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

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Annoyed

<p>I'm very, very annoyed. Blogger has changed its interface and now I
can't post photos any more without help. I think I'll be migrating my
blog very soon when I've got the time to do so. For now though, if you
click on this link you should see photos of the monkeys this week.<a
href="http://www.petforums.co.uk/cat-chat/263845-nobody-loves-us.html">Kitten
Pictures Thread</a></p>

<p>The kittens are coming out every day now, and Gabby is slowly
getting better with them. She still needs close supervision when she's
with them, but tonight she only made them squeal twice in ten minutes,
and that's a massive improvement. They had some lovely games of chase
around the room where everyone was playing happily together. I've
watched her closely tonight and she's not pouncing on them. She lies
down to play with them which is a good sign, but then forgets herself
and gets far too rough. But at least progress is being made!</p>

<p>These babies are so cheeky when it comes to getting their cuddles.
Today, red sat beside me and smacked my leg with both of his paws
until I picked him up and kissed him into submission. Apache jumped
around all over my feet squeaking away until I snuggled that fat belly
to within an inch of its life. Dreamy cried at me until i gave in and
picked him up for the quiet cuddling that he loves so much. Berry was
too busy fighting with a piece of litter to acknowledge me. But Stripe
used the big girl litter tray today! Ok, she needed putting in there
to get the idea, but whereas all the others jumped straight out again,
she had a wee, then tried to jump out but fell off the little step
I've made for them. She wrighted herself, then ran off burbling, very
proud of herself, and told mummy and the others all about it. This
then resulted in a line of kittens all going in to have an explore,
but Stripey was still the solo widdler.</p>

<p>Each day that passes, I love these kittens more and more. I swore I
wouldn't get attached this time, but I've given up on that now. I hope
the next 7 weeks pass very, very slowly!</p>

Stripe

Photos! Apache

<p>Thanks to Blogger changing its interface, I can no longer upload
photos there, so I'm posting by email. I'm going to have to create a
new post for every photo which irks me, but here goes. Hopefully
they'll post!</p>

<p>Well, as promised, we have photos! These were all taken by a
photographer friend of mine. He normally does weddings, but a good cup
of coffee can entice him into happy snapping my little monsters!</p>

<p>The kittens are coming out every day now, and Gabby is slowly
getting better with them. She still needs close supervision when she's
with them, but tonight she only made them squeal twice in ten minutes,
and that's a massive improvement. They had some lovely games of chase
around the room where everyone was playing happily together. I've
watched her closely tonight and she's not pouncing on them. She lies
down to play with them which is a good sign, but then forgets herself
and gets far too rough. But at least progress is being made!</p>

<p>These babies are so cheeky when it comes to getting their cuddles.
Today, red sat beside me and smacked my leg with both of his paws
until I picked him up and kissed him into submission. Apache jumped
around all over my feet squeaking away until I snuggled that fat belly
to within an inch of its life. Dreamy cried at me until i gave in and
picked him up for the quiet cuddling that he loves so much. Berry was
too busy fighting with a piece of litter to acknowledge me. But Stripe
used the big girl litter tray today! Ok, she needed putting in there
to get the idea, but whereas all the others jumped straight out again,
she had a wee, then tried to jump out but fell off the little step
I've made for them. She wrighted herself, then ran off burbling, very
proud of herself, and told mummy and the others all about it. This
then resulted in a line of kittens all going in to have an explore,
but Stripey was still the solo widdler.</p>

<p>Each day that passes, I love these kittens more and more. I swore I
wouldn't get attached this time, but I've given up on that now. I hope
the next 7 weeks pass very, very slowly!</p>

Sunday, 23 September 2012

6 weeks old

<p>Six weeks old? I know I always say this, but the time feels like
it's flown in. These babies are growing so, so fast. They're pretty
much miniature cats now, and are all muscle thanks to this raw diet
and constant play. If they're not playing now, they're sleeping. They
will literally fall over where they stand in mid pounce for a quick
bit of shut eye.</p>

<p>They were allowed out of the pen again today to go exploring. Red
did his typical bouncey bouncey thing and had a super time. He's so
boisterous, this little man. He loves his cuddles, but he won't sit
still for them, preferring instead to run all over your knee to see
what new things there are to look at. He's purring like a motor the
whole time though. He's going to need a young, feisty cat in his new
home, one that will play pretty much all of the time and won't take
any nonsense, otherwise he has the potential to get very bored and
unhappy. He may have to go with a littermate if he's being rehomed
with an older cat, and, unless he changes a lot, probably wouldn't be
suitable as a single kitten with a family who aren't at home for most
of the day.</p>

<p>Blueberry spent all of her time out running away from mummy and
getting very, very told off for it. She seems to be the one that
Millie is most concerned about. Millie followed her everywhere, then
tried to round up all of her brood, but when you have five of them all
wanting to go in different directions, it's a lost cause. Eventually
she came and sat by me, let out the loudest sigh of disgust and leaned
over for a chin rub. Gabby absolutely disgraced herself and ended up
being shut out of the room after I had to bodily haul a totally
stunned Apache out of her grasp as Gabby scruffed and cuffed the poor
little girl. She's so rough, and the difficulty is that she's young
enough that she regards these babies as toys to play with. She's going
to need a lot of close supervision.</p>

<p>Stripey is now copying her mum's tactic while in the pen. She has
learned to scream and scream and scream as though something is wrong
because when you do that, the human comes running and has to check
everyone all over which means lots of tickling and cuddling (I do it
like this so that they don't realise they're being poked and prodded).
That means lots of attention, and if you scream real hard, the human
will even pick you up for a cuddle. If that doesn't work, biting your
sleeping brothers and sisters definitely gets you picked up as the
human doesn't want them all being woken up. She's a little minx!
Typical tortie! I really love her though. She makes me giggle every
single day.</p>

<p>They're all due to be professionally photographed tomorrow. I
really wanted to bath them before hand, but I just didn't have the
time. Typical. Ah well, let's hope they polish up nice with a bit of
judicious grooming. Fingers crossed!</p>

Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Great Escape

<p>As usual, I haven't written in a little while now. That's for a few
reasons.</p>

<p>Around this time, things get much busier with the kittens. We begin
intensive work on bite inhibition and manners. We begin grooming, face
washing, claw clipping and everything else they'll have to sit nicely
for in their new homes. We also start bathing, but I'll admit that I
haven't done that yet as they really are very clean at the minute.
Seems almost a shame to bath them when they're spotless, but it will
be done this week. I don't like to bath my kittens until they are at
least six weeks old, as I worry about them chilling when they are very
tiny. As they're six weeks tomorrow, I've got no excuse not to!
Despite them being clean, it's important that long hairs get used to
bathing at a young age so that they will be easier for their new
owners to bath.</p>

<p>I could have written today, but to be perfectly honest with you, I
just needed a day to myself to enjoy time away from work, and really
enjoy the kittens without any pressure. I've had a lovely time just
pottering, but I feel like I'm feeding these little porkers
constantly. I'd be surprised if they haven't easily gained their 100
grams this week, because they are eating shed loads. I don't think I'm
going to have enough raw to get me through till Tuesday which is
shocking bearing in mind that I ordered 6 KG of the stuff just last
Friday, and had 1 KG still in the fridge. I'm down to 1 KG which they
will have cleared by Monday afternoon, so I'm going to have to bulk
them out with normal tinned food which I'm not looking forward to.
Messy bums here we come!</p>

<p>Litter training and pen cleaning is incredibly easy with feeding
raw. Even if the babies do have an accident, the poos are so hard that
they don't smear them if they stand in them. That's the biggest mess
maker with weaning. One will poo outside the tray then step in it.
Another will come along and slip over in it. A third will then roll
around with his brother and soon you've got kittens and pen walls and
floor coated with such a thick layer that it would do a painter proud!
With raw, you get none of that, and the kittens are in fab condition
and so full of energy!</p>

<p>Today marked a big milestone for them. Today was the day they had
their first foray out of the pen, and they loved it! I took the front
off so that they could come out as and when they wanted. I, meanwhile,
crawled in and began my pen deep clean. What fun!</p>

<p>Red, nicknamed Strawberry by the friend with the penchant for names
(I despair sometimes), is the firm leader of the gang and was first
out, quite a surprise as it's normally Stripe who bulldozes her way to
the front. Whoever has Strawberry is going to get a handful. He's
manic! He races aroundin the pen bouncing off the walls (no, I'm not
joking) and onto everyone else, and the living room, while it was a
big, scary new place for most of the others initially, held no terror
for him. He bounced off under the TV (this kitten bounces everywhere),
and had a rip roaring fight with my TV wires. Thank goodness they're
all protected! After he'd beat them up sufficiently, he barrelled out,
piled into the middle of the kitten cluster of his siblings, bopped
Gabby on the head, then scarpered with her in hot pursuit. He had a
great time!</p>

<p>The rest of the kittens also enjoyed themselves. Blueberry decided
that, although she loves Gabby, playing pattercake with paws is much
better done through the bars of the pen than in person. It's really
funny to watch them do this. Gabby will stick a paw through the mesh
and Bluecream will smack it. Gabby, of course, pulls it away, so
Bluecream reaches out after it which leaves Gabby free to smack her
paw and Bluecream pulls it back... And the whole thing keeps going.
Only problem with being outside the pen is that when you pull your paw
back, Gabby just whaps the rest of you anyway, and when she's so much
bigger than you, the only recourse for a girl is to scream for her
mummy to come rescue her. After about the fifth time, Millie gave her
a severe telling off as though to tell her "Well, if you'll keep going
back, you deserve what you get!</p>

<p>Dreamy likes to copy his big brother and his sister Stripe, so he
spent the whole time out watching them, then running off to do
whatever it was they'd just done. Dreamy is a bit of a mummy's boy, so
kept scuttling back to her for a reassuring lick and a quick snuggle
before racing off to see what other trouble he could get himself into.
He's so funny. I think he needs to be called Teddy. Every time you
pick him up, he snuggles right in and just cuddles. He's got a purr on
him like a train too, and where red is a bit manic, he is quite happy
to give you lots of love for as long as you'll put up with him. I
think he's going to stay as one of our shyest in the bunch, but so was
Paws last year, and he turned out to be the most cuddly of all the
kittens.</p>

<p>Stripe is a little monkey. She was determined to get Gabby to chase
her and kept hassling and hassling the poor girl until she gave in and
played. Stripe and Strawberry are our greeter cats now, and love
everyone, so it was unsurprising when she happily went nose to nose
with Tia today to say hello.</p>

<p>And Apache? Well, she's still a little doll. She went on an
adventure under the TV, then was more interested in coming into the
pen and helping me clean up. She lent four helping paws to very
important tasks such as trying to climb into the dirty litter bag,
spreading clean litter from the trays all over the pen, jumping up at
and catching hands, biting a hanging strand of my hair, sitting
between my knees so that I couldn't lean back, and attacking my toes
when I was reaching right to the back to clean the corners. I couldn't
have got the pen spotless without her assistance! Man, I'm going to
find it hard to let that little lump go. She's a lover, but in a
quieter way like Dreamy. She cuddles right in at my neck which is
something her mum used to do when she was her size. I really hope I
get someone interested in this one soon...</p>

<p>Everyone stayed out for about half an hour, then they all decided
they would like to play some more, but as they were falling asleep in
mid pounce, I thought it best to pop them back in for a kip. Mind you,
once in there, they yelled until I fed them, pollished off a huge
plate of food, power napped for five minutes, then got back to
scrapping with each other! Millie is currently telling off Stripe and
Strawberry who are double teaming her tail. She's not happy!</p>

<p>They all scream now at feeding time, so much so that mum comes
pounding in to see what's wrong! All their little faces lift to watch
the food bowl as it comes over the top, and they yell and yell and
howl until the food goes in. As I've started an Audioboo account now,
I'll try and capture it at their next feeding time. It really is very
cute.</p>

<p>Tomorrow they will be six weeks old. My time with these lovelies is
nearly half gone already! This is where I start to hang onto every
little moment. I love breeding, but the parting really, really hurts,
and the lead up is almost worse in a way.</p>

<p>Hopefully, more photos tomorrow!</p>

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Father Time

<p>When you have a large litter of kittens, work full time, have older
cats to care for and also need to feed yourself, time management
becomes key. The smallest unexpected event can throw your whole day
off, and you spend the rest of it feeling like you're chasing your
tail and trying to catch up. That's what happened to me yesterday. So
what's the routine of a cat breeder?</p>

<p>5:00 AM. Time to get up as the kittens are hungry and kitten
bellies wait for no man. There's now a feeding routine in this house.
First, Gabby needs fed (Tia isn't in this equasion as she refuses to
eat anything but dry which is left down for free feeding). If I feed
Gabby and Millie together, Millie barges Gabby out of the way until
she's had her fill. Meantime, Gabby has the attention span of a six
month old kitten, because that's what she is, and gets bored and
wanders off, then can't be bothered to eat when you bring her back.
So, Gabby is fed first. While she's eating, I'm mixing Tia's dry food
(they have a blend of three different types. The high protein dry
gives them loose tummies, so the proportion of that has to be
carefully monitored along with the other two that I mix for
nutritional content). As Gabby finishes, Millie is let out of the pen
and the bowl is refilled. Why don't I feed her in with the kittens?
Because if I do, she eats every scrap of their food and they go
hungry. Why don't I feed her in a separate room? Because she wants
whatever someone else has, so the only way to make sure that someone
else eats is to fill them up first. Next, kittens get fed. Thankfully
they all now know what food is, so don't need to be hand fed. However,
the trick is to keep Millie out of the pen and occupied for 20-30
minutes as if she's left to her own devices, she'll go and stand in
front of the pen and cry to be let in, then kittens will start crying
and forget about eating. Why does it take so long? Because these
kittens, like any small babies, have short attention spans, so will
eat a little, then run off to play, then eat again. After half an
hour, Millie can be let back into the pen to clean up what's left.</p>

<p>Next comes litterbox duties, and with 4 big boxes and 2 kitten
ones, that takes a while. This is followed by a full scrub down of the
pen. That normally takes me to when I leave for work (about 7 AM), so
I normally end up snatching breakfast in the car.</p>

<p>I don't get home again until 6:30 (don't worry, the kittens are
checked on regularly through the day) and then the feeding and
cleaning and litterbox routine starts again. Then it's time to feed
myself. I won't lie. I've been going for convenience foods lately as I
just don't have the time to cook anything super fancy for myself at
the minute. Cuddling of my big girls also needs to be factored into
this. With three of them, that takes some time as I like to give them
all a lot of individual attention. They are my pets after all. Their
grooming is done every other day. Gabby alone takes about 10 minutes,
not much in the grand scheme of things, but when every minute is
accounted for, that's a hefty chunk.</p>

<p>I also have to leave a solid hour or so for working with the
kittens. Of course, I handle them on and off throughout the day, but I
like to have quality time with them as well. This gets them used to
lap cuddling, being held for prolonged periods, and also gives me time
to work on their biting and their general manners. We've now gotten to
a point where red is the only one regularly biting now. The others
will try their luck, but give up after the first try. The next thing
to work on is claws in if they grab a hand. That one's always more
tricky.</p>

<p>Somewhere amongst all that I have to find time to shower, make
lunch for work (that's not been happening for a while now), and blog.
The blog is the first thing that goes as it's not as essential as me
eating, but it then means that the next day, I write a more involved
update which again takes longer! I normally get to bed around 11.</p>

<p>Yesterday I had an unexpected doctor's appointment which took an
hour, so my evening routine was absolutely messed up. As you can see,
having kittens is not all sweetness and light. Mind you, when Stripey
crawls onto your shoulder, grunts at you, purrs, sticks her foody face
right in your ear (why do they always have to do this!) then settles
down for a sleep (with face still in ear), it does make it all
worthwhile.</p>

<p>The kittens progressed from food saucers to food bowls yesterday
without a hitch. They're growing up!</p>

Monday, 17 September 2012

Welll, that hit the nail on the head

<p>Well, I finally bit the bullet, plucked up all of my pathetic
little store of courage, and tackled the ravening hoard for nail
clipping. I thought it was going to be awful, but actually, it wasn't
that bad.</p>

<p>Stripe, drama queen extraordinaire, screamer, general wailer, sat
as good as gold the whole way through. She had a wriggle, but
generally let me get on with what I needed to do. And yes, I did check
just to make sure I actually had the right cat! Apache screamed and
whinged and yelled about the terrible torture this was! Red actually
bit me! It's all right though. Gave me a good chance to really get to
grips with his bite inhibition, and by the end of the clipping he'd
given up and was just letting me get on with it. Cream just tried to
squiggle away and not let me touch his paws. Bluecream didn't want to
be clipped at all, but after the obligatory whine, she went quiet,
devoting all of her energy instead to wriggling free and running away
from this mad, clipper wielding kitten murderer. I finished off the
clip with a nice long cuddle, or as long as the humans would allow,
just to make sure they knew I still loved 'em very much. Apache still
loves me. She purred! Otherwise I'm in the bad books.</p>

<p>I'm keeping a beady one on Millie whose teats are very, very full.
So far the kittens are managing to keep the amount under control, but
only just. Looks like I'll need to dig out my Urtica to give her soon
to stop the milk coming in. She's been a madam all evening. If she's
in the pen, she whines to come out. If I open the lid and let her out,
she whinges to go back in. if I let her in, she's back to complaining
that she wants back out again. Typical that she can't make up her mind
though.</p>

Sunday, 16 September 2012

5 weeks old!

<p>Well, another milestone reached, and boy am I proud of them!
They've done well this week. They've had a lot of change and they've
coped with it all marvellously.</p>

<p>Friday saw the arrival of my new kitten owners as promised, but it
also saw the arrival of thekittens' new home! The pen was here at
last! Like the hospitable person I am, I set the visitors to work
building with the promise that they wouldn't get any coffee until it
was done! Ok, so the pen was actually blocking the coffee maker, but
the slave driver sentiment was there.</p>

<p>An hour later and they had their coffee and the kittens had their
new house complete with one rather large newcomer in the form of a
kitten owner who had crawled inside it after unwisely joking to us
that it was so big she could probably fit in it... We put it to the
test!</p>

<p>They all had a great time climbing all over her and squealing for
cuddles. I hadn't realised it before (a case of new eyes see clearest)
but they've learned how to make biscuits when you pick them up. This
lady pointed it out to me, and ever since then, I've noticed that they
all do it whenever I give 'em a cuddle. My red boy took a shine to,
lets call her Mrs GT, and literally screamed blue murder every time
she tried to put him down! The terrible tortie duo snuggled down, one
in each of Mr GT's arms and when right off to sleep. Berry and Dreamy
also enjoyed lots of loving, and Millie didn't bat an eyelid!.</p>

<p>I didn't see much of them on Saturday as I had to speed off to a
show, but we've spent a lovely day together today. I forgot how nice
it is having babies in the living room right under your nose. We've
had lots of cuddles, lots of splashing in the water bowl (I don't much
care for the resultant mess), tons of sibling tussles and even a new
toy in the form of a scary pipe cleaner spider which was killed
numerous times. My housemate made them a ramp of cardboard to access a
deeper litter tray that I put in, so most of the day has been spent
practicing running up and down this, sliding all the way down (if
you're really brave, you do this head first, then go off to find your
brothers and sisters to make sure they saw how cool you just were),
and generally doing everything with it except using it as an easy step
into the litter tray... Typical.</p>

<p>I've stopped weighing them every day now. I really should have done
them tonight, but I confess that I'm overly tired and really don't
have the patience to spend half an hour trying to convince wiggly
worms to sit still for the 2 seconds it takes for my scales to
register and vocalise a weight. Tomorrow, I think.</p>

<p>They're all eating without prompting now. I took a step back and
just started putting the food in and walking away. So far so good!</p>

<p>More photos soon, I promise, but now to the smashing news.
Yesterday, Gabby took 1st and best of breed in both shows that she was
entered in. In her side classes she got a first, 2 seconds and a
fourth against some very stiff competition. But the best complement of
the day came from the judge who was deciding on the best Persian
kitten in the show. I asked him for his opinion on my little Gobby
Gabby, and he told me that, while choosing, he had narrowed it down to
two. The eventual winner, and... my Gabby! So in effect, she was the
second best Persian kitten of the show! To add to that, another judge
mentioned that my grooming was absolutely superb, quite a big thing
when you're battling against malicious rumours started by a prominent
figure of the cat fancy that you don't groom your own cats and rely on
someone else to do it for you due to being incapable. To say I'm
chuffed would be an understatement. I can't wait for the next show
now!</p>

Friday, 14 September 2012

Jumping Jack Flash

<p>I'm a bad, bad person. I know I know. I haven't updated in days!
That's because life has been hectic, and for the last two nights, I
haven't been able to consider going to bed until gone half 11. When
you get up at 5 to do cats before work, the blog takes a bit of a back
seat in those circumstances. I'm really sorry!</p>

<p>So, progress is being made again. The kittens have learned to jump!
Or at least, Stripe and Berry have. I'd just cleaned the pen and had
counted the kittens back in. After a while of leaving them to it with
mum, I went in to check on them. Red was asleep. Apache was asleep.
Guess what Dreamy was doing? But where were Berry and Stripe?
Adrenaline started flowing. They weren't in here. They weren't on the
floor and they weren't even in the litter trays! I'd just opened my
mouth to say, well, a lot of things that won't be printed on a family
friendly blog when I heard "eeeeeew!" right by my left ear. It was a
very sleepy little eeeeew, a very self satisfied one too! With
disbelief, I checked on Millie's shelf, and there they were, fast
asleep and perfectly comfy. I thought nothing of it. Millie had
obviously put them up there to cuddle with her.</p>

<p>But the next day the episode repeated itself, and Millie had only
been back in the pen 5 minutes, so not really long enough! So I've
come to the conclusion that they can now jump, or at least climb, 9
inches. Well done girls!</p>

<p>They're all growing more and more fond of cuddles as the days go
on. I can't open the pen door any more without them all barrelling out
to the accompaniment of many little squeakings and demands for love.
They will all quite happily sit in a pile on my knee and they just
love being fussed! They still bite, but at their age it's normal,
painful but normal. I can vouch for the fact that they all have their
teeth in nicely!</p>

<p>So can Millie. She's feeding them much less now, and will only let
them suckle for a few minutes before she's had enough and gets up to
go away. This is good in a way but also worrying. Her teats were very
engorged this morning, and while she let them take a little, she
didn't let them drain her totally. So now I'm on mastitis watch. I'm
particularly worried about one of her top teats, so will probably end
up doing some hot compresses when I get home tonight, then expressing
a little of the milk for her so that she can feel more comfy and the
mastitis risk is reduced.</p>

<p>My greedy brood have already gotten through a grand total of 5 KG
of raw since last Thursday! It's hard to believe it, but it's true.
I've given up and am now looking for a very small freezer to buy so
that I can have more room to store their food and subsequently cut my
costs on delivery a little more. I've just ordered another 6 KG which
will come today, but that won't last me for more than a week I'm
guessing! Millie's eating more than I thought possible, and she will
eat literally anything that I put down! She hasn't turned her nose up
at a single flavour yet. Tia is getting closer and closer every day
and just can't help herself from watching the other two longingly. I
know how she works, so I will continue to ignore her and carry on
making much of this new food as a treat. Sooner or later she'll have
to have some for herself, and then it'll be plain sailing from
there.</p>

<p>I don't know that I'll be able to update again today, and I'm not
sure about tomorrow either. I've got some friends coming down tonight
as it's Gabby's first show tomorrow and they want to learn about cat
showing. I'm so excited to see how she does. Tomorrow will be a long
day, but if not tomorrow, then I'll let you know how she does on
Sunday.</p>

<p>The kittening pen is supposed to arrive today. Yippee! So they may
be in their new home by the end of tonight. I may also get brave and
clip claws although I don't know about that as I really, really hate
that bit, but it does need to be done. Wish me luck!</p>

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Very quick update

<p>Sorry, but this is going to be short and sweet as I've got to be up
in less than 6 hours for work tomorrow!</p>

<p>The kittens are doing excellently again! We've had no wees on the
floor today, but we've had a regression with three poos on the floor.
Still, thanks to raw, these are firm and haven't messed up the kittens
at all! Have I mentioned I love raw yet?</p>

<p>I've had some of the biggest weight gains so far today. Apache and
Berry gained a massive 30G each! When you consider that the accepted
amount is 10G per day, that's pretty good going! Apache is now only 6G
behind Berry who is the next smallest.</p>

<p>They all came out for a play on the floor today and were intent on
escaping from the shelter of my legs! The two torties spend all their
time either escaping or climbing the human for a cuddle. They now come
running every time I go into the room! The sound of those tiny feet on
the pen floor is just too cute!</p>

<p>To celebrate her success, here's Apache, unable to keep that tongue
in her mouth!</p>

Monday, 10 September 2012

Progress!

<p>We're making progress! We only had one or two wees on the floor
today, and I think that was because the trays had been very, very well
used by the time I made it home from work to clean up, so I can
understand it. Although I have someone check on the kittens every few
hours, they won't clean trays which is a shame.</p>

<p>Weaning has also taken a step up. Today is the first day that some
of them will eat without me having to shove food in their mouths. They
all come running as soon as I go in with the food, then mill around
and don't really know what to do next. This results in fights breaking
out, because when you're a kitten and you don't know what to do, the
best thing to do is to take a chunk out of your sister. That always
helps put the big new world back in perspective! I don't know who is
eating independently because I don't want to touch them to find out as
it distracts them, but I'm guessing it's not little Berry as she's
lost 9 grams since yesterday. I'm not too concerned. She hasn't been
as enthusiastic about the food as everyone else, so her weight is
going to be all over the place until she gets the will to eat. hunger
is one of the primary drives for the kittens to wean, so as tempting
as it is to supplement her, I won't as it would then take away her
urge to hunt for new food sources.</p>

<p>I've also been taking Millie out now at weaning time and leaving
the kittens to it. She loves their food so much that she just eats
everything, and if I'm there, they get so excited to see me that they
forget to eat. It means that I don't know who's eating what, but as
none of them have lost for 2 days running, I'm going to have to be
content with not knowing!</p>

<p>These cats love the raw food more than I can tell you. The only one
who hasn't eaten a thing is Tia. I suspect if I had more time I could
force the issue, but I don't so I won't just yet. I'm still hoping
that she will try it of her own free will, as I really think she'd
like it.</p>

<p>I've noticed the first active toy play today. One of the torties,
Stripe I think, was caught in the act of whapping a pingpong ball then
chasing it, finding it, attacking it and then falling flat on her fat
little tummy when it unexpectedly ran away from her again! It's so
funny when they're learning about balls. Someone's also been playing
with the straw as it's very flattened, but i don't know who as I've
not seen that one in action.</p>

<p>They all need to have their claws clipped, but I'm terrified of
doing it. I did three last year at 4 weeks and never have I sweated so
much in my life! It's nerve wracking because they're so small! I'll
need to pluck up the courage and do it before the weekend though, as
those claws are getting so, so long! They'll also be having their
first baths soon. Their coats are coming in beautifully, and since
we've started raw, there has been not one dirty back end, so for that
reason alone I love it!</p>

<p>Now, for your viewing pleasure, here's two little cuties at 4 weeks
old!</p>

Sunday, 9 September 2012

4 weeks old!

<p>Wow, it's hard to believe that these babies have now been here for
4 weeks. It seems like only yesterday that I was waiting anxiously for
news of Millie's C section from the vet. Last year, these first four
weeks went nice and slowly. It was everything after that that sped up.
I wonder what the next few weeks will be like?</p>

<p>Litter training is finally progressing slightly. Today we had a poo
right beside the tray, and we even had weewees in the tray itself! I'm
so proud! It's hard to stop myself from cleaning the tray out every
time they go in there, but I have to force myself to leave well alone
as the tray needs to be dirty so that they know where to toilet next
time.</p>

<p>The babies were let out of the pen altogether for the first time
today. They're such scaredykittens! They're all terribly brave until
they get out, and then they chicken out and all huddle together. Today
Millie got in on the action and called them all to her, then had a
great old time feeding them on the carpet.</p>

<p>Speaking of Millie, I've got news on her! Today we moved from raw
rabbit to raw gaime bird. I put a dish of warmed meat in for the
kittens, and low and behold, Millie stuck her face in the dish and ate
like there was no tomorrow! I could hardly believe it! This is the cat
that will absolutely not touch most things, and turned her nose up at
the rabbit! She almost cleared the whole plate of food.</p>

<p>We're going through this raw at an incredible rate now that
Millie's joined in. By tomorrow morning, we'll have done 1 entire kg,
and it was only delivered the day before yesterday, and only fed for
the first time yesterday morning! It's brilliant though as I can give
the kitten plates to Gabby who will happily hoover up anything they
haven't managed to eat, so she gets her full meals usually, and
there's absolutely no waste!</p>

<p>It's interesting. She doesn't eat much raw at all, and yet she has
showed absolutely 0 interest in the dry food bowl which is down all
the time. Since having her first taste of raw, Millie has done no more
than pick at the dry food too. Coincidence? Hard to know.</p>

<p>That's it for now. I should have new photos for you tomorrow!</p>

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Raw Food Success!

Well, today has been another eventful day.

My raw food arrived yesterday. 5 KG doesn't sound like a lot for
feeding 8 hungry cats, but when you've got it sitting in front of
you... Well, it's loads! It took the first package a whole day to
defrost in my fridge, so I couldn't feed any until first thing this
morning.

I'm used to doling out tinned cat food, and even with the high quality
stuff, you have to feed a reasonably large amount of it before the
cats are full. I put the same amount of raw on a plate for the babies,
and dropped a splodge into the big girls' bowl just to see if they
were interested. My heart sank when Gabby, who would literally eat
garbage if it was put down in front of her, had a sniff, turned her
nose up and cried at me for something better.

I took the dish into the babies and set it down. As usual, there was
no reaction other than Stripey screaming fit to burst to be picked up
for a cuddle. I plonked her in front of the dish instead... And
watched in amazement as her head went right down and she began to fill
her little face.

It's interesting to compare the differences between how they eat raw
and how they manage wet cat food. Normally when you wean, you make the
food as gloopy as possible to make it easy for them to get up. Raw is
quite jelly like, and while you could add a little water, I didn't
know that at the time, so didn't do it. When they try and eat the wet
food, they slurp and suck and generally get themselves into a terrible
mess by plopping their whole heads in it. I presumed it was because
they didn't know how to chew yet, but watching them with the raw has
dispelled all those illusions. These kittens know how to chew all
right, boy do they know! I watched little Dreamy, who up until this
point has refused to have anything to do with cat food, turn his head
sideways so that he could scissor meat with his back teeth. The only
problem with this raw feeding is that the cats, having now tasted real
flesh, frequently try and have a taste of me just to make sure I'm
really not their dinner! So, bite inhibition work has officially
started today, although I feel very mean having to be firm with such
biddy babies. When I came out with the remains of their breakfast,
Gabby started to hassle me. She was asking and asking for food, so I
thought I'd try her again and tipped a bit of their breakfast into her
bowl. I brought this into the kitchen so that she would think she was
getting a treat (they always get them in the kitchen as this is also
where I give medicines, and want it to be associated with lots of good
things too). Well of course, you don't turn your nose up at treats, so
she had a dutiful lick even though you could see she wasn't all that
certain. The first lick did it, and she cleaned her plate. She
literally licked the bottom! I gave her a little more, then had to
just give gobbits from the container without warming it as she was
determined to have more! The other two big girls came in then to see
what all the fuss was about. As it was obviously a treat given that it
was being fed in the kitchen, Tia decided to barge Gabby out of the
way and take some for herself! Now this is a huge thing as Tia is a
dry food cat through and through. If it's wet, it has to be RC or
Hills, that's it, no compromises, never! Now she didn't come back for
seconds, but nor did she spit out her initial mouthful! I caught
Millie having a sneaky nibble too, but she is totally ignoring any raw
I put in the pen with the kittens which is a pity, as it's her I
really need on the stuff.

Weight gains from Berry and Dreamy have been spectacular. Berry gained
37 grams in 2 days! Dreamy has managed a respectable 34 while Apache
and Stripe have done 24 and 25 respectively. Red has only managed 20,
but that's still good enough for me not to be worried in the
slightest. I suspect that once Apache works out what the dish is, her
weight is going to sky rocket, and she may well have managed to break
400 by tomorrow, which is what a 4 week old should be. Well, they say
100 grams plus 100 for every week of life, but in that first week
bearing in mind that mum doesn't have full fat milk for 2-3 days,
gaining 100 is a bit of a mammoth ask.

Litter training continues to be, well, let's say a trial. Besides that
one lucky weewee and poo, nobody that I know of has used the litter
trays, although to be very fair, there was a puddle in the corner of
one and I'm not sure if it was mum's wee or a combination of lots of
little kitten weewees. I only clean these trays once daily as it
doesn't do to have too clean a tray when you're trying to teach
kittens where to toilet, as the smell draws them back. Again to be
fair, I haven't noticed them using the bedding either. They're now
weeing in between the bed and the tray down a teeny, weeny gap, but
it's still progress, right? They love to wee along the side wall in
between the trays too, so I've slapped an empty one down there tonight
to block their access. They can wee in there all they like, but it
will just pool around their feet which they hate. If they continue to
prefer that spot, I'll put a bit of litter in the bottom for them, but
fingers crossed they will learn quickly! I don't expect any poos for a
little while as you get hardly anything on raw anyway, but fingers
crossed for nice firm ones!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Totally Demoralised

Wow, what a couple of days I've had!

I didn't write yesterday because I felt so demoralised that it would
have just been a total rant. While I want to give you the negatives of
kitten raising as well as all the cute, fluffy kitteny bits, I don't
think it's fair to subject you to my ranting for the sake of it, and
that's what it would have been.

Yesterday, I cleaned the pen loads of times yet again. In the end, I
took all of the inco pads out and just left 1 square of Vetbed. It
took Millie a whole 2 hours to work out what she could do next.

She took up residence in the litter tray. Ok, that's fairly innocuous,
right? Wrong. When you've got five eating, pooing machines who have
suddenly worked out just how to poo, and when you have a mum intent on
not only blocking the toilet, but teaching them to regard it as a bed
and a cuddle spot, well, that's a problem! Add to that that I had put
some of Millie's poo in the tray to try and encourage kittens to poo
there through smell association, and you'll see that the problem is
even larger!

Millie didn't care. When I caught her trying to suckle the kittens in
the tray, I'd had enough and almost lost my rag. She was pulled out
and cleaned up which resulted in a bath which then resulted in unhappy
kittens as mum didn't smell like mum any more, and a stressed mum
because the kittens were unhappy.

This morning I thought I was back on track. Yes there were various
poos dotted artistically around the pen, but there were also two poos
and a wee in a litter tray! I put in a tiny one yesterday so that
Millie couldn't block them all off at once. When it came to feeding
time, Stripe and Apache only needed the most minimal of coaxings
before they were eating from the dish. Everyone except Berry had a
little nibble. Then the fun started.

In my tiredness I went to serve up food for Millie. I give her dry as
well as wet as she's a dry fanatic and I'd rather see her eat while
she's suckling than force the wet issue. I needed to open a new bag of
food. Now, I have small bags here of Royal Canin for kitten owners to
try, but I don't feed mine on it any more as I found that they were
prone to getting the runs on it. Guess what I put in Millie's bowl
this morning by accident?

The runs started about 2 hours ago, and they're spectacular. She's
already had another bath, and I suspect that there'll be another to
come some time in the wee hours.

Since this morning, not one kitten has toiletted in the litter tray,
and every single one of them has done it all over the pen. Someone
also thinks it's a good idea to use the Vetbed as a wee spot, and it
was literally dripping when I took it out earlier. And it only went in
clean this morning! I'm so glad the heating pad underneath is
waterproof. Of course, they all happily lay down to sleep in the pee
puddle.

There's only so much you can do with a flannel, and to be honest, I'm
not too comfy with bathing them at this very young age as they chill
so easily. At the moment, I'm hoping like crazy that Millie will clean
them up, otherwise the bath it'll have to be. I'm planning to change
their food to raw tomorrow in an effort to firm up their poos as they
are still the same consistency as the first poo they always do, i.e, a
little gloopy.

Stripey now squeals constantly whenever she hears you in the room. It
just goes on and on and on and on unless she's eating or sleeping.
She's bright and playful so I'm not worried that there's something
wrong, but she's so desperate for human attention, and it really is a
very loud cry!

To be very honest, as I promised I would be, there's no pleasure in
these kittens at the moment. I know this phase will pass, and when it
does, I'll know that it's all worthwhile again, but at the moment, I'm
at a very, very low point and wondering why I breed just to give
others a nice pet. I'm very, very glad that Tia didn't take when I
studded her, as I'm not sure I could have managed 2 litters going
through this stage at the same time. Really, I think it's because this
pen is so flaming small. Can't wait to get my bigger one.

Anyway, that's all for now. Hopefully I'll be a bit more cheerful tomorrow!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Day 24, Oh Crappy Day!

Well, I told you at the start that I'd try and give you the whole
experience of raising kittens. That involves the bad as well as the
good, I'm afraid.

Kittens are messy little things when they learn to wean. It feels like
you're constantly fighting a losing battle just to keep them clean,
and more oftten than not, you lose. normally this is Ok, but if you've
had a bad day, are feeling a bit tired etc, then it can easily get
overwhelming. I'm at that stage.

I had no sleep last night due to having a tummy bug (thank you work!)
and also due to Millie being an absolute horror. She's gotten into the
habit of flinging all of her litter out of the tray because she knows
it will bring me running to clean it up. I can't leave it everywhere
when there are kittens in the pen, and even though I ignore her
totally, she still thinks she's getting attention because I'm close,
so that reinforces the behaviour. This only serves to increase the
scratching. That carried on a grand total of 4 times throughout last
night, and that combined with the bug left precious little time for
sleep.

Millie stepped things up a notch as the day began, now actively
kicking litter out of the tray to bury food, water and most of the pen
in general. So I moved the litter tray up towards the bed and away
from the food. Thwarted by this, she then resorted to systematically
destroying the inco pads I put on the floor to keep kittens clean and
dry while they're weaning. She tears right through the upper layer
until she gets at the fluff underneath. Then that fluff gets scattered
and goes into burying the food too. It literally gets stuck to
everything. I've cleaned the pen 14 times today, and am very, very
close to breaking point. She's fine while I'm in the room, but every
time I leave it the scratching begins.

On top of all this, the kittens have learned to poo, well, three of
them have so far. Up until they begin to wean, the mum cat will
physically stimulate them by licking their lower bellies and bums. She
eats what they produce. However, all of that stops when they wean. She
won't eat any of their poo, and when they're learning, they're so, so
messy. They normally sit down in their poo meaning that their whole
back ends are covered. If they don't sit in it, they stand in it and
track it everywhere. If they don't stand in it, someone else will roll
in it just to make sure maximum coverage is achieved... It normally
is. When you have a mum cat who is also actively flinging the contents
of the pen flooring around, well, things get very messy very quickly.
Millie keeps insisting on lying in the litter tray, so rather than
looking at it as a place to toilet, the kittens are seeing that as a
bed and the bed as the toilet. I swear, I'm glad I love Millie. It's
at times like this that that love counts for a lot...

So, as well as cleaning the pen pretty much all day, trying to take a
break long enough to eat and do normal things as well as resting to
get over this bug (there's a joke), I've been scrubbing very
uncooperative kittens. I the time it's taken me to write this blog,
Millie has been in and out of the pen 5 times, has over turned the
litter twice, and, the final straw which has caused me to give her a
very firm time out from the kittens for a while, was when she
overturned her water dish onto the five, then sat there and just
watched as they screamed and huddled for warmth. She howled blue
murder from the other side of the door as I changed bedding yet again,
put in a heat pad, refilled the water, refilled the litter tray,
refilled the food and dried cold kittens, but I let her. If it's not
her howling it will be me soon, and I know which one I'd rather have!
She won't settle with them for long, and with the other cats in the
house, I really don't want to move the pen out of my bedroom, but if
she carries on like this, then I'm going to have to. Tia did this last
year and would only finally settle when she could see me, so perhaps
Millie is the same.

To those of you thinking of breeding just because you want a cute
litter of kittens from puss, and "Oh, but wouldn't it be lovely to
watch them grow?" think very, very carefully. Could you put up with
this?Ok, rant over. Fancy a photo?

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

23 days old, Weaning Begins Fully

Well, yet again we make progress today, and I've got some more photos
to share with you! I've only got a few, so will tease you by only
giving you one a day!

I think I mentioned yesterday that I've just begun to encourage
kittens to wean. This is such a messy business that it's ridiculous! I
spread a large hand towel on the carpet and fed them on that, but for
five such tiny kittens, they were still able to cover the whole towel
in food! And there wasn't that much on the saucer in the first place!
I really wish I could take a photo of them just after eating. No doubt
you will notice staining to their faces this week because when they're
learning to eat, they have dirty faces far more than clean, and it
shows. They were literally covered from eyes to neck, then they'd
stand in it, then they'd fall over onto the puddle they'd just created
on the towel. Apache even had it in her right armpit! I'm so thankful
for Millie because she does such an excellent cleaning job! We're
still at the open their mouths and shove the food in stage, but Apache
did get stuck in and sucked some food from my fingers, and little
Stripe filled her belly! None of them will eat from the plate yet, but
eating from fingers, especially active searching for food as Stripe
did is very good progress, particularly because they're so young.

Dreamy is just starting to lick at the food, but he's still trying to
pretend that he hates it. He screams when you put it in his mouth. I
never force a weaning hard, particularly when they're started young,
so if he squealed and struggled, I'd reach across and put him back in
the pen. He hated that food so much that he just had to keep sneaking
back to the front, then squealing at me until I took him out and fed
him some more. Apache and Stripe were so keen that they threw
themselves out of the pen so that I'd be forced to give them more! Red
and Berry aren't so keen yet. Berry will take some, but she's not
interested in licking yet, so she only gets tiny little gobs. Red is
in the same boat.

So, now to photos. Look at that big, fat lump on top of all his sibs!
Isn't he a cutie?

Monday, 3 September 2012

Day 22, Progress!

So, what happened yesterday? A long week, that's what. I sat down late last night to write the blog, and... Suddenly it was midnight, I had a crick in my neck from falling asleep on the sofa, and Gabby had written 2 whole pages of random letters while she slept on the keyboard on my lap. I gave up at that point and just went to bed. There then followed a manic day at work, then lots of kitten cuddling and litter tray cleaning when I got home, so this is the first chance I've had to write. Sorry!



So, the kittens are three weeks old now. Actually, they're just turning 3 weeks as I write this! They're doing so, so well and are making big strides every day now.



Yesterday I removed the Vetbed from the pen and replaced it with a much smaller bit that will allow the kittens to begin differentiating between their bed and the play area. This is quite important for them to do prior to litter training as I find that it makes for slightly less accidents that way. Initially, there was lots of wailing and shrieking as they stepped onto this new surface and their legs went out from under them! It's only lino, but of course, they were used to Vetbed which has excellent grip for little claws, not this shiny, slippy thing that you couldn't hold onto. However, the scaredy cat phase didn't last for long.



Soon they began to trundle around quite happily, and not long after that, Stripey discovered that this new floor was great for running on! Of course, the running consisted mostly of falling, but still, it's the thought that counts, right?



As they settled, they got more and more adventurous, and eventually, Stripe and Apache picked up the courage to climb over the lip of the pen and out onto the carpet. Mind you, they turned into chickens as soon as they realised how big the real world was, and hightailed it back into the safety of familiarity. This is their first independent foray outside the confines of the pen.



They all now love tummy tickles. I spend a lot of time with them and now, most times when I come into the room, Stripe and Apache in particular will come racing to the front of the pen and literally squeal non stop until I get in there and give them some love. I even got my first consistent purr yesterday, and you'll never guess who from! Little Dreamy. He's decided that he loves rubbing under his chin and along his neck, and he will literally fall over as soon as you touch him there. Apache also had a purr, but then remembered that she was supposed to be being a brave adventurer, and everyone knows that brave adventurers don't have time to stop and purr so she gave that up for a bad job and went trundling off to beat up her sister instead.



I gave them all their first taste of food today. I wouldn't normally force weaning this young, but as I wanted to encourage Apache to eat to catch up with her sibs, I thought I might as well give them all a taste. Apache wasn't too thrilled but swallowed a tiny amount. Berry absolutely hated the stuff, and decided that surely it must be poison, but then she couldn't help but have a little extra lick just to make sure. Dreamy wasn't having any of it, and just clamped his mouth shut and refused. No surprises there. I knew he would be the hardest to wean, as eating requires effort. Red boy (I still haven't got a name for him! Any suggestions?) was neither here nor there, but Stripey? Well, she started by hating it, and how did she tell me? Well, by screaming of course. Then she decided she'd tolerate it. Then she decided she loved it, and almost ate my fingers to get more! I only gave her a few mouthfuls though, as I don't want them having too much too fast at this age. However, now begins the weaning encouragement. I'll pop a little food in their mouths a few times a day, but I'll not force the issue any more than that. They'll eat when they're ready after all.



So that's it so far. More tomorrow... If I don't fall asleep!



Here's a photo taken right after Stripe and Apache went adventuring, and they'd all had their first taste of the lino. As you can see, all that hard work builds an apetite!



Saturday, 1 September 2012

Day 20, Kittenly Love

Well, little Dreamy Dreamer must have known that I told you all that he's a lazy big lump last night, because today he's a different kitten! He's actually bothering to walk, and, get this, even drags his behind over to have a cuddle! He's starting to talk now, but because he hasn't used it much, his mew is still a little scratchy compared to the others. He absolutely loves chin rubs.



They've all made strides today. Stripey has got yet another first. She's just cut two teeth! How do I know this? Well, her brother has obviously been whispering in her ear that the human tastes kinda nice, because she's discovered an absolute love for lying on her back, having her belly tickled and chomping merrily away on whatever part of me she can reach. I thought something felt a little different, so had a poke around in her mouth, and sure enough, there was the start of her teeth! Nobody else has got those yet, although they've all got the nubs under their gums, so it won't be long now. They're so funny though. Even when they're chomping away on you, they'll always stop long enough to give you little kisses in between. Bluecream has decided she likes grooming, and gave my finger a very thorough bath today! I was suitably appreciative...



Stripey will now pop her head up and squeak hello to me almost every time I crawl into the pen for a cuddle with the babies. If she's not engaged in more important pursuits like falling over, squealing or trying to bite her brother's nose off, she'll even come over to me and yell at me until I tickle her! Bluecream, Berry, has obviously been watching, because she's suddenly decided that the big scary human thing is her favourite thing in the world, and she needs to love it and climb all over it and cry at it. Every single time I've gone in the pen today to help Apache get a good feed, she's come barrelling over to me for a fuss. She even dragged herself up onto my forearm tonight, then settled down for a kip! I need to turn into an octopus! Can you imagine how hard it is to keep that arm still so as not to dislodge her, plug Apache into a nipple with the other hand, keep the others from fighting her off, grab Dreamy and stop him from bullying everyone else off their nipple just because he can't be bothered to actually do the work and get the milk flow started for himself, plop red boy back in with his mum to stop him squealing from the other side of the pen and making her upset and get up because she thinks there's something wrong, then tickle a Stripey who screams every time you stop? I was struggling!



The pairings are definitely becoming stronger now. Stripe and red show a very definite preference for each other, and the other three have banded together, although their alegances change all the time in that threesome. They love each other, but they're not as tight as Stripe and red.



Today, the last lot of photos from when these guys were 2 weeks old. I'll give you group shots this time so that you can see how much they love each other!







Friday, 31 August 2012

Day 19, Cream Boy

Well, tonight is the turn of the last little kitten, little Dreamer. Whether he'll stay named Dreamer or not I don't know, but at the moment, that's most certainly what he is.



Sleep is this boy's middle name. you can do absolutely anything with this kitten and he carries on kipping. Pick him up to weigh him and he's so trusting that he will literally hang his head over the side of your hand, not making any effort at all to lift it for himself. You can kiss him, tickle him, do pretty much anything and he'll very slowly lift his head, survey the situation then promptly nod off again.



This little one walks just as well as the others, but he has obviously been practicing when the humans aren't looking, because I've only a few times seen him toddling. He is now following Stripe's example and just beginning to talk. His mew is pathetic. Why is it that tomcats always have the most girlie mews?



If this boy's paws are anything to go by, he's going to be absolutely massive. He's like a little bull when it comes to fighting someone else off a nipple that he wants. I've never seen such a strong headbutt from such a small kitten.



This little boy doesn't enjoy his tickles yet, but he doesn't hate them either. He's a stoic little fellow and just accepts anything that the world throws at him. He is a love bug with everyone, but especially loves little Blue Berry and Apache. Mind you, he'll cuddle up with anybody that's available.



Now to the photos! Remember these were all taken when these babies were 2 weeks old. They're now much bigger!






Thursday, 30 August 2012

Day 18, Red Boy

So, today it's the turn of my little red muffin. He's the only one that I don't have a tentative name for yet. Nothing suits him yet, so he's just little boy or little fatty (why does my brain always insist that little fatty is an affectionate name!). Fatties are cute though. That huge belly is just so smooshable!



Red is now enjoying his daily smooshes, but oh is he a fierce boy! Today I got brutally savaged again, and my hand barely lived to tell the tale of the all out gumming. He gets so excited when he manages to catch your hand in his paws, then he holds on for dear life, lifts his head up, wobbles from side to side with the effort of holding it there, mashes his face into your hand just to check you're still there, falls over because his traitorous head wobbled and pushed him off balance, repeats the performance so far, then opens his mouth as wide as it will go and chomps you. I'm sure he only does it because he knows that the tummy tickling will increase when he does. When this happens, the dreadful attack will cease mainly because he's physically fallen over and is rolling around with his paws above his head.



Red has, just today, taken his first full, belly off the ground, legs actually straight, non falling over steps. He managed a whole 10 inches before he fell on his face, but after that, there was no stopping him. He was determined that he was going to leave his littermates and crawl to me for a fuss. This upset mum as it took him slightly out of her line of sight and she was feeding at the time so I kept putting him back. I must have put him back 6 or 7 times at least, and in the end, the only way I could get him to stay there was by tickling his tummy.



His teeth are definitely coming. I can feel little bulges below his gums. He's a greedy little monkey and is feeding at every chance he gets. He's also an absolute suck with Millie, a mummy's boy through and through. He climbs up and lies along her neck for a cuddle, he feeds on the front nipple just so that he can get a cuddle at the same time (Millie gives lots of lovin and snuggles to whatever bit of a kitten she can reach when they're feeding.



I'm working with this boy now on being picked up without screaming, and have discovered that I can have him in my hands inside the pen for as long as I like. He just shrieks when you lift him totally out of it. I held him under my chin for ages today, and he kept popping his head up for kisses and just to chunter at me.



He was the first kitten to break 300 g, and today he weighed in at a whopping 311. he's currently the biggest! He loves his sister Stripey, and will cry and shout for her until she comes to sleep with him or play fight. They love wrestling together! If things continue as they are, this pair might be very hard to split.



So, here's some photos of the little love. Enjoy!






Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Day 17, Stripe

Today it's the turn of the last of the girls, little Stripe!



This girl is a complete drama queen through and through. Diva? Doesn't even come close! She's got oodles of personality, and boy does she show it! Her one defining quality is her ability to scream. Look at her and she screams. Touch her? Well, it depends on her mood, but if she's grumpy, she screams! If her mum washes her she literally howls at the indignity. If you weigh her, she gives her lungs an excellent work out. But as well as screaming, this little girl also talks. She's one of only a few of these babies who has talked back to me, but she's the only one who does it consistently, or as consistently as a tiny kitten can. She's learned to hold her head up, and she'll pop it up all proudly out of a pile of sleeping kittens. It doesn't seem to affect her pride that it wobbles all over the place, oh no. She'll sit herself up, then get so pleased that she'll start talking to herself. If you don't answer, that's Ok as she'll just carry on telling herself how wonderful and good and clever she is. But if you happen to be there and talking to her, she'll get very excited which makes her little head wobble even more. Mostly, this makes her fall over, but if she can stay upright, she'll squeak at you again and again, and sometimes even come for a cuddle.Boy is that kitten pleased with herself when she manages something new!



Against her better judgement, she's starting to enjoy tummy tickles. She half rolls over for one, then remembers she's not supposed to like them and half stands up, then gives up, lies back, enjoys it, then screams once, just to avoid losing her reputation as drama queen extraordinaire.



Stripey can now get herself back to the group when she gets lost, and will even talk to them to do it. She and her mum are already having long conversations. Apologies to this girl's eventual owner... You'll need to buy ear plugs! She likes chin rubs and will literally fall over with cheek rubs.



I know it's not his turn, but I just have to tell you about red a little. I got my first bite today, well, more of a gumming to death as he doesn't actually have teeth yet, although I can now feel them under his gumline. I was tickling him when he flopped right over on his back, grabbed my finger in his paws and fiercely bit and bit it, then realised that he wasn't getting anywhere, gave me a kiss instead and stretched out to enjoy the tickle. I could hardly move for laughing!



Anyway, here's the photos of Stripe!







Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Day 16, Bluecream





So today, it's little Berry's turn. Why Berry? Blame my friend. He thought Blueberry suited her, and then another friend compounded the issue by suggesting Blueberry Muffin as a pedigree name. now I've got cake themed names running round and round in my head. She also suggested Jamaican Ginger for little red boy which I really quite like. Any other ideas?



So, little Berry. Well, she's as cute as Apache is. She's now the second biggest in the litter next to red boy, but unlike him, she doesn't feel the need to throw her weight around at feeding time, except to push Apache off that is, but then everybody does that. She was the first to manage to lift her fat tummy off the bedding long enough to take a step, and she's now merrily toddling around her mum, only using her chin for support when she thinks nobody's looking. She grunts like a little piggy when you pick her up, but she rarely cries, and when she does, it's quite polite rather than demanding.



There's a definite split happening in the litter now, and Berry is right at the heart of it. She was the first to show a preference, that being for cream boy, but then Apache started to cuddle him too, so these three have become fast friends. Red and Stripe are quite happy with the situation and take themselves off into a corner to snuggle up together.



Berry hasn't learned to enjoy tummy tickles yet, but she is the only one so far who will purr at any other time than when she's suckling. Now she also does it when she's having a clean from mum.



Now I'll leave you to enjoy the photos!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Day 15, Apache





Today, little Apache gets the spotlight.



Apache is a tortie with the most adorable little patch over one eye. She got her name quite by accident. "Is that a patchy one?" I asked a friend as I grabbed kittens at random to weigh them after their rather eventful birth... And it stuck!



Apache is the doll of this litter. She hardly ever cries, but when she does, it's a tiny, raspy, very sweet little mew. Never does she fully scream, even if someone else pushes her off her spot at the milk bar, and I think that's part of the problem as to why she's not growing as quickly as the others. When the fighting gets too fierce, you see, there's a lot of squealing that goes on. This causes mum to either begin washing everyone into submission, or to get up and change position. Either act means that most kittens are knocked free of their nipples, and so the playing field is levelled again for everyone to have a crack at securing a spot. Because Apache doesn't make a song and dance about being pushed off, mum never fights her corner for her.



Apache loves to cuddle. She cuddles Millie, she cuddles humans, she cuddles her brothers and sisters. She also looooooves gentle tickling already. She'll fall over on her back as soon as you touch her now, then wave her paws merrily in the air as you give her a rub, all the while wiggling around so that that tickling finger gets good coverage.



She's learning to walk and can do so now, but very, very wobbly is she, and she'll regularly plop over in a heap. She loves to look at me (heaven knows why) but she'll literally almost break her neck just to stare up at me whenever I crawl into the pen with them all for a cuddle. She crawled into my hands today and just sat there and stared. Strange kitten!



So, that's our little Apache girl. Can you tell I have a massive soft spot for her?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Two Weeks Old!

Wow, are these babies really 2 weeks old already? I was just thinking back again on their rather fraught entry into this world, and marvelling that we have 5 happy, healthy babies at the end of it. It's just so fab. I've got every possible colour from the mating I did, an even mix of girls and boys (again, in every possible colour for that sex), a very attentive mummy and, for most of them anyway, a nice, steady weight gain. What more could I ask for!


The kittens are now beginning to toddle about the nest, not very steadily and certainly with no grace, but toddling they most certainly are. Bluecream is the most successful so far. She can actually make it up onto all four legs, but when she tries to move, she needs to use her chin for support... Well, you can't have it all! Red boy can also make it onto four paws, but when he walks, he looks like a little worm. As he moves, he wobbles from side to side, his body squiggles and bends in the middle, and his back legs get further and further behind him until eventually, he ends up on his belly again. Stripe is red's pal, and wherever he is, there must she be also. She is pushing up onto her front paws really well, and will actively try and return herself to wherever the others are, which is more than can be said for the rest of them who just lie down and squeal when they get separated. Cream boy is too lazy to bother with all this walking glark unless there's milk at the end of it! He'll wiggle his way back to mummy, but as soon as she disappears, he just flumps down and refuses to move until she's back. The housemate wants to call him Cream Dream as his pedigree name, and I have to say that the dream bit fits him well. I might call this little boy Dreamer as his pet name until his owner finds one for him. Even when you pick him up, he just carries on sleeping and would be quite happy to let his head hang over the side of your hand and not make any effort to lift it. Apache is also learning to walk, although hers is more of a fall over and roll to where you wanna be than a true walk yet. Her front paw strength is really good though.



Now then, time for photos and a personality update.



Here's little Stripey. Stripe is the drama queen of this litter. Look at her and she screams. Pick her up and she absolutely howls. If her mum washes her, she threatens to burst your ear drums, and woe betide the kitten who manages to fight her off a teat! However, she's the most alert and savi of the group. More photos of her later in the week, I promise.



Little Apache is an absolute doll. This is the only kitten who consistently rolls over for a tickle and seems to enjoy it. She will cuddle your finger and is already squeaking hello to me whenever I talk to her. She cuddles her mum's paw and is more of a lover than a fighter. She's the one who kneads the most and hardly ever uses claws. Pick her up and she grunts at you, then quite happily settles down. She's the only consistent purrer when she's suckling too. The others do it, but you can guarantee that she will every time.



Red boy is a big bruiser, and where some of the others have lengthened, this boy is turning into a tank. His body has stayed lovely and short and chunky. His colour is beautiful, or so I'm told. He still squeals when you pick him up, but has given up on the "she's killing me, muuuuuuum!" urgency. Now he just squeaks because he can, and sometimes, if you catch him right, he'll actually give you a love instead of fighting you. Mind you, a lot of that has to do with the power of a tickle, as he's learning to like it too. He's putting up a manly fight and pretending he hates it, but he can't help rolling over and wiggling and stretching into a tickling finger.



Cream boy is our Dreamer. you can do absolutely anything to this boy and he'll lift his head, give a very indolent stretch, then go back to sleep and let you get on with whatever it is you're doing. This boy has absolutely no fear of humans at all. He's the second smallest, but a fierce fighter for a nipple when he wants one. He's pals with Apache and Bluecream who we think is going to turn into Blueberry as her name.



Bluecream is probably the most advanced after Stripe. She's another lover, although if you're a sibling who wants the teat she's got then she's one of the dirtiest fighters, using paws to literally haul you away. She's undecided about whether she likes humans, but on the whole, she does. She's happy to sit in your hands and have a nose around, but gets quite vocal during the lift in and out of the pen. Looks like she doesn't like to see empty space under her, as she's fine whenever she's got solid under her again. She also grunts, but rarely actually screams. She likes head rubs.



The kittens are starting to separate off now, red and Stripey liking each other best, and the smaller three banding together. It's interesting to see how the dynamics change on a daily basis.






Saturday, 25 August 2012

13 days and We've Got Grooming!

Oh what a day we've all had today!

The kittens had their first real visitors this morning, and they were
so good! All kittens were really well handled, and Millie was cuddled
to within an inch of her life! Gabby made new friends and Tia actually
fell in love! I think that in itself is the seal of approval on
whether these folks are a good home or not. When Tia loves you, you've
gotta be something special!

All of the babies' eyes are open now, all fully except for little
cream who only has a teeny bit more to go. The boys still look a bit
dazed by everything, but the girls are readily tracking movements,
making eye contact and generally engaging. Stripe was even videoed
grooming herself (she did this more than once, and it was a systematic
licking, so not a fluke). I've never seen a kitten do this so young,
and was duely impressed.

The visitors took tons and tons and tons of photos and I'll give you a
few tonight, but I'm going to make you wait until tomorrow for the
bulk of everything. Aren't I horrible? Tonight you get to see the gang
in a group, but tomorrow you'll see them all individually. They've
grown so much in this last week it's unbelievable!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Day 12 and Apache Does It!

Day 12 is now upon us! The kittens are chugging along quite nicely
now, although they seem a little perturbed by some of the changes that
went on earlier. Millie decided she was going to upend the whole
litter tray, then do a victory dance in the water bowl. The resultant
mulch meant that I had to pull all the bedding out for washing, and
put some clean stuff in. Of course, clean stuff, while it smells sort
of familiar, doesn't have mummy smell all over it yet, so they weren't
too keen on the change. It didn't take them long to settle back down
though.

The vet came to remove the last of Millie's stitches today. She'd done
the majority of them herself, naughty girl, and it's just as well the
wound underneath was well healed! I was paranoid about her doing
herself a mischief whilst pulling though, so thought it safer that the
vet removes the last of them in a controlled fashion.

Finally, Apache has broken 200 grams! She's now sitting comfortably at
202, while the biggest, red boy, is now at 232, so now apache is
holding her own! They're all progressing with handling now too.
initially when you pick them up, Apache has a very cute little chunter
to herself. She's not crying, just talking. Bluecream also does this.
Cream boy just carries on slepeing now, he's such a pro. Red boy
whines and little fat Stripey still squeals. However, they can now be
quietened with a kiss on the top of the head to remind them that I'm
not a horrible big monster (yes, I know i'm soppy, but they're
kittens! The rules say that you have to kiss kittens! They also make
allowances for only doing it in private thankfully. Gotta maintain
some street cred, after all!). They will all go quiet now if I snuggle
them under my chin, and they'd sit there for hours if I'd let them.
Bluecream flops on her back when I touch her which means I just have
to give her a chest tickle (I don't do tummies until they learn to
control their toiletting, for obvious reasons).

I got the first meow to me today. I've no idea who it was, but I don't
think it was a fluke. I warned new owners that these cats are likely
to be conversationalists, and it looks like I was right!