Kitten Update Week 15

The kittens are all booked now, and continue to develop well

The four kittens remaining
The four kittens who are still with us -B-B (back left), Tassy (back right), Fiona (front left) & Ben (front right)

Ghost and Maya went to their new homes last week, and the remaining kittens also have homes booked now.  The home that I thought both boys might end up going to didn’t go ahead, but we have ended up with something even better – Ghost chose his own home, and Ben is going to another show home!

Ghost’s owners and I had been exchanging emails off and on for a couple of weeks, because they were interested in Ben. Eventually, they decided that they wanted to come and see him, with a view to taking him home. We thought that they were sure to love him just as much when they met him, because every visitor we’ve had has immediately had Ben curled up, purring, on their lap.

When Jane (Ghost’s new mum) came to visit, however, Ben showed no interest whatsoever, whereas Ghost was absolutely besotted. He has not been interested in anyone else who has visited, yet he would not leave her alone. Whenever we have carried Ghost around the house, he would try to jump down to explore, yet when she carried him around, he just sat there in her arms, purring and looking up at her adoringly. As a result, they decided to go home with Ghost instead of Ben, so he now lives with 15 chihuahuas (they breed them as Happyhouse), and seems to have forgotten us already.

Ghost with his new friends
Ghost getting to know his new housemates

Ghost settling into his new home
Ghost settling in

When his owners went to get ready for bed on his first night, they left him on the window-ledge downstairs, yet by the time they had done their teeth, he was cuddled up on their bed!

We ran Maya to her new home in Northumberland on the 29th, and were given a delicious lunch by her owners, Chris and Kate. That gave us the chance to watch Maya settle in and get to know her new ‘brothers and sisters’ – another Tiffanie, a moggy and two dogs. The Tiffanie is just over a year old, and is her half-cousin, being one of the kittens from the last litter out of one of Dàrna’s half-sisters.  He is beautiful, and although a little unsure, was absolutely fascinated by his new playmate.  Maya spent her first night tucked into the gap between Chris and Kate’s pillows, purring away to herself, so that sounds pretty good!

The boys have been neutered, and I am really looking forward to the show this coming weekend.  Unfortunately there was an error among the show management, that has resulted in Tassy not being included in the catalogue, and therefore not being able to attend the show.  This is particularly annoying, since she was supposed to be going home with her new owners after the show.  I am now hoping that we can perhaps drop her off at her new home on Friday.

Tassy & B-B aged 15 weeks
Tassy & B-B

Tassy & B-B aged 15 weeks
Tassy & B-B again

Lona emailed me an update on Lainni last week, and mentioned at the same time that she was quite taken with Ben, and that she would be interested in showing him.  Like Tassy, whom he was quite similar to as a kitten, he has been getting more and more typey as the weeks have gone by.  He can now produce a lovely Burmese expression, so if he does that to the judges, he could do well.  Apart from anything else, he has the fantastic soppy temperament, so he should be able to win the judges over!  His new pet name is going to be Tabh (pronounced Tav), which means ‘Ocean’.

Ben aged 15 weeks
Ben scowling

Ben aged 15 weeks
Ben looking sleepy

Aside from the fact that we know Lona will give him a fantastic home, Ben going to live with her is particularly exciting for us, because it means that four of the kittens from this litter will be shown – Fiona (by us, obviously), Tassy, B-B and Ben.  All four have a lot of potential, so it will be interesting to see what happens over the coming years!

Fiona aged 15 weeks
Fiona

Tassy aged 15 weeks
Tassy (now called Keela)

B-B aged 15 weeks
B-B (probably to be called Flynn)

Ben aged 15 weeks
Ben (now called Tabh)

Kitten Update Week 13 & West of Scotland Show

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.

Dàrna with her Grand rosette
Dàrna with her first Grand rosette

Call hiding under his vet bed
Call hiding under his bedding to try and get some sleep in the afternoon

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!

Xaria with her Imperial & Best of Breed rosettes
Xaria with her Imperial & BOB rosettes

Xaria being judged for Best in Show
Xaria being judged for Best in Show, having already gone Overall Best Foreign

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!

Lainni in her show pen
Lainni looking beautiful in her pen

Lainni in her show pen
Lovely expression

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!

Rafa/Soolay aged about 5 1/2 months
Rafa lying on the top of the radiator

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!

Current Kittens

Tiffanie kittens aged 13 weeks, lying in a radiator bed
Five of the kittens lying in their radiator bed -from left to right: Fiona, B-B, Maya, Ben (back) & Tassy (front right)

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.

Ben & Ghost on the heat mats
The two kittens who are still available: Ghost (left) & Ben (right)

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.

All six of the kittens on their heat pads
The six kittens on their heat mats -from left to right: Ghost, Ben (front), B-B (back), Maya, Tassy, Fiona

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.

The kittens sitting on top of the radiator
All six kittens sitting on top of the radiator -from left to right: B-B, Fiona, Maya, Tassy, Ghost & Ben

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!

Maya and Fiona looking cute
Fiona (left/back) & Maya (right/front)

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 standing too close to the camera Fiona waving her ears around Fiona refusing to stand still

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.
Fiona side-on
The best photo I managed to get of Fiona looking at the camera!

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.

Fiona's beautiful head
Side view of Fiona's head, showing her lovely nose

Kitten 2 – Ben
(Cagaran Beinn-Eighe, meaning ‘Ice-Berg’ due to his cold colouring)

Ben looking adorable
Ben looking suddenly much more mature

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 from the side
Attempt to show the shading on Ben's side

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.

The three boys posing
The three boys - Ghost (left), Ben (centre) & B-B (right)

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 looking cute
Ghost interrupting his cleaning to look at the camera

Ghost is a (Lilac-Based) Caramel Burmese Restriction Silver Shaded – 68 43nsq, where n means caramel.

Ghost sitting upright looking sideways
Ghost looking sideways, showing his slightly-too-long-for-perfection muzzle

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!

B-B and Ghost on the heat-mats
B-B (front) and Ghost (back) - our two blonde boys!

Kitten 4 – B-B
(Cagaran Bramán-Beag, meaning ‘Little Imp’)

B-B looking into the camera
B-B showing his beautiful Burmese scowl

B-B is a Chocolate Burmese Restriction Smoke – breed number 68 42bq, where 42 means smoke and b means chocolate.

B-B full body shot from the side
B-B showing his darker points

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.

B-B's head from the side
Profile shot of B-B (nose break isn't perfect, but it's not bad)

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.

B-B being handled
B-B demonstrating his 'Best in Show' display pose

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!

Ben & B-B together
B-B proving he's an imp & considering chewing Ben's whiskers!

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.

Tassy looking gorgeous
Tassy showing why she's going for breeding!

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!

Profile view of Tassy
Tassy showing her nice break and level chin

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’)

Maya standing side-on
Pretty Maya showing her lovely proportions

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.

Maya held up
Maya looking relaxed and floppy whilst being held

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!

Maya held up side-on
Maya held up again, this time showing her pretty head

Christmas

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.

Our Christmas card image 2010 - the six kittens
Our Christmas card image 2010

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.

Fiona with tinsel and santa hat
Fiona

Fiona & B-B with tinsel
Fiona & B-B

Fiona & B-B in santa hat
Fiona & B-B again

Ben in a tinsel-filled box
Ben

Ben in a box filled with tinsel
Ben again

Five of the kittens in boxes filled with tinsel
Five of the kittens
All six kittens with Christmassy boxes & a santa hat
Five of the kittens in tinsel-filled boxes with a santa hat
Five of the kittens with a santa hat, in boxes filled with tinsel
All six kittens with tinsel-filled boxes and a santa hat
All six kittens with tinsel-filled boxes & a santa hat
Five kittens with tinsel-filled boxes

I hope everyone has had a good Christmas, and that you have an even better New Year!

Shows & Kitten Update Week 10

The kittens continue to grow, and also have their first bath – the first couple have homes booked now. We have a good day at both the Ulster show and the Supreme.

It feels like months since I last posted a blog update, rather than just over three weeks. As you might expect, plenty has happened in that time, both with the kittens and the rest of the household.

Shows

At the end of my last post, I mentioned that we were heading over to Ireland for a show the following day. That was a tiring, but very enjoyable experience.  There was a special deal on the ferry, meaning that we could take two others with us for the same price.  We took Elisabeth, obviously, and also Kate Ekanger (Cloudborn Devons & Laperms).  In addition, Sarah Davidson (Karakoram Asians & Burmese) asked if we would mind taking one of her cats over as well, which of course we were happy to do.

Kate drove to our house first, and we headed off at about 22:45, collected Elisabeth en route, and drove down to Stranraer for the 03:30 ferry.  We arrived in Belfast around 06:30 and grabbed about an hour’s sleep, before the show day began around 08:00.  The day went really well for our three, with Coimhlion winning her 2nd Grand Prem, Katie winning her 1st Grand Champ and Xaria winning another Reserve Imp.  Katie and Xaria both also won their Best of Breed awards.

Xaria with her rosettes at the Ulster show
Xaria

Katie with her rosette and Grand certificate at the Ulster show
Katie

Coimhlion with her Grand rosette at the Ulster show
Coimhlion

Kate’s LaPerm girl hadn’t been to a show before, but took the whole thing totally in her stride and won an Intermediate, which counts towards the forward progression of that breed.  The girl whom we had taken on behalf of Sarah also did really well, picking up an Imperial.  We got the 20:00 ferry back to Stranraer, finally getting back to our house at about 01:30 on the Sunday morning – almost 27 hours after leaving the house!  Poor Kate still had another couple of hours further to go after us!

Coming forwards a fortnight, we were down in Birmingham for the Supreme last weekend.  Once again, we were taking Elisabeth with us, but this time we also had the RACCS (Russian & Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland) stand to set up on the Friday, so we travelled down first thing that morning, spent the afternoon setting up the stand and then stayed with Richard’s parents overnight.  Richard and I have travelled down and stayed with his parents the night before the Supreme the past two years as well, because it means that we have a rather civilised 50 minute journey in the morning, instead of several hours!

This year I was unbearably nervous, because the two cats we were taking, Annas and Xaria, were both entered in the prestigious UK Grand classes – the highest available.  The winner of each UK class (thankfully they were in different classes – Annas against the Asian Group, and Xaria just against the Russians) wins a UK certificate, and two UK certificates affords the cat a UK title, which means that they have to take the certificate in two separate years.  I was particularly nervous about Annas’ result, because she won the certificate last year, meaning that a win this year would give her the title – the last thing she has left to win!

Both girls showed themselves beautifully, and did us proud by winning not only their UK certificates, but also their Best of Breed awards – an impressive feat against the quality of cats who are seen at the Supreme.  Annas’ win made her the first UK-titled Tiffanie, but also only the third cat in the whole Asian Group to win the UK title, and also just the second in the group to hold both the UK and Imperial titles!  Xaria’s win was also significant, though, because it made her the first Scottish-bred Russian to win a UK certificate, and was also the first cat bred by Elisabeth to win a Supreme BOB!  Needless to say, we were both a bit teary that day!

Annas being judged at the Supreme 2010
Annas being judged

Xaria in her pen at the Supreme 2010
Xaria in her pen

Kittens

Now onto the bit that you are probably actually reading this for – the kittens…

Maya aged 9 weeks
Maya dancing around instead of standing nicely

Ben aged 9 weeks
Ben looking worried about the clicking of the camera

Ghost aged 9 weeks
Ghost taking a break from playing to stare suspiciously at the camera!

B-B aged 9 weeks
B-B finally sitting still for a second but still pulling a silly face

Tassy aged 9 weeks
Tassy looking adorable

Fiona aged 9 weeks
Fiona posing beautifully

When Dàrna was first taken away from them,  they had a bit of a ‘wobble’ weight-wise, particularly B-B, who was the least weaned.  However, they have come along beautifully since, and even little B-B was over 930g last night (at a day under 10 weeks), with all the others now being over 1kg, and Ghost, who is the largest, being over 1.3kg!  Their first vaccinations are booked for Monday, and we have our first visitors coming to see them the weekend after that.  At the moment it looks like we have homes for all three of the girls plus at least one of the boys, though nothing is definite yet.

We still haven’t decided which of the ‘cream’ girls we want to keep – Maya has the personality that I like the best, but Fiona might turn out to have the better type, so I will probably hold off making a decision as long as possible.  Whichever one we are not keeping is hopefully going to go and live with one of her cousins, which would be lovely for her, and the people sound ideal!

At the moment it looks like B-B will have the best type of the lot, so I am hoping that he has found a show home, again living with another Tiffanie, but also a Persian and a moggy.  Again, his prospective owners sound perfect, so I’m really hoping that goes ahead.

B-B side-on, pulling a silly face
B-B pulling a silly face - nightmare to photograph because he won't sit still!

Tassy has two separate families interested in her, but obviously the ones who asked first will get the first call.  She was the first whom we received an enquiry about, but that was a few weeks ago now, so it is possible they have found another kitten by now.  I am hoping to hear from them in the next few days so that they can come through and meet her if they are still interested.

Tassy tucked into the covers
Tassy tucked in, looking adorable

Wherever possible, I like people to meet the kittens at least once before they take them home, because it gives them a chance to form a bond early-on.  That’s me being needlessly sentimental, of course, because Tiffanies will always bond to whoever their ‘family’ are (including other pets), regardless of the age they move at – it just tends to be less traumatic for them as youngsters!

Just like human babies, kittens are exceptionally good at getting themselves in a mess, whether by jumping in their food (a common occurance during play), or managing to stand in something unpleasant in the litter tray.  The weekend before last, they had managed exactly that, so we filled a bath with warm water and popped the whole litter into it.  At that age, they have absolutely no fear of the water, and just seem to see it as an interesting warm place – Ben was even playing with a ball floating on the surface!

The kittens enjoying their bath, and afterwards getting dry with the assistance of Dàrna (their mum) and Kia (our Ocicat Classic girl)
B-B in the bath
Soggy B-B in the bath
8-week-old Tiffanie kittens drying after a bath
The kittens finishing the drying process on the radiator after their bath(from left to right: Ben, Ghost, Maya, Tassy, B-B, Fiona)

As you might expect by now, I still haven’t made up my mind about colours.  Tassy still looks like a chocolate tortie ticked tabby, and B-B like either a chocolate burmese self or a chocolate burmese smoke.  I think Ghost is a lilac burmese but I’m not sure whether he’s a silver ticked tabby or a silver shaded (or even if he’s definitely silver, frankly).  Ben is definitely silver, and I’m now leaning towards him being lilac, but whether he’s a smoke or a ticked tabby I’m not sure yet.

Ben, Ghost & B-B
Ben (centre), Ghost (right) & B-B (left)

That leaves the ‘cream’ girls, whose colour is now getting ‘hotter’ by the day, making it less likely that they are cream.  Their nose leathers are now slightly different colours, though, with Maya’s being pale pink and Fiona’s a pink so pale it is almost white.  I’m wondering, therefore, whether Maya is a red silver shaded and Fiona an Apricot silver shaded.

Maya & Fiona
Maya (left) & Fiona (right) - you can just see the difference in nose leather

Thankfully, Steve Crow (Kagura Asians & Burmese), who is a very well-respected judge, with many years experience breeding Asians and Burmese, is going to come and stay with us the night after the West of Scotland show in a couple of weeks.  He is often consulted by other judges at shows, if they are unsure of a cat’s colour, so we are very lucky to have him coming to give us his thoughts on this litter.  I am also hoping that he can perhaps give me a hand in the dilemma of which girl to keep for ourselves!!

Other News

Unfortunately, Breckin doesn’t seem very happy at the moment, so we have taken the difficult decision to have her spayed, and see if that makes a difference to her.  Obviously, that means we will be one queen down, but we still have the beautiful Kia to breed from.  I am hoping to take her down to stud in January, now that she has had plenty of time to recover from her miscarriage, so we will be hoping for one litter of Oci babies next year anyway.

The next show is the West of Scotland, and I am hoping to see at least one of Katie’s kittens there, though I haven’t actually checked about entries.  After that, we’re round to the New Year, and the Asian Group Cat Society’s show, which I’m hoping to take some of Dàrna’s babies to.  Must decide soon, though, because the closing date is in just a few days…

Kitten Update Week 6

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!

Kitten 1 aged 6 weeks
Kitten 1 showing her lovely head

Kitten 2 aged 6 weeks
Kitten 2 looking cute

Kitten 3 aged 6 weeks
Kitten 3 showing his lilac head colour

Kitten 4 aged 6 weeks
B-B looking like he'd like to kill us!

Kitten 5 aged 6 weeks
Kitten 5 walking into the camera

Kitten 6 aged 6 weeks
Kitten 6 looking smug

Colour comparison on Kittens 1 & 6
Comparing colour on Kittens 1 (left) & 6 (right)

Colour comparison on Kittens 2, 3 & 4
Comparing colour on Kittens 2 (right), 3 (left) & 4 (centre)

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…

Kitten Update Week 4

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:

Kitten 1 (female) – cream silver shaded (ghost spotted)
Kitten 2 (male) – blue silver ticked tabby
Kitten 3 (male) – lilac BCR silver shaded
Kitten 4 (male) – chocolate BCR (smoke?)
Kitten 5 (female) – chocolate tortie ticked tabby
Kitten 6 (female) – cream silver shaded

Tiffanie kittens suckling from their dam
The babies feeding from Dàrna - Kitten 6 is the one across the top, and the others, from left to right are: Kittens 4, 5, 2, 1 and 3

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!

Tiffanie kitten aged 4 weeks - Kitten 1
Kitten 1 - adorable expression!

Tiffanie kitten aged 4 weeks - Kitten 1
Kitten 1 showing her neat nose

Tiffanie kitten aged 4 weeks - Kitten 2
Kitten 2 watching his mum

Tiffanie kitten aged 4 weeks - Kitten 2
Kitten 2 looking unsteady

Tiffanie kitten aged 4 weeks - Kitten 3
Kitten 3 with a Burmese scowl

Tiffanie kitten aged 4 weeks - Kitten 3
Kitten 3 exploring

Tiffanie kitten aged 4 weeks - Kitten 4
Kitten 4 showing off his darker ears and nose

Tiffanie kitten aged 4 weeks - Kitten 4
Kitten 4 watching his siblings intently - he loves pouncing on them!

Tiffanie kitten aged 4 weeks - Kitten 5
Kitten 5 looking sweet

Tiffanie kitten aged 4 weeks - Kitten 5
Kitten 5 from the side

Tiffanie kitten aged 4 weeks - Kitten 6
Kitten 6 showing her longer head

Tiffanie kitten aged 4 weeks
Even shading on Kitten 6

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.

Kitten 2 trying his first solid food

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.

Katie’s Litter

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.

Soolay (Tiffanie kitten) eating with the adult cats
Soolay eating with some of the adults - from left to right: Xaria (just visible), Coimhlion, Amlach, Kia, Soolay, Katie, Annas, Jinny & Call

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 (Tiffanie kitte) lying on Richard's lap
Soolay looking adorable on Richard's lap
Soolay playing on Richard's lap

Kitten Updates – 3 weeks & 15 weeks

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.

Tiffanie kittens aged 2 weeks, with their mum
The babies clambering over Dàrna

Colour Debates

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.

Tiffanie kitten aged 2 weeks
The Blue showing his facial markings

Tiffanie kitten aged 2 weeks
The Blue showing his side markings

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.

Tiffanie kitten aged 2 weeks
The Tortie showing her pretty blazes

Tiffanie kitten aged 2 weeks
The Tortie showing her side markings

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.

Tiffanie kittens aged 2 weeks
The two 'lilacs' showing the difference in nose leather colour. 'The BCR' is on the left, and 'the lilac' on the right. The difference is now more pronounced.

Tiffanie kitten aged 2 weeks
The 'lilac' showing the 'cap' that is appearing on his head

Tiffanie kitten aged 2 weeks
The BCR showing very faint markings on his face

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.

Tiffanie kittens aged 2 weeks
The four dilutes showing the differences between their colours. The two red-series are on either end, with the 'lilacs' in the middle. The ghost-spotted one is on the left, but you have to look very closely to see any sign of the markings because they are so faint

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!

A black shaded Tiffanie kitten aged 15 weeks
Soolay looking gorgeous

Cumberland Show

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.

Tiffanie kitten aged 15 weeks at a show
Soolay looking thoroughly relaxed about the whole show experience!

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…

Russian Blue in her show pen
Xaria being a star

Kitten Update Day 12 & Week 14

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!

Tiffanie kitten showing her spay scar
Lainni lying on her back showing her purple 'zip'

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…

Quick Update – Kittens and Shows

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.

New Kittens and Kitten Update Week 13

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!

13-week-old Tiffanie kittens sleeping
Lainni and Soolay asleep in my arms

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.

New Kittens

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…

Tiffanie kitten at 2 days old - blue-ish
The blue one - blue-based caramel ticked tabby?

Tiffanie kitten at 2 days old - dark tortie
The dark tortie - chocolate tortie smoke?

Tiffanie kittens at 2 days old - lilacs
The lilacs - warmer on the left (lilac?), colder on the right (lilac-based caramel?)

Tiffanie kittens at 2 days old - red-series
The red-series - brighter on the right (apricot?), paler on the left (cream?)

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.

Dàrna with her 2-day-old Tiffanie kittens
The kittens suckling from Dàrna

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…

Four Tiffanie day-old Tiffanie kittens in a row
Four of the kittens lined up asleep

Kitten Update Week 12 & Wyvern Show

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!

Three Tiffanie kittens aged 12 weeks
The three kittens together

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!

Black silver shaded Tiffanie kitten at 12 weeks
Lainni from the front

Black silver shaded Tiffanie kitten at 12 weeks
Lainni from the side

Black shaded Tiffanie kitten at 12 weeks
Soolay from the front

Black shaded Tiffanie kitten at 12 weeks
Soolay from the side

Black ticked tabby Tiffanie kitten at 12 weeks
Alek from the front

Black ticked tabby Tiffanie kitten at 12 weeks
Alek from the side

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!

Black Shaded Tiffanie kitten lying down at 12 weeks old
Soolay showing off his lovely colour

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??

The Girls

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.

Darna purring and paddling with her paws

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.

Russian Blue winning at the Wyvern show
Xaria looking smug with her rosettes

Ocicat winning at the Wyvern show
Breckin tucked under her BOB rosette

Abyssinian winning at the Wyvern show
Monty showing off his warm colour beside his BOB rosette

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!