Archive for June, 2008

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Kittens 2008 – their first meal

25 June, 2008

Here is a photo of the first meal I gave the kittens.  As mentioned in my previous post, even though the kittens were just 4 weeks’ old, Mum Cat kept bringing them chicks to eat.  Of course they were too small to even attempt to eat them, but I felt they might be old enough to attempt solids.

I wean kittens onto raw meat.  In this photo, they are tucking into wild rabbit mince gound with the bone, mixed with pureed offal (lungs, heart and liver) and little kitten-mouth-sized chunks of rabbit.  I got it all from Woldsway Rabbit who this year have started doing offal packs – many thanks!  Into this mix I add egg yolks, taurine, Vitamin E, Vitamin B-complex, kelp and psyllium husk.

It is a labour of love – it is more time-consuming to have to put together a home-prepared diet rather than just open a bag of cat biscuits and pour into a bowl.  From reading other breeders’ experiences, I do believe that kittens take more readily to raw food.  Certainly, as you can see from the photo they seem to recognise what food is. 

Not all the kittens ate the raw meat in that first encounter.  In the photo are Mum Cat who’s setting them an example – she frequently calls them to their food – the two boy kittens and one of the creams.  I don’t try to force the kittens to wean if they’re not ready.  All of them are still suckling from Mum.  And the littlest cream kitten isn’t eating as much raw.  However, to date all the kittens are now eating some raw.

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The move downstairs – New kitten quarters

25 June, 2008

I moved the kittens downstairs about two weeks’ back, when they turned 4 weeks’ old, into the living room.  This was prompted by Mum Cat bringing them chicks to eat.  I figured that she knew when they were ready for solids.  But if I was gonig to start weaning them I had to make sure they had access to litter trays for that all-too important phase of their lives – litter training.  The bedroom, with its carpets, wasn’t the best place for litter trays.  So downstairs they had to go.

In previous years I used a kitten pen which the kittens always managed to get out of.  It was a large pen, but after I added a litter tray (small), box, water and toys, it got quite cramped and they outgrew it quickly.  So this year I built a makeshift enclosure out of whiteboards from B&Q.  Here it is:

As you can see, plenty of room for their kitten box, litter trays, water bowl and a corner for some vet bed and a cat-scratching post.  I placed it next to the cat tree so that Mum Cat could get in and out by jumping onto the top of the kitten box and onto the cat tree.  The sides of the enclosure are so far still too high for the kittens to scale.  The floor of the enclosure is made of 3 whiteboards taped together – such a dream to clean!

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A possible cause of stud cat “infurtility”

24 June, 2008

I couldn’t help the pun in the title – it will become obvious.

During the NBA cat club seminar this year, Dr. Susan Little showed us a video clip of a Persian stud cat sidling into a pen, and eyeing a queen with great interest.  Wow – I’ve never seen a cat move so quickly!  It was like something out of a special effects movie:  one moment he was nonchalantly sidling into the cage, and the next second he was on her.

However, the mating seemed to go on for longer than usual.  Cat matings are usually short and brief: the tom does his bit and leaps off before the female can scratch him to bits.  In the video it was obvious that the male cat was having problems with getting to the right bits.

In seems that in cases where studs have problems mating, it pays to examine the fur surrounding the penis.  Sometimes with long-haired cats, bits of fur can form a hair ring round the base of the penis, preventing it from penetrating sufficiently. 

Something so easy to overlook in this day and age of science where the tendency is to submit a cat to every medical test under the earth.

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Out of the kitten box …

14 June, 2008

Out of the kitten box …

… and into the kitten pen

… and a larger kitten pen

As the kittens grew they started getting adventurous.  The first photo was taken when they got to 3 weeks’ old and their eyes were fully-opened. 

I knew it was only a matter of time when they got out of the box and started wandering.  So to stop them from getting into trouble, I erected some mesh panels around the box and draped them with blankets.  Then I remembered – in previous years the litters had proceeded to learn how to climb up the blankets very quickly and escaped from the pen.  Nothing like seeing a little 4-week-old kitten perched 3 feet high at the top of a pen to give you a heart attack!

So I got some whiteboards from B&Q and made a makeshift pen.  The smooth white sides meant that the kittens couldn’t claw their way up.  I do hear a lot of scrabbling though.  Mum likes the roomier pen too.

They are 4 weeks’ old today.  I’m seriously considering moving them downstairs into the living room because Mum cat is getting skinnier from having to nurse five kittens.  Two nights’ ago, she brought a chick for them to eat.  Of course they didn’t eat it but I think she was trying to tell me something:  Those kittens need weaning!

Of course, weaning means pooing which means litter-training which means I need to take them downstairs where it’s easier to clean.

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Best kitten enquiry ever!

9 June, 2008

Breeders get many enquiries for kittens.  Here’s one of the best, received by Helena Barrows of Chinktonks and used with her sporting permission.  It was originally posted on the Novice Breeder Advice yahoo group forum,

“Thanks for your quick response,I want kitten,Because i can carry kitten
anywhere,i really want to get a Pet soon.Im interested,just received payment
from work and i am really anxious about having your Horse,.I really like to
come for viewing.If you want to have it sold i would need some details from
you so that i can come in case it’s mandatory,live in New York and need
carrier to pick up.I would love to know your Full Home Address,Full Names
city,and postal code,so i can go through either of the options on hand.1
come over to view and find someone to pick up 2,send personal check and wait
to clear .please it is necessary to pick one,necessary to know your interest”

Hmm … anyone for a HorseKitten?