Meet the babies (7)
DAY 43, 22 March

Nowadays I have to catch them sleeping in order to have any chance of weighing them. They're just too wiggly otherwise. This was what happened tonight when I attempted to weigh them while they were just too wakeful. In the end I had to abandon it and try again once they'd gone to bed for the night.

DAY 44, 23 March

They were stretched out asleep with Missie, but the flash disturbed them, and chaos ensued.

DAY 45, 24 March

This one's for Jenni - it's Cochese.

DAY 46, 25 March

We've just said goodbye to the first potential 'parents' to visit the litter. Cochese was so excited that she tore around the room, showed off her climbing and jumping skills, demonstrated the working of all the toys, and attacked and killed several stuffed mice. For some strange reason this seemed to endear her to the visitors, who confessed that they liked her best! I would have been happier if she'd demonstrated her EATING skills, as she seems to have regressed a bit in the last few days! However, she's still gaining weight at the same rate as the others, so I don't think I need to worry.

DAY 47, 26 March

Another visitor today: unfortunately I'd just stuffed their faces with raw rabbit and they were determined to sleep it off, so were completely inert - except for Cochese, who went right into her routine! One great outcome of the visit is that I now have the best possible 'real' name for Mudpie: henceforth he will be known as Moriarty, and it certainly suits him!

DAY 48, 27 March

Total lack of interest in food today: it will be interesting to see if they have managed to keep up their weight-gain. I may have to remove their favourite sleeping place, the hammock over the radiator: they have discovered how to get inside it - unfortunately they haven't worked out how to get out yet, and I've spent quite a lot of the day responding to piteous cries from someone who woke up and found themselves stuck in a fleece bag!

Kittens may look sweet and cuddly most of the time, but those claws are designed to mean business. Even the gentlest cat comes with claws, and they're there to save him from falling and to defend himself if he is in danger. In the USA, 'declawing' is common. This is not simply the removal of the claw, as that will grow back. The entire top joint of the 'finger' is cut off with clippers, resulting in remorseless agony for the cat who is forced to walk on deliberately mutilated feet until the injury can heal. How can someone say they love their cat when they've done that to it? Fortunately this is not practised in the UK, and it is completely unnecessary. I provide my cats with ample scratching posts for stropping, and trim the sharp points of their claws with nail clippers, which is completely painless and harmless to the cat and the claw (which will grow back just the same way our fingernails do). If you don't want a pet with claws, don't buy a cat.

DAY 49, 28 March

Still off their food, but not showing any bad signs! They do tend to eat in waves, and a few days of limited appetite is normal. Another week has gone by, so I have to do four portraits again. (PS: Hmmmm, seems they were holding out for the cooked chicken!)