Meet the babies (9)
DAY 57, 5 April
Week nine (i.e. from 8 weeks of age) is the most potentially dangerous of all for a litter of kittens: they are protected for their first 8 weeks by the immunity they gain from the mother's blood supply in utero, and also through her milk. However, this immunity wanes during the eighth week so they have little or no immunity to things like cat flu until they get their first vaccination at 9 weeks of age. For this reason I, in common with many other breeders, prefer not to allow visitors who have their own cats during this week, and I usually don't invite potential owners at this time either. Fortunately I have never had any illness at this age, as basically they're very strong and healthy, but I prefer not to take unnecessary risks.

Guide to kitten behaviour:

 1. Attack anything inanimate

 2. Attack anything that appears to be attacking anything inanimate

3. Attack anything that appears to be attacking anything
that appears to be attacking anything inanimate
(or: don't let your sisters have all the fun)

DAY 58, 6 April
Cochese (now known as Calamity) has been very sick this afternoon: maybe a bug from my parents who visited yesterday? She's separate from the others now as she doesn't want to play wild games with them. She's fast asleep in a warm nest on my bed. Usually a vet will suggest giving Kaogel to calm the tummy before resorting to antibiotics. Antibiotics kill everything in the gut, including the things the cat needs to digest food. Normally I would use a probiotic that kills bugs but feeds the natural gut flora like acidophilous. Grapefruit seed extract does this, and I supplement it with rehydration salts and kaogel if necessary. However, Calamity can't keep anything down yet, so she's just got rehydration salts if she needs a drink (and I've been giving her little amounts straight into her mouth), and I'll try the kaogel in an hour or so. If she improves she'll get cooked fish last thing and then we'll see how she looks in the morning. Unfortunately tummy bugs with kittens are not at all uncommon - very often you see diarrhoea at weaning time as the gut adjusts. There are a lot of things that can be done to help an upset tummy, and there's no cause for concern unless it's allowed to go on too long.

Guide to kitten behaviour:
4. Wastepaper baskets should always be tipped and emptied.

5. Play like a maniac, and then sleep DEEPLY...

DAY 59, 7 April
Calamity was fine by the time I went to bed yesterday, and is back to normal today. It could just have been a furball making her throw up, and none of the others seem affected by whatever it was.

Guide to kitten behaviour:
6. Always walk on the keyboard part of computers

7. Aunties are very nearly as good as Mummies

Day 60, 8 April
While we've been offline, the little beasts have learned to jump over the metre-high barrier in their doorway - which is pretty impressive for such small creatures. At least, the girls have learned to jump it, Moriarty is still frustrated! Pictures from the next few days were taken by Hannah Tucker, and I reckon she has a great photographic future ahead of her!

Guide to kitten behaviour:
8. Pose thoughtfully whenever a camera is in evidence

Day 61, 9 April
Guide to kitten behaviour:
9. If you can't reach a teat the conventional way, try from the other side

"in-flight movie"

Day 62, 10 April
Guide to kitten behaviour:
9. Practice balance

Day 63, 11 April
9 weeks old, and time for their first vaccinations. I don't worm my kittens before vaccination, as many wormers cause the stomach lining to become sensitive, and that has been seen to cause vaccination reactions. They are wormed before they leave home, but I keep the process as far away from the vaccinations as possible.