Kitten Update Week 10 & Teesside Show

The kittens continue to do well, Dàrna gets bigger by the moment, and Kia miscarries. Plus, a quick summary of the Teesside show.

That’s the kittens 10 weeks old now – what a scary thought.  It seems like no time at all since we were crossing our fingers for an easy labour for Katie!

Soolay has overtaken Lainni in size again, and is getting on for 1kg in weight.  He loves his food and is seldom to be found very far from the food dish.  Mind you, he makes up for it whenever he does leave the dish for a while, by racing around the place, pouncing on anything that moves.  We took the kittens along to the girls’ room last night, so that we could keep both groups company at the same time, and Soolay hit it off with Kia.  The two of them went racing around the room at high speed, jumping on and off every piece of furniture, which was very cute.  Alek just came and cuddled up with us on the bed, and went to sleep!

Black ticked tabby Tiffanie kitten sleeping under the bedcovers
Alek sleeping in the bed

The kittens love the new arrangement giving them access onto the landing at the top of the stairs, although Alek has already figured out how to jump up onto the top of the gate (it is something like 60cm tall!) and get out.  The other two just stand behind the gate crying to be let out, unless there is washing on the banister, in which case Lainni climbs onto the top of it.  If ever there was a good incentive for getting our laundry put away once it is dry, instead of leaving it hanging on the banister, it’s watching Lainni balancing on the top of it!

The kittens prefer to spend their time out on the landing rather than in their room, because the landing lets them watch what’s going on down below.  We’ve moved a couple of the kittens’ little beds out there, and those have become the favourite sleeping spaces, with both baskets usually containing at least one kitten, and sometimes all three.

Three Tiffanie kittens in a very small basket
All three kittens crammed into a tiny basket

At least spending time on the landing should help to continue the process of getting them used to the normal sounds of a house – ordinary things like the toilet flushing, doors opening and closing and the washing machine running.  I’ve also continued trying to give them different experiences, including their first baths, which they were surprisingly un-bothered by.  Actually, they are more miffed about being bundled up in a towel afterwards than they are about the bathing itself.

Tiffanie kitten after a bath
Alek looking grumpy about being wrapped in a towel

I finally got around to putting up an advert on kittenlist, but have yet to contact the breed clubs to see about getting listings on their sites.  We are members of the three Asian Group clubs, though, so hopefully it shouldn’t be too difficult to get onto the sites.

Pregnancy Update

Throughout last week, Kia became increasingly firm in the abdomen, and was starting to pink up.  Unfortunately, she started spotting blood on Saturday, and continued doing so until yesterday.  I spoke to the vet to check if there was anything to worry about, and he suggested taking her temperature, and if that was normal, and she seemed otherwise well, just to “let nature take its course”.  Her temperature was fine, so the obvious explanation is that she has been going through a miscarriage, which does happen periodically with maiden queens, especially.  Disappointing, but at least there is no danger for her.  She’s certainly lost the firmness from her abdomen, and is much more hyper than she was before the weekend.

There is no missing the fact that Dàrna is pregnant – she seems to get larger by the minute, and has slowed down a lot.  She also goes from super-cheery and purring to a moody cow in seconds, so it appears that she is experiencing the same sort of hormone-related mood swings that humans can do.  Considering the level of morning sickness that she had early-on in her first pregnancy, that wouldn’t seem an unreasonable assumption.

Pregnant Tiffanie
Dàrna looking very pregnant and pleased with herself

Assuming that we are correct in our assumption about Kia, I would expect her to start calling again in the next couple of weeks.  If she does so, then I will get her booked in to revisit the stud on the next call after that, which will probably be around early October.  I am hoping that Breckin will be calling by then as well, which means that she could perhaps go to stud at around the same time.  On the other hand, the results of sending two girls off together have not exactly been encouraging so far – perhaps we should send off one at a time from now on?!

Since we have had issues with the kittens being reluctant to feed properly, and now Kia’s miscarriage, I am going to have a full faecal panel run on a couple of the cats to check for any issues.  It is perfectly possible that we have just had a string of bad luck, but I want to be completely sure of that before Dàrna’s babies arrive, and before we send the Ocis off to stud.  If nothing else, it will give us peace of mind that we have done everything possible to ensure a healthy litter next time around!

Teesside Show

As I mentioned last week, we went down to the Teesside show on Saturday, where we had Annas on exhibition, but also Breckin, Xaria and Monty entered in the show.  All three did well, although we didn’t bring home any certificates – Breckin got another Reserve Grand, Xaria got another Reserve Imperial, they all won their Best of Breed and Monty also picked up a Best in Show nomination.  Xaria and Monty also won another PC each.

Kitten Update Week 9 & Aby BAC Seminar

Katie’s kittens have their first vaccinations and Dàrna manages to hold her pregnancy. Also attended the Aby BAC Seminar.

The kittens are 9 weeks old today, and had their first vaccinations this afternoon.  None seem to be the least bit phased by the experience, although surprisingly Soolay whined least about the injection.  Considering the fact that he’s the noisiest of the three at home, that was not what I expected.

They are continuing to develop their individual personalities, with Alek being quieter and more independent than the other two.  Strangely, though, if you do give him a cuddle he tends to be the one who will stay with you for the longest – the other two will come for a cuddle but then want to be off doing things again.  He absolutely loves lying on his back in your hands while you stroke the sides of his head, and goes into a sort of blissful, dreamy state when doing so.

All three are now making determined breaks for freedom virtually every time their door is opened, so we are in the process of fitting baby-gates to contain them in one area of the house without stopping the adults from moving around freely.  We have put up gates at one end of the hall and in the doorway of the bedroom at the bottom of the stairs.  The other doors off that area tend to be closed anyway, so gating those doors means that we can keep the kittens in the area around the hall and stairs.  This evening’s job is to hang another gate at the top of the stairs so that we can limit them to the landing outside their room when we’re not around to monitor their activity on the stairs.

They were so desperate to get out yesterday that I finally gave in and shut the two gates that we had already fitted so that I could let them out.  They raced up and down the stairs, pouncing on each other, and also climbed to the top of the large scratching post in the hallway.  Thankfully, kittens are pretty indestructible and are perfectly capable of bouncing down the stairs without injury.  The adults were not at all sure what to make of these crazy, high-speed balls of fluff that were flying around their feet, and were generally very suspicious of them!

Lainni is thankfully now back on solid food, but Alek has now decided to go off it – I swear they are just trying to test us!  Katie is back to checking in on them just once each day, in the evening, so she obviously thinks everything is fine, in spite of Alek’s refusal.  I’m just hoping that Alek does what Lainni did, and goes back onto solids of his own accord after a few days.  At 9 weeks, he jolly well should do!

Now that the kittens have been vaccinated, they can start ‘receiving visitors’, so I must get around to putting adverts on the kitten lists of the breed clubs etc.  I am planning to put through their registrations with the GCCF this week, as well.  Assuming everything goes to plan, they will have their second vaccinations around the 3rd week in September, have their neutering operations about a week after that, and go to their new homes a week or two after that.  It’s quite nerve-racking to think that in as little as five weeks they could be leaving us to go to their new homes!

Dàrna is thankfully still pregnant, so it looks like she is going to hold it this time!  It will still be another few days before we know anything about Kia, however.  Both girls are eating more than usual, however, and are far more maternal about the kittens than any of the other cats (except Katie, obviously), so I’m hoping that is a good sign.  A slightly scary thought, though, is the fact that Dàrna will be due in probably only about 3 weeks!  Fingers crossed her litter is less wearing on the nerves than Katie’s lot have been.

We’re going down to the Teesside show this weekend, with Annas on exhibition, so I really must put together something to go on the top of her pen.  This show will be her two-year anniversary of first being shown, so I’m quite looking forward to having her there as an example of where two years can get you!  She is a much better example of the breed than she was two years ago, because it took her until earlier this year to really grow into herself.  I have warned Lona that there is a good chance Lainni will be the same, but that fits with her anyway, because she is showing another of her cats at the moment, so is happy to do the bulk of Lainni’s showing once she is a bit older.

As a bit of an aside, I travelled down to the Abyssinian BAC (Breed Advisory Council) Seminar in Evesham on Sunday, which was well worth attending.  Thankfully, we didn’t have to drive for a chance, because I managed to get a lift with David Miskelly (Glendavan Abyssinians & Ragdolls, Aberdeenshire).  The seminar was themed around the subject of colour, and there were cats there representing a good number of the Aby colours, including Usual, Blue, Chocolate, Lilac, Sorrel, Fawn, Cream, Chocolate Tortie Silver and Fawn Silver.

The attendees were split into two groups, with a speaker and steward each.  The speaker for my group was Helen Marriot-Power, with Lynda Ashmore stewarding.  Both are very well-respected judges, so it was fantastic to hear their opinions on the individual cats there, but also on various aspects of the cat fancy more generally.  Obviously, the talks were very interesting, but probably the best aspect of the day for me was just getting to discuss Abys, other breeds, stewarding, showing etc. etc. with these judges and the other attendees at the event.  There was also a lovely meal, which always helps!

There is a Foreign-Group seminar in a few weeks time, and for anyone who is available to attend, I highly recommend it.  I have only attended two seminars, but both have been extremely worthwhile and enjoyable, both from a learning perspective and just as a pleasant way to socialise.  Besides, you get to look at lots of lovely cats!

Kitten Update 8 weeks

The kittens are now 8 weeks and aside from some issues trying to wean them, they are now lively, playful and developing nicely.

Well, that’s the kittens eight weeks old – what a scary thought! I have them booked to have their first vaccinations next week. After that, they will be ready to start ‘entertaining’ visitors, so I really must get around to putting some adverts out for them. Hopefully, I will be able to do so on Saturday.

Black silver shaded Tiffanie kitten at 8 weeks
Lainni looking quite grown-up
Soolay looking adorable
Black ticked tabby Tiffanie kitten at 8 weeks
Alek looking uncharacteristically worried

Lainni’s future ‘Mum’, Lona, will actually be coming to visit this evening, so I am both excited and nervous to see what she thinks of her ‘baby’ when they actually meet, instead of just seeing photos. I have given Lainni strict instructions that she is to make Lona feel special and wanted, although Lainni being Lainni she’ll just do exactly what she wants anyway.

Speaking of which, having said last time that the kittens were all on solid food, they then ‘un-weaned’ themselves. For no apparent reason, they all decided that they didn’t like solids after all, and that only Mum’s milk would do. Poor Katie had got used to being out most of the time and only popping in to check on them, but when she realised that they had started losing weight due to not eating, she had to start feeding them again.

Black silver shaded Tiffanie feeding her 8-week-old kittens
The kittens looking far too big to be feeding from Mum

The boys have since gone back onto solids, but Lainni is still determined to stick with milk. I have tried every type of food, from plain chicken, salmon and prawns, through various prepared adult and kitten foods with chunks of meat, to assorted pastes, mousses and patés.   The boys think it’s great, because they get different things every time their bowls are put down, but Lainni just sniffs the food, then reaches past it and starts ‘digging’ the floor as if trying to cover it up.  Very frustrating!

Aside from their ‘food issues’, though, the kittens are continuing to develop well, and are very active and playful.  They love having someone sleep in the room with them, and will all pile up onto the bed and tuck themselves in around your legs.  Then, when you wake up in the morning they come up and sit beside the pillow looking at you until you give them a quick stroke, after which they go off and play.

Lainni is very into cuddles, and will sit beside your feet waiting to be picked up.  She is quite like her mummy, and likes to think that she’s more ‘dignified’ than the boys.  Sometimes she will refuse to join in their games, but then go crashing around the room with Katie, who treats her sons as if they are made of china, but will happily throw Lainni around when playing!  Lainni also loves the steps up to the windowledge, and in fact, the three kittens will all jump up and down the stairs, poucing on eachother, popping up between steps or climbing right up the post at the back and squeezing through onto the top step.

Alek is still probably the most independent of the three, although he does love a cuddle, and is often the first to arrive at your feet when you go into their room.  Both boys have developed a nasty habit of trying to climb trouser legs to get up for a cuddle, which is very cute when you’re wearing trousers, but not so pleasant if you’ve got bare legs!

Soolay is still Katie’s favourite, and is therefore the neediest of the three, preferring to sit and cry for someone to do things for him, rather than figure out how to do them himself!  Having said that, he is virtually always the first onto the food when it’s put down, so he’s certainly not retiring when it comes to eating.  He is also the most talkative of the three, and if you look at him and say his name he will miaow back at you.

We had friends up staying at the weekend, and Soolay was their favourite, although Richard or I would probably go for either Lainni or Alek, because we like their more independent natures.  It was interesting to watch the kittens playing with someone that they don’t know, and they took it all in their stride.  Mind you, I have been taking them into the office at the end of the day, to meet my colleagues and get used to new places and being handled by new people.

Fingers crossed that they are as good with Lona this evening!

Kitten Update Day 47, Eastern Counties Show & Stud Collections

The kittens continue to do well, and now have names. We collect the girls from stud, and Monty wins his first Grand certificate.

I can’t believe our ‘babies’ are almost seven weeks old already! Since they were managing to jump out of the pen anyway, we took one of the sides out of it last weekend. This gave them full-time access to the whole kitten room, and it didn’t take Lainni long to find the heated bed in the corner, where she has taken up residence.

Since my last post, order has been restored, and Lainni is now back ahead of target at just over 700g. The boys are only a few grams apart at just over 650g, but both are still running a bit behind target. They are all coming on leaps and bounds, though, so hopefully they will soon catch up with their sister.

The week following Grandpa’s death was a bit of a rush to sort out everything that needs to be done to organise a funeral. We buried him on Thursday of last week, following a touching service that I think was a fitting tribute.

We had arranged to collect Dàrna at the Eastern Counties show, which Steve and Thomas were doing with their own cats.  Since we were going to have to go all that way to the show anyway, we figured we might as well make the most of it and enter some of our lot!

Unfortunately, the Eastern Counties was on the same day as the Scottish Rex show, which I very much wanted to support.  A few weeks ago we were at a barbecue at Elisabeth’s, and I was complaining about not being able to support the show.  She offered to take the Devons, saying that she could go straight up on the train from her house to Bearsden.   I phoned her the next morning just to check that she really meant that she was happy to take them, and that it wasn’t just the wine talking!  Thankfully, she confirmed that she was still happy to do so once sober!

Richard and I left home early on Friday morning in order to get to Elisabeth’s for about 9am to drop off the Devons before she left for work.  We set them up in her ‘small bedroom’, and hoped that their presence wouldn’t upset her cats too much!  It is surprisingly nerve-racking allowing someone else to take one of your cats to a show, even when you have complete trust in that person’s ability to look after your cats.

We went straight from Elisabeth’s down to Naomi’s to collect Kia, getting to her house at about 3:30pm.  Thomas phoned me on the way south to say that Dàrna had pinked up and was starting to gain a bit of weight.  She was also eating more than she had previously been doing, finishing her own dish first and then stealing from Pippin’s!

When we got to Naomi’s Kia was still in season, but had been mated every day last week, so that has hopefully been enough!  Stacie (Kia’s breeder) lives about 25 minutes from Naomi’s, so we called in with her to let her see Kia again.  In theory we were calling in just for a quick visit, but that never happens when we go to Stacie’s, because we always get talking.  I think we finally left Stacie’s at about 7:30pm, and headed down to Tracy and Gary’s, where we were staying on Friday evening.

As always, Kia took the whole thing in her stride, settling straight into Tracy and Gary’s, and ignoring the grumpy noises made by Monty and Xaria in response to her arrival.  She prowled around the two rooms, making sure that she knew every corner, then jumped up to give Gary a cuddle.

On Saturday morning we left Kia in the house and headed up to the show hall, getting there just before 8am.  We had taken Xaria (chasing her 2nd Imperial), Breckin (chasing her 2nd Grand) and Monty (chasing his 1st Grand).  After getting them penned and breakfasted, we went out to the car with Thomas and collected Dàrna, who wasn’t exactly thrilled at having been taken away from her ‘boyfriend’.  We ran her back to Tracy and Gary’s, where she settled down on the sofa growling at Kia and us to show her disgust!

We had lunch with Tracy and Gary, then headed back to the show hall.  By the time we got there, the Open results were all up, and I checked those while Richard went to feed the cats.  Neither Xaria nor Breckin had won their certificate, but both had managed to win Best of Breed, and I couldn’t be all that upset about Breckin not winner hers, since she lost to the daughter of the stud boy whose kittens Dàrna is hopefully carrying!  Breckin’s sister Lani was also there, and she won her 2nd CC.  Monty had really done us proud, and won his 1st Grand – with two Reserve Grands already, from the Double show last month, he is doing incredibly well for an Aby of just over 13 months.

After the show we went back to Tracy and Gary’s for tea, before heading home.  We couldn’t stay away for a second night because we didn’t want to risk the Devons upsetting Elisabeth’s cats by being there for a second night.  We got to Elisabeth’s at about 1:30am, and by the time we had a hot drink with her, got the Devon’s ready and then did the journey home, it was 3:30am, and we more or less fell into bed after checking on the kittens.

They are now extremely active and playful, running all over the kitten room.  All three are able to climb the stairs onto the window-ledge, and their various scratching posts.  They can also now jump up high enough to grab the edge of the mattress, then hauling themselves the last bit onto the top of the bed.  That means that when we wake up in the morning it is normally to find a trio of kittens wrapped around our legs!

They are all on solid food now, and Katie has started leaving the kitten room for substantial periods of time.  She was out of the room all night last night, and then ran into the room to check on them this morning.  Even after having her away from them all night, though, not one of the kittens tried to suckle when she did come back into the room.  She only stayed with them for about 20 minutes, before asking to be let out again, and didn’t return to them until about three hours ago.

As the kittens have become more active, I wanted to have something to call them other than ‘blue-toes’ and ‘orange’.  If we didn’t come up with something fairly quickly, they were going to be known by their colours forever-more!  I am not going to register the names we have chosen for a few more weeks to give us a chance to find new owners, so that they can have the option to change them.  However, subject to such changes, the names will be An-Sùlair (‘The Gannet’, because he LOVES his food) for Orange, and Aileag (‘Hiccups’, because he seems to get them after every meal).  Their pet names will be ‘Sùlai’ or ‘Soolay’, and Alek.

Black silver shaded Tiffanie kitten, face on
Lainni looking at the camera

Black silver shaded Tiffanie kitten, side on
Lainni side view

Black ticked tabby Tiffanie kitten, face on
Sùlai front view

Black ticked tabby Tiffanie kitten, side on
Sùlai side view

Black ticked tabby Tiffanie kitten, face on
Alek front view

Black ticked tabby Tiffanie kitten, side on
Alek side view

The more the kittens develop, the stronger their individual personalities and preferences become.  Lainni tends to run over to us whenever we enter the room, and climbs onto our feet.  She usually purrs when we start stroking her, although sometimes she is too hyper for that, and tends to pounce on our hands instead!

Tiffanie kitten biting fingers
Lainni biting my fingers

Sùlai will run up to us and give a little miaow if we talk to him whilst looking at him.  He likes to tuck himself into our sides, and is a real softy.  Alek, on the other hand, doesn’t really talk much, and is much more independent than the other two, but if we pick him up and lie him on his back, stroking his head, he goes completely limp and starts to drop off to sleep.  Very cute!  He is also going to be a fantastic hunter when older, because he responds immediately to any prey-type toy, whereas Lainni watches it for a while first, and Sùlai tends to run and hide!

Apologies for the epistle, but hopefully it won’t be so long until my next post, now that the family drama is over!