Sunday, 31 October 2010

Lovely Ava

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

Sweet, shy, unassuming Ava. She keeps quietly to herself all day, invisible next to the stronger personalities of the other three. But come night time she gets up on the bed, doing happy paws all over the duvet and purrs and purrs. Then I brush her and she purrs some more. Stroke her and she carries on purring. Then I get the feather toy out and she'll purr a bit more between pounces... well you get the general idea.

She's such a dear little thing.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Old Floof

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

Theo has been growing his winter coat, and is currently very very floofy indeed. Unfortunately, in the past month he's also developed two knots, small ones, but nevertheless they have had to be cut out. By me, I hasten to add, they weren't nearly bad enough to be a vet/ groomer job, but nevertheless a timely reminder to stay on top of grooming. We've never had knot problems before, so I can only think it's the fullness of his coat that's suddenly presenting an issue.

The girls aren't remotely concerning. Ava, who is also quite floofy but not to Theo's level adores being brushed, and it's part of our evening routine. Sofia likes a brush too, and whilst she doesn't strictly speaking need it, it helps to get rid of any loose hairs. Indie is so shorthaired she needs little more than the occasional swipe with a soft brush which again, she finds quite pleasant.

Theo though, he isn't a big fan of the brush. He never has been, even from a small kitten. Birman fur is quite silky and not really inclined to knot, unlike breeds like the Persian who need thorough brushing every day. As a result it's never become a routine. I tend to pounce on him when he's sleepy and acquiescent and give him a quick going over, which he seems to tolerate, and he quite enjoys his throat being brushed, poking out his tongue comically. But the knots have both formed in the floof between and under his front legs where it's difficult to get with a brush and where he doesn't like to be exposed- it's a vulnerable area for a cat I guess.

Nevertheless, today he had no option but to consent to a thorough brushing. He disliked it, but he dislikes knot removal even more so I didn't feel at all guilty. He's currently in the highest place in the house (up the cat tree and along the bookshelves) radiating displeasure; his dignity has been upset, I feel! I would take his picture, but I think that might annoy him further, so I've posted an old one from about two years back. Must have been before his first winter, as his tail colour is much darker now.

(Incidentally, in all the worry about Indigo, I forgot to update on Theo's test results last month. They were all clear. My cats go in for unidentifiable illnesses, it seems! But his kidneys and so on all seem to be working fine. Phew! Of course that doesn't explain his illnesses, and the plan now is that IF he has another episode, he will be admitted at that point and further tests run- a scan and an endoscopy in all probability. Of course I'm hoping he doesn't have any more funny turns and that those tests will not be necessary. Anyway, now back to the floof...)

I couldn't imagine being a breeder of longhairs, I must say! They must spend all day brushing their cats, and then brushing themselves- one round with Theo and I'm all over cat hair. Not to mention the carpets, the sofa... They have my wholehearted respect, but I'll stick to my one floofy guy, thanks!

Thursday, 28 October 2010


Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

Forgive today's post, which is entirely on the subject of Indigo's nipples. Yes, there's no end to the excitement you find on this blog. I may have mentioned before I lead a very sad life... lol.

But she is now showing DEFINITE signs that she is pregnant. Did I say her nipples had turned the faintest, rosy pink? Just two days ago??? Look at THESE...

Woah mama!

The photo quality is, as ever, appalling, and I did lighten the picture a little, but you get the general idea. They are now bright pink, and much larger than they are ordinarily. This is known as 'pinking up', occurs at about three to four weeks of pregnancy, so Indigo is right on cue :)

As well as changing colour, the surrounding areas are now ever so slightly fuller. Not in terms of milk coming in, that won't happen yet, but she'll be having changes in the tissue to allow this to happen.You can see where the fur on her belly is now slightly displaced. That's Indigo on my lap, by the way, having deliberately turned herself upside down and is sticking her feet in my face. She likes to have them massaged. Such a peculiar cat, she is!

Obviously we still have the lab test results to come, but I've decided I'm going to act like that isn't an issue. What will be will be, and worrying about it isn't going to change anything. Obviously if I had other Tonkinese, and was showing them, I would be keeping them away from shows, I'm not going to any shows myself, and I'm staying away from other cats in general. I'm still taking all the necessary precautions, as it were.

But in terms of preparing for the kittens' arrival and enjoying Indigo's pregnancy, I'm not going to let the lab tests hang over us. Indigo is pregnant, and I am delighted :)

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

I'm so very relieved! Indigo's initial results are looking good.

They took two scrapes of Indigo's head- quite deep ones including the scab, the skin around it and some of the hairs. They then looked at these under a lamp and microscope to see what was going on.

Now, in about 50% of ringworm cases, the hairs/skin flouresce under a special lamp... and there was no flourescence in Indigo's sample. The hair shafts also looked mormal, another indicator it isn't ringworm as the fungus (NOT a worm!) usually does something funny to the hair shafts. There was also no sign of mange mites.

This was the best possible result today! I'm so thankful. Now it doesn't mean it's absolutely definitely NOT ringworm... the only definitive test is a culture, which will be started with Indigo's skin sample and grown over the next few weeks. But the lack of flourescence and the normal appearance of the hair shafts make ringworm fairly unlikely. The fact that Indigo is a house cat and doesn't come across other cats or dig around in soil other cats have dug in etc makes it even more unlikely.

The stud owner was pretty pleased too! She's been lovely about all this, but obviously she's had to put her stud into quarantine, in case Indigo was carrying something infectious when she went to stud! NOT the sort of reputation one wants to build up when one is just starting out in the breeding process, really! It's been highly embarrassing for me.

The pictures are pre scrape and show the lesions and the surrounding hair loss- I haven't got a photo of her head post scrape because it's too sore to touch. So I haven't been touching it, obviously.

The vet says there's only been a very slight improvement since she saw them before. I agree, but I think the wounds are 'further on'... the lumps are less lumpy and more crusty, which could mean they are starting the healing process. More importantly there are no NEW lumps, which I'm choosing to see as a very positive thing. So we're carrying on with the pregnancy safe antibiotic, and a general air of let's keep an eye on her see what happens.

We're still no closer to finding out what caused this in the first place though. Some kind of allergy, perhaps... but what?

I will say one thing though. This result couldn't have happened at a better time. Last night, as I was stroking her, I felt again a fullness to her undercarriage that wasn't there before- and it was NOT because she needed to use the litter tray this time! And her nipples, I'm ALMOST sure, have gone from a creamy-white colour to the palest rosy pink...

Monday, 25 October 2010

Everything At Once...

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

What a complicated day...

Indigo is at the vet. They are scraping her head today, in the hope of finding out what is wrong with her. They'll look at the hairs under a lamp (which detects about half of ringworm cases) and then grow some cultures. I'll know what the lamp reading is soon, I guess, but the cultures will take time. Days, weeks? I don't know.

On a purely domestic front, I managed to accidentally defrost my freezer over the weekend. I noticed last night. I planned to cook what's cookable today and refreeze it... but my cooker has packed in! And earlier today I had to cancel my debit card as well... so all in all not a good day at all.

I would say 'can things get any worse' but with Indigo at the vet, they jolly well might. Best not to tempt fate, then. Perhaps I'll just utter a wish that things get a little better, sometime real soon!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Beautiful Eyes

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

Sofia is a hard cat to photograph. Like all black cats, she tends to disappear into the background (like in this photo) or her fur gets flattened and loses all definition in pictures. It's such a shame because in the flesh, so to speak, she has the most beautiful coat, a lush covering of sleek black fur with shades of indigo, purple and rich chocolate brown where the light hits it. I love me a black cat!

I've posted this photograph, however, as you can see, sort of, her lovely eyes. Sofia has the prettiest, deep amber eyes that contrast so well against her coat. Her mother, a black smoke Persian cross had the same eyes. Her sister Ava, in the foreground, also has golden eyes, but they are paler and less intense than Sofia's are.

The other two cats. Indigo and Theo, are colourpoint cats (we'll look at that at a later date) and their eye colour is related to their coat pattern. So Indigo, as a 'solid' cat has yellowy-green eyes and Theo as a 'pointed' has baby blues, which make him look appealing and innocent even when he's just been causing mayhem. An intermediate colourpoint, known as mink or, confusingly, 'tonkinese', would have aqua eyes.

They are all beautiful cats, with beautiful eyes. But of all the eye colours, I think I love Sofia's the best.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Perils Of Google

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

You know how it is. You have a health problem, you don't know what it's all about and instead of making an appointment to see the doctor, like a normal person, you go online, Google, and scare yourself silly. Or you go to the doctor and get referred on to a specialist, and THEN you do the google-searching. And scare yourself silly.

It's exactly the same with pets. It's a bad idea, but of course I've been doing it... and asking online... and I even emailed another breeder. The latter two were very helpful... the googling? I really should know better. I've now discovered a few things that it could easily be... and one isn't looking good at all.

My fear, discounting the most outlandish and obscure diagnoses as unlikely? Ringworm.

Ringworm's not a serious condition as such, it won't harm Indigo irrepairably, but it is infectious, can be transferred not just to other cats but to other animals and HUMANS as well and... the treatment Indigo will need will kill her developing babies. As a secondary issue, the cost of treating Indigo, the other cats and the house will be fairly spectacular, but somehow that seems irrelevent. If we have ringworm there will be no kittens. They will all die as a result of the treatment.

Worrying times here. I'm trying not to look at Indigo's belly for signs of pregnancy because until I have some conclusions on what's what with her skin, and what treatment she will have to have, I just don't want to know.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Crusty Cat

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

Well, the vet was similarly baffled. It seems there's no easy answer to Indigo's woes, worse luck...

She doesn't have ear mites, there's no fleas or flea dirt to be seen (although a precautionary flea treatment was apparently the right thing to do, I can pat myself on the back) and it's probably not hormonal. Which is good, because I'd couldn't let Indigo go through this every time she's pregnant...

So this is the plan. Indigo is going back to the vets on Monday to be checked again and probably have her head scraped and the scrapings taken off to the lab. I'm not to wash her head or treat her with anything (although again, hibiscrub was the right thing to do, another gold smiley for me it seems) to allow any bacteria or whatever build up to a -hopefully- detectable level.

She's also got a pregnancy-safe antibiotic twice a day till Monday as yes, she's scratching the scabs off, and yes, they could easily get a secondary infection to complicate matters. We'll pass on the infection, thanks, I think things are quite complicated enough as they are!

It's frustrating to not know if she's expecting or not. If I knew she was not, there would be far more treatment options available, steroids for example. The vet also had a quick feel of Indigo's undercarriage but said she couldn't detect any pregnancy yet... but then she didn't expect to. It's really too early to tell, even for a vet.

It sounds horrid, but today I am really doubting my decision to breed Indigo.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Spotty Muldoon!

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

Indigo has spots!

Tuesday night, I noticed Indigo had a lump at the back of her head. I wasn't too concerned... but wednesday she got more and more and more of them... her poor little head is now covered in crusty lumps the base of her tail is feeling a bit lumpy too and we are vet bound later on today to find out what's happening to her.

These bumps are ALL OVER her head!

I have no idea what could be wrong with her. I've been cleaning her head with Hibiscrub, a cat- safe antimicrobial cleanser, and I gave all the cats a Frontline flea treatment on the offchance that this is what's bothering her, although being indoor cats that's unlikely. Still the treatment is safe in pregnancy, so it won't do her any harm.

Failing that, I hope the vet will be able to tell me what's bothering her poor little head! Obviously I've googled, never a good idea, that (Cancer! Eosinophilic granuloma! Etc...) and come up with the usual fleas, allergies, etc... I phoned another breeder and asked if she's ever experienced this, in the hope of some advice, but she hadn't heard of it before either.

I'm wondering if, somehow, it might be hormonal? The head and the base of the tail are the typical oil-producing places on a cat aren't they, and maybe they've just gone a bit wonk because she's pregnant? (If she's pregnant!!)

Anyway, I haven't a clue, but it looks appalling and it can't feel too pleasant for the poor baby either, so we're off to the vet's to see what they think.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

A Short Post

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

... as I am full of cold and feeling icky! Urgh!

Last night the cats spent a semi- peaceable half hour in my room together. Then I popped to the loo, and of course a face off broke out. Sigh. I'm working on it!

No signs of pregnancy yet. I'm looking especially for 'pinking up' of the nipples, but it would be early for that yet, that usually doesn't occur till 3-4 weeks pregnant. Because Indigo is such a cuddler, I'm able to get a good view of her undercarriage on a fairly regular basis. But all looks and feels normal at the moment.

I did think they were a little fuller the other day, but no sooner had the thought crossed my mind but she got up from my lap, into the litter box and did a big poo. *rolls eyes* I swear I wasn't pressing that hard, or even pressing at all, actually!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Oh So Cuddly

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

Not sure whether it's the Feliway or pregnancy hormones (I haven't given up hope yet!) but this girl has been cuddly recently. Here she is snuggled up cosily... doesn't she look satisfied?

Indigo is my only cat who will sit on your lap. Not for long, Tonkinese are much too busy for that, but she will take a frequent five minutes to come and snuggle. Yesterday it seemed that every time I sat down, my lap would be swiftly filled with a purring Tonk. Not that I was complaining.

The other cats are affectionate too, but not really lap cats. Ava watches Indigo with envy- there's been times when I've sensed she really really wants to curl up in my lap and she's walked over and over me indecisively and not been able to do it, bless her. But when i'm lying down, she'll come and lie on my chest and purr her whiskers off, which is lovely. Theo will tolerate being picked up and held but as soon as you relax your arms, he's off, and Sofia doesn't like to be picked up AT ALL. Nor does Ava for that matter.

Indigo though, Indigo will climb onto your chest and purr and do happy paws into your shoulder quite happily, and will tolerate being cradled, upside down, like a baby. In fact she will often climb into your arms and upend HERSELF which is hilarious. She'll sit on your shoulders, snuggle in your lap, and if allowed into the bedroom she'll get under the covers with you.

Don't get me wrong, she can be a thorough pest at times, but her cuddliness is one of my favourite things about her.

Saturday, 16 October 2010


Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

For the past few days, Indigo has been meowing up a storm. Not calling, her 'I need a mancat NOW' yowl is very distinctive, although that might be the next step I suppose. But she's been Very Very Loud, even for her.

Now Indigo isn't a quiet cat, by any means. Tonks are generally quite chatty, they want to be with you and share in what you are doing and won't hesitate to let you know their opinions. For anyone reading this thinking perhaps of bringing a tonk into their lives would be wise to consider this. There are plenty of lovely cat breeds that are more quiet and sedate, so if lots of meowing will bother you, best to consider another breed

My other cats are much less vocal. Theo will mew when he's wanting his walk, Ava will indulge in a brief chat at bedtime and a single 'hello' meow when she enters a room. Sofie, on the other hand, has only meowed once, when the vet took her temperature- a cold thermometer stuck into the bottom will do that to a girl, I guess!

I don't know why Indigo is suddenly so vocal. Hopefully that will be resolved before too long- either by her going into heat or I'll work out what is bothering her. But on the plus side, the gradual reintroduction to the other cats is going well. Indigo is now happy in Theo's presence and they've been observed mutually grooming. Indie will never get to that stage with the others, but they've spent the odd 10 minutes here and there without scrapping- plenty of treats and a feather toy has helped with that, although I'd still not leave them all to their own devices yet.

We're getting there... slowly, steadily and somewhat noisily.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Introducing... Theo

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

This is Theo, our blue point Birman neuter boy. His pedigree name is Taratyn Theodore and he's almost two and a half years old. He's a colourpoint cat, with a creamy white coat with blue (cat-speak for grey!) 'points'- his ears, face, legs and tail, and he has pure white socks on his paws.

Theo is also known as Theo-boy, Handsome boy, Hairy, Old Floof and... ahem... Mister Furryknickers.

"see what I have to put up with?"

Theo is basically an overgrown kitten and lollops around annoying his kitty colleagues, but he also has a close relationship with them too. All the other cats in turn will join him in mutual grooming and snuggling. He's so placid the girls' sniping goes straight over his head and whilst, in theory, Sofia outranks him (and will put the smackdown if provoked) he doesn't let the pecking order prevent him from doing exactly as he pleases.

He'll tolerate being picked up and cuddled, but his chosen affectionate gesture is the head rub. He likes the outdoors, my only cat who is remotely interested, so he comes out daily on a cat harness for a walk. He's very fluffy and whilst I love his floof, I couldn't be a longhaired cat breeder... it's very prolific and gets EVERYWHERE.

He loves to come and greet visitors and is super friendly and confident. I'd recommend any breeding home to make room for a male neuter as well, if they are anything like my lovely soppy boy, they will be a credit to your household.

Thursday, 14 October 2010


Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

I'm feeling very hopeful today. Indigo threw up last night :) Cats can, apparently, get 'morning' sickness, same as humans. Anyone who has had morning sickness will tell you it doesn't necessarily happen in the morning-  for me personally early evenings were most unpleasant.

Now it might be me adding two and two and making six and a half. Cats puke. A lot. If it had been Theo, I wouldn't have been remotely surprised. Theo has his daily walk (yes, outside, on a harness, yes everyone locally thinks I'm a loon...) chomps a load of grass and then an hour later hurls on my hall carpet; it's almost a tradition. As an aside, I have laminate or lino in all my other rooms, but he always pukes on the carpet- why do cats do this??? Lol.

But Indigo is never sick. I gave her a quick check over and she looks ok apart from that- slightly thin, perhaps, (it might just be me) as she tends not to eat much when she's on heat and if she's feeling a bit queasy now as well that's understandable. Her coat is glorious though, her eyes bright and everything else looks nice and healthy so I'm not concerned.

So perhaps, for Indigo, a little nausea is an early pregnancy sign? I won't know if she is pregnant for a few weeks yet of course, but I'm recording it now just in case she does the same NEXT time she's been to stud, in case it's an early sign, for her, that there's one (several!)in the oven.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The Cost Of Cats

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

'Yeah, yeah. You know we're worth it.'

There's no money in cat breeding. If you are reading this, thinking of becoming a breeder and expecting to rake in the cash, think again. There's a reason why the taxman counts dog breeding as a business and cat breeding as a hobby! Yes, it's true a pedigree kitten will set you back £350 or more, but rarely will the breeder be making a profit.

Now most breeders households will consist of a mix of breeding queens and retired or neutered cats, so although I only have one breeding Tonk in a community of four felines, I reckon my household is normal enough. So, just to give you a taster of my cat bills this month...

First there's the ever present food and litter bill. I've just recieved an order from Zooplus, price £150. My cats eat a very good quality food, Royal Canin, which is of course expensive. Plus another £20 at Pets At Home for wet food. And a £50 order at Vetmeds for Feliway, plus a few other things I needed.

Vet bills. I could argue they've been higher than normal this month, about £300, but even in a good month there's regular checkups, vaccinations and so on- I spend quite a bit on veterinary care. I have pet insurance of course (another £50 a month) but I have to pay an excess on any claim, which I haven't quite exceeded yet.

Indigo has been to stud- that was another £200, and the four hour round trip, twice, to take her and collect her was also expensive...

So that's £800ish spent on the cats this month alone- and that's not unusual. I haven't even counted the £75 prefix application and the £50 ten year membership of The Tonkinese Cat Club as they are one off costs... I've only counted the normal monthly outgoings of a houseful of cats. The next few months, if Indigo is pregnant,  I will probably spend even more, what with buying in kittening supplies, extra food, vet bills, buying a pen, heating the house (kittens need a constant 22 degrees C) washing bills, plus every kitten will need costly vaccinations and pedigree papers...

All this for one litter of kittens per year. The average litter size is 3-4 kittens. Well, you can do the maths for yourself. Even if all my cats were breeding age females I wouldn't cover my costs.

So no, there is absolutely no money to be found in cat breeding. We do it for other reasons, but never for money.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Such A Bad, Bad Girl

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

Yes, I mean you, Indigo! (but so adorable too...)

Indigo has continued to be unsettled, and when Indigo is upset she has an unpleasant habit (for me) of weeing in inappropriate places. This morning it was on my bathtowel as I was in the shower. Fortunately I noticed before I wrapped my hair up in it!

I think it's territorial- she wees to mark certain objects and places as 'hers', and not for the other cats. Unfortunately the things she wants to claim are things that I might use... she's very attached to me and I think it's her way of 'claiming' me and asserting her dominance. (Thank heavens- and crossed fingers- Sofia has never responded in kind, as I would struggle to cope with two weeing cats.) Indigo has also been aggressive with the other two girls, actively seeking them out to yowl at them, much to their consternation, and even Theo the placid has seemed a little ruffled.

So Indigo is currently spending her time in the living room, seperately, to chill out. I noticed my Feliway is empty so I'll be off to the pet shop tomorrow to get a refill, either that or I'll order one online. I'll continue to keep her away from the other girls for a bit and spend a lot of time going from one group to the other to transfer their scent (although it's Indigo who has the problem actually, the other girls are fine and Ava has made friendly overtures- she tries so hard, bless her- and been hissed at for her troubles) and be generally reassuring all round. And I'll fill up the water spray, just in case the hissing degenerates into a full on fight... which is very very rare here, I might add, but the spray bottle is most effective.

So we've had hissing, yowling, inappropriate urination and general feline dramatics...sheesh! Give me a nice neutered cat any day- queens are Hard Work.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Out Of Sorts

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

Did I say all was calm, yesterday? Ahem... yeah. Not today, it isn't.

Indigo has decided to take exception to both Ava and Sofia's presence and will launch herself at them if they dare put so much as a whisker in the living room... 'her' room. She couldn't care less about where Theo is, but even so I've done an awful lot of separating cats today.

I suppose it's inevitable that Indigo should be feeling out of sorts, given I just left her at a strange cattery for a week. She's been very needy today, wanting cuddles all the time (not that I mind that in the least!) and being unhappy if I leave the room and yowling dire threats to my two lady cats lest they presume to take up any of my time, inbetween taking short naps in the gap she made in the sofa void... which reminds me, I must fix this up or she'll be having her kittens in there.

She's not calling today either, so I'm guessing she was right at the end. Usually she'd have a week or so inbetween periods of calling, so this time next week I shall be keeping an eye- or perhaps ear- out for any signs.

It's certainly an odd feeling that she could be pregnant right now.

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

"Oh. I see the noisy one is back then..."

Noise being the operative word. Indigo started to howl the moment I put her in the carrier, and kept it up the whole two hours' journey home. You'd think she'd have gotten bored and given up, but in fact she seemed to redouble her efforts round about the Dartford Bridge mark.

Since being home, she's been calling a lot... I have read that cats coming back from stud can still be in heat, so I'm trying not to be despondant about it... it doesn't necessarily mean she isn't pregnant. In between the calling, she's been letting me know exactly what she thinks of me for taking her away from her boyfriend. Tonkinese... well they aren't as vociferous as the Siamese are, but most Foreign cats like a good chat as a rule. If you are looking for a quiet cat, a Tonk is definitely not for you.

I've kept the cats mostly seperate from her and will do for a couple of days. Indigo... well she's a bit stinky at the moment... stud cat, kitty love, whatever it is, she smells fairly potent and I don't want to freak out the other cats. Although I did forget to shut a door earlier and they all came face to face with no hissing or other unpleasantnesses, so all appears to be well.

All my cats are safely home... I'm happy. Now it's just a waiting game to see if the visit was successful or not... and I sent off my prefix application to the GCCF today as well. Wish us luck on both counts!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Smug Sofia

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

When you have a community of cats, especially in a limited space as I do, you must be very aware of the cat dynamics, potential issues and how to ensure your feline family remains calm and mentally healthy. For example, Ava and Sofia were littermates and are still quite closely bonded. Theo likes everyone, but he's not above jumping on them, kitten like- Indigo likes it and responds in kind, Sofia will swat him on the nose determinedly and Ava will utter an agonised howl and run for safety and so on. Sometimes, there will be a clash.

In our house, it is Misses Indigo and Sofia, who face off from time to time, apparently to their mutual satisfaction. I believe the reason is this: Sofia has been top cat since she was 7 weeks old, despite being the tiniest of her litter she was markedly more confident than Ava when they came home. When Theo arrived, she added him to her dominion. However, in the wild, entire (not neutered and spayed) cats have an advantage over their altered counterparts and naturally, an entire female will come higher in the pecking order than a neutered one. So naturally Indigo, as the only entire cat in the house, feels SHE should be top cat. And so she is in a way, she lords it over Ava (everyone lords it over poor Ava) and Theo is so easygoing anyway he couldn't care less. But no-one told Sofia about this natural order, and Sofia isn't about to relinquish HER dominance any time soon.

(Incidentally, this is why the FIRST thing you should try, if your cats are clashing and if they are not breeding animals, is to neuter them... it's often the answer)

So they occasionally face off, circle each other, yowl... Indigo is more energetic about it, floofing her tail out and prancing round Sofia, howling, whereas Sofia parks herself on her fluffy behind and keeps up a low growling and refuses to back down. They are separated at night (more about that another time) and we use Feliway (and more about THAT another time as well) which keeps the situation well under control and the cats' stress levels down. As any breeder will tell you, caring for a multi cat household is not easy!

Anyway to cut a long story short, Indigo has been away this week and for the past few days Sofia has been, without doubt, super smug. If a cat could smirk, she'd be doing it.

Sorry Sofia. Indie's coming home in a bit to burst your bubble!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Introducing... Ava

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

No, Ava is not a Tonkinese! She's a valued part of the kitty-household though, so I thought you might like to meet her.

Ava came here with her sister Sofia, my first cats. They were from a litter of five, Ava was the second oldest. Mum was a black smoke shorthaired Persian cross, Dad either a chocolate or cinnamon tabby with a 'Foreign' look to him. Ava herself is a blue smoke tabby, which means she's grey and stripey with a fabulous white undercoat. She's a very dark grey, were she a pedigree it would be considered a fault, but I think she's stunning, the dark grey against the creamy white undercoat is particularly striking.

She's inherited uber-soft fur from her Persian- cross mother and whilst she's a shorthaired cat, she has much longer fur than her sister Sofia (who has in turn much longer fur than Indigo... shorthaired cats have a lot of variation!)

I've included this photo because, whilst it's a dreadful picture in terms of quality, it's very 'Ava'. This was taken several years ago when she was a teeny kitten, and yes, as you may have guessed, Ava is a shy girl. She started out shy, trailing around after her far more confident sister, and in terms of the cat pecking order she's very much at the bottom of the pile. She doesn't often come out when we have visitors, unlike the other three, unless she's feeling especially brave.

However, when the house is quiet, she does venture out. She 'announces' her entrance into a room with a mew and a head rub for me, and once it's night time and I'm in bed she's chatty and affectionate, doing happy paws (kneading) on the duvet and curling up on my chest. She loves to be stroked, and she adores being brushed, purring constantly.

She's a shy girl, but it seems she's a happy one too.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Every Stud Arrangement...

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

... is different, and every stud owner runs their service in their own way.

Some stud owners insist on supervising every mating and never leaving the cats alone, (I wouldn't fancy that if I was a cat, but I suspect cats are rather less fussy!) and some are content to leave the cats to it, after a suitable, supervised, introduction period and once both cats are happy in each other's presence. Indigo is visiting the latter kind.

The stud Indigo is visiting has several pens at the bottom of their garden. Each pen has an inside hut with several shelves, a litter tray, food and a comfortable bed. There is a cat door leading to the private, covered run, sided with UPVC type material for ease of cleaning- studs spray urine frequently and sometimes the girls do too, which makes for a rather stinky environment at times- this is why one doesn't keep an entire male inside... one's living room would permanently smell like the worst kind of public lavatory.

The UPVC material means that you can't see into the pens until you are right up to them, through the gate that separates the pens from the rest of the garden, and through the gate to the stud's/ Indie's pen. Up till now, Indigo and her stud have been seen washing and some very hopeful noises have been heard, but by the time the stud owner has got to the pens to have a look, there's been nothing to see. So it may be that I bring Indigo home without a mating ever being observed.

So if this happens how will I know she's been mated at all? Well... I won't. But the stud price is for a successful result- a pregnancy- so if she isn't in kitten as a result of her visit this week, she gets another visit free of charge.

I hope she does get pregnant though. The pens are comfortable enough and heated at night, with a heated bed, and the stud lives there all year round and is perfectly ok, but I'd not feel entirely happy leaving a soft house-cat like Indigo there in the middle of winter... she wouldn't come to any harm, but I think she likes her home comforts a bit too much!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

Theo came home yesterday evening after obligingly providing a good urine sample. It's got to go off to the lab, so I'm guessing it will be a while before any results come in. It's really rather clever, they have litter made of plastic balls, which don't absorb the wee, so it can be drained off to provide a sample. This can be done at home, but that's not very practical in a four cat household, so Theo spent the day at the vet.

Anyway, that's quite enough about cat widdle! The photo is of Theo on the day he came home to live with us. Wasn't he a cute little thing? Look at that little back foot! Theo was used to being in a home with lots of kittens and adult cats, and he came here to two adolescent females that were Not At All Amused at having a little brother all of a sudden... and he was a bit lonely at first, hence the dolphin to cuddle, and the fluffy bed to make it seem like he was still in a kitten pile.

I say my cats weren't amused... they weren't, but it wasn't as bad as all that, within a week they were all snuggling together happily. As introductions go it was pretty easy, Birmans are placid, easy going cats as a rule. Indigo on the other hand had to spend a good couple of weeks in the bathroom before being released into the rest of the house as she hissed up a storm at the sight of another cat. Prospective Tonk owners take note- Tonkinese are spirited animals, even as three month old kittens!

Speaking of Indigo, there's nothing exciting to report. She's not been observed mating, however, when the stud owner checked her yesterday, she and the stud were both washing themselves. This is typical post mating feline behaviour, so it could mean something had just happened. On the other hand, cats wash themselves a LOT anyway... it could mean nothing at all.

On the plus side though, it seems she's quite happy in her pen and with the stud for company, she's definitely not hiding in her bed and feeling miserable. Which relieves my mind no end.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Two Cats Missing...

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

It's a quiet day today. Indigo is still at stud, and Theo (the handsome gentleman on the right) is having a day at the vets, while they try to collect a urine sample. Theo has had several recent bouts of sickness with no apparent cause, a blood test yielded no answers so more tests are on the cards- an ultrasound and possibly an endoscopy (I think!) to try and work out what's upsetting him. Poor Theo!

Sofia and Ava, my moggies, are making the most of the peace and quiet by napping on the couch whilst I work. Theo is nearly as old as them (which isn't very old, all of my cats are currently under three years) but much more kittenish in his behaviour and would normally be stirring things up a bit, like a typical little brother.

Indigo is doing OK. When I left her at the stud's she was hidden under a blanket, refusing to come out, and there she stayed for the first 24 hours. This isn't at all uncommon, especially with a queen going to stud for the first time, but of course I've been worried. However, the stud owner telephoned me last night to say she'd come out of the bed, had a good look around and was happy to let the stud sniff and chirrup at her without any hissing, swiping or hiding. No action yet, but hopefully that will be the next step.

I am missing her though.

Monday, 4 October 2010

A Proper Introduction

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

This is Indigo, a 5th generation solid lilac tonkinese girl of about 19 months old. Indigo is registered with the GCCF on the Active Register, which means she can be bred from, a journey we are just beginning now.

I am planning on keeping this blog to document this journey, to keep our kittens' prospective families updated on their progress and in due time to discuss all things tonkinese, such as the fascinating effect of genetics on the tonkinese coat colours and patterns. Our household also consists of three other cats, two moggies and a Birman, so I am sure they will have their fair share of blog space too.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Hello There!

Originally posted on my private blog- posted to on 06/01/11

Indigo has gone to stud for the first time today, and so our adventure begins...

Update, 06/01/11

Well, my prefix has now been approved, and I am officially Indikon :)

I have been keeping a private blog for a few months now, documenting my Tonkinese cat Indigo's pregnancy and motherhood. Her kittens are currently four weeks old, and very lovely they are too! Over the next few weeks I will transfer the posts over to this public blog, and eventually, when I've caught up, update directly to here.

If you're reading for the first time, hello! My name is Beth, and I'm a new breeder of Tonkinese cats. This blog is meant to be a diary of breeding and cat ownership, a totally honest, warts and all account of all our antics and concerns here. So if Indigo widdles on my bath towel (the highlight of one post) I'll tell you all about it. You lucky things.

It's also intended to be a tool for our kittens' new families to keep up to date with their babies before they are old enough to come home. And of course I will be spending some time talking about my other cats too- I have four, and only one is a Tonk.

If you are a breeder yourself I might say things that you disagree with, I might do things you think are unnecessary or could be done differently, and you are welcome to post in the comments section and tell me so. In fact, I'm almost sure to so something unorthodox at some point! That's ok, I'm sure we all do things differently and I'm always open to a bit of advice- after all, this is new to me. Trolls and spammers beware though... comments will be moderated, so anything rude or hateful will be removed... it's not that kind of blog, and I don't have any use for Viagra, thanks!

I hope you enjoy reading.