Meet the babies (14)
Day 92, 10 May
Guide to kitten behaviour:
20. Just because you're ready to leave home, there's no reason to stop suckling!

Day 93, 11 May
Pandora and Calamity have gone too...

Saying goodbye...

Octavia Moon has been crying a bit and looking for her family, but the grown-ups are comforting her, and now and again she comes to me for a cuddle. She is following Missie around like a little shadow. Although I miss them a lot, I know they're getting far more attention than I can give them now. It's equally difficult for the babies, but as they never go alone, or to homes where there are no other cats, the trauma is minimized. 12-14 weeks is the ideal time for a kitten to move: the mother has really had enough of them by then, and the kittens are ready for more freedom and new horizons; they are also at the ideal age for making friends with older cats without being threatening or feeling threatened by the experience. I try to make sure, too, that they will go to people who will cuddle them through their first few nights and not shut them away until they cry themselves to sleep. A good start now will mean a happy, confident cat later. I've never heard of problems with my kittens losing their litter training, which can happen with a distressed kitten, and that is thanks to good owners.

Nevertheless, the first few days are hard for me too, as I miss all the little special things that each kitten used to do, and suddenly the house seems very quiet. I stagger the kittens leaving days so that it's not so sudden for me or the mummy, and this time Octavia Moon is not going for another couple of weeks. The nursery suddenly seems very empty though.

18-20 May: News from Calamity and Pandora

"We thought you might appreciate a progress report since the little monsters have now been with us for the best part of a week. They have settled in remarkably easily thanks largely to the fact that there are two of them. They sleep curled up together, and when they're not asleep they cavort around the house yelling loudly and getting under our feet.

There is no doubt that Calamity is the more adventurous of the two. She is always the first to explore anything new. Tonight her discovery has been ice cubes. Is it hygienic to drink gin & tonic when it's had a cat's paw in it - several times? She also came close to plunging into Freya's bath this evening.

Pandora is easily led. Whatever Calamity discovers she will try out immediately afterwards.

They are both complete trollops whenever anyone comes round to visit. No stranger gets away without being jumped on, purred at and licked. It's very difficult to imagine life without them now.

They just seem to go from strength to strength. Today they have endured (as have we all) a birthday party for fifteen three year-olds. We shut them away in one of the bedrooms (the cats, that is) but even then they received regular visits from parties of three year old girls throughout the afternoon and it didn't seem to worry them. They just sat there holding court. And tonight they are tearing around the house as usual.

Kate tells me she was blowing up balloons this morning and as fast as she could blow them up Calamity (well it would be, wouldn't it) was bursting them. She was quite unconcerned about the bangs - just seemed a bit surprised that her toy had suddenly disappeared.

We now have a conversation gambit which opens with " Well, actually they're Tonkinese ... " and then we can bore for England on the subject of our weasles.

The photograph will come eventually ..."

... But until it does, here are some I took in the garden this weekend of Octavia (still here!) with other members of the family.