Posts Tagged ‘Maine Coon kittens’

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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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Sexing the Kitty

30 May, 2008

The easiest way to sex a kitten is to compare the litter and the differences will then be obvious.  However,even experienced breeders and vets have been known to get the sex of a kitten wrong, so that George eventually ends up Georgina.

For the male kitten, the bum looks like a colon, with the top dot the anus and the bottom dot the sheath for its penis.  Also, sometimes the bulge of the testicles can be seen.

With female kittens, the bum looks like an upside down exclamation mark, with the top dot the anus and the vertical line the vagina.

Here is a photo of one of my male kitten’s bum.  The kitten is lying on its side, the tail is on the right.  The bulgy bits are just above the lower dot.

Here (photo below) is the female kitten’s bum.  She’s lying on her side as well.  Her tail is on the left.  As you can see, it is altogether more discrete and neat-looking arrangement than the male’s bum.

Another method is to sex using colours.  Red (ginger) is linked to the X chromosone.  Chances are most kittens with some ginger in them tend to be boys.   Most tortoiseshell cats are girls.  However, if both sire and dam carry red, then there is a strong possibility that there are female ginger kittens. 

And this has seemingly proved the case with this year’s litter of 5:  the 2 boys are the classic tabbies, while the 3 girls are a red silver shaded and two red tabbies.

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Peek-a-boo!

29 May, 2008

A little kitten peers out of its pen and wonders at the wide world outside. 

 

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Kittens – 2nd week – learning to walk (video)

29 May, 2008

 The kittens are now exploring their pen and moving from just crawling to using their legs.  At the moment, it’s more wobbling than walking. 

Here is a video clip of one of the kittens trying to use all four paws to walk!

 

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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 …