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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.