Mostly Kittens

Donny won his third Imperial at the Cumberland, we had a good holiday, and the kittens continue to do well. The older kittens are now eight weeks old, and have names, but the little one is only four weeks old, and hasn’t yet been named.

It’s been just over four weeks since my last post, but not because there’s been anything wrong.  We were away for a week’s holiday in the middle of last month, with Tracey looking after the cats, though we took Ayla and the kittens with us!  Since we got back, I’ve been caught up with arrangements for the RACCS and West of Scotland shows in December, and completing judge bookings for next year’s Scotia show.  This show management lark takes a ludicrous amount of time!  In light of that, I will post the text just now, since it is written, and will add the photos on as I have them ready, so check back!

Feeding Eiteag’s Kitten

When I left off last time, Eiteag’s kitten was in with Ayla, because her mum had rejected her, but I was having to bottle-feed her to try and get her going.  I went up a couple of times during the morning to give her another feed, but when I went up for lunch, she was latched onto Ayla, and suckling away.  I tried putting her back with her mum again, at that point, but she behaved exactly as before, curling up to prevent the kitten gaining access to her teats, and then trying to bite the kitten whenever she tried to force her way in.  I therefore gave her back to Ayla, and have continued to monitor her weight closely, because she has sometimes found it difficult to compete with the bigger kittens for milk, so I have given her a top-up feed whenever her gains haven’t been good.

Cumberland Show

We hadn’t planned on going to the Cumberland this year, because it was the day that we were meant to go on holiday.  However, at the North West, I was persuaded to put in a late entry, since Eiteag hadn’t won his qualifying Grand that day, and Donny’s judge at the Cumberland was to be the same one who had just given his mum the Imperial, so seemed worth a punt.  We pushed our holiday departure back by a day, but Richard stayed at home to get things ready, so I took the cats down the Cumberland myself.

I had an excellent day, having breakfast with Tracey after the cats were penned, and then the two of us headed off for a walk on Hadrian’s Wall, and climbed around the inside of a semi-ruined castle.  We then went for lunch in the village of Brampton, and sat around chatting until after 3pm, so that the show was almost finished by the time we got back!  When I penned the boys in the morning, they had both been in excellent moods, but the cat in the pen next to Eiteag was very growly, and he therefore shouted whenever he was taken out of his pen, just like his mum used to do.  As a result, his judge decided not to handle him, and he was left unplaced, which was rather disappointing.  Donny, on the other hand, followed his mum’s example from the previous show, and won the Imperial, in spite of having a very nice Abyssinian as competition.  Perhaps Grace (the judge) is softening towards the Asians?

Holiday

The following day, we were almost ready to go, when I decided that we couldn’t leave the kittens for Tracey to look after, and so we packed them up and took them with us.  We were going for a week on a boat on the Clyde, but long-term readers of this blog will remember that we’ve had cats and kittens away on the boat before.  In this case, we set up one of the forward toilets as a kitten pen, with a cardboard blockade across the door, and their heat mat, bed and litter tray on the floor.  Ayla’s litter tray was in the shower, which she had to jump up to get into, so that kept the two trays separate, and her food and water was up on the worktop by the sink.  Her kittens had their food and water on the wooden podium by the base of the toilet, which sounds a bit random, but the area had been thoroughly cleaned beforehand, and then lined with cardboard for extra safety.

The kittens hadn’t actually seen solid food before we arrived there, but when I put their biscuits down for them, there was such a fight over them that I ended up having to add a second dish, so that they could both eat at the same time.  I’ve never had Asian kittens who are so protective of their food, so I presume that must come from the Australian Mist side.  They also started using their trays for the first time over the first couple of days that we were away.

Obviously, Eiteag’s kitten wasn’t at that stage yet, not even having her eyes open at that point, but she was quite happy cuddled up in her little nest with Ayla to feed her.  Each night and morning I brought the kittens through to our cabin to let them run around, and played with Ayla with a feather stick to wear off some of her excess energy.  The little kitten would crawl around the bed for a bit, and then eventually settle down to sleep.  Her eyes opened towards the end of our week away.

We had an excellent week, starting off by heading straight to Campbeltown, and seeing two Basking Sharks and a Minke whale on the way.  We were there for a couple of days, which gave us a chance to do some walking, and then headed up the coast to Tarbert (on Loch Fyne).  We saw the Minke whale at almost the same place as we had seen it on the way down, plus some Porpoise, and all manner of seabirds.  A couple of days in Tarbert gave us a chance for some more walking, including going up into the castle, which was always cordoned off when I was younger, but has now been made safe, so that you can get up and into the tower.

On the Saturday, we headed across to where the dolphin lives (my brother has christened her ‘Kimi’, or something like that – a dolphin called Kimi.  Really?!), and spent ages going back and forwards beside her territory, to let her come out and play under the bow.  She doesn’t like people circling around her territory, nor does she like people getting into the water with her, but she absolutely loves being given the opportunity to ride a bow wave for a while.  She won’t stray more than about half a mile, though, so you have to do figure-of-eights or circles beside her territory, to allow her to ride along without getting too far from home.

We spent the last night in the Kyles of Bute, and then headed back to Kip, where we’d left the car.  The middle of that week saw me going down to London on the sleeper train, for a couple of business meetings, and the GCCF Council meeting.  Having been away the previous week, Richard couldn’t take the time off to come down this time, so I did my best to speak for both the Scottish and West of Scotland clubs.  It’s actually easier to speak for the West, because I’m on the Committee and therefore get to hear what the Committee think about things, whereas the Scottish doesn’t tend to tell me what they want said.

Yorkshire Show

The following weekend was the Yorkshire show, which we had been planning to do ever since we weren’t able to visit Richardson’s Rosettes when we were down for the Teesside.  Richardson’s make the rosettes for both the RACCS and West of Scotland shows, so we wanted to visit them to view their various ribbons etc.  They were up in Perth for a show the day of the Teesside, so we arranged with them that we would come and see them when we came down for the Yorkshire.  It’s still a trip of a couple of hours, but it’s less than half the distance that it would be from home!  We had a great trip there, beginning with a chat about what the clubs were looking for, over tea and home-made cake, and then rummaging through their stacks and stacks of ribbon.  What better way to spend an afternoon?!

Anne Gregory was going to be doing the Imperials for both Dàrna and Donny, and since she loves both of them, this was a great opportunity to try and get Dàrna’s last certificate, in particular.  Steve Crow was doing the female neuter Olympian, so I also decided to bring Annas down just in case the competition wasn’t too strong.  As expected, though, her Olympian class was huge, and very competitive, so she didn’t place.  That didn’t bother me, but I was rather more miffed about the Imperials – Anne hadn’t been able to come to the show, and so the classes had been reassigned, which is fine, but they had been given to judges who I know don’t like Dàrna and Donny.  Shirley Bullock was given Dàrna’s class, and she has never liked Dàrna, so I certainly wouldn’t have entered if she had been the judge originally, and Donny’s was judged by Maria Chapman-Beer, who withheld the Reserve on Donny at the Chester, and therefore definitely wouldn’t have been chosen for him.  I don’t mind losing to better cats, but it is really annoying to have the judge changed to a judge who you know is never going to give the certificate to your cats.  Humph!

The Kittens

Okay, so now we can bring the kittens up-to-date.  Ayla’s two were eight weeks old yesterday, and the little one was four weeks (both litters were born on Wednesdays).  The big kittens are absolute hooligans, careering around the room like a small herd of elephants.  The boy is definitely the gentler of the two, and likes to come under the covers for a cuddle, but once his sister realises he’s there, she starts pouncing on him from on top of the covers, and your nice cuddle descends into anarchy that generally ends with him being rapidly ejected from the bed!  They are very sweet, and love people, but the girl is definitely more boisterous than I would expect from an Asian, so I presume that’s the Australian influence.  When she’s worn herself out, she adores cuddling up on someone, and looking like butter wouldn’t melt, and giving cute little kisses, but beware trying to cuddle when she wants to play – it doesn’t work!

Eiteag’s kitten, on the other hand, is very wide-eyed and watchful, and is one of the gentlest kittens I’ve ever come across.  She just lies there in your hands, and if you stroke along her side, she rolls onto her back to get you to stroke her tummy.  If she’s not asleep then she’s watching what’s going on, and will answer back when spoken to, which is very cute.  In the past few days she has grown big enough to start pouncing back when the big kittens jump on her, and she will roll around with them, but she’s still far too small to really hold her own in a kitten tussle.  She is just at the stage of starting to try the big kittens’ wet foods, but she’s not found any that she’s really enamoured with yet.  Ayla thinks it is high time the kittens stopped feeding, though (fair enough when you consider that hers are eight weeks old, but not so good for the four-week-old), so we’re hoping that the little one decides to wean fairly soon.

Eiteag's kitten sitting looking straight up at the camera with an alert expression on her face
Eiteag’s kitten watching intently – apologies for the poor quality photo!

The older litter is our ‘G’ litter, and since these kittens can’t be shown under their pedigree names, we don’t have to use the less obscure names.  We’ve decided on Griseánach for the girl, which means ‘Rascal’, and is pronounced Krish-nach (ch as in loch), and Gliocas for the boy, which means ‘Sensible’, and is pronounced Klikas.  Their pet names are nothing to do with their pedigree names, though, and were chosen by Tracey.  Since the girl likes to give kisses, Tracey named her ‘Frenchie’, and since ‘Frenchie’ is a character in Grease, the boy is called ‘Zuko’.  We haven’t decided on either pet or pedigree names for the little one yet, but I think her pet name is probably going to be either Rizzo or Sandy.  There are no Gaelic words beginning with the letter ‘h’, because ‘h’ is used in lenition (a morphological feature of the Gaelic language, used in various places, but for instance to indicate past tense – see http://www.gaelicgrammar.org/~gaelic/mediawiki/index.php/Lenition), which means that it comes after letters and not before them.  We are therefore looking at various Scots words and names instead of Gaelic for this one.

Catching Up

Most of the kittens have gone to their new homes, as has Tármus. Cailin had a spectacular day at the Fifé Winners Show, and our lot had good days at both the Yorkshire and the Ulster shows. We will soon hopefully have kittens on the way from Fiona…

Wow, it’s been almost two months since my last update, and plenty has moved on since then.  You’ll be glad to know that everything is fine, though, and the reason for the delay is simply that we’ve been ridiculously busy!

Yorkshire Show

We took three cats to Yorkshire this year: Kia, Grace and Cailin.

Kia showing her lovely head
Kia's lovely head

Kia demonstrating a beautiful Classic pattern
Kia modelling a beautiful Classic pattern

Kia was up for her first Intermediate certificate, which she won, along with Best of Breed, and Cailin also won her Best of Breed and first in her kitten class.  She was nearly awarded Best of Variety kitten, but after several minutes of debating, the judges decided that they weren’t certain enough that we had her colour correctly registered, and so decided not to risk it.  She is registered as a full-expression chocolate silver ticked, but her markings are so dark that the judges wondered if she might actually be a brown burmese restriction silver ticked instead.  I was obviously disappointed that she didn’t get it, but it’s still good to know that they considered her type good enough to bother arguing over the colour!  Grace was just in the ped pets, because she can’t go into competition in the pedigree section due to being a variant.  Both kittens (and Kia, actually), were absolutely fantastic with the judges, giving them cuddles and purrs, which is always lovely to see!

Cailin in her pen with her rosettes
Cailin with her rosettes

Grace sleeping amongst her prize cards
Grace sleeping amongst her prize cards

As is often the case, we had Elisabeth and her cats with us, but this time also Karen Hettman and her cats.  Once again, Zach had a fantastic day, winning the Imperial and then Best of Breed and finally Best Foreign Neuter again!

Zach looking handsome with his rosettes and prize cards
Zach looking handsome with his rosettes and prize cards

Anita drove up from Rugby to meet us at the show, and she took Cailin home from there.  Within a few hours, she was completely settled in and sleeping curled up with Anita’s new baby Ocicat boy, who is only a couple of weeks older than she is.  Keela wasn’t too sure what to make of the newcomer, because Keela has always been Anita’s baby, but Cailin is straight onto Anita’s lap the minute she sits down.  Keela seems to be coming around, though, and if our experience of Tiffs is anything to go by, they will end up being the best of friends.

Dàrna’s Kittens

Dàrna’s kittens had their first vaccinations the week after that, so we had to choose names to be able to put something on their vaccination cards!  The girl’s pet name is Quinn, short for Harlequin, due to the pattern on her face.  She is a typical naughty tortie, so her pedigree name is Dòrlach, which is gaelic for ‘handful’.  The boy’s pedigree name is Deathach-Donn, which is gaelic for brown smoke, and his pet name is Donny, from the latter part of his name.  I’m hoping that he does indeed turn out to be a brown smoke, rather than just a brown, or his name is going to look pretty silly!!  Both kittens are growing well, and at a bit over 11 weeks, are 1.25 and 1.15kg, which is pretty well bang-on the expected weight.

Donny and Quinn playing with Grace

Ulster Show

The first weekend this month saw us heading over to Belfast for the Ulster show, which involved a slightly crazy 26-hour round-trip, leaving our house at about 23:30 on the Friday, and getting back at about 01:30 on the Sunday morning.  Like last year, we had Kate Ekanger and Elisabeth with us, but this time we also had Karen’s two Russian boys instead of one of Sarah Davidson’s lot.

Kia looking very laid back in her pen
Kia looking very laid back in her pen at the show

Grace lolling in her pen
Grace proving that she is her mother's daughter

We had a great day, with Kia winning her second Intermediate and Best of Breed, Grace winning first in her Ped Pet class, and Best of Colour, then going on to be chosen as overall Best Household Pet, and Annas winning her Best of Breed and the first Olympian certificate ever awarded to a Tiffanie!  Kate’s two both won their respective classes and their Best of Breeds, and Karen’s boys won the Reserve Imperial and the Imperial, and in the case of Zach, also the Best of Breed and then Best Foreign Neuter!  Some of our friends also had a very successful day, with their boy Coen (Glendavan Roderick-Jaynes) winning his fifth and qualifying Olympian, to make him the first ever shorthair Olympian.  The star of the show, though, was Elisabeth’s little Lucy (Zach’s daughter), who won her class and Best of Breed, then went on to take first Best Foreign Kitten, then overall Best Foreign, and finally overall Best in Show!

Annas scowling in her pen
Annas with her Olympian and Best of Breed rosettes

Elisabeth and Lucy at the Best in Show pens
Elisabeth holding Lucy after her Best in Show win

Maltech’s New Home

Maltech was neutered the week after my last post, and I took him to his new home the day after the Ulster show.  He is now living with a lovely family in Bridge of Allan, and is to be called Simba, after the Lion King, which it suits him perfectly!  Since Maltech/Simba and Tármus had become close, and she was being bullied by Xaria, we asked if his owners would be interested in taking the two of them, and after meeting her, they agreed.  The wee girl whom he is living with had a toy snake on a stick, and she and Simba ran around playing together the entire time I was at their house.  Tármus was less sure of herself, and just sat on the sofa with one of her new owners stroking her.  When it came time for me to leave, Simba was so busy playing that I didn’t even get a second glance, but when I went over to stroke Tármus, she rolled over onto her side and immediately started purring, which set me off into floods of tears.  I’m sure it’s the right thing to do for her, but it doesn’t make saying goodbye a great deal easier.

Maltech cuddled up next to me in bed on the day he left
Maltech cuddling up to me in bed on his last morning with us

Cailin’s Win

That evening, I had a very excited phone call from Anita, telling me that she had manage to get a last minute pass to take little Cailin to the Fifé Winners Show (Fifé being an alternative to the GCCF), and that she had only gone and won overall Best in Show New Breed!  I knew that Anita was planning to take Cailin on exhibition, but she hadn’t told us that she had managed to get her into competition.  The show’s organisers had made an exception this year, to allow kittens between four and six months to enter the show without qualifying, whereas all other exhibits had to have qualified at a previous show.  Little Cailin was too young to have managed to qualify, but she delighted the judges and their decision to have her as Best in Show was unanimous!  I am absolutely delighted for Anita!

Cailin being judged at the FiFe Winners Show
Cailin being judged at the FiFe Winners Show

Cailin being held up as the BIS Winner
Cailin being held up as the BIS Winner

As a random aside, alongside the photos from the Winners Show, Anita also sent me some photos of Cailin and Keela at home, which I thought you might like to see.

Cailin exploring in Anita's secure garden
Cailin exploring outside and loving every minute

Cailin looking gorgeous on the wall
Anita has a secure garden where they can play in safety

Keela trying her Houdini act on the fence
Keela trying her Houdini act

Keela on her first birthday
Keela on her first birthday

Supreme

We then had a couple of weeks off before the Supreme, where we had Annas on exhibition for the Asian Group Cat Society and Bombay & Asian Self Clubs.  We also had Xaria up for her second UK Grand certificate, and Dàrna along because I wanted a pen to put pretty pictures of our kittens on top of!  As it happens, the judge debated for ages over whether to give her the Best of Breed, which he didn’t do in the end, but just the fact that he considered it made me very happy!  Both girls placed second in their UK classes, which was better than I thought Dàrna might manage, but rather disappointing with Xaria.

Darna in her pen at the Supreme
Dàrna with her pen topper showing photos of our cats - the real reason she was taken to the Supreme!
Xaria in her pen at the Supreme
Xaria in her pen

Keela was also there, and placed third in a class of five lovely girls, which wasn’t too bad.  I also got to meet Luna, who is almost a full sister to our first litter – she has the same sire, and her dam is a full sister of Katie’s.  Luna looks very like Lainni, which isn’t surprising given their pedigrees!

What’s Next?

Fiona is due for mating, and since we were so pleased with Cailin and her brother, we decided to take Fi to their sire, Kagura Shogun.  Unfortunately, Sarah has had someone ask if she can take back a cat that she sold a while ago, due to a change in their circumstances, and she was trying to decide where to put this other cat.  We came up with the solution that we have Shogun ‘on loan’, so that she can use his pen to house the returning cat, and since he has never sprayed, we are able to have him in our spare room and let him mate Fi in the comfort of her own home!  She’s not keen on strange cats, so we weren’t sure what the introduction would be like, but she must fancy him, because there wasn’t even a hiss, and she started flirting within him almost as soon as they were introduced.  We also have Keela here at the moment, having brought her back from the Supreme so that she could go to him as well!

Hopefully both girls will soon have kittens on the way, which would be the first generation born to a Cagaran parent…

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…