Friday, 23 December 2011

Caging Kittens

In some of my pictures, you will see the kittens' nest has mesh on it, and you may assume from that that I raise my kittens caged. That isn't the case. I thought I'd write a little about that today.

Firstly though, I don't generally agree with raising kittens in cages. I know some people who do, and I'm sure their kittens are loved and well cared for. I am not commenting on their practices, and its up to each new family to find a breeder whose practices they are most comfortable with. For me though, I would not cage unless there was a compelling reason to do so (such as a sick kitten that needed to be kept quiet and calm- if Freddie needs surgery its likely he'll be confined to a cage for a little while to aid recovery, for example)

I do however restrict the kittens' movement in the first few weeks, for obvious safety reasons. The kitten's nest, at the moment, is a wood framed animal hutch, this run extention from Zooplus, in fact, with removable sides all round and a removable top. The sides are usually up at present, but the top is never on, that is how Indigo gets in and out. Several times a day, the side comes down for weighing and general socialisation, the babies are just starting to climb out and come exploring, under supervision of course. Later on, the side will be permanently off so the kittens can come and go at will.

I'm also using the birthing box as a kind of extra playpen for them at the moment, it's deeper than last year's tub, so no risk of them toppling over the top just as yet. That's Freddie in the picture today, showing off his nice strong front legs. It makes for some nice playtime. Later on, of course, the kittens will be free range and allowed to tromp all over their room, the cat furniture and up and down the long, ideal-for-racing hallway.

So it looks like a cage, but really, it isn't one. Mama is never restricted in her movements, and the kittens only whilst they are so tiny- and even then they are in the family room, the hub of activity in our household, part of things from day 1.

One thing is for sure- the sides won't be up much longer. I found Brigitta trying to climb over yesterday!!!

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