We had a fantastic day at the West of Scotland, bringing home a new Intermediate Champion, a Reserve Imperial, an Imperial, an Olympian certificate and four Best of Breed/Best in Colour awards, as well as having won Best Foreign Adult and Best in Show Non-Pedigree. Shogun also picked up a CC and Best of Breed, Foghorn/Rilla won Best Pedigree Pet Kitten, and Lainni won the first Cagaran Grand certificate! To top off the weekend, Anita got in touch to tell us that Cailin had won Best in Show New Breed at a FIFé show.
Last weekend was a good weekend for the Cagaran Cats. Saturday was the silver anniversary (25th) show of the West of Scotland Cat Club, of which both Richard and I are on the committee. We took Friday afternoon off work to help set up the show hall, and had been shopping earlier in the week to get some silver clothing to dress up for the silver theme. We always like to support the Scottish shows by entering as many cats as we can afford, but since this was a special show (and therefore more expensive to run), we agreed to enter even more than we usually would! A couple of our previous kittens were also there with their new owners, making a total of three Cagarans in the main Pedigree section and one in the Household Pets. Unfortunately the lighting in the hall was very yellow, so most of my photos either didn’t come out or came out a horrible yellow colour!
Donny and Quinn were there, in the kitten classes, and completely took it in their stride. Quinn was a little unsure to begin with, but very sweet about it, and Donny was just fantastic, rolling around on his back to get his tummy stroked, and snuggling his face into your hand when you reached into the pen. Both won first in their Open class, and he took Best of Breed over his sister.
Shogun’s owner (Sarah Davidson, Karakoram Burmese & Asians) and his breeders (Kagura Asians & Burmese) had all agreed that we could try him out at a couple of shows, so we took him along to the West. Since he is four, and hasn’t been shown since he was a tiny kitten, we weren’t sure how he would take to it, but he was an absolute star. He was a little bit wide-eyed initially, but once he’d been stroked for a few minutes, he settled down and sat in his pen looking regal, with an expression that said “Yes, I am a God, and you may worship me”. He looked very handsome, and won his CC and Best of Breed!
Annas was up for her second Olympian certificate, looked gorgeous. As always, she was beautifully behaved and was awarded the certificate in a competitive class.
Since Kia had picked up Intermediate certificates at both Yorkshire and the Ulster, we decided to take her along for her third, and qualifying certificate. This she won, along with Best of Breed and lots of praise from the judges for both her lovely head and her temperament.
Kia’s daughter, Foghorn, is now called Rilla, and her owners brought her along for a shot in the Pedigree Pet section, like we did with Grace over in Ireland. When the judge first visited her pen, she tried to dive onto the floor as soon as the door was opened, and then got a bit of a fright being bundled back in. Thankfully, the judge visited her again later in the day, once she had calmed down again, and she not only won her first and Best of Colour, but went on to be awarded Best Pedigree Pet Kitten, so her owners were delighted!
Lona brought Lainni along to try for her first Grand certificate, which she won. This is the first Grand certificate for our prefix. Much to Lona’s delight, Lainni then went on to best Annas for Best of Breed – not bad for a kitten of our prefix to be beating a UK & Imperial Grand!!
Like her babies, Dàrna also had a good day, winning Best of Breed and the Reserve Imperial. I was working on the table at the show, managing the Best of Variety and Best in Show paperwork. The first stage of this is taking all the Best of Breed results and transcribing them onto the sheets for the Best of Variety Adult, Kitten and Neuter judges, so I knew which of our cats had been awarded Best of Breed. I then received those sheets back in, and had to copy the winners of each of those onto a new set of sheets for the Overall Best of Variety judges. As I filled in the Best Foreign Adult result, I copied over pen: “161”, gender: “F”, date of birth: “26/02/09” and then started to write breed number “68 43hsq”, but only got half way through writing it before registering that Dàrna was the only Tiffanie of her colour in the show, and that she had therefore gone Best Foreign Adult! This was her first win at that level, and although surprised due to the quality of the cats she had beaten, we were obviously delighted.
Once again, though, our star of the show was Jinny, who won the Imperial certificate, Best of Colour and first in all of her side classes, and then went on to win Best in Show Non-Pedigree again! She always looks so gorgeous up there in the top pen, and takes the whole thing in such a laid back manner that it is almost impossible to believe how terrified she was of everything when we got her. The thought of the progress she has made can still bring tears to my eyes. We came away with a trophy and a lovely stack of catty prizes including food, a bed and a covered litter tray, which is always useful!
The following day, I received a text from Anita giving me the wonderful news that Cailin had once again gone Best in Show New Breed at a FIFé show. The judge this time was from Switzerland, and was apparently so delighted with her that he had her out for about 15 minutes (they’re only supposed to take two or three minutes) and kept taking photographs to show the other judges back on the continent. Anita had her new Ocicat stud boy, Chippy, at the show as well, and Anita said that Cailin was fantastic at calming his nerves. Aside from being delighted for Anita, I’m also really pleased that little Cailin is proving such a brilliant ambassador for the Tiffanie breed in FIFé, where they are not currently recognised. Congratulations Anita, and long may she continue doing so!
The kittens are all doing well, with the oldest ones almost ready to go to their new homes. I attended my first meeting of the Asian BAC, and we had a good day at the Scotia show.
The past three weeks have been ridiculously busy. I started this blog post when it was titled ‘Nine, Seven and One Week’, then updated it and changed the title to ‘Ten, Eight and Two Weeks’, then ‘Eleven, Nine and Three Weeks’, and now finally the current title! I’ve managed to get a few words down each time, but didn’t have a chance to pull some photos together until earlier this week, and then couldn’t get half of them to upload, grrrr. So… hope it’s worth the wait!
All three litters are doing well, and the older kittens are now the best of friends. To watch them playing, you would think they were littermates, chasing around like a herd of elephants, and pouncing on eachother. For the past couple of weeks they have had our Tiffanie neuter, Annas, as company as well, to help them get used to other adult cats. The kittens were, however, completely unphased by her presence, though she spent the first week or so scowling at them from the windowledge, and only jumping down when she thought they were asleep, to scoff some of their food!
Two of our good friends came up to stay with us over the first weekend this month, and spent lots of time playing with the kittens. It was great to see how well the kittens responded to meeting strangers and being handled. Tracy and Gary came up to visit when we had kittens last year, so whether they come up to visit us or the kittens would be an interesting matter for debate! Mind you, we’ve also stayed at their house with kittens in tow – the last time they saw any of our kittens was when we stayed at their house the night before the AGCS show back in January, with Tabh, B-B and Fiona. They were amazed to see how grown-up Fi now is, and she was all over them giving cuddles!
Katie’s two had their first vaccinations over a fortnight ago now, and are booked to have their second on Friday of this week. Katie was due her booster at the same time, so we took her with the kittens, and she spent her time trying to snuggle under them to hide, whilst they just sat there peering out at everything going on around them, totally unconcerned.
They now have pedigree names, and I will be sending the registration documents into the GCCF this week. As usual, the names are gaelic, and will have our prefix, Cagaran, on the front, and since these kittens are our third Tiff/Asian litter, they begin with ‘C’. At the moment the boy has the same name for both pedigree and pet, which is Cannach, pronounced Kanach (-ch as in loch) and meaning ‘Mild’, since he is a sweet wee man. The girl’s owner had contacted me fairly early on, so I was able to give her a choice of names, and she picked Càirdeas, which is pronounced Kyrstas (-ky as in sky) and means ‘Friendship’, due to the way that she welcomed the Oci kittens when they were put in with her as newborns. We are using Kirsty as a pet name, but her owner is probably going to change that once they get to know eachother better.
Pippa, whom Kirsty will be living with, has had neutered Burmese until now, and loves their temperament, but prefers the flowing Tiffanie coat. She is considering breeding Tiffs, so she came up to visit us, and she and I got on really well. She loved the look of Kirsty, who has developed beautifully (as has her brother!), so she will be joining Pippa’s Burmese neuter from around the end of the month.
A week past yesterday, we drove up to Aberdeenshire to see the family whom Cannach will be going to live with. They have two female Asian neuters (who are rather nice!) and until recently had a Burmese boy who was an ex stud boy. Unfortunately, he died a couple of months ago, and they have been missing having a boy around, so we took Cannach up so that they could meet him. We took Kirsty as well, to keep him company, and the two travelled together beautifully. They had a little tub of litter in the back of their basket, and both used that on the journey. When we got to the house, the two daughters got the kittens out of their basket and gave them a cuddle, then they put them on the sofa, where they promptly curled up with the girls’ Dad. Since Cannach is actually to be a birthday present for him, that was quite a smart move on the part of the kittens! Thankfully, the family were delighted with the wee lad (who is not so wee now, actually, at 1.25kg!), and decided that they would like him, so he will be going up there at the start of next month, after he has been neutered.
The Oci kittens had their first vaccinations on Friday of last week, so can now start ‘entertaining’ potential owners. I’ve had a fair bit of interest in them, which is a relief, because I was really worried that nobody would want the Variants. Whether any of the homes will come off, I have no idea, but at least there is some interest. The two girls now look much more like their brother than they did when they were younger, and I’m really pleased with the way they are turning out. All three are a really good size, being well over 1kg already, and Maltech is absolutely enormous, at over 1.2kg!
We have chosen names for them as well as the Tiff kittens, but decided to run the Oci litters separately and have therefore gone back to ‘A’ for their names. We’ve used up some of the difficult to spell and pronounce names with this litter: since they are Variants and therefore cannot be shown, there is no chance of a poor show manager having to pronounce their names! The boy is Aomáilteach, which is pronounced ‘Oomaltech’ (-ch as in loch) and means ‘Mischievous’, with a pet name of Maltech or Mal. The first of the Oci girls is Altachdainn, which is pronounced Altachd-eye and means ‘Grace’, and Grace is her pet name. The second Oci girl is Adhairc, which is pronounced Aghurk (-gh is similar to ch at the end of loch, but more gutteral) and means ‘Foghorn’, since that’s what she’s been known as since the start, though she’s a lot quieter now that she’s older.
We will be keeping Grace, and I’m hoping that we have a pet home lined up for Maltech. Foghorn has two potential owners, because she had been booked to go to a couple down south, but they have had some financial issues, so aren’t sure if they can afford to look after another cat at the moment. If they are not having her, then she is possibly going to live in Edinburgh with a family who used to have an Abyssinian, and have recently relocated from America. They have held off having a cat since their Aby died several years ago, because they knew that they would be moving at some point, but now that they have completed the move they want to add a cat to their family again. They couldn’t decide between an Abyssinian and an Ocicat, so our ‘Ocabys’ would be the perfect compromise. We have them coming to visit this evening, so we’ll see what the kittens think of them!
Dàrna’s babies had their eyes fully opened by the time they were ten days old, and are now pouncing on each other and starting to play. We rearranged their pen at the weekend, to add a litter tray and a dish of food, so that they can start to make use of those when they are ready. Dàrna is still determined to have the kittens anywhere other than where they are supposed to be, and has moved them to every bed, basket and cubby-hole in the kitten room, including (of course) the ‘human’ bed. Her current favourite location for them is in a little basket in the corner of the room, sandwiched between a chest of drawers and the wall. Every time I go into the room I move them back into the pen, so that they have the litter tray and food nearby, and every time we go back into the room, she has moved them again. Last year we eventually gave up and let her keep them in the middle of the floor (which is where she had chosen for last year’s litter), but for the time-being, I am trying not to let her win again this year!
Both kittens are developing beautifully, with lovely short muzzles, rounded heads and good nose-breaks. The boy is starting to develop ghost-markings on his face, so I’m hoping that means that he is a smoke. I saw Tommy Goss (one of the owners of Fi’s sire) at a BAC (Breed Advisory Committee) meeting yesterday, and he thought the boy looked like a smoke in the pictures I had, so fingers very crossed. The girl has always looked paler down her sides, but whether that is just due to the tortie or actually that she is silver as well, I am not sure yet. They are definitely a brown and a brown tortie, but beyond that we’ll just have to wait and see!
The weekend before the one just gone saw us heading down to the North East of England to run Elisabeth Stark (Dushenka Russian Blues) to the Northern Counties show. We took the opportunity of heading in that general direction to pay a visit to friends who are moving to Australia next month, so going all that way to take someone else to a show wasn’t as daft as people suggested! Elisabeth had a really good day, with her little Russian girl, Lucy, taking Best Foreign Kitten again! Our friend Olive Holt (Nemorez Asians and Burmese) also had a good day, winning Best Burmese Adult with the little Burmese boy whom I took down to her from Sarah Davidson (Karakoram Burmese and Asians) back in the spring.
On the Saturday just gone, we were a bit closer to home, at the Scotia show in Milngavie, just outside Glasgow. Our pedigrees are mostly ‘tied up’ with kitten duties at the moment, so we took the two mogs (Jinny and Ali) and decided to pop Annas out as well, since she had been looking longingly at the baskets whenever we were taking the others to shows recently. Sure enough, she seemed quite content to be back out on the bench, though Jinny was our star, taking Best Non-Pedigree again (the highest award available at the Scotia). Annas took the Best of Breed over her little niece, Lainni (Katie’s daughter from last year – Cagaran Asgaidh-Àlainn), who did us proud, winning her 3rd and qualifying PC – a second title for the Cagaran prefix, yay! Lainni’s ‘stable-mate’, Gus (a half-brother of our first Aby, Gealbhan) also had a good day, winning his second Olympian certificate. The Abys had a pretty good day, actually, with Coen (Glendavan Leonidas) winning his third Olympian, and Abys going Best Foreign Neuter and Best Foreign Adult. The Best Foreign Kitten award went to Dushenka Carabella, who was bred by Elisabeth, but is owned by other friends, the Pontellos (Pontaby Abyssinians, and soon Russians as well!).
Sunday was also an interesting day, being my first meeting with the Asian BAC (Breed Advisory Committee), which you may remember that I was voted onto at the AGCS committee meeting back in the summer. I flew down to Stansted in the morning, where I was collected by Steve Crow and Tommy Goss (who had already collected Carolyn Clark), and they kindly ran me to the meeting and back again, afterwards. I wasn’t sure what the meeting itself was going to be like, because you have multiple potentially ‘rival’ views coming together, but everyone was professional and civil, and I found it an enjoyable experience. I’m already looking forward to many more…
B-B sadly had to be put to sleep due to a sudden illness last month, but his siblings are still doing well. We had a good day out at the Scottish show, and are starting to make plans for this year’s litters.
Farewell to B-B
The latter part of January was pretty horrendous, with B-B being very ill. Initially the vets thought he had FIP, so couldn’t give him any treatment. Then we had tests done, which came back negative, so they thought it must have been some sort of bacterial vasculitis, and began treatment. Unfortunately, by the time we started this, the vasculitis had already damaged his kidneys, so we had to have him put to sleep after they failed suddenly.
We were obviously still nervous about FIP, so have had the lab in Edinburgh conduct a necropsy on him. At present, we are still waiting for the results of the histopathology tests, but the internal examination found none of the granulomatous legions that characterise FIP, making it unlikely that this is what killed him. We should get the rest of the results next week.
I am absolutely devastated, and can’t believe our beautiful B-B is gone. He was the first of Dàrna’s partial-breach kittens, so I had to literally pull him into this world, and I stroked his little head as he left it again. He was an early favourite of ours, both because he was so stunning, and because he was the first of the litter to really have a definite personality. We named him weeks before any of the others, because he suited his name so well – he always was a little imp, right to the end. He used to sit on top of us at night, and purred constantly.
RIP wee man. We miss you.
We entered the Scottish show a couple of months ago, and I was booked to steward for John Trotter. Added to that, Lona had entered Tabh (who is now well settled in his new home), and Fiona had entered Alek in the pedigree pet section. A few weeks ago, we thought that we wouldn’t be able to attend the show due to B-B’s illness, but with B-B gone, we realised that there was no point moping around the house missing him. I was hoped that John wouldn’t have lots of chocolate Burmese, though, because that would have been too much.
We had Fiona in the kitten class, Xaria going for her 5th (and final) Imperial, and Ali entered in the regional final of the Royal Canin Stakes. The judges were again impressed with Fiona, saying that she was very Burmese in type, and she won Best of Breed. She then topped her day off by receiving a nomination for Best in Show – since each judge was only allowed to nominate one cat from the section, that’s pretty good going!
Xaria did us proud by winning the Imperial, making her now officially Imperial Grand Premier!
Ali was third in the Royal Canin final,winning us £20, and also won the heat to qualify for next year’s final, giving us another £16, so he has once again more than paid for his own show entry. The moggies are good at that!
Tabh was his usual adorable self, taking the whole experience in his stride once again. As before, the judges said that he is an attractive boy, though not the best Tiffanie, type-wise, but has a fantastic temperament. The was Alek’s first show, and he was a bit nervous initially, and spent most of the day scowling grumpily. He did well, though, and looked absolutely gorgeous!
I had a good day stewarding for John, with some lovely cats to handle, including having Fiona and Tabh in one of the side classes. My favourite (apart from those two, of course!), was a lilac Burmese kitten, who had the lovely impish face and beautiful eye set – her ears are still a bit big at the moment, but hopefully she will grow into those as she gets older, in which case she’ll be a stunning adult. John was very pleasant, and at the end of the day, he signed my first official stewarding certificate – I have finally joined the stewarding scheme, after months of people saying I should!
Anita took Keela to a Felis Brittanica (FIFé) show at the end of January, and she won Best in Show! Not a bad show start for Dàrna’s first litter, to have two of the girls win Best in Show at their first outings. Wouldn’t it be lovely if that continued?!
Katie and Kia are both calling almost constantly now, so I’m hoping to take the two of them to stud early next month, which would give us kittens around the middle of May. Hopefully we will finally get a chance to just enjoy a litter grow up and leave us without problems! Since we’ve had an issue with B-B being ill, I’m waiting for a couple of test results back on the girls first, before we take them, just to make sure there are no lurking problems that we could pass on to the studs.
Xaria, Dàrna, Call & Lainni do well at the West of Scotland show & Dàrna’s kittens continue to develop beautifully and find homes
Another big gap between updates – life just seems to be a bit manic at the moment, but then I suppose that’s not uncommon in the run-up to Christmas!
West of Scotland Show and Older Kittens
The West was on the 11th of December this year, which was thankfully at the end of a week in which we saw some thawing in the weather. The previous weekend the northern shows (in Sheffield, I think) had been cancelled due to the snow, so we were dreading the same thing being required up here. As it happens, the week running up to the West was warmer and without any new snow fall. This meant that the show was able to go ahead, although the show managers had to print off the judges books themselves on the Friday night, and the certificates and catalogues had to be collected from the post office on the morning of the show, due to the residual chaos caused by the previous week’s snow!
We had taken Jinny, Call, Dàrna and Xaria, chasing the full range from PC to Imperial between them. Jinny didn’t really win anything, which I think is a first, but Call won his 2nd PC (yay!) and Dàrna won her 1st Grand and Best of Breed.
Xaria not only won her 4th Imperial (one to go!!) and Best of Breed, but went on to take Best Foreign Neuter and then Overall Best Foreign! If my calculations are correct, that is not only a great achievement on its own, but also means that Xaria has come out on top of the RACCS points table, making her this year’s RACCS Cat of the Year – the first time this accolade has been held by a Russian instead of an Abyssinian!
Lainni was also at the show, having been brought down by her owner, Lona. I was stewarding (for Steve Crow), and kept catching sight of Lainni out of the corner of my eye and thinking Katie was there, because Lainni is the absolute spit of her mum at the same age. She looked stunning, so Lona is obviously taking very good care of her. She did us both proud by winning the 1st in her kitten class, and also Best of Breed!
After the show, Steve Crow came back with us, as planned, and helped us to identify the colours of Dàrna’s kittens – our conclusions are given later in this post!
The week after the show, I had to go to Barnsley on a trip for my work, so I contacted the Gills, who have Soolay (now Rafa) and asked if I could call in and say hello. They offered to give me lunch, so I went round and spent a couple of lovely hours enjoying great hospitality, a good chat, and of course the chance to see Rafa again. He and Riley, his feline housemate, are now getting on beautifully and June gave me some lovely photos of the two cuddled up together. Rafa has really grown, and is turning into an exceptionally handsome young man!
Having seen Rafa and Lainni in the past couple of weeks, I was delighted to get a chance to see Alek (the third member of that litter), last night. I took a card up for his family, and was invited in for a cup of tea, and obviously to see him again. He has also really grown, and is such a gorgeous boy – he has a much more ‘typey’ head than his brother does, and is really a rather nice Asian! His human sister, Ellie, is obviously besotted with him, and he is fantastically gentle with her, which is the most beautiful thing to see – this is why we wanted to breed these lovely cats in the first place!
Dàrna’s kittens were 14 weeks yesterday (Sunday), and had their 2nd vaccinations on Tuesday of last week, so they are now ready to go to their new homes. Four of the kittens have definite places to go to, and I have had an enquiry for the remaining two that I hope goes ahead, because it would be lovely to see them go together, and the people sound lovely.
Katie’s litter were adorable, but this lot just have the most outstanding temperaments. You only have to touch them, and they start purring, and if you sleep in their room, you awake to find a pile of kittens on top of you, purring away. They all love cuddles and will climb up onto something beside you and cry to be picked up if you go don’t pay them attention. Some even give kisses – Ben and Ghost will both come up and nuzzle their faces into your hand, or bring their nose up to touch yours if you’re somewhere that they can reach your face. Quite apart from the gorgeous array of colours that this mating can produce, the temperament alone means that I think we will definitely hope to repeat the mating at some point in the future.
This litter are also all big, healthy kittens – they have absolutely blown the expected growth charts out of the water! All of the kittens have now crossed 1.5kg, and the largest (Ghost) is over 2kg! Considering the fact that one of our Devon Rex neuters is only about 2.5kg at 3 years old, and that Katie is only 2.9kg at nearly 2 years old, it’s great to see these kittens being such a good size.
We are definitely keeping one of the ‘creamy’ girls, and have decided to go for ‘Kitten 1’ – her type has all fallen into place, making her a stunning girl, but more importantly she has that fantastic temperament and I have had a bond with her from the start. When I last posted, I mentioned that we were hoping to take some of the kittens to the AGCS show in January, and when we did the show entry, we thought we were keeping Kitten 6, and therefore entered her. Having now decided to keep Kitten 1 instead, the only thing we could do was swap the names around so that when I registered the kittens, it was Kitten 1 who is now Fiona, and Kitten 6 who is now Maya!
The remaining kittens will start going from next week, although we are definitely taking four of them to the AGCS show in January. Since this is likely to be the last update while they are all still with us, I thought that I would go through each one in turn, giving their registered names and colours, a couple of photos and telling you a bit about their personalities, and where they are going to live, if we know:
Kitten 1 – Fiona
(Cagaran Beannachd-Fionn, the Cagaran obviously being our prefix, and the latter part meaning ‘Fair-Haired Blessing’)
Fiona is an Apricot Silver Shaded like her dad – breed number 68 43fns, where the 68 means that she is a Tiffanie, the 43 means that she is shaded, the fn means apricot, and the s means silver!
Fiona messing about and making it near impossible to photograph her – note that Tassy is posing beautifully in the background!
Fiona messing about and making it near impossible to photograph her - note that Tassy is posing beautifully in the background!
I know we’re not supposed to have favourites, but you can’t help it, and although she may be a complete pain to photograph, I can’t help adoring Fiona. There is a definite bond there that isn’t present with the other kittens, which is something that other breeders had told me would happen – Elisabeth put it very well when she said “some kittens just… get you”. Since it is critical that we have a good relationship with our queens, it is great to be keeping the kitten that we have such a bond with.
She is a good sized girl, having been the biggest of the three girls since the start (also something that is good for a breeding queen), with a lovely head and big adorable eyes. She is very cuddly, always wanting us to pick her up and give her a cuddle if we are in the room with them. She is perhaps a bit quieter and less boisterous than some of the others, but that doesn’t stop her tearing around the room at high speed if she finds a toy that she wants to play with. She loves ‘killing snakes’ – any long thin thing that she can get her paws on is dragged around the floor whilst she growls loudly and occasionally turns to pounce on it. This includes dressing gown belts and the old pair of tights that I put in the kitten room as a spare ‘body sock’ for Katie when she had Mastitis and wasn’t allowed to feed her kittens.
Kitten 2 – Ben
(Cagaran Beinn-Eighe, meaning ‘Ice-Berg’ due to his cold colouring)
Ben is a Blue Burmese Restriction Silver Shaded – 68 43asq, where the a means blue and the q means burmese restriction (68 means Tiffanie, 43 means shaded and s means silver, the same as Fiona).
Ben is extremely loving, but does remind me of the rhyme about the little girl with the little curl – he gives the biggest kisses and adores cuddles, but if someone is swinging from the end of my plait, or trying to climb up our legs, it is usually him! He’s a wee monkey, but utterly adorable with it. Whenever guests come to see the kittens, he is always the first onto their laps, and then curls up there looking up at them and purring, as if he is completely innocent of any misbehaviour. As soon as the guests are gone, he’s racing around at high speed, jumping on and off the bed, hiding behind things and pouncing on his siblings, and generally getting up to mischief. It’s all harmless, but he’s still a rascal.
I would love Ben to go either to a family who have kids who could play with him, or to somewhere that has another kitten that he can play with. He is just so exuberant and full of energy that we couldn’t let him go to anywhere without some sort of playmate for him! Wherever he does go, he is sure to reward their love tenfold – I love the way he nuzzles his head into your hand whenever you sit down!
Kitten 3 – Ghost
(Cagaran Bodachán, meaning ‘Little Ghost’)
Ghost is a (Lilac-Based) Caramel Burmese Restriction Silver Shaded – 68 43nsq, where n means caramel.
He is quite similar to Ben in temperament, but a bit more restrained in every sense – he’s a bit less feisty and mischievous, and a bit less extrovert about cuddling up to people. He loves nothing better than curling up on someone’s lap, or lying on his back in your arms, with his eyes half-closed, purring like a little motor. He is quite boisterous in play, but that’s partly due to the fact that he is the biggest in the litter. Like Fiona, he likes playing tug of war games with inanimate objects – his favourite being one of their beds, which he will merrily drag around the room growling in case any of his siblings might think of stealing it from him. On the whole, they just look at him as if he’s nuts!
Kitten 4 – B-B
(Cagaran Bramán-Beag, meaning ‘Little Imp’)
B-B is a Chocolate Burmese Restriction Smoke – breed number 68 42bq, where 42 means smoke and b means chocolate.
B-B is a real sweetie, very soft and soppy, and loves to be in contact with his people. Whenever you sit down, he’ll come up and sit next to you, and put his paws on your legs, and if you start stroking him, he’ll then move onto you, and then gradually inch up your front, until you have to cuddle him. He also loves to sleep on top of people, and is usually the first one to climb onto anyone who sleeps in their room.
He is booked to go to a trainee vet nurse in Bristol, and is going to be a show kitten. He will be living with an 8-year-old Tiffanie and a young Persian, both of whom are also shown. He is the pick of the litter, type wise, so he should hopefully do well on the show bench.
He is probably going to be re-named to Flynn or Finnlaidh, because the Persian’s nickname is Beeba, which could get confusing for all concerned!
Kitten 5 – Tassy
(Cagaran Briotas, meaning ‘Whisper’)
Tassy is a Chocolate Tortie Ticked Tabby – breed number 68 45h, where 45 means ticked tabby and h means chocolate tortie.
She is a typical mischievous tortie – I refuse to call her a naughty tortie, because she isn’t really. She loves to hide behind things and jump on her siblings as they go past, and has also developed the slightly annoying habit of hiding in her litter tray and jumping out on her siblings, throwing litter out of the back of the tray!
She was a slightly funny looking kitten, but in the past couple of weeks, everything has suddenly fallen into place, and I would be hard-pushed to say who is now ‘better’ between her and Fiona – both have beautiful heads, with lovely eye shape and nice slender limbs (actually the latter is something this whole litter have been blessed with, thankfully). When Steve came to help us identify colours, he was really taken with her, and said that if he had the space, he would have wanted to take her!
I am delighted to say that she is going to be going as a breeding queen, and will be living with friends of ours who breed Ocicats. They have been considering having a second breed for ages, and after falling in love with Soolay/Rafa from the last litter, decided that Tiffanies were that second breed. Tassy will therefore be their foundation queen, and I’m really looking forward to working with them over the coming years. One of their Ocicat girls has a name quite similar to Tassy, so they are going to be changing her name to Keela, which is a phonetic spelling of Kìla, which is gaelic for ‘Lovely’.
Kitten 6 – Maya
(Cagaran Bean-Meala, meaning ‘Honeyed Lady’)
Like Fiona, Maya is an Apricot Silver Shaded – breed number 68 43fns.
Maya is still more playful than Fiona, but over the past few weeks, she has become far more loving and people-oriented, and is one of the quickest to demand cuddles when we go into their room. She loves curling up beside us at night, and will come and purr in our ears when the alarms go off in the morning – very adorable.
She is going to live with a young couple in Northumberland. One of them is a vet, and used to be the vet for Dàrna’s breeders, before they moved from Northumberland to Dumfries-shire. Maya’s new family have one of the kittens from one of Dàrna’s half-sister’s last litters, who is therefore Maya’s half-cousin. He is called William, and is currently 11 months old. They also have an older cat, who is a bit fed up of William wanting to play with him, so it’ll be lovely for William and Maya to have eachother to play with!
This year we decided to take a Christmassy photo of the kittens to use on our Christmas cards. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this turned out to be a very time-consuming process, and Richard was desperate for us just to settle for one of the many photos we had containing four of the kittens. I was determined, however, that we should include all six kittens, and eventually we got a photo we liked.
In the process of trying to get the photo that we eventually used, we did get quite a few other photos that also looked good, but didn’t contain all six kittens.
I hope everyone has had a good Christmas, and that you have an even better New Year!
Soolay goes to his new home, Dàrna’s kittens continue to grow well and develop personalities, and we have a good day at the Yorkshire Show.
I’ve had a busy couple of weeks for my job, hence the delay in posting the next update. You will be glad to know that the kittens are all doing well, though.
Soolay went to his new home almost two weeks ago now, and his owners are a retired couple who absolutely adore him. His new ‘mum’ says he wakes her in the morning with “velvet kisses”, and she also said that his favourite food is smoked salmon and cream cheese! Elisabeth and I visited Alek in his new home, and he is also very well settled and looking gorgeous. He has grown a lot since we last saw him, and has a beautiful Burmese head now.
Dàrna’s kittens have continued to develop nicely, with the biggest now being over 800g. They will be seven weeks on Sunday, so their weights are either level with, or ahead of, target. Unfortunately Dàrna has managed to do something to one of her legs, and was therefore up at the vet yesterday for an anti-biotic injection, pain-killer and anti-inflammatories, the combination of which means that she is no longer allowed to feed the kittens. Poor girl is ridiculously full of milk today, and looks very uncomfortable, and there’s not a thing we can do for her. At least her leg isn’t broken, though: it could be worse!
Their personalities are really showing through now, and Kitten 1 has taken a leap forwards in terms of personality since my last post. She is the most people-oriented of the whole litter, purring the instant you touch her, and happily lying on her back in your hands while you stroke her head – so cute! Kitten 5 is also still very cuddly, although she prefers to sit upright rather than be on her back. B-B (Kitten 4) follows us around, and will sit on your foot and wrap his paws around your ankle if you try to leave the room – he really is adorable, although very mischievous. Kitten 3 is still the most similar to Soolay, liking to think he is a lion until anything noisy happens, when he runs to hide, which is very funny. His favourite game at the moment is to grab the side of their little basket and ‘fight’ with it, growling the whole time. Kitten 2 still comes to greet us when we enter the room, but isn’t quite as much into cuddles at the moment. Kitten 6 is still very strong-willed, very like Lainni, but does like to come and jump onto your lap if you sit on the floor. All six of the kittens have now taken to sleeping on top of whomever is in the bed at night!
The jury is still out on the colours. I am almost certain that Kitten 5 is a chocolate tortie ticked tabby and that Kitten 4 is a chocolate BCR (although he could be a smoke). The other girls are either cream or apricot silver shaded, but I still don’t know which. The other two are also causing me debate – the photo above shows the three boys together, and you can see that they are obviously different, but only slightly. Kitten 2 could be blue, blue-based caramel or lilac, and either silver ticked tabby or smoke. Kitten 3, on the other hand, is either a lilac or a lilac-based caramel, and I think he’s a silver ticked tabby. As always, we will just need to wait and see.
I think we’re finished choosing names now. Kitten 1 is Maya, with a pedigree name of Bean-Meala (Honeyed Lady). Kitten 2 is Ben, with a pedigree name of Buinne-Gorm (Blue Stream). Kitten 3 is Ghost, with a pedigree name of Bodachán (Little Ghost). Kitten 4 is B-B, with a pedigree name of Bramán-Beag (Little Imp). Kitten 5 is Tassy, with a pedigree name of Briotas (Whisper). Finally, Kitten 6 is Fiona, with a pedigree name of Beannachd-Fionn (Fair-Haired Blessing).
I can hardly believe that the babies will be ready for their first vaccinations in just a bit over a fortnight. They can then start ‘entertaining’ guests, and with each of these looking so different, it will be interesting to see who goes for which kitten. We are still debating which of the two creamy ones to keep – one day I think one of them, and the next the other!
We had a good day at the Yorkshire show last week, with all three winning their Best of Breed, and Soolay getting down to the last three for Best Foreign Kitten, against stiff competition. Xaria also won another Reserve Imperial, but since she already has an Imperial from that judge, I was quite happy for the other cat to have the certificate. Katie won her first Reserve-Grand, which was rather exciting! Now we just need to have a good day in Ireland tomorrow…
Dàrna’s kittens continue to grow and develop, taking their first solid food and starting to use the litter tray. Alek and Lainni are well settled in their new homes, and Soolay is still looking for his.
Dàrna’s kittens continue to do well, with the smallest now being 371g, and the largest 456g. Still making regular alterations to my guesses on colour, with the current best guesses being:
Since the paperwork for Katie’s litter still hasn’t come through, I am currently trying to choose names, so that we can get the registrations in earlier for this lot. Like the last litter, the intention is that the names should mean something in gaelic, but these ones will all begin with the letter ‘B’. The only one whose name I am happy with at the moment is Kitten 4, who is always off investigating something, and will be called Bramán-Beag, which means ‘Little Imp’. I am considering Briotas for Kitten 5, which means ‘Whisper’, because she is a bit quieter than some of the others in her behaviour, but I’m not fully decided yet, because she can out-shout most of the others if she thinks her dinner is late!
They are all really starting to develop individual personalities now, but it is a bit more difficult to pick out their individual characteristics than it was with Katie’s litter, because there are so many more of them. Kitten 2 is quite into people, and will often follow us across the room when we go to leave. He and Kitten 5 both enjoy their cuddles more than some of the others at present, and will clamber up onto you if you sit on the floor, but he will then crawl all over you, whereas Kitten 5 will just settle down – she is more like Alek from the last litter. Kitten 4 is quite mischievous and likes to explore, while Kitten 6 is quite independent and strong-willed, more like Lainni was in the last litter. Kitten 3 is a bit of a mummy’s boy, doesn’t like being told what to do, and loves cuddling up in whatever basket Dàrna is in – he is most like Soolay. Kitten 1 is a bit of a mystery still, since her personality isn’t really showing through yet, but she will get there.
After Dàrna moved the kittens out of their pen into the middle of the floor, I had used their play tunnel to set up a barricade to at least keep them restricted to that end of the room. However, on Friday evening, Kitten 2 managed to find his way through, and started sharing his mum’s wet food! Several minutes later, he moved over to try her dry food as well. Since it appeared that they thought they were ready for solids, I brought up a dish of Royal Canin baby mousse, and sure enough, Kitten 1 joined Kitten 2 in eating it. Kittens 5 and 6 were happy to eat it if I put some in their mouths, but Kittens 3 and 4 were not interested at all, and would spit it out if made to take it.
Yesterday evening, I took up a dish of Royal Canin Instinctive Kitten, which instead of being a paste/mousse, is a runny gravy with small lumps of meat. Kitten 2 was straight into it, with his front paws in the middle of the dish (covered in gravy), and his face shoved right down between the lumps. This time, however, he was joined by Kitten 3, who was rather neater about the whole thing, but spent several minutes feeding. The other four were not interested at all, including Kitten 5, who had enjoyed it so much the night before! This morning I tried them with a different flavour and texture of food, which Kitten 2 ate a small amount of, but was basically uninterested, and Dàrna ended up eating most of that herself!
Obviously, with a change in diet from milk to solids, comes a change in production of wastes, but it looks like they are going to cope fine with that transition, too. Kitten 5 used the litter tray this morning, and a couple of the others were in scraping around in it, preparing to go. These kittens are a lot younger in moving on than Katie’s were, which seems strange, considering how laid back their mum is – I thought they might take longer.
I have had photos through of both Alek and Lainni this week, looking thoroughly settled in their new homes. I can’t tell you how good it feels to see them contented and enjoying making a new family very happy. I just wish we could find someone for Soolay now, before we get any more attached to him. The other cats are also starting to accept him as part of the family, so it is going to be harder for them the longer he stays. I am also going to find it so hard to part with him already, and I guess it’s only going to get harder.
He was playing on Richard’s lap after we had lunch earlier – cuddled up asleep one minute then pouncing on Richard’s hands the next, and trying to undo the zip on his fleece. He is a wee monkey, always into something unless he’s cuddled up with someone, but that makes him so adorable. I hope all of the kittens we produce are as pleasurable to live with as he is!
Soolay attends his first show, and we continue our debates over what colour the younger kittens are. Lainni and Alek also settle in well at their new homes.
The kittens are now three weeks old, and should all be over 300g by this evening. I still think we have three boys and three girls, but am no more sure on the colours.
The bluey one (‘Kitten 2’ or ‘The Blue’) has come up really silver underneath, but with the sort of clear line between marking and base that you get on a blue Abyssinian, so I’m thinking he’s probably a silver ticked tabby. As for marking colour, the brownish cast that his fur had for a while seems to have mostly disappeared, so I’m guessing he is possibly a plain blue, rather than a blue-based caramel, as I thought before.
I still think that the tortie is a chocolate tortie, but her undercoat has lost its silvery look, so I’m now not sure whether she is just an unsound self, or a ticked tabby in which the ticking hasn’t yet come in. She has lovely rich red, especially on her face, which has very even red blazes.
The two ‘lilacs’ are now very different colours, and one is quite clearly a Burmese Restriction (‘Kitten 4’ or ‘the BCR’), because he has much darker ears and muzzle than the rest of his body. His nose leather and paw pads are also much darker than his brother’s – a browny-pink rather than the rose pink that his brother has. As a result, I am wondering whether he (the BCR) might even be a chocolate, or certainly a lilac-based caramel. The other boy (‘Kitten 3’ or ‘the Lilac’) is almost certainly a lilac, because his colour has remained a sort of rosy dove-grey. Both boys seem to have silver undercoats, and since they are developing an area of darker marking on the tops of their heads, I’m guessing they are either shaded or ticked tabby.
The two red-series kittens are still very similar in colour, with either cream or apricot over silver. One has faint spots, whereas the other is evenly coloured, so I’m not sure whether that means that one is a spotted and the other a ticked or shaded, or whether both are shaded, but one ‘masks’ spotted tabby and has ghostmarkings showing through, while the other ‘masks’ ticked tabby, which gives no ghostmarkings.
I’m kind of hoping that at some point before these are ready to leave, one of the ‘Asian colour experts’ will get a chance to call in on us and take a look!
Dàrna decided part-way through the week that she wanted the babies in the middle of the floor, rather than in their pen. I tried everything I could think of to get her to keep them in the pen, short of actually shutting her in with them, but in the end we have had to give up and let her keep them on the floor. I have put the purple basket behind where she likes to keep them, and they are at least sensible enough to clamber off into the basket whenever she isn’t feeding them. When she thinks it is time for a feed, she lies down in front of the basket and calls to them.
Kittens Settling In
Lainni and Alek both seem to have settled into their new homes perfectly, and I am receiving regular updates about both. Lainni’s new ‘mum’, Lona, sent me an email a couple of days after we dropped Lainni off, saying that she wanted to submit a complaint, because we had said we were giving her a kitten, when really we were giving her a mutant parrot. Attached to the email was a photo of Lainni standing on Lona’s husband’s shoulder (looking lovely, I might add)!
The day after she had arrived, Lainni demanded to be let out of the puppy pen where she was being kept to settle in (her mum did the exact same thing when she arrived with us). She then clambered onto Lona’s lap at breakfast and wouldn’t let any of the other cats up to share. She has, however, been running around the house with her new playmate, a ginger moggy kitten called Flynn. She has also become quite fond of their older Aby boy, Gus, whom she cuddles up with when he is sleeping.
Alek seems to get on well with both his human ‘sisters’, and has taken over the house. Fiona (Alek’s ‘mum’) says that it feels like having another baby, because they have his stuff everywhere – toys, food dishes, beds… She is loving waking up each morning with him cuddled into the back of her legs, purring. Mark (Alek’s ‘dad’) also seems to have bonded with him, which is really good news, because Mark was more taken with Soolay when they came to visit.
Speaking of Soolay, I was really disappointed last week, when I thought we had found a nice home for him in Aberdeenshire, but it didn’t work out. A week past on Friday I got in from work to find an email from a lovely-sounding woman who had previously had a Tiffanie and seemed genuinely interested in him. I replied that evening, but the email had come from her work address, so I had a tense weekend waiting to hear whether she would be ‘the one’ for Soolay. Unfortunately, when the email came through on Monday, it wasn’t good news – her husband had seen an advert for Chinchilla kittens over the weekend, and having gone to see them had fallen for one of the little girls!
I was gutted, and it was only then that I realised how much I had been hoping that would work out. Soolay is such a sweet baby that he would make a lovely family pet. Although Richard and I could obviously keep him, the reason for starting to breed Tiffanies in the first place was because we felt they weren’t well enough known, and wanted more people to experience their fantastic natures. Keeping him would be nice for us, but would rather defeat the purpose of breeding them in the first place! I just hope we can find a home for him soon, because it will already be very hard to part with him – he is 16 weeks today and is very handsome!
We had entered Annas (for Best of Breed/BOB only), Xaria and Katie in the Cumberland show, which took place on Saturday. When it became obvious that we were very likely to still have Soolay by the time of the show, we spoke to the show manager, who agreed to take an extra entry for him. We therefore had our first ‘Cagaran kitten’ out on the bench on Saturday.
He did really well, winning his BOB and a 1st and 2nd in his side classes, but more importantly, taking the whole experience completely in his stride. He really seemed to enjoy all the attention and cuddles, and the judges liked him and said that he handled well. I was lucky enough to get his Open judge, Joyce Green (a Burmese breeder), and also Ann Gregory (the only All-Breed judge) to come and give me their opinions on him once they had finished judging, and both thought he had a lot of potential. Neither of them were worried that he will be too chunky, because they felt that he will probably grow into his legs and paws.
Annas and Katie both won their BOBs, and Katie beat another rather nice Tiff to do so – I’ve just realised that means that we did the hat-trick of BOB Adult, Kitten and Neuter for the first time ever! Katie didn’t get her Grand, but we didn’t really expect her to, because she still looks quite kittenish, in spite of having had kittens of her own.
Xaria was our star of the show (apart from Soolay, of course), winning her 3rd Imperial (only two to go – yay!) as well as her BOB. As far as I can work out, that also put her further out ahead at the top of the RACCS (Russian and Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland) table of points. We are hoping that she might do well enough this year to become the first ever Russian to win Overall Best in RACCS. My calculations of the results so far put her 21 points clear at the top. However, that could all change with just one good show by the cats placed joint second at the moment – all it would take was for one of them to go Best in Show, especially if it happened at the Supreme, and she would be back into second place! Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen…
Dàrna’s kittens open their eyes, Lainni and Soolay are spayed and neutered, and the other adult girls all call. Also, Lainni gets ready to go to her new home.
Well, it took me a bit longer to find the time to do this update than I expected. I have been working late all week trying to complete a very important tender for work (potentially work at least £150k to our family business!). With the adult cats and two litters of kittens to look after on top of that, there just hasn’t been time to think, let alone update our blog. However, the tender is now in the post (deadline for arrival is noon on Monday), and one of the other Directors told me to “take the rest of the week off”. All 1 1/2 hours of it!
Anyway, since I last posted, Lainni and Soolay have been neutered, and the younger litter have all opened their eyes. One of the boys in that litter is being very slow about the whole thing, but his right eye was finally fully open yesterday, and his left eye is more than 3/4 open. The others all have fully open eyes, and are starting to look about. Now that she’s properly got the hang of what she is to do, Dàrna is proving to be a wonderful mum, and her kittens are all nice and plump, and sparky-clean!
Lainni and Soolay had their operation on Tuesday, and seemed so little when I was leaving them at the vets. Thankfully, both did really well, and by Tuesday evening were already pouncing on eachother (doing nothing for my nerves, I can tell you!). I don’t think Soolay has even noticed that anything is different – at that age they haven’t yet become proud of their ‘bits’, as they do later on, so he’s blissfully unaware of what has been done. The operation is also relatively minor, with no stitches required, and they heal almost immediately.
For the girls the operation is rather more significant, because it means major abdominal surgery, so Lainni has a nice set of (purple!) stitches up her tummy, like a little zip. We were worried that she might lick the wound and irritate it, but she’s been as good as gold. She is highly confused by its presence, though, and keeps propping herself up so that she can get a good look at the stitches, then sits gazing at them with a perplexed expression on her face. Bless her!
Alek is doing well in his new home, and both his new human ‘sisters’ seem to have taken really well to him. He has continued being a really cuddly baby in his new home, and his new ‘mum’, Fiona, is thoroughly enjoying waking up with him purring and cuddling into her legs in the mornings! I am so thrilled that we managed to find him such a fantastic home – it makes parting with them so much less traumatic when you know they are going somewhere that they will be adored!
Speaking of which, Lainni is going to her new home on Sunday, and Lona (her new ‘mum’) is so excited that she says it’s “like Christmas”! We are driving up with Lainni to Inverness, because Lona lives all the way up near John O’ Groats, so Inverness is about half-way. I am gutted not to be able to take Lainni to her new home myself, to watch her settling in the way that we did with Alek, but with everything else that’s going on at the moment a 12-hour round-trip to the north of the country just isn’t sensible. Hopefully we can go and visit them in a few weeks once Lainni is settled in, but if not, at least we know we will be seeing her at shows in the future.
Soolay still doesn’t have a new home booked, which I can’t say I am altogether upset about, because he can ‘fill in’ until Dàrna’s litter are big enough to be playing and giving us cuddles! I must confess to being surprised that he’s the one who is left, because he is such a sturdy, strong-feeling kitten, and has the most adorable temperament. One minute he’s racing around the room like a nut-case, and the next minute he’s crashing into your lap for a cuddle, with huge purrs. I am sure the right home will arrive for him eventually, and in the meantime, we get to enjoy him for longer!
Breckin finally started calling the Friday before the Wyvern show, and then stayed in season for over a fortnight. The second week of her call, Katie came into season as well, so we had the two of them trying to out-shout eachother. They would roll around on the floor at either end of the hall-way, taking it in turns to shout, and getting louder every time. Thankfully, they both finished their calls at the weekend, but now Kia has started, and is really shouting. She keeps going out into the run and making the most awful racket (she does make the strangest noises) – I’m just hoping none of the neighbours hear it and complain!
Unfortunately, I’m not very sure what to do about mating Kia now, because there has been a bit of a misunderstanding relating to Mickey, who she went to last time. It turns out that the owners of his sire, and his dam’s sire (his grandsire) didn’t want any boys sold for breeding, but Rita hadn’t realised this when she sold him. At the moment it is looking like he will have to be returned to Rita, and she will probably have to neuter him, so the mating is very unlikely to be able to be repeated! We’ve now got to try and find a different boy to use, but with less time to arrange things. Oh joy!
I love showing, but I must confess to being quite glad that we have nothing on tomorrow, because it means that we can get caught up around the house, and also enjoy some last cuddles with Lainni. Other than taking Lainni to meet Lona, this is the first weekend in ages that we’ve not had something specific to be doing. After the amount of work that’s gone on this week, I am really looking forward to it!
Now if I can just persuade Richard to do the driving on Sunday…
Alek goes to his new home, Dàrna’s kittens start opening their eyes, and we take Monty, Xaria and Coimhlion to the North West show
A very quick update today, and I’ll try and do a longer one in the next couple of days.
Little Alek went to his new home today, which was really exciting. We took him up, and I was really glad we did, because it meant we got to see him racing around his new livingroom having a great time. We got lovely big purrs when we cuddled him goodbye, and I can’t wait to hear how he gets on over the next few days!
The first of Dàrna’s kittens started to open their eyes yesterday, in fact one of them fully opened one eye. By this morning, two of the kittens had one open eye, and another couple look like their will probably be open tomorrow. The other two are not showing any sign yet, though.
We had a good day at the North West show yesterday, with Xaria getting her 2nd Imperial! Monty won another Reserve Grand, so he’s now on one Grand and three Reserves, which means that enough judges think he is worthy that we could have made him up if there hadn’t been better cats there on the day. Coimhlion was withheld for her Grand, but that’s no surprise – she only goes to shows because she loves it so much.
Dàrna’s kittens arrive and Alek finds a home to go to.
Katie’s kittens are now 13 weeks old, and had their second vaccinations on Friday of last week, making them almost ready to leave us. Such a scary thought!
Lainni and Soolay are booked in to be neutered on Thursday of this week. Alek can’t be done yet, because his being a bit behind his siblings means that his testes haven’t fully descended. We therefore need to give him another few weeks for them to descend fully before he can be neutered.
He has, however, got a home to go to, with a lovely family who only live a few minutes up the road from us. They even use the same vets we do! Our vets absolutely love them, and said that we couldn’t find a better home, so that sounds good to me! If the vet wasn’t happy with them, I would have been very nervous about allowing Alek to go without being neutered. Instead, he will be going to his new home on Sunday, which now seems terrifyingly soon! He has been lying on his back on my lap tonight, purring whilst I stroke his tummy, and I can’t imagine not having him around any more. Lainni and Soolay have also been sleeping in my arms – it’s going to be so hard saying goodbye to them all!
Lainni will also be going home with Lona next week, which will only leave us with Soolay. I can’t believe he hasn’t been booked yet, because he is such a wee character. Can’t say I’m hugely disappointed, though, because at least it gives me one kitten to cuddle when the others have gone! I’ve also got Soolay entered in a show in a few weeks, so the fact that he’s not booked yet isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Getting ready to fill the gap, however, Dàrna’s kittens were born early on Sunday morning, and are a very attractive mixture of colours. I think there are three boys (one blue-ish and two lilacy ones) and three girls (one dark tortie and two reddish ones). Trying to figure out which have dilution modifier, which have silver and which have Burmese restriction is making identifying the colours very difficult. I’m thinking that both the lilac and red-series ones might be silver shaded, but there could also be Burmese restriction in there to complicate matters. If anyone reading this is an Asian colour expert, I’d welcome your opinion…
The delivery was rather more stressful than Katie’s was, not least because Dàrna kicked things off by behaving as if she was going to go into labour for almost a week before she did so. For several days, I kept waking up every time Dàrna made a noise, and when I did get to sleep, either she would wake me up by patting me in the face, or I would dream about her having kittens in inappropriate locations (like the top of the wardrobe), and have to wake up to check on her!
We were booked to attend the Foreign Breed Seminar in Warwickshire on Sunday, and were due to be collecting Elisabeth at 3:30am. We had been debating back and forwards all week about what we would do if Dàrna hadn’t given birth by then. On Saturday evening, she seemed more settled, and was looking like being further off than she had done for several days, so I had spoken to my Mum to arrange for them to keep an eye on her, and we had decided to go.
At 2am, I got out of my bed to get ready to go South, and Dàrna immediately started contracting. Richard and Elisabeth had to go without me. At about 3:30am, I began to be able to see ‘something’ in the birth canal, but couldn’t for the life of me figure out what I was seeing. When the whisker pads emerged around it, I realised that it was a kitten’s tongue sticking out. The kitten progressed until its whole face was out, but then got completely stuck, but Dàrna’s body was obviously still trying to push it out. As I watched, the kitten started to turn purple, and Dàrna was becoming distressed and crying in pain.
I phoned the vet hospital and told them what was happening, and they asked how quickly I could be there. I rushed around getting changed (out of my pyjamas), and collecting a cat basket for Dàrna, whilst the other cats watched me as if I had gone completely insane. Since Richard had taken my car, I had to go to the vet’s in his van, which I had never driven before. With Dàrna screaming blue murder the whole way, that was not a fun drive.
Just as we pulled into the car park at the vet hospital, Dàrna gave an almighty scream and the kitten popped out. Bouncing along in the van had obviously worked it free. Before sending us home, the vets wanted to check that there wasn’t some problem affecting her ability to produce the kittens, so we decided that I should wait until the next one had arrived, to check that she didn’t have the same difficulty. We waited… and waited… and waited.
After about an hour and a half, the vet started saying that if Dàrna hadn’t produced a second kitten by the time two hours had passed since the arrival of the first, that we would need to do an elective C-section. Thankfully, Dàrna must have heard this (or my conversation with the vet about the risk of death during an operation!), and decided to produce the next kitten without assistance after an hour and 45 minutes. The third arrived just half-an-hour later, and I was sent home.
Having got back to the house, and get Dàrna settled back into her birthing box, another set of contractions started. The two kittens born at the vets (like the first one) had been born the correct way around – head first. As this next lot of contractions passed, the fourth kitten appeared feet first, and I honestly thought we might end up having to go back to the hospital! Thankfully, I was able to get a good hold of him with a facecloth, and pulled him out.
Number five was exactly the same, and for whatever reason, these kittens also didn’t start breathing until I had given them a good rub with the face cloth. The last kitten was born as a ‘full breach’, which means tail first; the worst possible way round for a mother to try and pass the kitten. Thankfully this one was the smallest in the litter, and with a bit of a tug, she came out quite easily.
By 9am, the kittens were all dry or mostly dry, and feeding well. I was able to phone Richard and Elisabeth to let them know that we had kittens. They in turn were then able to let the owners of the stud know, because they were also attending the seminar. At birth, the kittens ranged from 76g to 85g, but by lunchtime today, were up to a range between 97g and 111g, so they are gaining well.
Over the next few weeks, the colours should become clearer, and I will also know for sure whether the gender split is accurate. If I am right that at least one of the red-series kittens is a girl, then she will probably be staying here to continue our breeding programme into the next generation. That will, of course, depend on how the kittens develop as they get older, but since both parents are very nice, I’m hoping the kittens will be too. We shall just have to wait and see…