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

Friday, 26 June 2015

Tense household, but happy kittens!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Apologies, but update at last!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 20 June 2015

1 week old

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, enough waffle for today. Photos tomorrow hopefully!

Friday, 19 June 2015

The drama continues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Trouble in Paradise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Labour of Love

As mentioned before, it's been quite some time since kittens graced
the Moonspun clan, so when Gabby's pregnancy was confirmed, excitement
levels were pretty much through the roof. There was no little
trepidation coupled with that though.

Gabby, as a cat, is a very little girl, meaning that pregnancy with
big litters is a bit of a challenge for her. Last year, by going out
to stud, we managed to have kittens, but unfortunately there were 9
and there just wasn't room. She laboured 5 days early, and sadly, none
of the kittens were strong enough to survive for more than a few days.
I did promise that this blog would contain the good, the bad and the
ugly of cat breeding, but I was also aware that it had a small
following of children who now owned a Moonspun kitten. the events of
those 10 days were horrendous, and horribly upsetting for even grown
ups, so I thought it better not to burden small minds with it by
posting here.

So, as her belly grew and rounded, I was excited and terrified in
equal parts. What if they were born early? What if there were loads
again? What if she didn't want to mother them?

Somehow, I always knew she'd go early, and when her belly started to
harden and drop at 6.5 weeks, I was beside myself with worry. I
cancelled everything and went on house arrest, knowing there was
little I could do for babies if born this early, but not wanting her
to go through that on her own.

But week 7 came and went without sight of even a single baby. Then
week 8 was here and gone... And then it happened.

Exactly 9 weeks to the day of mating, Gabby decided it was time for
the big bad world to meet her babies.

I knew that something had changed almost a whole day before the first
kitten was born, and so did she. She wanted to be near me, was
unsettled in herself and just behaving slightly abnormally. I tucked
her into her kitten pen that night (she's a hider when labour starts,
and under my bed is spectacularly accessible to pregnant cats and
inaccessible to humans), and toddled off to bed.

She woke me at various points through the night, asking for, well, for
nothing in particular which wasn't like her. I was used to being woken
at that point, but it was normally because she wanted someone to have
a little chat to, or wanted me to rub her tummy to make the kittens
stop kicking her, or wanted to tell me all about how she'd eaten all
her dinner and wanted some more thank you very much. But this time was
different. She was anxious and restless, churping and calling for me
every time I went back to bed. At 4 AM, I gave in and got up with her.

Over the next few hours, litter tray visits became an occupation. She
knew she needed to push, and being a clean girl, tried to get herself
to the tray every time, thinking it was a toilet she needed, not a
baby explosion! I followed her as she paced, watching the tiny
rippling contractions designed to begin to move kittens down towards
the birth canal and line them up for easy delivery.

At 11 AM, I called in my reinforcements. Gabby is not an easy cat to
help labour. To say she doesn't cope well with pain is a huge
understatement, and she will simply try and run away from it, whether
there's a kitten half out or not! This meant that I needed as many
pairs of hands as possible to help me while she pushed.

As the battle ready squad assembled, we assigned duties. 1 to hold
Gabby, one to assist with kittens on the way out, and, the most
important job of all... Tea maker! Gabby meanwhile decided that this
was far too much excitement and promptly fell asleep.

There then passed about 5 hours of pleasant chit-chat, chocolate
eating and general time filling until the life and soul of the party
was ready to go. In typical cat fashion, she decided that the
kittening pens were beneath her, as was her behind the chair spot of
last year, and chose a box instead.

Gabby's labour was not easy. I have heard many cat fights in the
street outside my house. I've heard cats yelling, crying, getting
cross, getting sad, but I have never heard anything like the noises
that came out of that poor girl as the first kitten crowned. It was
heart-wrenching, and something I never hope to hear again. The power
of it was such that it was able to drive a grown man into fleeing the
scene and hiding out in his bedroom. The other girls until that point
had chosen to stay by her and offer comfort, something which the three
were happy with so I didn't interfere, but when the screaming started,
even they got distressed. It took massive strength, both physical and
emotional, to hold her still, immobilise her while she went through
that. The pain was very evident in every scream, and the guilt that
rose in me was immense. After all, it was my fault she was doing this.

Kitten 1 appeared, but took a long time before she breathed and began
to cry. Gabby worryingly showed no interest in her at all, didn't
break the sack and certainly didn't clean or acknowledge her, even
when she started muling. She was tiny, and all my old fears
resurfaced. It's amazing how much you second guess yourself when
something goes wrong. I consider myself a good breeder, and I know
that the problems last year were caused by the amount of kittens and
that there was nothing I could have done differently to save them
(yep, I did have everything tested as usual to back this up), but when
that first one pops out and doesn't immediately start jumping up and
down and screaming for "Milk, Now!", all your self-confidence flees.

Little whitey was quickly stabilised then popped onto a cosy heatpad
to warm as she was very cold. It's important to warm cold kittens
slowly to avoid shock to their delicate systems. I use a PetRemedy
heatpad. This never gets above body temperature, so kittens are in no
danger of over-warming and can be placed straight onto the pad. If mum
is one who likes to leave the nest and only return for feeding, placed
under Vetbed, it gives a gentle, constant warmth just as though they
were snuggling mum. I highly recommend them for any future kittens.

It wasn't long before number 2 was making its appearance, this time
feet first. Again it was traumatic for Gabby who had to be removed
from her box for holding. This one was bigger than the last and more
viggorous, but quickly joined her for cuddles and warmth on the pad.
Again, Gabby didn't want to clean or acknowledge the baby at all.

We then noticed that she was happily pushing away in the confines of
her box. While keeping an eye on her as we chatted, I suddenly heard a
tiny plop and asked my friend to take a look. much to our surprise,
there was a kitten under mummy. Gabby had not screamed, hadn't bitten
anyone, hadn't even made a noise. However, while this was an easy
birth, there was a new worry. This kitten didn't have a placenta

Every kitten has its own placenta in the womb. This supplies nutrients
to the growing baby inside their mum. If a kitten is born without one,
not only does it pose a risk to the kitten, but to mum as well. Chords
need to be tied off very quickly to avoid excessive blood loss for the
tiny baby. Mum will lose a lot more blood if the placenta is still
attached, and if it doesn't come out, she will almost certainly get an
infection. It's not unusual that a kitten comes without a placenta.
What normally happens is that it will be birthed before the next

However, Gabby is nothing if not a worry. A few moments later there
was another plop, another kitten, and yet again, no placenta. My panic
rose. That was 2 placentas in there now, and no sign of either.

Next came a 5th kitten within minutes of the last 2. Again, no
placenta. Panic strengthened. She was moving them down into the birth
canal so quickly that she wasn't allowing time for placentas to detach
and travel with them. All we could do was watch and wait.

Meanwhile, we now had 4 white kittens and a little red boy. The dad of
these babies is not my own boy, but a white stud, so I knew I could
get white babies, but never for a moment dreamed that there would be
such a high proportion of them!

The pushing began again, and much to my relief, out popped 2
placentas. Now there was just one to account for. It's really
important to count out the placentas so that you know whether you need
a vet trip or not. Any retained ones will mean a very swift visit.

Gabby gave me one more kitten that day, yet another white, but this
one breach with its legs back. It was a very difficult birth due to
the position and the kitten's big pelvis and hips, but as before, she
refused to let us help. Where the others were shelled like peas, this
took a good 15 minutes to be pushed out, and towards the end, worry
increased as it appeared as though the baby was attempting to breathe
whilst still inside the sack.

Sometimes, the stress of birth will make kittens poo their myconium
whilst still in the amniotic sack. Whilst this isn't unusual, it's a
cause for concern if they manage to breathe any of it in due to
infection risks.

At long last, the kitten was out and the sack removed. Thankfully,
this baby was not a pooper. I breathed easy again. This little one
came out with the placenta in tact, and it wasn't long before the
stray one followed. Phew! All in all, popping out 6 kittens only took
her 2 hours. That's nice and quick for so many and such a frightened

But now came the next worrying part. Would she be a good mum?

She didn't really have a chance last year as those kittens, due to
being premature, needed a lot of human involvement. She tried, but
wasn't very effective and didn't bond tightly to them as none were
ever able to suckle. She was so frightened by the birth last time that
it took her many hours and lots of reassurance to settle. With worry,
I popped the first kitten against her tummy, then another, then
another until all 6 were in the box with her. To my great relief, she
immediately rolled over to make herself accessible for them to nurse.
With a little help, kittens were soon latching and feeding. My concern
dropped down a notch or two further.

There then followed a very long and very sleepless night for me. Many
Persians are a bit clutsy with kittens and will often accidentally lie
on them. They will also sometimes lie on a noisy one to quiet it and
protect it from predators. All things considered, Gabby wasn't as bad
as my others, only squishing a kitten about 3 times during the night,
but I can't help but lie awake and listen for the tiny noises of
distress which is all the warning you get. I was also listening for
another possible kitten. Particularly with big litters, it's often
difficult to tell whether there's an extra kitten in there, or whether
it's just the enlarged womb contracting down. I was pretty sure there
was nothing left, but better to be safe than sorry. Thankfully, there
was no midnight dash to help a 7th, and the nest was peaceful with
quiet, contented kittens happily feeding from mum.

Their birth weights weren't too bad, but the first little girl had me
worried. Persians should be big, chunky kittens, born at over 100G.
She was only 66 and tiny compared to the others. The remaining five
were 71G, 73G, 77G, 83G and 87G, so none were massive. However, I
reminded myself, there were a lot of them, they were 2 days early and
Gabby was a little cat! Now began the waiting game.

The kittens are now 4 days old and are doing well, but more on that tomorrow.

Kittens and Updates!

Once again, it's been quite some time since I last updated this blog.
Why? I have no good answer really, only a lot of excuses about life
getting in the way, being busy etc.

However, the main purpose of this blog when it was originally set up
was to give you a birds-eye view into the world of a cat breeder
through journeying with me as we chart the progress of litters of
kittens. What with one thing and another, I haven't heard the patter
of tiny paws at Moonspun for some years now. My lovely new stud boy is
too much of a sweetheart to want to play rough with the girls and make
me some babies, so it's been a bit quiet in the cabbage patch... Until

On Saturday, the lovely GCCF Champion and TICA tripple grand champion
Choxibox Moonspun Mirage gave birth to 6 lovely kittens. And so, we
start all over again!

I'll do what I did with other litters in Moonspun. I'll try and update
as regularly as possible, but won't promise daily updates this time as
I hate breaking them. If I can do them, then great. If not, then they
will at least be regular and frequent. I will also try and provide
some educational bits along the way this time, so that it might serve
as a learning tool for anyone thinking of working with pedigrees.

So, here we go!