Kittens Going and New Ones on the Way

The Somali kittens and Frenchie (now Sam) have found a new home together, and may be shown and even bred from, in the case of the girls. At recent shows, Small and Bobbi have made up to Champion, Donny won his fourth Imperial and Cheeky her first PC, plus we’ve had a couple of Reserve Grands for Eiteag and Ayla. Tia, Lhasa and Tilly have been mated, and we are waiting to see if they are pregnant.

I really must find a better approach to setting aside time to do regular updates – it’s been over two months since my last one, and that was three months from the previous one, so this is only my third post in the past six months!

Kittens in New Homes

When I last posted, we were looking for homes for the two Somali kittens (though I was tempted to keep Molly), and Frenchie.  We had a whole host of enquiries for the Somalis and several for Frenchie as well, but one of the first enquiries was from a lovely couple who live near Alexandria and used to breed Siamese.  They have recently lost their elderly Siamese and although they have two young Siamese as well, they were looking for something to fill the gap (I understand that need, having done exactly the same thing when we lost Tiger and then again when we lost Gealbhan).  They came out to meet the kittens, with a view to getting two, and when they left us after a few hours of getting to know the kittens, and meeting all the adults, they said that they definitely wanted two, but had to discuss which two to have.  As soon as they got home, however, they rang to say that they had decided that they would like all three, if that was possible.

The cats had all adored them, and Annas had even sat on Derek’s knee, which is as high a praise of a stranger as Annas can possibly offer – she’s not generally keen on new people.  Irene also asked if we would consider allowing them to have a litter from Molly when she is old enough, and offered to keep Frenchie entire to act as a back-up for the outcross, in case Zuko couldn’t produce kittens for us.  Between the cats’ reactions to them, the possibility of starting another Somali breeder, having a back-up to Zuko for the outcross and also the lovely thought of having the three kittens living together, I didn’t hesitate in saying yes.

The Somali kittens hadn’t had their second vaccinations yet, but Frenchie was ready to leave immediately, so they asked if they could have her first, with the Somalis to follow when they were ready.  They decided to rename her Samantha, or Sam for short, and I drove her over to their house that weekend, where she settled in immediately, and decided that she was going to be mum to the two Siamese, who seem happy being mothered.  Irene and Derek visited us a couple of weeks later, with their daughter, to see the Somali kittens again, and then the following weekend having received their second vaccinations, and with Harry neutered, I took the Somalis to join their new family.  All three have settled in well with eachother and also their new Siamese brothers, and I think we’ll be seeing a couple of them at a show soon, so watch this space!

On a sad note, I have just received word that Hamish, one of Bobbi’s brothers, has been killed in the lane beside his house.  Harry and Hamish were both cinnamon Ocicat Variants, and went to live together down in Ayrshire, where their owner absolutely doted on them.  Unfortunately, Hamish got out and went onto the lane by the house, where one of the neighbours saw him being hit by a car doing at least 40mph, in spite of the 20mph speed limit.  He was killed immediately, which at least means he didn’t suffer, but poor Harry is absolutely devastated.  His owner thinks he probably saw the accident, because he came flying into the house looking really shaken, and has been reluctant to go outside since.

Recent Shows

Since my last post, we’ve been to four shows: the Scottish, the Lancs, the Preston & Blackpool and the joint Midland Counties/Shorthair Cat Society/Asian Group Cat Society.

We had entered both Small and Dàrna in the Scottish, Small for her first CC, and Dàrna in case she didn’t win her fifth Imperial at the Shropshire.  Having had her make up at the Shropshire, I considered leaving her at home for the Scottish, but since she was to be spayed the following week, it seemed a shame to miss the last possibility of taking her out as an entire.  Small won her CC, and had some lovely comments from judges, and as it happens, Dàrna didn’t win the Imperial anyway, losing out to a very typey Devon Rex, but it was indeed lovely to have the two girls out as adults together one last time.

The Lancs was the last opportunity to take Zuko out as a Pedigree Pet, until he has finished his part in the outcross and been neutered (cats over six months must be neutered in the HP section), so obviously I wanted to take him and Small, since she was trying for her second CC.  Since the Lancs were offering a reduced entry fee, we also decided to try Cheeky for her first PC, and had entered Hailey alongside Zuko.  Unfortunately, I forgot that I had entered Hailey, so we didn’t actually take her to the show!  Zuko had a good day, winning his 1st and Best of Colour, and with good results in his side classes, and Small won her second CC and Best of Breed, and had her coat described as having been “made in heaven”.  Cheeky was very shy, and was also looking skinny due to living with Ali, who is an absolute hoover for food, so she didn’t get her award.

At the Preston & Blackpool, Hailey’s Pedigree Pet judge was to be Janet Wilshaw, whom I suspect would love her type, so I entered her there.  A couple of days before the show, she fell off a scratching post whilst playing, and bumped her eye on the corner of a litter tray, resulting in a scratch and a very sore eye, so we couldn’t take her to that one either.  As it happens, Janet was ill that day, so at least we didn’t miss having Janet judge her, but I’m still disappointed that we haven’t been able to take her out (like Zuko, she’s now too old to go out until she’s been spayed).  Cheeky was still very skinny, and although shy, was much happier than at the Lancs, even rolling onto her back to have her tummy stroked before we left her in the morning, but still didn’t get her certificate.  Small was our saving grace, making up to Champion with her third CC, and also taking BOB again.

As an aside, Hailey’s eye was sore for a few days, but was well enough that by the week after the show, she could have been shown, so the timing was just sod’s law!

Last Sunday was the joint show, and since this is Richard’s peak season, he can’t really take Monday’s off work, so I drove to this one myself.  Anita invited me to stay on the Saturday and Sunday nights, so I took the Monday off and drove down on the Saturday and back Monday.  We entered three cats to support the AGCS (Donny in the Imperial and Eiteag and Ayla in the Grand), and since we had the option, figured that we might as well enter them in the Shorthair show as well.

In addition, we decided to have another go with Cheeky, to see whether she continued to be more content with each show, and tried moving Ali to a different room straight after the Preston & Blackpool, leaving just Cheeky and Bru together, so that they could have food down all the time (Ali will just keep eating, even if it means he has to throw up to make more room, and gets very fat).  That made a huge difference to Cheeky’s condition, and by the time of the show, her coat was glossier and she had filled out nicely.  That improvement, combined with the fact that she was almost totally relaxed this time, meant that she was finally awarded her first certificate.  Eiteag and Ayla both won a Reserve Grand in one show, and didn’t place in the other, but competition was strong, and we weren’t expecting them to win at all – they were only there to support the club, so I can’t be too upset!  Donny didn’t place in one of the shows, but surprised me by winning the Imperial in the other (again, he was there just for support), taking his total to four, and meaning that he only has one to go!

Sue also had Bobbi entered in the Shorthair, to try for her third and final CC, which she won, making her the thirteenth titled Cagaran.  Unfortunately, due to a change in circumstances, Sue is not going to be able to take Bobbi, but since Anita lost one of her Ocicat girls last year, she is interested in having Bobbi.  Although Anita already has Bobbi’s half-sister, the relationship is through their mother, who is first-generation from the outcross line, and the father’s pedigrees are completely different, so Bobbi could still be of benefit to Anita’s breeding.

Next Litters

In my last post, I said that we were planning to give Tia, Lhasa and Tilly one more call, and then mate all three of them in March, and for a change, we actually did what we were planning to do, putting Tia and Lhasa with Eiteag, and Tilly with Donny.  We know that Tia was mated numerous times, Lhasa at least once, and Donny certainly made a good try of it with Tilly (he’d pulled most of the fur out of the back of her neck!), so we’re now just keeping our fingers crossed.  All three girls have gained weight since being mated, but only Tilly actually seems to have pinked up.  With the other two the weight gain could just be due to the relief of finally having had a mate after such a long gap.  If they haven’t taken, we’ll try them again on their next calls, and I promise I’ll keep you posted!

On a totally non-cat subject, I’d like to thank those of you who came to the concert last night at the Church of the Holyrude in Stirling, where I was singing Mozart’s Requiem and some other pieces, with the Stirling City Choir.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and hope you did too!

Catching Up Once Again!

Eiteag’s kitten is now named Hailey, short for ‘Haillie-a-Jo’. Dàrna made up to Imperial and everyone else continues to do well.

We had a good day at the Supreme show, with Small in competition and Eiteag and Dàrna on Club Row. Both RACCS and the West of Scotland went well, which was a relief, given that I was ASM for the former, and we were both ASMs for the latter.

It’s been three months since my last post – I’m really not very good at this regular-posting malarky, am I?!  Before Christmas, I had a very good excuse – Assistant Show Managing for two shows in December was a lot of work.  However, I started writing this post between Christmas and New Year, and there’s really no excuse for it not to have been finished ages ago.  However, I will finish it today!

Surprise Kittens

You may remember that we sent Sonia away to stud back in June, but after three months of she and the stud cuddling up together but apparently not doing anything, we brought her home again.  Well… on the evening of the 8th of November (Friday), I picked Sonia up for a cuddle, and realised that her nipples were swollen, and that she looked distinctly pregnant!

She had been kept in isolation in the spare room, since returning from stud, because she was having bad diarrhoea, for which we hadn’t yet managed to determine a cause.  However, she had managed to escape from the spare room a couple of times, which wasn’t a problem, because she only escaped into the hallway, and there aren’t any other cats in there anyway.  However, occasionally Donny also escapes from the bathroom, where he and Eiteag live to keep them apart from the girls, and although I couldn’t recall the two ever escaping at the same time, I had the horrible thought that perhaps she and Donny had been out together and he had mated her.

At that point, Ayla and her kittens were still in the kitten room, so that night we shut the other cats out of the front bedroom and gave it a thorough clean, intending to let it stand for a few days before moving Ayla and her kittens into it, and then the kitten room could be cleaned out and allowed to stand for a few days before Sonia was moved into there.  We usually leave a room empty for a few days before moving kittens or pregnant girls in, just to be on the safe side with the delicate immune systems.

On the Sunday evening, however, I picked Sonia up and realised that she was spotting blood.  My first thought was to wonder if something had gone wrong with the pregnancy, but then I realised that she was actually in pre-labour.  We considered leaving Sonia where she was, because we wouldn’t normally move a queen so close to birthing, but the spare room really isn’t suitable for a queen with kittens – there are all sorts of places where the kittens could be hidden away, or could fall or get separated from their mum.  We therefore moved Ayla and her kittens into the front bedroom, gave the kitten room a thorough clean, and then moved Sonia across to there.  On the plus-side, having her kittens when she did left no doubt as to who the father was, because she would have had to have conceived whilst still at stud!

We spent the night in the kitten room, and early the next morning, I thought I heard Ayla’s adopted kitten squealing.  I dreamt that one of the other kittens was standing on her, but somewhere deep in my subconscious, something was obviously awake, and registered that Ayla and her kittens weren’t in the room with us any more.  I got up and checked the kitten pen, and sure enough, there was Sonia, sitting on top of the stack that she had made out of all the bedding, perched on top of the heat mat, and on the opposite side of the pen, lying on the bare floor, was a kitten.

When I touched him, he was very cold, but immediately responded by starting to shout, loudly.  I rearranged the bedding, cleaned him up, and laid him in against his mum.  I waited a couple of hours to see if she was going to have another, because I had thought I could feel two the previous evening, but no matter how hard I palpated her abdomen now, I could feel no sign of another kitten, so I assumed I must have been mistaken.

That evening, Tracey came up to visit, and I took her up to see the newborn.  As we walked into the room, Sonia was lying on her side in the pen and out slid a second kitten.  Her reaction to this second kitten was the same as the first: she didn’t mind the kitten being there, but was totally uninterested in doing anything with her.  I got the kitten cleaned up, whilst she screamed blue murder, and then settled her alongside her brother, against Sonia’s tummy.

By the following day, the girl had lost weight, so I tried to get her to latch on and suckle, but she seemed to struggle to do so.  I made up a bottle of milk formula and offered her that, and she drained it dry within seconds, so there was obviously nothing wrong with her ability to suck.  That continued right up until the kittens were weaned – the boy was drinking from his mum, but the girl didn’t seem to be able to get latched on, so I had to bottle-feed her.  I know that an inability to suckle properly is sometimes a symptom of flat-chested syndrome, so I kept checking her ribcage for abnormalities, but have found none, so there seems to be absolutely no reason for her inability to feed from Sonia.

Anyway, Sonia’s kittens are now approaching three months old, and have moved into the livingroom with some of our adults and neuters.  When they were younger, they were the messiest kittens we have ever seen, and we had to keep them penned when we weren’t in the room, until they were about eight weeks old.  Sonia wanted nothing to do with them from when they were about four weeks, so we were lucky that they were quite early to eat solids.  The girl is still a very messy eater, not in the sense of throwing the food around, but just that she manages to cover her entire head in it, to the point that Tracey has named her ‘Messy Molly’.  She has named the boy ‘Harry Houdini’, due to his ability to get out of wherever you put him, in order to come and find people to cuddle up to.

We are now looking for new homes for both kittens, though the girl’s type has developed so beautifully that I’m sorely tempted!

Supreme Show

At the 2012 Supreme, we only entered Ayla, as a kitten, and she enjoyed it so much that we decided that we would enter Small in the kitten class in 2013.  This time, however, we had also offered to take cats to represent the breed on Club Row, with a joint table for the Asian Group Cat Society and Bombay and Asian Cats Breed Club.  We had a double pen for Donny and Eiteag to share, and a single pen for Dàrna, with the table in between.

We were staying with Anita on both the Friday and Saturday nights, and like last time, the boys were sharing the stud run in her car-port.  This time, however, it was Anita’s husband, Rob, who had cleaned the run out ready for our arrival, and he hadn’t made as good a job of removing the smell of her stud boy, as Anita usually manages.  Donny is definitely not keen on other stud boys, and as a result, was completely freaked by the smell of Anita’s boy, and in absense of any other cats, seemed to decide that Eiteag was the strange boy he could smell.  We had to separate the two boys for the night (the stud run has compartments), and decided just to leave Donny at the house to calm down, rather than taking him to the show.

We therefore ended up having just Tiffs on the club table, which is not something we normally do – if we’re representing the Asian breed group, we normally try and take cats that represent the group as fully as possible.  If we had known that Tia wasn’t going to be pregnant by the time of the Supreme, we would have entered her, but she should have been pregnant by then (she hadn’t come into season from the late summer through to now).  As it happens, it was rather nice having Small in competition, and both her parents on Club Row, because it meant that when I was talking to people in front of Small’s pen, that I could tell them that they could meet her parents on Club Row.

Both Dàrna and Eiteag were beautifully behaved, and made fantastic ambassadors for the breed.  Dàrna spent most of the day lying in her basket on the table, so that passersby could stroke her, marvelling at the gorgeous silky texture of the Tiffanie coat.  Whenever Dàrna wanted to go back into her pen for a few minutes peace, or a bite to eat, Eiteag would come out onto the table and bound around playing with his feather stick.  He wasn’t so practical to have out for any length of time, because he wanted to go off and explore, so we would only keep him out for as long as it took him to get bored of his toys and decide that he wanted to go for a wander.  By that point, Dàrna would be ready to come back out again, so we’d put him back in his pen, and have her back out instead.

In terms of juding, the Supreme takes a different format to all other GCCF shows, with the cats housed in decorated pens in the centre of the hall, with a series of ‘rings’ around the outside of the hall.  The rings have plain pens into which the cats are moved by stewards in preparation for being judged, and the cats are then taken from these pens onto the judges’ tables for judging.  Unlike other GCCF shows, the cats’ owners, and other spectators, can stand right in front of where the judging takes place, and listen to what the judges are saying about the cats.  After a class has been judged, the stewards will often ask if any of the owners  are present, and let them take their own cats back to the pens.

Small was an absolute superstar, taking the whole day in her stride, just like her Auntie Ayla did last year.  Hers was one of the first classes judged by Grace Denny, and I went over to watch her being judged.  As the steward was handing her to Grace, I heard her say “this one’s got a huge purr”, or something similar, and I watched with pride as Small cuddled into Grace.  I love it when our cats win, but I love even more to see them showing off the breed’s fabulous temperament.

In the event, Small was not only adorable, she also won, taking both 1st in her kitten class, and Best of Breed, and then going on to be shortlisted for Best of Variety.  Grace praised her coat, saying it was one of the best she has seen on a kitten of her age, and that she is a lovely big girl.  Given that one of the key reasons we kept Small is her size, I was delighted to hear Grace say that.  Afterwards, Grace asked if I bred her, and I said I had, and told Grace that she had given Small’s mother an Imperial at the North West Show.  Grace made my day by saying “well, hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to give her an Imperial as well, one day”.  I was absolutely delighted!

Once Small’s judging was finished, I put a sign on her pen saying that she had gone to join her parents on Club Row, with the pen numbers, and took her up so that we had the three together for the rest of the day.  Incidentally, by the time we got back to the house, Donny had got over his pique, and was absolutely desperate for Eiteag’s company, and the two spent most of the rest of the evening grooming eachother, much to my relief.  Meanwhile, Richard and I took Rob and Anita out for dinner and then to watch the 3D screening of the 50th Anniversary, ‘Day of the Doctor’, Doctor Who special at the cinema!

RACCS Show

RACCS had their second show on the 7th of December, in Annan, which was the venue that the Committee originally chose, before all the messing about after the Supreme show moved date in 2012.  This was my second time as an Assistant Show Manager (ASM), but the first show that I really had a key role in organising, not least in that I suggested the hall originally, so I was a little nervous beforehand!  The show did receive an entry of 54 cats, which is really good for a breed club, especially on its first stand-alone show, so that allayed my fears slightly.

I needn’t have worried at all, though, because the show came off without a hitch.  The feedback from both judges and exhibitors for the hall was excellent, the atmosphere was friendly and there was a good number of gorgeous cats, who were almost all impeccably behaved.  Also, Elisabeth and Karen were ecstatic, because Zach won Overall Best in Show, which was a lovely end to the day.

West of Scotland Show

A fortnight later, we had the West of Scotland show, which had received a fabulous entry of 313 cats – more than 20 entries above that received for any Scottish show in the past few years.  Considering the fuss that was made at last year’s AGM, about the date being too close to Christmas, with people saying that exhibitors would never come to a show on the 21st, I was delighted to see the entry so high.  It does rather suggest that the exhibitors were pleased with the date, and it meant that we could absolutely go to town on the Christmas theme!  For instance, as joint-ASMs, Richard and I had the pleasure of designing Christmas-themed rosettes, which went down well with exhibitors.

I received a call early on the morning of the show, from exhibitors who were coming up from Wales, to say that their car had broken down 2 1/2 hours south of us.  They said that the AA man said the repair would only take 10 minutes once he had the correct part, and had gone to get said part, but that he didn’t think the parts shop opened until 8am.  The maths wasn’t too difficult there, to realise that meant they wouldn’t be at the show until at least 10:30 – half an hour after the show was meant to start.

I told them that since I was ASM, I would need to check with the show manager, but that I thought we could probably manage to hold those classes back for them.  Shortly after arriving in the show hall, I received a text message from another exhibitor, to say that they were stuck in a very slow diversion around a closure on the M74.  Over the next half our or so, several exhibitors also came up to the front to say that various friends had asked them to let us know that they were stuck in this same diversion.

In the end, we did what I had seen done at another show in the past, and asked the judges just to skip past any empty pens they came across in the first hour.  The exhibitors who had the breakdown were the last to arrive, and they had also been caught in the diversion, of course.  In the event, they were vetted in (we had kept one vet on standby) at 11:17, but it was definitely worth their while, because they went on to win not only an Olympian certificate, but also Best in Show!

Anyone working on a show at any level above Section Manager is not allowed to enter their cats in competition.  Our cats therefore couldn’t compete, but we did take Small and Dàrna on exhibition.  A few Cagarans had been entered in competition by their new owners, however, including Lainni, who won the Reserve Imperial and Best of Breed Tiffanie; Quinn, who had the Reserve Grand withheld on her (presumably for lack of silver undercoat, though she also wasn’t in the best mood); and Bobbie, in her first adult show, winning her 1st CC and Best of Breed Ocicat.  Special mention has to go to Sarndra Devereux’s stunning Bombay boy, Tarby (GR CH Rainsong Jolly-Jack-Tar), who was Overall Best Foreign exhibit.

Christmas and New Year

This year, Richard’s parents went off to Hong Kong and Thailand to visit friends over the Christmas holidays, so we spent the time with my family and various friends.  As I said earlier, we also spent plenty of time with the cats, which has been lovely, because our lives are so busy the rest of the year that it’s sometimes difficult to find time just to… be with them, not doing anything.

Seven plates laid out with the cats' Christmas Dinners on them
The cats’ Christmas Dinners – roast beef trimmings and Applaws Tuna Loin.  One plate per group, divided according to how many cats are in the group

Four of the cats around one of the plates of Christmas Dinner
Tucking in to Christmas Dinner – Jinny top left, Dàrna top right, Annas bottom left and Small bottom right

We went to the family service at the church on Christmas Eve, where my Mum was singing in the choir, and then went back to Mum and Dad’s for a cup of tea.  That turned into several hours of singing on the karaoke with my parents and Calum, and between that at the carol singing earlier in the evening, I was completely hoarse by the time we headed home at about 2am.

Three kittens and Ayla grouped around their plate of Christmas Dinner
Ayla and the kittens enjoying their Christmas Dinner
(Frenchie top left, Hailey top right, Zuko bottom left and Ayla bottom right)

Christmas Day was at my parents this year, and due to my sister going off to her boyfriend’s for Christmas Dinner, my Grandparents going to one of my Aunts, and various other relatives linking up in various ways, there were only five of us for dinner.  When Richard and I had dinner here two years ago, there were sixteen of us, so five was bizarrely few – my Mum hardly knew what to do with herself!

For New Year, Elisabeth and Tracey joined us for a snack-and-pizza tea, over the first half of a DVD.  At 11:30, Tracey left (something to do with a superstition about first-footing herself), and we switched over to Jools Holland.  A few minutes before midnight, we headed outside, and let off a firework on the front lawn at the bells, with a row of little furry faces watching from the house windows (our cats all love watching fireworks).  Back inside, we opened a bottle of champagne, and then settled down to a night of DVD-watching, eventually heading to bed at 8am.

Getting up again at noon, we enjoyed our annual New Year cooked breakfast (including fruit dumpling and fried pancakes and potato scones, mmm!), over another DVD.  Elisabeth and I ended up watching the Sound of Music on TV, and then we ran her home on our way to a family get-together at my Grandparents.  There can surely be few better ways to spend time than with family, friends and a housefull of cats?!

Notts & Derbys Show

We went to the Notts & Derbys show during the middle of last month, because it’s literally only fifteen minutes from Richard’s parents house, and can therefore be combined with a nice family visit.  I wanted to see what some of the judges thought of Zuko and Frenchie, so we entered them in the HP section, and since we were taking them, we decided to take Ayla along for the ride.  As it happens, she was actually awarded the Reserve Grand, beating one other, which was more than I expected, given her size.  Zuko won his kitten class and he and his mum both had good results in their side classes.  Our star of the show, though, was Frenchie, who placed well in all her sides, won her kitten class and beat her brother for ‘Best of Colour’, and then went on to win Best Pedigree Pet and then Best Household Pet.  One of the judges wrote that she is a star in the making, and she certainly adored her day out at the show, so I’m hoping that we can find someone interested in taking her out again in future.

Shropshire Show

We really enjoyed the Shropshire Show last year, because we had a lovely day looking at potteries, and lunch at the Wedgewood museum.  It is also pretty central to the AGCS Committee, so when we were discussing a potential venue for the club’s AGM, I suggested the Shropshire as the venue.  That was agreed, and since I was obviously going to have to be there to take the minutes, we clearly had to enter!

We only took two – Dàrna to try for her final Imperial, and Small in her last time out as a kitten (she is 9 months today).  Both girls were adorable as usual, and we got Small won her first and Best of Breed, getting some really encouraging comments from the judges in the process, which I was delighted about.  However, what absolutely made our day was Dàrna taking that final Imperial, and in the process becoming the first Imperial Grand Champion that we have owned (our other Imperials have been neuters), and only the sixth Imperial-titled Tiffanie (Annas was the first, and there have been four in-between).  She also made Donny the first cat we’ve owned to have two Imperial-titled parents.  She will now be spayed and can retire from the hormone swings of being an entire.

Eiteag’s Kitten

When I last posted, we were trying to decide on an ‘H-name’ for Eiteag’s kitten, and we eventually settled on Haillie-a-Jo, which means ‘Totally a Sweetheart’ in old Scots.  Her pet name comes directly from her pedigree name, and is Hailey.  Her type has continued to develop beautifully, and still has the most amazing nature.  We have also had her hernia operated on successfully, and she now flies round the room with her ‘siblings’, which is lovely to see.  The vet and vet nurse told us that the muscle had been torn from the pelvic bone the whole way up to the rib-cage.  The vet nurse said that when they first opened her up, they all just stood and looked for a few seconds, because they couldn’t believe the extent of the damage that her mum had caused.  On a positive note, at least the fact that they could see that it had been torn means that we can put to bed any residual fears about genetic causes for the hernia!

What’s Next?

Well, Tia, Lhasa and Tilly are finally back in season, so I’m thinking that we’ll give them one full call and then mate them on their next call, sometime next month.  We may be totally mad, but since the three of them live together, and do everything together, we’re going to try mating the three at around the same time, and see if they’ll raise their kittens together.  That would mean that we’d be having three litters in late spring/early summer.  We’re going to try putting both Lhasa and Tia to Eiteag, since he is meant to be neutered after that, and I’d like to see what both girls produce with him, and Tilly to Donny.  The latter mating, and Tia’s have the potential to give us a mixture of Tiffanies and Asian Shorthairs, but Lhasa’s litter would be guaranteed to be all Tiffs, which would be nice.

We’ve got a few shows lined up over the next three months, and are hoping to be able to get Small made up to Champion and Cheeky to Premier.  After that, we’ve got nobody ‘needing’ to be titled, so I think we might take a break from showing and let our depleted cash reserves re-build!  Who knows, though…

Mostly Kittens

Donny won his third Imperial at the Cumberland, we had a good holiday, and the kittens continue to do well. The older kittens are now eight weeks old, and have names, but the little one is only four weeks old, and hasn’t yet been named.

It’s been just over four weeks since my last post, but not because there’s been anything wrong.  We were away for a week’s holiday in the middle of last month, with Tracey looking after the cats, though we took Ayla and the kittens with us!  Since we got back, I’ve been caught up with arrangements for the RACCS and West of Scotland shows in December, and completing judge bookings for next year’s Scotia show.  This show management lark takes a ludicrous amount of time!  In light of that, I will post the text just now, since it is written, and will add the photos on as I have them ready, so check back!

Feeding Eiteag’s Kitten

When I left off last time, Eiteag’s kitten was in with Ayla, because her mum had rejected her, but I was having to bottle-feed her to try and get her going.  I went up a couple of times during the morning to give her another feed, but when I went up for lunch, she was latched onto Ayla, and suckling away.  I tried putting her back with her mum again, at that point, but she behaved exactly as before, curling up to prevent the kitten gaining access to her teats, and then trying to bite the kitten whenever she tried to force her way in.  I therefore gave her back to Ayla, and have continued to monitor her weight closely, because she has sometimes found it difficult to compete with the bigger kittens for milk, so I have given her a top-up feed whenever her gains haven’t been good.

Cumberland Show

We hadn’t planned on going to the Cumberland this year, because it was the day that we were meant to go on holiday.  However, at the North West, I was persuaded to put in a late entry, since Eiteag hadn’t won his qualifying Grand that day, and Donny’s judge at the Cumberland was to be the same one who had just given his mum the Imperial, so seemed worth a punt.  We pushed our holiday departure back by a day, but Richard stayed at home to get things ready, so I took the cats down the Cumberland myself.

I had an excellent day, having breakfast with Tracey after the cats were penned, and then the two of us headed off for a walk on Hadrian’s Wall, and climbed around the inside of a semi-ruined castle.  We then went for lunch in the village of Brampton, and sat around chatting until after 3pm, so that the show was almost finished by the time we got back!  When I penned the boys in the morning, they had both been in excellent moods, but the cat in the pen next to Eiteag was very growly, and he therefore shouted whenever he was taken out of his pen, just like his mum used to do.  As a result, his judge decided not to handle him, and he was left unplaced, which was rather disappointing.  Donny, on the other hand, followed his mum’s example from the previous show, and won the Imperial, in spite of having a very nice Abyssinian as competition.  Perhaps Grace (the judge) is softening towards the Asians?

Holiday

The following day, we were almost ready to go, when I decided that we couldn’t leave the kittens for Tracey to look after, and so we packed them up and took them with us.  We were going for a week on a boat on the Clyde, but long-term readers of this blog will remember that we’ve had cats and kittens away on the boat before.  In this case, we set up one of the forward toilets as a kitten pen, with a cardboard blockade across the door, and their heat mat, bed and litter tray on the floor.  Ayla’s litter tray was in the shower, which she had to jump up to get into, so that kept the two trays separate, and her food and water was up on the worktop by the sink.  Her kittens had their food and water on the wooden podium by the base of the toilet, which sounds a bit random, but the area had been thoroughly cleaned beforehand, and then lined with cardboard for extra safety.

The kittens hadn’t actually seen solid food before we arrived there, but when I put their biscuits down for them, there was such a fight over them that I ended up having to add a second dish, so that they could both eat at the same time.  I’ve never had Asian kittens who are so protective of their food, so I presume that must come from the Australian Mist side.  They also started using their trays for the first time over the first couple of days that we were away.

Obviously, Eiteag’s kitten wasn’t at that stage yet, not even having her eyes open at that point, but she was quite happy cuddled up in her little nest with Ayla to feed her.  Each night and morning I brought the kittens through to our cabin to let them run around, and played with Ayla with a feather stick to wear off some of her excess energy.  The little kitten would crawl around the bed for a bit, and then eventually settle down to sleep.  Her eyes opened towards the end of our week away.

We had an excellent week, starting off by heading straight to Campbeltown, and seeing two Basking Sharks and a Minke whale on the way.  We were there for a couple of days, which gave us a chance to do some walking, and then headed up the coast to Tarbert (on Loch Fyne).  We saw the Minke whale at almost the same place as we had seen it on the way down, plus some Porpoise, and all manner of seabirds.  A couple of days in Tarbert gave us a chance for some more walking, including going up into the castle, which was always cordoned off when I was younger, but has now been made safe, so that you can get up and into the tower.

On the Saturday, we headed across to where the dolphin lives (my brother has christened her ‘Kimi’, or something like that – a dolphin called Kimi.  Really?!), and spent ages going back and forwards beside her territory, to let her come out and play under the bow.  She doesn’t like people circling around her territory, nor does she like people getting into the water with her, but she absolutely loves being given the opportunity to ride a bow wave for a while.  She won’t stray more than about half a mile, though, so you have to do figure-of-eights or circles beside her territory, to allow her to ride along without getting too far from home.

We spent the last night in the Kyles of Bute, and then headed back to Kip, where we’d left the car.  The middle of that week saw me going down to London on the sleeper train, for a couple of business meetings, and the GCCF Council meeting.  Having been away the previous week, Richard couldn’t take the time off to come down this time, so I did my best to speak for both the Scottish and West of Scotland clubs.  It’s actually easier to speak for the West, because I’m on the Committee and therefore get to hear what the Committee think about things, whereas the Scottish doesn’t tend to tell me what they want said.

Yorkshire Show

The following weekend was the Yorkshire show, which we had been planning to do ever since we weren’t able to visit Richardson’s Rosettes when we were down for the Teesside.  Richardson’s make the rosettes for both the RACCS and West of Scotland shows, so we wanted to visit them to view their various ribbons etc.  They were up in Perth for a show the day of the Teesside, so we arranged with them that we would come and see them when we came down for the Yorkshire.  It’s still a trip of a couple of hours, but it’s less than half the distance that it would be from home!  We had a great trip there, beginning with a chat about what the clubs were looking for, over tea and home-made cake, and then rummaging through their stacks and stacks of ribbon.  What better way to spend an afternoon?!

Anne Gregory was going to be doing the Imperials for both Dàrna and Donny, and since she loves both of them, this was a great opportunity to try and get Dàrna’s last certificate, in particular.  Steve Crow was doing the female neuter Olympian, so I also decided to bring Annas down just in case the competition wasn’t too strong.  As expected, though, her Olympian class was huge, and very competitive, so she didn’t place.  That didn’t bother me, but I was rather more miffed about the Imperials – Anne hadn’t been able to come to the show, and so the classes had been reassigned, which is fine, but they had been given to judges who I know don’t like Dàrna and Donny.  Shirley Bullock was given Dàrna’s class, and she has never liked Dàrna, so I certainly wouldn’t have entered if she had been the judge originally, and Donny’s was judged by Maria Chapman-Beer, who withheld the Reserve on Donny at the Chester, and therefore definitely wouldn’t have been chosen for him.  I don’t mind losing to better cats, but it is really annoying to have the judge changed to a judge who you know is never going to give the certificate to your cats.  Humph!

The Kittens

Okay, so now we can bring the kittens up-to-date.  Ayla’s two were eight weeks old yesterday, and the little one was four weeks (both litters were born on Wednesdays).  The big kittens are absolute hooligans, careering around the room like a small herd of elephants.  The boy is definitely the gentler of the two, and likes to come under the covers for a cuddle, but once his sister realises he’s there, she starts pouncing on him from on top of the covers, and your nice cuddle descends into anarchy that generally ends with him being rapidly ejected from the bed!  They are very sweet, and love people, but the girl is definitely more boisterous than I would expect from an Asian, so I presume that’s the Australian influence.  When she’s worn herself out, she adores cuddling up on someone, and looking like butter wouldn’t melt, and giving cute little kisses, but beware trying to cuddle when she wants to play – it doesn’t work!

Eiteag’s kitten, on the other hand, is very wide-eyed and watchful, and is one of the gentlest kittens I’ve ever come across.  She just lies there in your hands, and if you stroke along her side, she rolls onto her back to get you to stroke her tummy.  If she’s not asleep then she’s watching what’s going on, and will answer back when spoken to, which is very cute.  In the past few days she has grown big enough to start pouncing back when the big kittens jump on her, and she will roll around with them, but she’s still far too small to really hold her own in a kitten tussle.  She is just at the stage of starting to try the big kittens’ wet foods, but she’s not found any that she’s really enamoured with yet.  Ayla thinks it is high time the kittens stopped feeding, though (fair enough when you consider that hers are eight weeks old, but not so good for the four-week-old), so we’re hoping that the little one decides to wean fairly soon.

Eiteag's kitten sitting looking straight up at the camera with an alert expression on her face
Eiteag’s kitten watching intently – apologies for the poor quality photo!

The older litter is our ‘G’ litter, and since these kittens can’t be shown under their pedigree names, we don’t have to use the less obscure names.  We’ve decided on Griseánach for the girl, which means ‘Rascal’, and is pronounced Krish-nach (ch as in loch), and Gliocas for the boy, which means ‘Sensible’, and is pronounced Klikas.  Their pet names are nothing to do with their pedigree names, though, and were chosen by Tracey.  Since the girl likes to give kisses, Tracey named her ‘Frenchie’, and since ‘Frenchie’ is a character in Grease, the boy is called ‘Zuko’.  We haven’t decided on either pet or pedigree names for the little one yet, but I think her pet name is probably going to be either Rizzo or Sandy.  There are no Gaelic words beginning with the letter ‘h’, because ‘h’ is used in lenition (a morphological feature of the Gaelic language, used in various places, but for instance to indicate past tense – see http://www.gaelicgrammar.org/~gaelic/mediawiki/index.php/Lenition), which means that it comes after letters and not before them.  We are therefore looking at various Scots words and names instead of Gaelic for this one.

Just Kittens

Ayla’s kittens continue to gain well, and both have their eyes open – the boy all the way, and the girl partially.

Ayla’s kittens are so cute, I couldn’t resist sharing some photos with you!

The girl's face
The girl at about 12 hours old

The boy's face
The boy at the same age

They are both growing well, the boy being over 240g and the girl over 220g already, at 11 1/2 days.  Based on the usual target of gaining birth weight each week, their target weights for Wednesday night (14 days) are 267g for the boy and 273g for the girl, so the boy is well on track for that, and the girl just a smidge short of it.

The girl with her paw over the back of the boy as if cuddling him
The two kittens cuddling at 5 days old

The two kittens snuggled up together
The two little furry heads
The two faces propped up on my fingers so they are pointing at the camera
Cute little faces – boy on the right, girl on the left, at 5 days old

The girl was the first to start opening her eyes, but when the boy started, his opened almost straight away, whereas the girl has opened hers rather slowly over the course of a few days.  His are now both fully open, and the girl’s eyes are basically 3/4 open. Thankfully, we’ve never had any problems with eyes opening, but I know plenty of people who have had issues with discharge or stickiness, so I’m always wary for the first few days after the eyes start to open.  I think we’re past the danger period now, though, so I can stop fretting!

Girl's face sitting on my hands, with the inner corners of her eyes open
The girl’s eyes just starting to open – 7 days old

The girl's head from side-on, showing her good dome and short nose
The girl’s profile at 9 1/2 days old – lovely dome and short nose

Ayla has continued to be a fabulous mum, keeping her kittens clean and warm, yet is perfectly happy to have them handled. They are quite squeaky at the moment, making lots of noise when we take them out to weigh them, though they quieten down a lot when we’re just stroking them. Ayla lets us know when they have had enough, by taking them out of our hands to put them back in the nest box.

The girl's head sitting on my thumb, with her eyes about 2/3 open
The girl’s eyes about half open – 9 1/2 days
The boy's head sitting on my fingers, with his right eye fully open, and his left eye about half open
The boy at the same age – one eye open, and the other about half

As usual, I am undecided on colour at the moment.  Both kittens have a chocolatey tone to the edges and backs of their ears, so I’m pretty sure they’re both either chocolate or lilac.  The girl is a shade paler than the boy, but I don’t know whether that means that she is lilac and he is chocolate, or just that she is silver and he is non-silver.  I am told that with BCR kittens they will probably be at least three weeks old before we can tell for sure, so at the moment it’s just a case of waiting!

The boy looking like Yoda
The boy pulling his best ‘Yoda face’ at 9 1/2 days

The paler girl is on the left, and the boy is on the right
Colour comparison of the two – girl on the left, boy on the right

We’re off down to the North West show this coming weekend, so I will try and post a show update early next week – let’s see if I actually manage!