Our first kittens!!

Katie has had her kittens!

Well, last night’s guess that Katie was due imminently turned out to be correct.  When we half-woke briefly at 3:20am, she was still moving around the room without kittens.  When Richard was stroking Katie in his sleep just after 4am, and encountered a tiny leg, we were suddenly very much awake, and there was Katie on the bed next to us, with three tiny babies.  We were just in time to watch the fourth, and final, kitten arriving at 4:12am.

Katie coped perfectly, doing everything including cutting the cords and cleaning up the placentas.  We moved her initially onto a clean area of the covers, with a series of clean towels, changing them over regularly as she got herself and the kittens cleaned up.

Katie with her newborn kittens on 22nd June 2010
Katie with her newborns

There were two at 90g, one at 92g and one at 97g.  From the looks of which are the driest, I’m guessing they were produced in that order; sensible girl!  I’ve had a quick check, and I think there is possibly three girls and a boy, but I’ve never even seen kittens at that age before, so it’s pretty much complete guess-work and is therefore probably totally wrong!

There’s one that is obviously a black silver shaded (I think the first-born), and one that I suspect might be a black silver ticked tabby.  The other two are much darker, so I’m wondering if they might be black smokes, although they do have quite strong tabby-type face markings, so may be black ticked tabbies.  I know smokes have facial markings, but I’m not sure how strong they usually are at this stage.

I have painted the babies’ toenails to make sure we can keep track of which is which when we’re weighing them.  The first kitten to arrive was ‘purple-toes’ (the one that I think is a black silver ticked tabby), followed by ‘red-toes’ (the black silver shaded), followed by ‘orange-toes’ and lastly by ‘blue-toes’.

We’ve now got Katie and the babies tucked in to her basket in the kitten pen, and she has wolfed down two tins of Applause and a pouch of wet food, plus a whole bowl of water.  She seems delighted to actually be able to reach to clean every part of her body again!  Thankfully she’s taking great care of them all, and all four are latched on and suckling well.

Katie and her kittens tucked up in their basket
Katie and kittens in their basket

Already, there is one who is obviously going to be a wee minx (red toes) – before Katie had even finished giving birth, this kitten was trundling off up the bed.  She (I think it’s a girl!) is totally blind, deaf, and helpless, yet off she went.  Once we returned her to her mum’s side, she set off round the side of Katie, then she went over the top of her, then she buried underneath and set off on the other side, and so it goes on.  Eventually she gets bored, though, and then they all settle down to eat.

Katie giving her kittens their first feed

Lakeland Show & Kittens Imminent!

Another good day at the Lakeland Show, an enjoyable couple of days, and preparing for the imminent arrival of kittens.

The Lakeland & District Cat Club had their show in Kendal on Saturday, and we took Breckin, Xaria and Ali this year.  Last year at that show, Tármus and Xaria both made up to Premier, and both that hall in particular, and Kendal in general, are lovely locations for a show, so we were hoping for an enjoyable day.  This year, Xaria was looking for her first Imperial, and Breckin and Ali for Grands (Challenge and Mastercat).

As usual, we had packed the show case a few nights beforehand, so that we didn’t have a mad rush on the morning of the show.  On Friday night, we also shut the three who were attending in the front hallway (with ‘facilities’), so that we knew we could find them in the morning.  We had offered to take Xaria’s brother, Xander, in our car again, since he seems to do better when he’s travelled next to her, and this was to be his third (and qualifying) Grand, if he behaved well enough to win it.  She was also glad to have one less basket to take, since she was also taking her stud boy, Teddy, one of her girls, Sophie (Xaria’s Grandmother), and one of her most recent litter of kittens, little Zach.

We had arranged to be at Elisabeth’s for 6am, so left the house about 5:15am, and had a good clear run through to Glasgow.  We arrived a bit before 6am, and just in time to have a cup of tea!  A good run South saw us arrive at the show hall just after 8am, which meant we were early enough to sail straight through vetting in: half an hour later, and there was a sizeable queue.

Breckin was a bit unsure to start with, because this is the first show we’ve had her at where we’ve not had Kia, Monty or one of the Tiffs to pop in the pen with her for the first half hour to help her settle.  Margaret Rodger did say to me later, though, that she was absolutely fine when she was being judged (and that she’s gorgeous!), which is good to know!  Ali was penned next to the gorgeous Agacat, owned by Steven & Stuart (Esanes Bengals, Pixiebobs & Maine Coons), who had taken Best Household Pet at the Nor’East a few weeks ago.  We fully expected Aga to win, but losing is never a problem when you’re been beaten by something as gorgeous as him.  As it happens, we were both beaten for the Grand Mastercat certificate by a ginger that we don’t know.  Personally, I still think Aga should have got it!

The Sports Centre where the show takes place has a nice cafe upstairs, but it isn’t big enough to cope with the influx of exhibitors when the show ‘chucks out’, so we got up there just before 10am, to ensure we got seats (and bacon & sausage rolls!).  We had managed to secure one of the window seats, which meant that I could watch Xander being judged (and Xaria, after that).  Thankfully, Xander behaved impeccably, which meant that Elisabeth was able to come down from her panic station and actually enjoy the rest of the day!  Xaria behaved beautifully, as always.

We then took advantage of our seats to mark up show catalogues, and also have another round of tea/coffee.  By the time we finally went back down into the hall, Xander and Xaria’s results were up, and we were delighted to see that both had won their certificates.  In fact, I checked Xander’s result first, and was so excited to see that he had won his Grand, that I forgot to check if Xazzle had won her Imperial!  Elisabeth had been sidetracked by another of our friends, whose two Abyssinian boys had ‘done the double’ again, winning both the Imperial Grand Challenge and Imperial Grand Premier certificates.  That meant I got to ‘break the news’ of Xander’s result to Elisabeth, which was quite a nice job, really!  When we did look at Xaria’s result, we were delighted to see that she had also done us proud and won her first Imperial.

As already mentioned, Ali didn’t win the Grand Mastercat, nor did Breckin win her Grand.  We didn’t actually expect Breckin to get it, though, because she is still so young, and the cat that did win it was the beautiful Freya, a Tiffanie girl owned by another friend, Sue Dykes (Kashi Tibetan Terriers).  Freya is one of the most stunning examples of the breed that most people have ever seen, and is out of the stud that I had originally hoped to be able to use before we even got our first girl.  Unfortunately, he is no longer working, so we just have to be content with seeing his gorgeous offspring at shows!

Once we were allowed back in to the cats, we did the rounds, telling them how clever they had been (all of them), and then gave them lunch.  We then headed off for a leisurely walk in glorious sunshine, to find our own lunch.  We couldn’t resist heading back to the same place as last year, the Natland MillBeck Ice-Cream Parlour.  Needless to say, we all enjoyed ice-cream sundaes to finish!

When we returned to the show hall we went straight over to check the remaining results, and another of our friends came up to say that Elisabeth needed to go and check baby Zach’s pen.  When we did so, we discovered that to top off the day, Zach had taken Best Foreign Kitten!  The two Imp-winning Abys had also taken Best Foreign Neuter and Best Foreign Adult, so regardless of who took Overall Best Foreign, one of our friends had it!  In the end, it was the stunning adult, Coen (Glendavan Roderick-Jaynes), who also made up to Imperial on the day.

Sunday was another lovely sunny day, and we spent the first half getting some of the garden back under control (two weekends where we were busy on the Saturday and then it rained on the Sunday, followed by last weekend at Kirsty’s meant it was needing the work!).  The afternoon and evening were spent through at Elisabeth’s, where she was having her annual barbecue.  Another delicious meal, helped along by Lenny Pontello’s barbecuing skills, and also a chance to meet some of Elisabeth’s family, as well as catch up with Lorraine and her baby, Lina.

This evening I have been out with my family to celebrate Kirsty’s and my birthdays.  When the others decided to sing ‘Happy Birthday’, we discovered that the two names actually work quite well for joint celebrations – “Happy Birthday, Heather and Kirsty”!  How we didn’t discover that years ago at our joint parties as kids, I don’t know.

Katie is really heavily pregnant now, and has become really proud of her tummy in the past 24 hours.  She will roll onto her back to ask you to stroke it, which is something she’s never done before.

Katie's pregnant tummy

Before going out tonight, we noticed that Katie’s sides had relaxed off, which I’ve been told means that labour is starting, and she was being quite chatty today, so I think she’s going to go tonight.  Her kittens are also being really active, although I didn’t manage to record their most active period because I was too busy watching it myself!

Katie's kittens moving around inside her

We filled her birthing box with towels before going out, just in case she decided to have her babies while we were eating, but she is still wandering around the bedroom happily now.  In preparation, I’ve brought up the scales and a notepad and pen to record weights, and also a selection of nail-polishes to mark kitten toenails so that we can tell them apart.  Wish us luck!

Montrose Visit

A weekend visit to my sister, Kirsty, in Montrose; another AGM and returning home to the cats

I have my birthday this week, and Kirsty (my sister) has hers next weekend, so we decided that it would be good to get together for a meal out.  Since Richard and I still hadn’t visited Kirsty’s ‘new’ house in Montrose, which she moved into last summer, we thought it was about time we did so.  We have the Lakeland show on Saturday, and Kirsty is away on holiday the following weekend, so the weekend just gone seemed the best bet.

Kirsty and I thought it might be nice to have Calum (our brother) join us for the weekend, and never one to pass up a free meal, he accepted the invitation.  Richard and I didn’t want to leave Katie for more than one night, so close to her due date, so we said that we would drive up on the Saturday morning.  In order to ensure that we could get an early start, Calum stayed with us on Friday night, although he did go home to Mum’s for his tea first!

We got up pretty sharp on Saturday, although it was almost 9am by the time we had segregated the cats into various groups according to what food they were to be left with.  Breckin, Tármus and Ali are all on ‘light’ food, so they were grouped together, and shut in the Livingroom and Study to give Tármus and Ali access to the run.  We left Dàrna shut in with Katie in the kitten room, which meant they could both have plenty of ‘Queen mix’.  Xaria, Annas and Jinny were shut in my room with a mixture of Senior and normal ‘Neuter mix’; not that Xaria and Annas need Senior food, but they get on well with Jinny, so seemed like good company for her.  Call, Kia and the Devons were all shut in the Hallway and Stairwell, with ordinary ‘Neuter mix’; it would have been good to leave Kia with something higher in energy, but we don’t want the others gaining weight, and she’s much to hyperactive to be shut in the kitten room for two days.  That only left Monty, who is limited to Royal Canin Sensible due to his jippy tummy.  After a bit of a debate, we decided that the only option was to shut him in the front hall by himself: not ideal, but we couldn’t come up with anything better.

Saturday was spent doing Kirsty’s garden, interspersed with lunch at a local farm-cafe and a walk to the beach, and the followed by an evening meal at the local Indian, which was very good.  Sunday we had a leisurely start and then headed down to Brechin Castle country park, where we had lunch and wandered around the farm: they have three litters of piglets at the moment, which are extremely cute!

Kirsty and Calum on a tractor
Kirsty and Calum 'playing tractors'

Kirsty had an early meeting in Stirling today, so she was travelling down to stay at Mum and Dad’s last night.  That meant we were able to dispatch Calum home with Kirsty, while we stopped off in Dundee to attend the Nor’East of Scotland AGM and subsequent ‘High Tea’.  The AGM was interesting, with quite a lot of constructive discussion, and it was good to get to know some of the other club members at the meal afterwards.

By the time we got home, it was certainly mid evening, and I was anxious to see how Katie would have got on.  As you might expect, she was absolutely fine, although pleased to see us, and I think quite pleased to have a break from Dàrna!  I wasn’t sure it was even possible, but Katie has obviously grown further just in the 36 hours we’ve been away, and is now actually finding it difficult to reach around herself to clean properly.  I’m hoping Dàrna will step in to help, because Katie would prefer that to having me clean her with a cloth, but I might have to do so later in the week.

Fingers crossed for a nice peaceful week, followed by a good show on Saturday and an uncomplicated labour on Sunday or Monday of next week!

Cat TV

We’ve set up a TV for the kittens to watch, and also organised the next set of stud visits.

We finally got around to setting up a TV in the kitten room last night.  The theory behind that is that it will get the kittens used to the sound of a TV, whilst also keeping the girls company when they’re in there alone.  It also means that we can sit with them in the evenings and still keep up with CSI!

I’ve organised a repeat stud visit for Dàrna, and also a stud visit for Kia.  Breckin still hasn’t called yet, which is no bad thing, because it means I don’t have to sort out a stud for her until later in the summer.  If she held off until the early Autumn, that would be ideal, since it would avoid the potential of her due date clashing with The Supreme!  Chance being what it is, though, who knows what will actually happen!  Amanda (Colgan – Rushbrooke Asians, Burmese & Bengals) has always said that her mantra is “manage the situation”, and I can rapidly see us finding the same.

Just one pregnancy this month!

We’ve finally had to face up to the fact that Dàrna’s not going to be having any kittens this time around: Katie looks like she’s swallowed a beachball, but Dàrna’s as slim as ever.  It is fairly common for maiden (first-time) queens not to take at their first mating, so we’ve actually been quite lucky that even Katie is pregnant.  Although it is obviously disappointing that Dàrna hasn’t taken, at least we have Katie’s kittens to look forward to…

Durham County Cat Show

The Cagaran cats had a very good day at the Durham, winning two Premier certificates, one Grand, one Reserve Imperial, one Imperial and four Best of Breeds!

We were at the Durham County Cat Club show on Saturday, and had a FANTASTIC day!  The most critical result being that Annas won her fifth Imperial certificate, making her the first ever Imperial-titled Tiffanie!!  We took Annas, Xaria (competing against each other for the Imperial!), Coimhlion and Monty.

Annas with her 5th Imperial
Annas making up to Imperial

We had to be up at 03:30 in order to get down there in time.  A good run as far as Berwick meant that we had time to stop there for breakfast (at MacDonalds, hardly the healthiest start!).  We had a good onward run from there, too, and arrived at the Nissan Sports & Social Club in Sunderland just a bit after 07:30.  We had taken a flask of hot water with us, so we were able to have a cup of herbal tea (no need for milk!) before taking the cats through vetting in.

Once the cats were penned and settled, and we had been ‘thrown out’ of the show hall for judging, we adjourned to the RACCS mobile (Lenny Pontello’s Alhambra) to watch a Top Gear DVD.  I was feeling decidedly restless (the prospect of an Imperial title will do that to you!), and had checked the results board at least twice before any of our results actually went up.

Elisabeth had come in with me, and she checked the result for her stud boy, Teddy, whilst I checked for the Imperial result.  The Imp wasn’t up yet, but Teddy had won his Grand, in spite of being fairly badly tarnished, so Elisabeth was thrilled.  When I checked Coimhlion’s Grand result, we both fell about laughing, because she had actually been awarded the Grand, which I didn’t for a moment expect.  Coimhlion was only entered because she absolutely loves going to shows.  She had also taken the Best of Breed against a rather nice boy!

Coimhlion at the Durham Show
Coimhlion peering out from her Show Pen

It was another couple of hours before the Imperial result went up, and when it did, I struggled not to cry – not only had Annas taken the Imperial, but Xaria had taken the Reserve, which was the best possible result we could have hoped for.  Monty had also had a good day, winning his third Premier certificate, making him up to Premier.  To top that off, Xaria had completed her day by winning another Premier certificate, and all three had won their Best of Breeds.

Xaria at the Durham Show
Xaria with her prizes at the Durham
Monty at the Durham show
Monty looking for cuddles
Annas asleep at the Durham show
Annas sleeping behind her rosettes

After Xaria’s other Reserves, she has been grumpy for a few days, but this time she obviously knows she did a good job in ‘letting’ Annas have the Imperial, because she’s in a great mood today!

Windowledge Play Centre

We’re continuing to get the kitten room ready for the girls to have their babies in it.

Katie’s favourite place is still the windowledge in the kitten room, but it’s only about an inch wide, so there’s no way she’s going to fit on it once she’s bigger.  On top of that, she’s giving Richard and I palpitations watching her jumping on and off.  We therefore decided that we needed to widen the windowledge and build some sort of more gradual route for her to get up and down.  We also wanted it to be removable so that the room makes a better spare room when it’s not being used for kittens.

Our solution was to create a ‘play centre’ with two scratching posts supporting the wider ledge, with then a flight of stairs covered with scratchy carpet leading up to the ledge.  We also needed a way to block up the gap under the bed, because we don’t want the girls taking their kittens into the back corner where we can’t reach them.  The solution to that problem was to build a set of under-bed storage boxes, which can then double as somewhere to keep all of the kitten ‘paraphernalia’.

We spent most of Saturday in the garden with the circular saw, mitre saw and an assortment of drill and counter-sink bits!  The weekend was roasting, so being outside was no bad thing, although I did get a bit sunburnt.  Sunday was then spent preparing the room by giving it a thorough clean and getting the play centre/windowledge, under-bed storage, and birthing box set up.

Windowledge Scratching-Post Play Centre
Play Centre

Katie has got the idea immediately, and uses the stairs to get on and off the windowledge.  It looks like Dàrna is going to take a bit more work, since she generally just leaps onto the ledge from the floor, and then launches herself off the side when she wants down again!

Much as I love sunny weather, I’m hoping it cools off again soon, because even with fans positioned around the house, the cats are still getting too hot.  Poor Call keeps ‘splatting’ on his tummy on any bit of cool floor, and Katie’s definitely feeling the heat.

No Doubt About It

One of our Tiffanies starts to really show her pregnancy

I noticed Katie’s tummy jumping this morning, and then she did a little cry and came rushing over to me for a cuddle.  Not sure what that would be, because she’s only about four weeks gone, so the kittens shouldn’t be moving yet, I don’t think.  Other than that, she seems happy enough, and is continuing to eat far more than normal.  She’s just starting to develop a swagger, so there’s now no doubt whatsover that she’s pregnant.  We’ve added Royal Canin Queen and Kitten food to their usual mix now, so we’ll gradually change them over this week.

She had taken one of her toys into the ‘kitten food box’ when I woke up this morning, which is hardly ideal, since we cut the holes to theoretically allow the kittens in but not the adults.  Admittedly, she’s not heavily pregnant yet, but if she can get in whilst pregnant we obviously didn’t get the holes the right size!  Mind you, the point of it was to stop any of the ‘fat cats’ being able to get in once the kittens are downstairs with the others, and I doubt they’d manage – it doesn’t really matter if Katie can get in there because she tends to keep herself nice and slim anyway.

Dàrna is back to being medium pink again this morning, and is still purring away constantly.  Her hormones really must be all over the place, bless her.  Still no idea if she’s pregnant or not!

Katie Expands

One of our Tiffanies continues to expand, whilst we still debate over whether or not the other one is pregnant.

Katie is continuing to expand, but seems quite contented.  Whenever you start to stroke her she responds with a warm purr, and seems to be enjoying looking out from the tiny windowledge in the kitten room.  We’ve decided to build a broader ledge for her, because she can fit up there at the moment, but give it another couple of weeks and there’s no way she’ll get on there!  We’ve also built a set of under-bed storage boxes today, as a way to block up the gap under the bed in the kitten room.  It’s impossible to get under the bed without one of us lifting the side, so we really don’t want to risk the girls taking their kittens into the back corner!

Dàrna seems to have finished her call (no more shouting or tail moving), but has continued with her almost constant purring and rubbing up against us both during the day and at night.  Her nipples are still about three times their original size, but appear to have lost all of their colour this morning, so I don’t know what to make of her behaviour.  She determined not to let us know whether she’s carrying or not, so it’s definitely a case of just waiting with her!

No, Really!

More wrangling over whether or not one of our Tiffanies is pregnant

Dàrna is now shouting, but has stopped moving her tail to the side.  She’s also doing a lot of purring.  If this is a call, it’s a very strange one, and isn’t following her normal pattern.  We’re taking it in turns to sleep up with the girls, or down with the others, and she’s actually keeping us awake at nights by purring in our faces, climbing on us, and trying to rub herself all over us, all of which she’s never done before.  She’s also pinked up again, with her nipples now being about three times their normal size and a medium pink (Katie’s are now about five times their normal size!).

All we can do is just be content with Katie being pregnant, and wait to see what happens with Dàrna, because I don’t have the energy for all this second-guessing!