Kittens – the third week – socialising5 August, 2006
All too soon my lazy time being at home ended. It was back to work time.
While I was at home, I could keep an eye on Maya, my Bengal neuter girl, to make sure she didn’t bully Ananda, my Maine Coon queen. Actually, I’d been pleasantly surprised – she was only a fraction as tyrannical as she normally was. She pounced Ananda twice, and each time it didn’t end up in a fur fight as on previous occasions.
So it meant that I wasn’t too worried when I had to go back to work.
Another thing that worried me was feeding. When I was on holiday, I wasn’t too concerned about getting up at 4am in the morning to feed Ananda. Also, Ananda was used to getting food every two hours. She would amble up to me and chirrrup and trill in the way Maine Coons do. It’s sometimes an oooh-oooh-ooh sound (delivered in an up-and-down register) and sometimes it’s like a rrr-rrr-rrr. Hard to describe unless you’ve heard it.
But what was I going to do when I went back to work?
Cue Hubby. If Hubby was working from home he was instructed to make sure that Ananda got enough food.
And strangely enough, Maya seemed to sense something had changed in the dynamics between her and Ananda because she left Ananda alone most of the time.
The interesting event of the second and third weeks was the gradual introduction of the other two adult cats to the kittens. Some breeders don’t allow kittens to mix with adult cats for health reasons, but I found it physically impossible to separate them unless I kept the bedroom door shut all the time. And during the heatwave with the door shut the room was like an oven.
I figured that it was better for the adult cats to get used to the cats in a natural way. If they met the kittens, I would be there to supervise, but I didn’t want them to stop them from seeing the kittens which could lead to awkward tension when then kittens started running all over the house.
Maya’s curiosity meant that she’d been in to investigate the source of the squeaking. Ananda had hissed at her and Maya walked out of the room, pretending she didn’t care, but her tail was twitching, a sign of agitation. So I was careful to make sure she was never left alone with the kittens.
Teddy, my ginger neuter boy who’s less than a year old also paid a visit. His eyes bulged as he looked at the kittens, little analogues of himself. He sniffed one of them, a little cream kitten and even though his paw was the size of its head, it turned right round and hissed at him! Is that courage or what? I mean, it would have been a little mouthful for Teddy if he’d fancied a snack!
Something else I had been doing to accustom the kittens to being socialised and handled was to put mum cat on the bed and let them suckle there. I do this so they get used to human smells and human sights, not just the walls of a pen or box. Mum cat loves it – the bed’s comfy and there’s humans around to watch her kittens. I box mum and kittens in with pillows and keep a close eye on them. Me and Hubby pick them up and stoke them and kiss their tummies to get them used to being handled.
I think the kittens enjoy being on the bed. They couldn’t get round much in the first two weeks, but in the third week they started climbing the pillows. Yesterday, the little tortie scrambled squealing after me, and started falling over the edge of the bed, but I stopped it in time.
I think they’re discovering the use of their claws as a tool for climbing and scaling obstacles like pillows. At present they’re in a box which is in a pen made of mesh which I’ve covered with a blanket so they don’t get their paws stuck in the mesh. They’ve started trying to climb up the blanket. So far they’ve not got far – they just don’t have the strength yet. But when they do, I’m going to have to put them somewhere safer.