Wednesday, 2 November 2011
AWOL No More!
Hi there, folks. Long time no see, eh? All I can say is I'm sorry. I'm not going to go into details of why I haven't been around. Let's just go with the revelation that life has been, well, interesting over the last month or so, and I just haven't had the physical time or the mental want to write a blog. I think stress is my middle name!
Firstly the cat show. We did well in some ways and badly in others. Both girls came first in their open classes (these are the classes where the results really matter), but Tia's CC was withheld. A CC is a challenge certificate, and you need three to make your cat a champion. Previously, Tia had always been withheld on because of her type. Her face isn't flat enough. I'd very privately decided before I went to this show that if she was withheld on for the same reason, I'd stop showing her and let the Supreme be her swansong. I always ask to talk to the withholding judge, and this time was no different... Except that it was.
My judge on the day was perhaps the nicest judge I'd ever met, and I can't even begin to tell you the encouragement I got from her. She had withheld on Tia not for her type, but for her coat condition. It hadn't fully come back in yet after kittens, and I knew it, so I wasn't surprised it had been mentioned. The lady went on to say that I should continue to show her as it was nice to see an open type back on the show bench, and that she should do well once her coat sorts itself out again, provided I was careful to choose those judges who liked the open types. She also complemented me on my very beautiful kittens. My day turned from a resolution not to show her again to a new hope that other judges might just recognise the merrits of the open type Persian.
Paws came second in his open class, with the first and best of breed going to the most adorable little chocolate point boy kitten who was a great snuggler and just scrummy! His breeder was so lovely that I couldn't even be sorry that her kitten had won over mine. She was incredibly encouraging about my kittens and even Tia, too. Said she'd bred some cracking open types, and that I shouldn't get down because not everyone liked them. I can't tell you how much good this day did me. I was starting to question if I'd ever get anywhere with the Persians.
Millie did the best out of all the cats on the day. She got a first in her open class, the best of breed being taken by that little chocolate boy, but this is a big thing, because the judge who awarded the placing is one of the strictest Persian judges who would have withheld the first if there had been any major faults. The critique he's written isn't glowing, but nor does it tell me never to show the kitten again as she's awful, and I've seen him hint at this in other reports! Millie also beat off competition from nine cats to be placed third in a side class. How wonderful is that! I was absolutely chuffed to bits, as some of the kittens there were absolutely stunning.
I came home on a high, but hit rock bottom the next morning when Millie had the worst case of the runs I've ever seen in a kitten. I won't go into details, but she was so bad at one point over the next week that I was convinced I was going to lose her. I watched as she was too ill to even get up and vomit and was forced to do it all over herself instead. I sat by her and cried as she just put her head back down again, too sick to even move away from the pool of puke she was lying in. I gave up trying to clean her bum as the constant bathing was making it red and sore. So there she was covered in her own puke and poo, and not making any attempt to do anything about it. I held her and said my goodbyes. The next day though, while she wasn't super well or anything, she was better, and the next, she was a little better again. Paws caught whatever it was off her and they both got sick. Over the last few weeks they've had a few relapses, but I'm not sure if that's because I'm trying to reintroduce their old food too quickly or because the bug is coming back. However, they've been clear for ages now, so it's time to start moving them onto their old food again... Fingers crossed that their tummies stay solid!
Incidentally, for anyone else going through the same thing, you need pumpkin. I swear I've fallen in love with the stuff, and it works so well! If they have the runs, pumpkin bulks them up. If they're constipated, pumpkin loosens things. It's amazing! To prepare it, remove all of the innards and seeds from the pumpkin and throw away. Chop the shell of the pumpkin into roughly 2 inch squares, place in a pan, just cover with water, bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 25 minutes. Then drain the water and, using a spoon, scrape the now soft pulp away from the skin. Throw the skin away. Mash the pulp with a fork, continuing to remove excess water. You should serve 1 heaped teaspoonful per meal to a cat, and one heaped tablespoonful of this pulpy mixture to a dog with every meal. It can be frozen, or stored fresh in the fridge for up to a week. I swear it saved my bacon. Kittens are almost totally solid again within hours of giving it. Have I mentioned I love pumpkin yet?
On a brighter but also much sadder front, I think I've finally found a new home for Paws, and it's breaking my heart. Every time I think about him going, I want to scream, then hide him in a cupboard, and when the poor woman gets here I can say "Cat? What cat? Don't know what you're talking about!" I keep trying to convince myself that I could keep him and show him in the household pets section because his personality is just so loving and cuddly. He wants to be on a person at every waking moment. He's gentle when he plays, he'll purr for anyone, he even purrs in the vets! He sleeps on your chest rather than in his lap, he purrs away to himself even when you're not touching him... In short, he's everything I've ever wanted in a cat. He's what I've been waiting for. The only problem is that he's not a stunning show neuter. Can I afford to give him up? What if I regret it? What if I decide to stop breeding next year and discover that there would have been space for him to stay after all? What if he would have done well in Household Pets? But then, this new home is spectacular. They already have a Persian who is so spoiled that they can't even bear to leave her alone long enough to visit relatives. She has hundreds of toys, sleeps with the couple by night, and is so much queen of her house that they daren't close a door in her face even for a bit of peace! Isn't this a better home for a very people oriented cat than one where he'll have to deal with moody, hormonal queens (his mother's already smacking him about thanks to her being on full call today, and all because he wants a snuggle), fractious mums, rampaging kittens and the portion of my attention that I can give to him? The answer is pretty clear, and as much as I really do love him, and I do, I need to not be so selfish and think about what's better for him. Of course, this all implies that I continue to breed, and I do have a sneaky suspicion that if I give up any time soon, I'll beat myself up forever for letting this one go, but what if I don't? That's the question, and because I don't know, I need to proceed as though I will continue. If I could just be sure that I'd be able to produce another kitten with his temperament then I'd not feel so bad. But life gives no assurances.
Millie has learned to chirp! Up until now she's managed to Weeeeow! or Wooow! or Eo at me, but when it was food time on Monday there was a definite brrrp in there! She was so pleased with herself that that little tail of hers was sticking straight up in the air and almost quivering! I've heard her sneakily practicing to herself too... I gotta laugh every time! Their little tails are so cute though. They're all still stripey, and whenever it's food time, they stick straight up and the kittens strut around as though they're amazing!
Paws, you might remember, isn't the brightest star in the sky, but the thing he's started doing over the last few weeks still takes the biscuit. He's started getting lost... In his own house! He will go into the kitchen, then apparently forget where he is. There then follows a period of shouting and calling until I answer him, and he'll come running to my voice like there's a hoard of monsters on his tail! Of course, he then needs a reassuring cuddle, but a few hours later, the same thing happens. He gets terribly upset if you don't call to him when he's shouting, and I've seen him get frantic once when I was distracted and didn't notice. And all this in a small bungalow that he's known forever! he can see the living room from the kitchen and the hall. This is where I always am, but still he gets lost! I wonder if they have a Darwin Award for cats? If so, I'm sure he's won it.
Paws is now officially a tim rather than a tom. He had the snip yesterday, and is making it clear in no uncertain terms that his bum is sore and should be respected. He keeps smacking me if my hand goes anywhere below his ribs. Poor boy. I caught him sitting on the cool kitchen floor last night, something he doesn't normally do, so I presume it's pretty sore. Oh how I wish I could explain to them what's happened. Mind you, it hasn't stopped him playing. Within seconds of being allowed out of the carrier he'd jumped up on top of it to have a look around, bopped his mum, then jumped on his sister's head and run off to fill his face at the food dish. I've never seen anything like it. Whenever Tia has an anaesthetic, she sleeps for hours afterwards!
Paws' potential new mum is coming to have a snuggle with him on the 12th of November, and if he likes her (there's no question that she, of course, will love him), then he'll go home with her the very same day, and another little piece of my heart will go with him. I hate this part of breeding. I hate it with a passion.