Unhand me, madam!
Brigitta is by far the most confident kitten, but even so, she doesn't look convinced about this 'cuddling' business, does she? She'd much rather be at the milk bar.
Nerdiness alert... if you come here for the cute pics, this will not interest you one bit! Time to go now. I mean it! Don't say you weren't warned... obsessiveness is a breeder's perogative!
Ok, I've thought of something else I can do now I'm on litter 2- compare last year's weights to this year's. Useful for me to be able to do this so I can see trends within the litter that might indicate Indigo is struggling to keep up the milk production for seven of them. So:
REM litter from 83g-103g. Average 92g
Von Trapp litter from 81g-102g. Average 91g
Pretty much the same- REM litter was born on the due date, Von Trapps the day before so possibly would have been a couple grams lighter anyway.
REM litter from 182g-217g Average 195g
Von Trapp litter from 150g- 205g. Average 175g
So this litter is noticeably smaller already. (although they have all doubled their birthweight now) This could be for many reasons:
1) This litter is girl-heavy, the last had more boys. Even at birth, boys tend to be heavier and they go on being heavier, it's just the way it is. My two boys in this litter are heavier than the girls, the boys in the last litter were heavier than their sisters.
2) This time Dadcat is petite, and they might take after him. Last litter we only had one 'small' kitten, Hope (Lisl) and she was small-average rather than small small, you know? This litter- who knows.
3) Indigo may be struggling to keep up with the demands of feeding 7 kittens and they aren't getting the nutrients they need.
Obviously 3 is the one I will be watching for. Last year, I ended up supplementing the REM litter when their weight gain started to slow right down in week 2. I'm going to try NOT to do this this year, as I feel my interfering was possibly counterproductive. You feed the kittens, they suckle less, that doesn't stimulate more milk and so on. From my reading on the 'net, a slow weight gain is probably OK as long as it IS a gain... obviously if a kitten started losing weight I'd be there with the bottle and the KMR. But there's no need to metaphorically wet my pants if a kitten only makes a gain of a few grams one day at this stage. Its the overall pattern that's important (see how calm I am with this litter!)
Instead, I'm trying to stuff as much food into Indigo as I can. It seems to be working, she's currently eating about four sachets of wet kitten food a day, sometimes I'm giving her boiled turkey- she wasn't keen on the baked- or similar just as a change, plus a sizeable bowlful of kitten kibble and the occasional cat treat!