5 October 2002
When I go down in the morning and open the door into the kitten room, they're usually all asleep. However, as soon as they hear me they come tumbling down off the piano and stream through the kitchen door, and then mill around my feet. They've also taken to climbing my legs to get my attention, so I usually end up kneeling on the floor with two or three up my back and the rest trying to get onto my lap. Can you blame me for not wanting to let them go?

6 October 2002
This is the favourite toy (after the feather, the pipe cleaner, the washing-up sponge and the plastic carrier bag...). The yellow ball is heavy and trapped in the channel, which means you can really sock it one and it shoots around the channel. You can then have fun trying to grab it as it goes past. Ellis (from Ellie's litter) used to demonstrate the *pow!* from his paw as he shot the ball around its circuit, closely followed by his superb reflexes as he slapped his paw down on it as it shot round in front of him, stopping it dead in its tracks. Most satisfying.

7 October 2002
Ellis had his eyes swabbed today, but I have to wait until the end of the week for a result. However he and Ellie have had no symptoms for over a week, so I'm hopeful that the bacteria has been destroyed.

I'm sure anyone who has bred Siamese will tell you that they graduate upwards with age: Siamese (and most other cats) like to be high up. To some extent this is a safety thing, as the high ground is the safe ground and gives you a tactical advantage. It's also quite a dominant position and we all know who's boss in a household with Siamese. Let's not forget though that cats are heat-seekers - heat rises and so do cats! The kittens started out on the floor where they could safely get out of their nest and not fall anywhere. As soon as they had learned to scramble, they moved their flopout place onto the bench seat, and a few weeks ago made it to the top of the piano. They stopped there for a while, but today they made another discovery: by using the chair, the countertop and the microwave as steps, they could get on top of the fridge freezer - their highest point yet. They were so pleased with this new place that they've been up there all day, looking down on the lesser humans with enormous disdain.

8 October 2002

I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I haven't had a chance to update as I've just had a terribly busy week, and the kittens have been keeping me busy too! Pepper has been throwing up off and on for a few days, and normal things like probiotics, charcoal and acidophilus didn't seem to help. Also, they've all had rather depressed appetites and haven't been interested in much food, which as you can imagine had me chewing my nails a bit! So this morning I took Pepper and Panda into the vet as they looked the skinniest, and after a careful examination and drawing on all his years of training and experience he pointed to Pepper and pronounced: 'this one's got something'. Hooray, a diagnosis! So I went home with antibiotics for Pepper, and let's hope that will clear up the bubbliness in her tummy that is putting her off food. The odd thing is that there's been absolutely no diarrhoea from any of them, so this is a strange bug!
Peter Padfoot (the biggest of them all) is the funniest - he has learned how to zip out of a door as soon as it is opened, so he has had a few alarming encounters with Teddy the Tonkinese, though that doesn't seem to have stopped him. He's desperate for cuddles and just goes all soppy and purry when I pick him up. If I sit down he's the first (or sometimes the second) to make himself comfortable on even a sloping lap. I'm getting besotted with him, and that's hopeless. I can't understand why he hasn't been 'chosen' yet, but maybe he is just attached to me and isn't interested in anyone else. I haven't had any calls from prospective homes for quite a few weeks, but as you can imagine, I'm not pushing!

And to shock the more hygienic of you, here's Teddy, helping out with the grill pan (it's OK, it went in the dishwasher to be sterilised!) which is one of his favourite past-times.

9 October 2002
I have to admit that I wondered if the tummy bug came from my giving the kittens Kitten Felix for the first time. I don't like it much as a food, but I feel that I have to allow for future owners who don't feel they can go to the lengths I do to feed their cats. I have a feeling that may be the culprit as there haven't been any visitors and I haven't even been out to visit a show or anyone else's house. Panda is looking a lot worse this morning and her tummy is now also gurgling. Piper threw up much to his surprise and disgust and then sat for a while hunched up with his tummy very rigid, obviously very uncomfortable, so it looks as if this might go through all of them. A quick telephone consultation with the vet and we've decided to put them all on a short antibiotic course to forestall the inevitable. I hate doing this with such young kittens, but they lose weight and condition so quickly that it's not worth messing around and letting them get to the point where they're so ill that they take weeks to recover instead of days. They're looking pretty good for now though...

Gill's Pickle is so full of character - she gets as high as she can and then shouts for me to hold her: she is a very affectionate kitten, and showing lots of initiative and intelligence. No wonder Gill chose her out of all the others (she was the first one chosen) as she really stands out. I'm having a lot of difficulty telling Seven and Podge apart. Both have slightly crosed eyes at the moment (it may go away when they're older) and are very similar in looks and build. Podge is the one on the left here (I think!):

Non-kitten news: Reckless who went to stud about 5 weeks ago didn't 'pink up' and both I and the vet decided she wasn't pregnant. However her teats are very definitely now large and very pink, though she's not fat, so goodness knows what's happening now!

10 October 2002
As soon as I open the door into the kitchen in the morning, all the kittens leap off the top of the piano and stream through the door shouting at the top of their lungs. It's hard to photograph as it happens so fast, but here are some of them just having got through the door and looking around wondering why!

It's amazing how some people will insist on believing complete rubbish about illnesses like Chlamydia, in order to avoid responsibility for passing it on or continuing to have it in their house. Here are some FACTS!
1. Chlamydia can only be transmitted by direct contact between infected cats, it cannot just suddenly happen for no reason in a house that has previously been clear of the bacteria. For that matter the same is true of Herpes: it doesn't just happen! I have bred for 12 years without ever having a case of Herpes, Chlamydia or Calici, despite taking cats out to shows and to stud. I have however very rarely brought a cat in from another breeder. Until now any cat I have introduced has been 100% healthy and has not brought any illness into the house.
2. A cat showing no symptoms can still be carrying and shedding Chlamydia. Chlamydia can be cured by the cat itself: the body's natural immune system will fight it, and if left it may clear in about 6-8 weeks. However, most often, the body does not clear the bacteria, it merely becomes resistant to the symptoms, so a cat who LOOKS healthy can easily still be a carrier.
3. The only way to be sure a cat is not shedding Chlamydia is to swab BOTH eyes (as one eye can harbour it while the other does not - it sits in the optic nerve) and have a clear swab, and then swab again about a month later and get a second clear swab. This may seem like overkill, but considering how unpleasant this illness can be if passed on, I consider it highly irresponsible to continue to breed or pass on cats without eliminating the bacteria from a household completely.
4. Chalmydia is curable, the only antibiotic that will always kill it though is Doxycycline (shelf name is usually Ronaxan) one of the family of tetracyclines. A short course is not sufficient: 10 days is the minimum course, and in some deep-seated cases it can take a 28 day course. There is absolutely no point in only treating symptomatic cats in a house as any cats who have been in contact with it are likely to be carriers, so all cats have to be treated. Although Ellis and Ellie have had no contact at all with my Tonkinese, and the Tonkinese have shown no signs of symptoms, I have nevertheless treated them with a 10 day course of Ronaxan as well in order to be sure that this nasty infection does not get to them: Pumpkin has a recent graft on one of her eyes, and if she got Chlamydia she would almost certainly lose that eye.
5. Occasionally a cat may resist antibiotic treatment and become an asymptomatic carrier. If this is the case that cat should not remain in a breeding household (so stop breeding or rehome the cat).
6. Although Chlamydia is basically an eye infection - a very nasty conjunctivitis - it can become systemic. The cat becomes depressed and lacking in appetite, then collapses quite suddenly with a very high temperature. If it is not treated with Doxycycline in time, the cat will die. It is believed that systemic Chlamydia may be responsible for infertility in some cats.

Feline Advisory Bureau has a series of fact sheets and one that covers the basics of Feline Chlamydiosis which is available to anyone who wants to know more.

There's absolutely no doubt that Ellis and Ellie's Chlamydia was brought into my house by another cat. There is simply no other way it could have got in, as is cannot simply 'happen' among healthy cats, and I hadn't even been out to any shows. To say otherwise is to try to avoid the reality of the situation. It's a pain in the neck, and it's cost me a significant portion of my salary over the last month or so, but it will not be allowed either to continue in my house or go from any of my cats to any other household. Chlamydia can indeed happen to anyone if you're unlucky enough to get an infected cat near your own. However, there's no excuse for passing it on.
Oof - what a relief to get that off my chest! Sorry to go on, but as you can imagine I don't appreciate people who willfully close their eyes to the truth!

11 October 2002
Twelve weeks old. The kittens should be receiving their second vaccinations today but if you've been following the diary you'll know that we delayed the jabs for 10 days in case the kittens had been infected with Chlamydia. Luck and a lot of care has kept them safe though, and they're looking beautiful as ever. Panda is very skinny because of her tummy bug and you can imagine how I manage to worry about that! However, she's a little monkey - very active indeed and shouting to be picked up all the time. Pepper had a skinny day or two but is picking up well, and none of the others seem to be showing signs of illness at all, even Piper who had just one 'honk' a couple of days ago. They're looking a bit 'pinchy' about the nose today, though normally they don't look like this. The Chocolates tend to look more pinchy because of their markings too. Sorry about the red-eye - I wish I had a 'studio' setup for doing this as they're very good about posing!

Peter Padfoot, a real hunk

Pickle, cuddlebunny

Podge, not so podgy any more

Pepper, my favourite (almost)

Panda, trying not to look too thin

Seven, big and beautiful

Piper, another poser

Piglet, still the prettiest