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…
The kittens are all back to being fully healthy, Dàrna is almost ready to give birth, and Xaria wins Best Foreign Neuter at the Wyvern show.
I can’t get over the fact that our ‘babies’ are now ready to have their second vaccinations! They will be having their vaccinations on Friday afternoon, which means that I will hopefully be able to have them in for their neutering operations the week after that. Alek and Lainni are still smaller than Soolay, but both are making good gains every day, and even Alek is now over 750g. Admittedly, that’s not a patch on Soolay’s 1.25kg, but at least he’s not actually half the size of his brother anymore!
All three kittens have good appetites, and constantly have nice full tummies now, which is great to see. Whenever I take new food into their rooms they all run around my feet squealing as if they haven’t been fed for a year, and as soon as the food is put down they’ll have their little faces stuffed into it. I’ll have to clear away the previous batch of food to make room for the new stuff, but they always prefer whatever new food you’re putting down to whatever it is that they’ve got at the moment!
I thought we ought to put up another set of individual photos, but if I thought taking them was hard before, it was nothing on now. The only way to get them to look where you want them to is to wave a feather stick at them, but that results in them doing ‘owl eyes’. In the end we decided just to settle for the ridiculous round-eyed look but at least having the kittens looking at the camera!
The three all look quite different (within the bounds of a pedigree mating) – I think Lainni is the prettiest, Alek is the cutest and Soolay is really becoming quite handsome. He’s a big strapping boy, with a lovely rich colour, and a good soft coat. I am quite tempted to enter him in a show before he leaves us, just to hear what the judges think. He does have a bit of a habit of rounding his eyes (although they are gorgeous when he’s not doing that), and I suspect that his limbs will be a bit chunky to be ideal for the breed, but I still think he’s a very handsome boy!
We’ve had the results of the kitten’s faecal panel back, and it turns out that their illness has essentially been caused by food poisoning. They tested positive for exposure to clostridium perfringens, which is the third most common cause of food poisoning in humans. It is something that occurs naturally in the guts of all vertebrates, but the kittens guts managed to get out of balance and the bacteria multiplied more than usual, causing them to become ill. Perhaps next time we ought to try giving them probiotics??
Katie is now completely dry of milk, but Dàrna’s came in on Sunday. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was the kittens who discovered this, whilst cuddling up with her, so she had to be removed from them immediately. As it happens, our intention was always to move her up to the kittening room that day, but we were going to move her in the evening. Once the kittens had found the milk, however, I just scooped her up and took her straight up there, and she is now in there with Katie for company.
Although Dàrna’s due date is technically Thursday, we don’t think she’s actually going to go that long. She is huge, and the kittens are tightly packed, but in the past couple of days they have all started wriggling around to get in the right orientation for birthing. Dàrna’s ‘happy hormones’ also kicked in on Sunday, and she has been ridiculously purry since. She’s also become clingy, though, so if we’re not in the room then Katie has to be in there to keep her company. We would have liked to have kept the room with just Dàrna to be sure of minimising any infections, but she’s just not happy by herself, and we can’t be with her all the time, so limiting her company to just us and Katie will have to do.
Kia is still convinced that Katie’s kittens actually belong to her. Clearly her hormonal brain hasn’t computed the impossibility of a trio of 10-week-old kittens having been produced when she miscarried, because she chirrups at them as a Mother does to her babies. She is really good with them, playing very gently with Lainni and Alek, and then rolling around the floor with Soolay. She also makes sure that they are nicely ‘polished’ whenever she gets the chance. Katie would still allow her kittens to suckle if they were given access to her, so they are shut away whenever she is about and vice versa.
Wyvern Cat Club Show
We went down to Worcester for the Wyvern show on Saturday, staying over on the Friday night, in the same B&B as last year. Once again we had a lovely time, and Elisabeth was with us this time, so we all went out for a delicious meal together the night before. I can see this becoming a bit of an annual event!
We had taken Monty, Breckin and Xaria, all of whom took Best of Breed. Monty lost out in the Grand to two more mature cats, so we can’t complain about that. I think Breckin was robbed in her Grand class, but you pay your money and you take your chance, so what can we do. Xaria took another Reserve Imperial (her third to the same cat, but at least the other girl is made up now, so won’t be against her again – yay!), but went on to take Best Foreign Neuter, which was a great result.
The real excitement of the day, though, was Elisabeth’s little Yzzy (Xaria’s niece) winning her 3rd CC, making her a Champion, and Elisabeth’s 15th titled cat. Elisabeth also had Tasha (Xaria’s mum) and Ziva (Yzzy’s daughter, so Xaria’s great-niece), who each won their respective Best of Breed awards. That meant that on top of her excellent result with Yzzy, it was a Dushenka who took all three Russian Best of Breeds – Tasha for Adult, Yzzy for Kitten and Xaria for Neuter. Add to that Xaria’s Best of Variety win, and Elisabeth’s prefix really had a rather good day!
Alek is back to eating solids, Soolay is growing by the minute, and Dàrna’s kittens are only a bit over a week away.
The kittens are now 11 weeks, and spend most of their time running around the house, whether we want them to or not – all three have now figured out how to jump their gate. The funniest thing about that, is the fact that of the adults, only Jinny, Ali and Kia actually jump the gates. The others all end up ‘trapped’ on whatever side of the gates they are on when we shut them!
Alek had started being a bit funny with food again towards the end of last week, so we were keeping a close eye on him. We had agreed weeks ago that we would spend Friday and Saturday night with my parents on a boat on the Clyde, so little Alek just had to come too. Considering that it was his first trip away from his siblings, and his first overnight stay anywhere outside the house, not to mention his first experience of a moving boat, he took it all amazingly calmly. He didn’t seem the least bothered, even when my Mum was getting jumpy due to the size of the swell coming up Loch Fyne (Mum doesn’t like bumpy sailing!).
Over the course of the weekend he started eating properly again, and has been taking in enough food of his own accord to gain a steady 25g+ each day. Lainni is still gaining at about 15g per day, as would be expected. Soolay, on the other hand, is definitely living up to his name (An-Sùlair = The Gannet), and seems to be growing by the minute – he managed 77g today alone!
He is aware that he is the biggest in the litter, and likes to think that he is really a lion, and needs to protect his smaller siblings. If someone annoys him, he’ll turn around and spit at them, which makes me laugh every time – he’s so clearly trying to be big and intimidating, but it’s just too cute for words! He and Kia are still having great fun playing together, and when you see them together, it’s easy to tell just how big he’s getting, because she’s quite a good size.
Alek is still more independent and less boisterous than his brother, but he has now become quite cuddly and into people, and will follow you around the house when he’s out. Even if he’s not ‘out’, he’ll normally still follow you around the house, having jumped the gate first. Since he went back onto solid food, he has become quite possessive of his particular choice of food – his favourite at the moment is the Royal Canin baby mousse stuff, and if there is a dish of that down, he will munch it whilst growling at anyone else that comes too close.
Lainni is very people-oriented, and loves nothing better than cuddling up to us. I quite often wake in the morning to find her half on my shoulder, half on the pillow, tucked in under my chin, purring away to herself. She is still a bit of a ‘madam’, though, and doesn’t like not getting her way. If we are eating tea in the livingroom for some reason, she can get quite determined about trying to steal food from us, and if you push her away she will literally scream in annoyance (which is very funny!).
I still haven’t posted adverts for the boys on the breed club websites, partly due to Alek having been a bit funny about his food, and partly just due to a lack of time. They are due to have their vaccinations done either next week or the week after, so I will speak to the vet about that tomorrow, when I take Annas for one of her annual boosters. I think that since Alek is a bit behind where he should be weight-wise, that it might be an idea to keep them back the extra week, but we’ll see what the vet thinks.
Dàrna’s kittens are due towards the end of next week, and she has now decided that she likes the kittens after all. She was going from kitten to kitten this morning, polishing them all, and has taken to waiting until they are finished eating before feeding herself. I felt her kittens moving for the first time yesterday, which is a lot later than I did with Katie’s lot. There is definitely at least two kittens on each side, but whether there’s any more than that, I have no idea.
Katie is now almost completely dry of milk, and is starting to call again. I’m giving her another few days, and will then probably let her back in with her kittens, but we’ll need to keep a close eye that they’re not injuring her by continuing to suckle. She looks fantastic, and I am now kicking myself that I didn’t enter her in the North West show later this month. I was going to, but I wasn’t quite brave enough to risk her not having dried up yet. We’ll know for next year!
I had Kia checked out by the vet on Friday afternoon, who confirmed that she had been pregnant – her womb apparently feels like a ‘post-parturient’ (post-birthing) womb. The vet couldn’t feel anything of any size in there now, though, so it would seem that she has indeed completely miscarried. I’m not certain, but it’s possible that she is also starting to think about calling again. If she does then we will hold her back and perhaps take her back to stud next month.
Hopefully, Breckin will also be ready to go by then, as she was putting her tail to the side for the first time this morning. If the Ocis both took next month, then they would be having their kittens at about the same time in relation to Dàrna’s as Dàrna will have hers in relation to Katie’s. In other words, their kittens would just be arriving as Dàrna’s are ready to leave. I think that’s probably no bad thing, because I’m sure we’ll miss having kittens around once they’re gone. Actually, that’s one of the worries with the boys is that we’ll get too attached to them!
Fingers crossed the next couple of weeks see them continue to grow and develop, without any further issues, and that we’ll find some lovely homes for them to go to. Then we’ll have to look forward to Lainni being out on the bench…