8 August 2002
A funny thing happened to me today...
I saw a car accident out of my window about 6 months ago, and today a policewoman came to check on some details of what I saw. We were talking in the kitchen and she spotted Libby wandering about with her teats dangling - "has she just had kittens?" she asked. One thing led to another... I have a suspicion she may return with her husband on a non-police matter!

"We KNOW they're not our rosettes, but for heaven's sake: they SHOULD be!" Ellis and Katie pose for the camera.

Libby's family have been moved to the kitten pen to contain the escape committee, who have become very active overnight!

I have just added 5 movies to last week's page, including two lovely ones of all the kittens' Dad, Scuttle. Don't forget to take a look!

9 August 2002
Sorry, but there are loads of pictures today! Libby's babies are 3 weeks old today, and to celebrate have completely escaped from their nest and now run about the kitten pen (I'm very glad I put the nest into it yesterday, and so is Libby!)

Here's the rogue's gallery for this week... I can't see myself being able to photograph them like this again, as they're going to be far too active to stay on the scales long enough to take the picture.

What's that over there?

I wanna be a show Siamese!

I want my mummy!


Just beautiful

The smallest baby (at the moment)

I'm sure I saw a teat over there...


Another beauty

Then I had to capture the completely irresistible sight of Dudley and Katy practising their synchronised 'aren't I completely adorable' act. After Dudley's success with his solo act, Katy reckoned she needed to get in on it. Ellis is just so disgusted by them both that he refuses to have anything to do with it. As far as he's concerned, having your tummy rubbed is an excuse for giving the hand a good kicking! (And, yes, I DID get the whole thing for
today's movie!)

Starting positions - Dudley behind and Katy in the foreground. (Dudley having a little trouble getting his concentration fully on the task ahead - Ellis distracting from the sidelines...)

First, the half curl with three-quarter roll, including eye-contact with the viewer... Note the beautifully co-ordinated upper-paw stretch, and both tails at full extension (you can just see Dudley's underneath Katy).

Next the difficult-to-execute return half roll with reverse curl (being careful not to end up on their sides), accompanied by very loud purr on exhaled breath. Dudley here giving himself a little bit of help maintaining position as his tail is still under Katy - he may have lost marks for that...

Finally in this sequence, quarter-turn to totally-contented-full-back-layout with curled toes and flopped hands. This should always be accompanied by not-quite-closed eyes, just maintaining eye-contact with the viewer, and the loudest possible purr (extra marks are awarded for volume). Dudley has still managed to keep his tail under Katy for a really excellent finish.

10 August 2002
Visitors this morning - a lady and her grandchildren came to choose Katy. Naturally the boys were totally in your face, and poor Katy looked a bit pathetic. The answer was to stick the boys in the bathroom and then Katy played a bit for them. I do find that they're more interested in, and attached to, me! They aren't that interested in meeting new people (apart from Dudley with Sally), so though they're happy to be cuddled and held by me, they would rather go off and sleep or play than be cuddled by someone new. This isn't terribly helpful, but I do know that because they like being cuddled they will soon attach to their new owners when I'm no longer there. Ellis has discovered the one place in the room that fits him just perfectly!

The weather has turned sour, so I pulled out a heat pad for the babies downstairs and they were cuddled up on it most of the day. Libby is being rather picky about food and has been getting Fortol - a sort of convalescent soup that is very high in fat content. She leaves this untouched for hours and then slurps up the whole lot in one go.

11 August 2002
This morning No.3 was screaming for food, and I've never seen so much milk go down one kitten - he took 28 ml, syringe after syringe and I began to worry that he'd pop. He shouldn't have been that hungry. He's looking very thin on the bones in spite of his fat tummy and was lapping at the rubber teat instead of sucking on it. He is also licking his mother's teats instead of suckling them so something is not right. Since the liquid parraffin was so successful with Ellis, I gave him a dose, which made him look like ET as most of it dribbled down his front and plastered his fur to his skin. He's been very hungry all day. On top of that, I tried making him pee because of the size of his tummy and because he squatted down in the nest but seemed unable to do anything. You do this by rubbing him under the tail with a bit of cotton wool - this is similar to his mother licking him to stimulate urination. I have had a kitten in the past that was unable to pee for a short time and, although that cleared up, we weren't sure she'd survive for a while. Later in the day though, I managed to get a very large bladder-full out of 3, with a little more later in the evening, so that doesn't seem to be the problem. Libby seems very tired and isn't eating a great deal, so I gave her some nutri-plus gel. This is brown squidge in a tube that many cats love - Libby took to it straight away. It is a sort of emergency food and contains everything a cat needs to live in about 3 inches of squidge per day. It also contains extra vitamins and an appetite stimulant. I'm not at all surprised that she's tiring as nine kittens are a terrible lot of work. Ellie shows no interest in helping out at all, so Libby has to do all the feeding and cleaning up by herself.

Here's Dudley for Sally. Fleeces are the best thing (next to mummy) for cuddling up.

12 August 2002

This morning No.3 (who says he's called Sam) was starving again, and had lost considerable weight over the 24 hours - possibly most of it during the night if he's not suckling. He didn't take so much milk, and when I stroked his back end with the cotton wool to encourage a pee, her produced a huge poo, which may have been behind his problems if he was very constipated. He keeps climbing up the side of the kitten pen and dangling over the edge which isn't very good for him, but I think he only does it when I'm around because he's looking for milk. He looks very ET-like as he had some more liquid parraffin this morning. I am worried as something is not right with him, though he's vocal and active. Why isn't he suckling?

Skinny Sam

I weighed Ellie's babies today to get accurate readings for my vet to make up their worming liquid. It was so funny trying to fit them onto the scales! Ellis was terribly helpful and tried everything to get in the right place. Dudley and Katy were a lot more sleepy, and I was able to arrange them just about suitably before they fell off! Ellis 1 kilo 540 gms; Katy: 1 kilo 470 gms; Dudley 1 kilo 480 gms. Nice healthy weights.



"Please get onto the scales..."

Oops - too far

Now how do I get the back end in?

Oh, I give up!

11.00 pm: update on Sam. Sam now hasn't suckled for two days. He took milk with a lapping action from my syringe this morning, but not since about midday. His heart and lungs sound strong and the same as the other kittens but I'm no expert on that and I don't have a stethoscope. He lost weight yesterday and has lost weight pretty steadily today, and he keeps trying to go to sleep in a sitting up position. Instead of suckling from Libby, he licks her tummy. I can feel some bubbles moving in his gut, and rubbing his tummy seems to be pleasant for him. By tonight he's looking quite weak and is avoiding his siblings. That's the bad news. On the plus side he has passed water several times today, sometimes by himself, and he produced a big healthy poo this morning. When he's wakeful he seems very alert, though he is doing odd things: he climbs out of the kitten pen (the side is 18 ins high) and wants to wander about the floor and seems quite strong. His hydration is good and his extremities are warm. He doesn't seem to be in any sharp discomfort but seems to have stomach-ache that is stopping him eating. There could be something else wrong of course and the stomach is just a side issue. He had Liquid Paraffin last night and this morning with no effect, but this evening I gave him Kaogel which calms the tummy down, and he did suckle a little bit an hour after that, so he's just had a second dose. After this dose I had to hold him wrapped in a nest before he'd go to sleep and he doesn't look so good. This doesn't seem acute enough for intussusception, but it seems rather more than a bad case of indigestion. We'll be going down to the vet in the morning if he's still alive. I expect he will be, but at this point I just don't know.

13 August 2002
Sam is gone. He was put down at about 10.15 this morning as he had a massive swelling in his gut that was on the brink of bursting. Once they give themselves names you know that they've become part of you, and losing them hurts like hell. He was very weak and had been vomiting since the early hours of this morning. I agreed with the vet that he was too small and weak to recover from surgery, though if this was caused by a congenital problem surgery would be pointless anyway. At this age, if this was caused by an intussusception and it was repaired surgically, it would recur and recur. His little wise eyes, his determination to get out of the nest and explore... I can't believe he's gone.

Sam, yesterday afternoon

It seems from the post-mortem that Sam's bowel was completely normal but he had very abnormal kidneys: one was tiny and non-functional and the other was extremely enlarged and in the wrong place and was the cause of the pain (which was why the vet thought the bowel was swollen) as it was engorged and getting bigger. Anyway he said, 'wrong diagnosis, right course of action' because this was untreatable. It's quite a relief to know that, but I'm so sad that he was suffering. I've been out most of the day running errands to avoid thinking about it (and giving people funny turns seeing a woman with tears pouring down her face driving along in her car!). Now I haven't got Sam taking my attention I see the rest of the litter with new eyes - they're just lovely, and now rush towards me when I lean over the edge of the kitten pen. It's time to make them a bigger play area as they're bucketing about the pen like crazy.
Ellie's babies were like a herd of elephants round the upstairs all afternoon - one of the things they destroyed was a bowl of water - I just flung a towel down on the puddle and then next thing I knew they had taken up residence, damp and all!

14 August 2002
Ellie's kittens are 11 weeks old today, and to celebrate one of them has a wobbly tummy, so as I can't tell who it is, they all got my charcoal, spirulina and acidophilus mix this morning. That should fix it. They are due for worming so it could just be a mild irritation from a small dose of wrigglers. I think Katy is looking particularly elegant today. Dudley has taken over the basket this morning. You only have to say 'Sally' to him for him to go all soppy and roly poly - he's getting another visit from her this afternoon, with some 'godparents' to approve him as well, so I hope he behaves!

For those of you who have been wondering... Katy is going to live with a lovely couple in Didcot near Oxford. However, they haven't got other cats, and I didn't want her to go alone. So I got in touch with a friend of mine in Newcastle who has a beautiful litter of kittens almost the same age and she has agreed to send me a chocolate boy to be a partner for Katy. He's called Pooh and will be arriving next week to become part of the family before moving when Katy is old enough. I'm as excited about him as if he was going to be mine! She's not going with Ellis as he has been promised for some time to a breeder I know in Germany. We were waiting to see how he would turn out before deciding though, and now she has said she'd definitely like him so it's all go for that too.
Libby's babies were less interested in my offer of supplement milk today, so it looks as if even one less baby has made a difference to how much milk they're getting. However, the weights were all over the place with two having lost weight. I'm not worried though (no sense in going neurotic - yet!) as at this age their weights do go a bit haywire until they start eating solids. I think they will be hungry enough to wean quite soon, but their little teeth haven't quite come through enough yet.