Posts Tagged ‘kittens’

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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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Kittens at play – 2nd week (video)

29 May, 2008

The Kittens are now two weeks old and their eyes are open.  They are moving away from crawling to taking their first steps.  It’s more difficult than it looks because it’s a balancing act involving four paws and a large head.  When they take each step they wobble, and it’s hard to believe that by next week they’ll be walking with confidence.

Here is a video of the Kittens at Play.

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In a huddle

22 May, 2008

 

Kittens moving to form a huddle

Newborn kittens have limited ability to regulate their body temperatures.  Until they develop such control, they spend a lot of time cuddling next to their mother. 

When their mother is absent from the nest, they huddle together in a pile to conserve heat.  It reminds me of the behaviour of Emperor penguins who cluster together in a snowstorm.

If the kittens’ body temperature drop too much, this inhibits their suckling reflex, so it is important that they should be kept warm enough.  Some breeders use heating pads or hot water bottles wrapped in towels or infra-red lamps.  Some believe that artificial heating should only be supplied if it is snowing outside and the temperature in the room is cold. 

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Full of milk, little sleepyhead

19 May, 2008

A 2-day-old Maine Coon kitten suckles from Mum and dreams …

 

 

 

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Kitten Teat Wars! The movies

19 May, 2008

I wrote yesterday about the feeding frenzy as newborn kittens jostle to establish their teat supremacy.

Imagine what it must be like:  you’re a newborn kitten, you can’t see anything, you’re in a space filled with bolster-like objects that jostle and hurtle into you and turn you round and round so you don’t know where you’re going.  In the meantime, you’re starving but every time you find some yummy milk, someone else is there.  No wonder kittens get so desperate!

Here are some short clips I took this morning to show you just how energetic the kittens can be at feeding time.  They were taken in low-light conditions, so the film is a bit grainy, but I didn’t want to use artificial lighting in case it disturbed the kittens. 

[Sorry you’ll have to click on links and not on a video itself.  This is the first time I’ve ever uploaded anything to YouTube and WordPress is playing hard-to-get when it comes to embedding videos.  When I sort it out I’ll stop pulling my hair out.]

This is a video clip: Kitten Teat Wars – Part 1.  A cream kitten and a ginger kitten square it off over a teat.  It looks like ginger has got its teat, but find out what hppens in the exciting conclusion, Kitten Teat Wars – Part 2.

Here’s the sequel: Kitten Teat Wars – Part 2. The cream kitten’s got an impressive left-paw.  Will it stand it in good stead?  Will he get the teat?

And they lived happily ever after …

 

 

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Some useful cat pregnancy sites

16 May, 2008

As you may know, my queen, Ananda is pregnant, and hopefully the stork will be visiting soon. She was very restless last night and this morning. I woke up several times to rub her tummy for comfort.

Here are some cat pregnancy sites which I have found useful. The first time she kittened, I didn’t have anyone experienced to help me, just what I found on the internet. All I can say is … I was lucky, it went smoothly, and thank goodness for the www.

Feline Advisory Bureau’s “Feline Parturition – When to wait and when to worry” – explains the different stages of pregnancy, has photos of a cat giving birth, discusses interrupted labour, possible encountered during labour, what you can do to help and methods of kitten revival.

About.com’s “So your Cat is Pregnant” – a series of articles on the birth process and possible complications.

PetEducation.com’s “Queening (Giving Birth)” – has a handy list of what supplies you need for the birth, also a sample table for recording kitten weights. One thing missed on the list is a torch – this is very handy if you wake up in the middle of the night and want to look at kittens without switching on the main light.

Rameses Cat’s “Ellie’s Kittens” – day-by-day progress report on Ellie, a Siamese cat, from birth to when the kittens leave home. Fantastic photos and narrative. Also check out Libby’s Kittens on the same site.

Finally, expert advice from the people who’ve been there and done that on the Novice Breeders Advice Forum. As cat breeders keep strange hours, you can count on almost 24/7 advice on this Yahoo Groups forum. You will have to register before participating, so best to join the group well before your queen is due. Really warm and generous group.