive and time consuming to fit. I've spent most of today sewing insect screen onto a baby gate to keep them out of the kitchen, but allow me to still have my back door open so that I can air the house. It's been a nightmare!

I did all this because I thought they were ready to come out of the pen. They're pretty active in there now, and seem desperate to come out and explore. The only problem is that someone is still pooing on the floor, and I think it's the Baby. I can never catch her at it though as she moves too quickly, and to be honest, I wouldn't know what to do if I did catch her. I've done her bum in the tray, expressed pee that is. I've put her poo in there. I've left the tray to get really smelly so that she can smell where to go. I've also totally washed it out and given them a clean tray, but nothing I do seems to get the message across. I've disinfected the pen and last night, even taped incontinence pads down so that she couldn't associate the smell on the floor, despite washing, with pooing there. Nothing, but nothing has worked. If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them, as I'd really like to have them out now. It's about time really.

They were all fitted with bells today in preparation for coming out. In typical fashion, Porker struggled like a demon when having his put on, then gave up completely and didn't bother with it once it was around his neck. The Baby tried to fight hers as soon as it was on, then got very upset when she kept getting claws in the face for some reason. Hamster was so wriggly that I had to get my friend to hold him while I fitted his.

Every day their play is getting rougher, and today I actually had to separate Porker who was mercilessly stalking the other two, despite their screams for him to leave them alone. I watched him chase the Baby from one end of the pen to the other, pin her in the corner next to the litter tray and beat the stuffing out of her. It wasn't nice to watch. But they're all as bad as each other and take it in turns to instigate the fights.

They're eating solids really well now, and will suckle from Tia only occasionally rather than all the time. I feel sorry for her though as she's so full of milk that her glands are massive. I can actually trace the outline of her milk sacks, so the next thing I need to watch for is mastitis in her. She's been very, very clingy and affectionate today, and over the last few days, has begun to jump onto my lap again or paw at my leg which is her way of demanding a fuss. I've missed it so much and I'm glad that she's getting back to the way she used to be. She's still eating like a horse, and so are those babies! Thankfully, I have another cat food order due to arrive in the next few days. It's amazing how much they pack away, and they're not interested in dry food at all!

I've given up on the week 5 pictures, and have been so busy that I haven't gotten any weke 6 ones taken today. My priority is to get the house sorted for them while I have help, so hopefully I'll manage the pictures tomorrow. They're getting big fast though, and soon won't sit still long enough to have their photos done. It took me a whole five minuts tonight until Hamster would sit still for even three seconds for my scales to measure his weight!

That's it for now I think, but as tradition dictates, I'll give you their weights so that you can see how much they've grown. There are some humungus weight gains, I warn you!

The Baby: 594 grams.
Hamster: 655 grams.
Porker: 774 grams.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Up to Day 38

The best intentions are just that; intentions. I intended to hoover the house yesterday, friend did it instead. I had planned to make a few nice desserts, the ingredients are still in the cupboard. I had been intending to update my blog, I didn't. I think I'm going to have to do these updates in the mornings if i'm to do them regularly at all. Previously, I've done them at night so that I can give you a flavour of what's happened that day, but for the past few nights, I just haven't had the time. Not once since my last update have I been to bed before midnight for various reasons, and when you have a biological clock that wakes you up at 8 AM whether you've just gone to bed or not, then when it gets past 12, you want to get to sleep pretty sharpish. Last night I had the intentions again, was even supposed to make phone calls, but instead I got taken to the cinema, and the movie didn't let out till almost 11. I then had to walk home, feed cats, order cat food, feed cats again as mum had cleared the plate, dash off a few emails, feed cats for a third time as mum had obviously decided to make a bid at the world record for most cat food eaten in two hours to stop babies having any, put a wash on... The list goes on. I went to bed at 1 this morning and was so tired that I doubt I could have even told you my own name, let alone put together a coherent blog post.

So, what to tell you? Well, the amount of poo on the pen floor is decreasing by the day. I took the little ramp away from the litter tray that they'd been using to climb in and out, and for some reason, rather than hindering, this has really helped the litter training process. They still get mucky bums, Porker in particular, but they're gradually learning that when you poo, it's not necessarily a good idea to sit down and try to do it, because 1, it gets all over you and either you leave it not feeling very nice or you have to have a go at cleaning it off, and 2, if you don't clean it off, the big evil monster woman will come along and rub you with a baby wipe, and if that doesn't work, will actually bath you!

Solids continue to be an up and down process. They will all go to the dish now on their own except when mum is around. I had thought that Tia's milk was drying up nicely, but last night, she was so full that I could have sworn she had mastitis. I actually thought she did, so put a kitten on the affected teat to drain the milk. The best way to get rid of mastitis is to express the milk, and the best form of that is a hungry kitten. When she came out about ten minutes later, the swelling was gone. Cats will only produce milk in relation to the demand, so I'm presuming that the little piggies are feeding from her all night long which is why she's still producing so much. I don't really know whether I should start trying to dry her up or just leave them to it. At the moment, I'm keeping them from suckling all day long, and they are eaing the solids quite happily, so maybe I'll just leave things as they are.

The Baby has been the last to break 500 grams, but she did it yesterday. She's so, so small compared to the other two though, and feels terribly light. There's times when I wonder if I wasn't mixing her up with Hamster in those early stages you know. I put collars on hem all about a week ago, just a very thin, soft piece of elastic with a few beads on so that I could tell who was who. It's helped enormously!

They'll be coming out of that pen soon, whether I like it or not. A few days ago, they learned to climb right to the top of the mesh, and Porker actually managed to scramble over the top; something I'd not have thought was possible if I hadn't been there to see it myself. That pen is over 2.5 ft high and he's only a tiny little thing! I rearranged things so that the mesh now starts from the bottom and there's a solid pannel on top and that seems to have controlled the hoard for now. It won't be long though. Hamster can now jump, yep, you read right, jump to the very top of the mesh. A few more days and they'll be over, so my big push this week is litter training and eating from a bowl rather than a saucer. It's also kitten proofing my house!

We've taken them out a couple of times, and I tell you something, they run riot. In about 0.1 seconds, my living room degenerates into kittens running madly in three different directions, mum trying to round them all up and then lying on her side, offering them her teats and screaming at them to come and have a drink (of course, this is much less effective than it is in the pen, as hungry little piggies would rather go and reek havoc elsewhere), three people desperately trying to keep up with kittens and colliding with each other in the process, and desperate shouts of "No, not under the sofa!/ no, not under the TV cabinet!/No, no, no, help!" They love those forays into the great unknown though, and it's a teller how well socialised they've been, as they fear nothing. Hmmm, perhaps I've done too good a job?

All three now scream to be picked up when I come in first thing in the morning, and all three climb the mesh like little monkeys until you give in. I've had to take them all out at once now, because if I leave any behind, they shriek at the injustice so much that mum comes flying to see who's torturing the kids. It's odd though. The Baby is the only one who purrs consistently, and even then, only for a few seconds before she's off doing something else. She's a very busy little person, and is the most active out of the lot of them. I did hear Hamster purr under his breath this morning, so I have hope, but Porker, whilst being the cuddliest, and maybe the most placid, shows no signs of it yet.

This week is also the week of learning not to bite, and although it's going well, the babies aren't enjoying it one little bit. I permitted gentle nibbling when they were exploring the world with their mouths, when hands were big scary things that needed to be rationalised, when they were just learning to play. Now that their teeth are in though, they don't just nibble. They grab hold with paws and bite... hard. None has drawn blood, but that's still behaviour that I'm not willing to tolerate, and the habit needs to be broken young. Each time someone bites, they get a tap on the nose, or, if you're Porker/Hamster, several taps until you let go of the finger that certainly isn't food! The baby, as usual, has caught on pretty quickly, and although she'll test her luck with a bite now and then, she will mostly check herself just as her teeth are about to sink in, and will give you a head bump instead. And I've just been interrupted by her. I picked mum up for a cuddle, and as soon as she heard me talking, she screamed so much that mum went running as usual. As soon as I picked her up, she started purring like a motorboat! These babies are such time wasters, really they are. I've been up for an hour already and I've got nothing done!

They've got lots of toys in their pen now that they're mostly done pooing on the floor. Ping pong balls have always been there because they can be disinfected and washed, but now they have a furry mouse that chirps like a bird when touched (the irony, right?), a rope mouse that they can get really rough on, a ball with feathers sticking out of it, a crinkle ball and a ribbon hanging down from the top that can be batted. I also introduced them to dangler toys yesterday as they were watching Tia play with them and seemed fascinated. I had a Da Bird for Tia, well, a cheaper version which had fallen apart, but I kept a feather back and taped it onto the string. This was the perfect size for fraidy cat kittens, and after a bit of teasing and, yes, I admit it, judicious poking and tummy tickling with said feather, the chase was on. Nobody, but nobody, not even a feather, gets to touch their tummies unmolested, and after this ultimate insult, they vowed to kill the offender and kill it good. At one point, there was one on the feather itself, one on the shaft, and another on the string... I think they won!

I ran out of Bozita, so they've been changed to Animonda until I can get some more. It's not flavour of the month. They eat it, but aren't too enthusiastic about it. I cheated last night too. Normally, Tia cleans their plate as soon as I go to bed which means that they're starving first thing in the morning, and is probably why they're suckling so much. Last night though,I put a full tin of pilchards in a separate bowl in there for her. She gets these occasionally, and absolutely loves them. Needless to say, she didn't bother with boring old kitten food. I even caught one of the babies having a go at the fish, so it was a hit!

I'm still toying with pedigree names. They will need to be registered soon, so I need to settle on something pretty sharpish. I'm thinking Moonspun Isntshe Lovely for my girl, but not sure about it as it's a bit cliche. What do you all think? And any suggestions for the boys would be super too!

That's about it, I think. Sorry it's been so long in coming, and also sorry there still aren't any pictures, but I'm still waiting for them to be given to me. I hate these delays!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Five Weeks Old!

Well, they're five weeks old today, and I don't know where the time has gone to. Most of the last five weeks have passed in a blurr thanks to hardly any sleep, and demanding babies. However, things are looking up!

you remember my last post all about poo? Well, fingers crossed, but I haven't had any poo incidents either yesterday or today! Little girl was definitely the culprit, but she seems to have sorted things out. of course, as soon as I say that, she's going to have the runs all over the place. I've changed their diet too though which may be helping. They came off nature's Menu and went onto Bozita instead. If you don't already feed this, you should try it. The Pate variety is excellent for weaning kittens! Porker is putting on so, so much weight, and looks very fat and healthy, as do the others. I had someone over to look at them yesterday, and she commented that they were massive for five weeks old! I think it's the good food they've had. A lot of breeders will try and cut costs by feeding softened dry food etc, and I can understand it, as all wet food is very expensive, but I think it definitely shows in the size of the kittens. Bozita is a BARF diet, and since they've been on it, their poos have become less smelly, and the Baby has toiletted appropriately!

They learn so quick, these kittens. They seem to learn it all in the night as well. yesterday, the Baby learned how to jump, and although she still hasn't mastered it and appears totally surprised every time she does it, she's teaching the others too! They've all been out for short periods of supervised play on the carpet, and she's so quick already that she even outruns mum when Tia goes to bring her back. I think she's going to be an absolute handful.

All three of them have learned to climb the mesh at the front of the pen, and are really in danger of coming out over the top, Hamster in particular. he gets the highest, but all three scream to be taken out and, if not cuddled, then allowed to explore. The Baby loves a stroke, but still isn't purring consistently. Porker will cuddle with you and then wrestle you into submission when he's had enough. Hamster is the best snuggler, but only when he's in the mood. If he wants to play, nothing will persuade him to have love instead, although in fairness, that's true for all of them.

I've seen all three go to the dish by themselves now and eat, although I'll give them a little helping hand and a prod in the right direction when I'm around during the day. Porker, in typical Porker fashion, is gaining the most. He's increased his lead now to a solid 100 grams. This food really is amazing though.

I left them alone for the first time last night. I kept them in the pen in the living room, and I went to bed all alone. I want Tia to stay away from them a little bit now, because the longer she's not with them, the less the demand on her milk supply and consequently, the less she'll produce. It also makes the kittens hungry and forces them to search out the solids dish. Now those who have been following me all along will remember that Tia is my shadow. I can't move without her with me, and had to shift the kittens into the bedroom when I went just so that she'd continue to feed them through the night. So my plan of going to bed was fool proof, right? She'd come with me and kits would fend for themselves. Wrong. She came into my room only twice; once to use the litterbox, and a second time to throw up on my carpet. I found the latter by stepping in it. I have to say that I felt quite lonely last night with no furries for company, and it was very, very strange sleeping without Tia around. I hope her personality changes don't persist, as she's much less cuddly now than before she had the babies.

When I got up this morning, all were happy and bouncing around. They've been playing a lot today, but unfortunately, pictures weren't taken. I've been faithfully promised that they will be tomorrow though, so watch this space!

As usual, I'll finish off this post with their weights so that you can see the progress for yourself. This week, they all have an 8 in them somewhere!

The Baby: 448 grams. As you can see, she hasn't gained much, but this is normal when transitioning to solids. The slight weight loss and the hunger drives them to search out and eat the food. She's gained 16 grams in the last day though.
Hamster: 488 grams.
Porker: 588 grams. What a little fatty he is! he's all muscle though.

Oh, just as a last thing, I've been featured today in The Cat's Whiskers
a blog written by a breeder friend of mine. It's got a lot of useful information in, so you really should go and have a look! Please do comment as well, as I'm sure she'd love to hear from you!