Saturday, 30 November 2013


Oh, I have a rant brewing...

Before I start though, I'd just like to say the cats are all fine. No thanks to SOMEONE.

Last week I did a home visit to someone who was interested in one of Indigo's kittens. I've never done a home visit before, but it occurred to me it might be a nice thing to do. So off I trotted, with our photobooks and all Inds' paperwork. All was going well when,, mid visit, the sweet Siamese that had made itself at home all over my lap started to wheeze and splutter. Calicivirus, said the owner, but don't worry. it isn't infectious. The vet had said so.

Like heck it isn't!

Calicivirus is a form of cat flu, and highly infectious. It's in the same 'family' of virii as the human Norovirus, and anyone with school age children will know how easily that is spread. Usually it's not a huge great deal, but its more virulent forms can decimate a cattery or veterinary surgery. Kittens are especially vulnerable and many exposed to it will die.

One infected, the symptoms can resurface again and again through the cat's lifetime, especially when under stress.  We breeders vaccinate against calici, it's in the kitten jabs and the yearly boosters, but it's not foolproof. The vaccine helps stop the more serious effects, but cats can still get it and they can still pass it on, vaccinated or otherwise. It can be transmitted, not only cat to cat, but via people and things that have had contact with an infected cat.

To say I was angry would be an understatement. I'd very much like to report here that I gave the person a piece of my mind, but you know how it is. I suddenly doubted my own knowledge. Was it calici that was infectious? Was I wrong? And besides which, it was carelessness surely, rather than deliberate maliciousness, and you know, I genuinely liked the person. So I'm sorry to say I left with my tail between my legs, promising to do a bit of internet trawling and phone through some information about the virus. Then went home to bleach my shoes, put all my clothes in a hot wash and jump in the shower before my own cats so much as sniffed in my direction.

I still had that information to feed back to the poorly cat's owner. I rang up the next day, only to find out she did, in fact, know calici was infectious. She, in her own words 'knew all about it'. So she'd willingly put my cats at risk. And then she put the phone down.

What the...??? I may have said some Extremely Rude Words Indeed at this point.

I'm sure there are people reading this who are thinking Calici... why that's a mere sniffle, isn't it? What s she making such a song and dance about? This is why. The treatment for calicivirus is known to cause birth defects in kittens, and can actually kill expectant mothers. Cats shed the virus for months, if not years, and in a multi cat household the cats constantly re-infect each other. It is extremely hard, and expensive, to eliminate completely, and would effectively have stopped me breeding again. Infected cats can suffer flare ups the rest of their lives and symptoms can include ulceration, pneumonia and joint pain. It's a big deal, is what I am saying.

I'm not claiming the lady knew all this, but she knew her cat was sick. She knew Indigo is pregnant. Why would you take the risk? It was damned thoughtless. Especially with someone else's animals- even more especially when you were hoping to buy a- presumably healthy- kitten from them.

I've been watching my cats closely for the past week. We're now past the incubation period with not so much as a cough or a sniffle so we're OK, and to be honest our vet said we would be extremely unlikely to be affected after I'd gone bonkers with the bleach and washing when I got home. So no harm done, but it has unnerved me a little. Well quite a lot. When Inds had her allergy, and the vet thought it might be ringworm (it wasn't) I didn't go anywhere near other cats or other breeders because that was just the sensible thing to do... and that was ringworm. It hadn't occurred to me people might be rather less careful.

So I have a request to make, for if you are reading this in months to come, with a view to taking an Indikon kitten home. Expectant and nursing mothers are vulnerable, kittens very fragile. If you have a sick cat at home, and you are due here to view the kittens, PLEASE postpone your visit. If in doubt, ask. Please. I will understand, and thank you for your consideration.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

5 week bump!

 Shall we have bump photos this year? I think so!

Top view- nothing to write home about.

Side view is a little more like it!
These were taken at the weekend, and already she's grown a bit more.
Inds seems to be feeling good. Morning sickness is a thing of the past, and actually, whilst she's gagged a fair bit over the past few weeks she hasn't actually been sick at all, and no other issues. Compare that to last time (as I do, on my ultra geeky pregnancy spreadsheet hehe) when she'd already been to the vet what? three times by now? I'm glad she's having a better time this time, another go like the last one and I don't think I could put her through it again.
I'll try and get pics every week. Four weeks to go! It's all very exciting.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Tummy Troubles

We are snuggling. No humans allowed. You go 'way.

Theo's had one of his 'funny turns' again. Damn.

He's always thrown up a lot, even as a kitten. In all fairness it's been mostly hairballs. He's a longhair and he also grooms the other cats too. All that hair has to go somewhere. Occasionally it works its way through and I find it in the litter box, but mostly it is hacked up noisily. Put it this way, Theo is entirely responsible for the fact I no longer have carpet anywhere in the house.

A digestive episode is rather more dramatic. He has to work at getting a hairball up, IBD vomiting is (in Theo) projectile. He managed upwards of two metres the other day, a graceful arc from the middle of the bed to the wardrobe. It was actually kind of impressive. Washable flooring, by the way, is absolutely the way to go...

So yeah. Another episode. Grrr.

I took heart though, in that he was sick twice, once half an hour after the other, and that was it. Normally an episode will involve days of on-off vomiting, but this was confined to an evening. He was sleepy yesterday, and a little uncomfortable from time to time, I suspect, but he was drinking OK. Come the evening he tucked into his boiled chicken with gusto.

This morning, I heard rustling in the hall and found him practically inside the big bag of James Wellbeloved that I had carelessly left there. Clearly the food in the bag was more attractive than the full bowl next to it! Suspect he's feeling a lot better.

I'm semi-happy with this state of affairs. I've been doing a lot of reading around IBD recently, a fortnight between episodes seems to be good, a month positively miraculous, so by these standards we're doing all right. I'd rather he was totally symptom free, of course, but on the other hand, the new feeding regime does seem to have not only reduced the regularity of these episodes, but shortened their duration too. He's put on weight and his condition has improved, so it's obviously 'working' in that sense. Incidentally, I tried the prescription food last week, just to see what they made of it. Theo ate it, after a bit, and didn't seem overly bothered, which is good to know. Inds and Sofia ate a little, but they weren't impressed. Ava ate some and threw up all night. Damn! It's still in my 'things to try if this doesn't work' box, but

I suppose with something like IBD, flare-ups from time to time are inevitable, that being the nature of the beast. I ought to be pleased we're managing the condition OK for now without needing to resort to invasive tests, and I AM pleased... but still. Little disappointed as well.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Not Quite Herself

(excuse the dodgy lighting. My cat hasn't really gone yellow...)

Poor Indigo is feeling a bit queasy, a bit bad tempered and oh so tired. Today has been spent napping in the cat cubby, napping on my bed, napping IN my bed and napping on the computer desk.

Inbetween naps there have been regular trips to poke her nose into the food bowl. Well, she has to keep her strength up. I don't know how many she'll have, obviously, but with previous litters of six and seven, I'd be willing to bet it won't be a small litter. Although she's nearly five now, practically middle aged for a cat, and her litter size should decrease with age apparently. Four or five kittens would be a nice number, yes? Goodness knows I loved my Von Trapps, but seven kittens was a LOT. I'm putting my order in, Inds, Ok? Five kittens max?

Awww Indigo. Never mind, honey. Only another five weeks to go.

Friday, 15 November 2013

And the verdict is...

Pink and prominent = pregnant!


Although Indigo has been showing signs of pregnancy for a while now, the most obvious one is what is known as 'pinking up'- essentially when a mama cat's nipples become a darker pink and slightly swollen around the third or fourth week of pregnancy. I've been waiting for it to happen and it has! Yay, babies!!!

Not wanting to jinx things either, but she's been super healthy this time around with none of the issues that bothered her this time two years ago. Even the 'morning' sickness she's prone to has, so far, been limited to some minor gagging. Generally in the evening! According to my records that ought to be coming to an end soon anyway

She's also lost her 'waist'. With the previous litters she's had a very gentle rounding by this stage, it's harder to tell this time because she was fairly well rounded to start with (that belly is not baby, its Mama!!) but she has lost a little definition low down. She's hungry and tired too, and super cuddly, so it does look as though all is progressing as it should.

Hurrah! We're having kittens!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Central Heating

So, when (if!) the kittens come, especially when they are small the house will have to be kept really quite warm. Newborn kittens can easily chill, and this can kill them.

Heating is expensive though, isn't it! I've been watching the price rises on heating with some alarm. I feel the cold badly (soft Southerner), and the boy's bedroom gets very chilly due to the air bricks (for the damp) so we tend to use a lot of heat one way or another. We're having to be a bit creative about it, in the run up to kittens. The days of turning on the heating in October, and leaving it on till May rolls around are sadly long gone! I've discovered if you give the house a blast of heat at around eight in the evening, then turn it off, it stays warm enough (with the addition of jumpers and extra socks under the slippers!) until bedtime.

None of this is at all relevant to this blog of course, except to explain the above picture. Indigo and Theo have been spending much of their time snuggled up together, sharing the warmth. It's quite sweet, especially as they periodically wake up, indulge in some mutual grooming, then settle back for another sleep. Theo's tried to snuggle with the other girls too, but they are much warier about their personal space.Their winter coats have all come in now, even very shorthaired Indigo is looking decidedly fluffier and they are all appreciating the extra layer.

At night, the three well behaved mogs sleep on my bed, and seem nice and cozy. Indigo is in the living room of course, but she has a cat cubby and she's fairly well..... layered, shall we say? I'm not worried about her getting cold. Besides which, Indigo would let me know ALLLLLLL about it if she were chilly. She's not backwards in coming forwards, that one.

Once the big day approaches, the heating will go on properly and we'll all enjoy the warmth but until then we're fluffing our fur and snuggling up together. It's actually rather nice. Stay warm!!

Thursday, 7 November 2013


 I bought some cat toys. Because, y'know, I don't have many of those...

What??? They were a bargain!!! Every breeder needs a good stock of nice new toys, right? (yeah OK I have a problem. But they really were a bargain. Bulk buy on eBay!)

Sofia approved very much and promptly went bonkers. I suspect there may be a couple of catnip toys in the package given her reaction. There was also a package of stick toys, Sofia's favourite, which she managed to open, and then brought one to me for a game! Such a clever girl. Theo and Ava spent a happy afternoon romping up and down the hall with a purple fluffy mouse and Indigo had fun biting and licking the bubble wrap, but Inds is just a weirdo!

Right. Got to put these toys away somewhere before the cats get into the bag again...

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Kitten Packs... How Much???

Awwww... Wendell/Jacob and his mouse! I love this pic! Jacob will be three soon, scary.
So, I was trawling through the net the other day, as I often do when I'm *ahem* supposed to be studying, and I came across this thread It was quite a read.

My goodness, but some of those packs are flash!!! Cat carriers, cat trees and scratchers, track toys, food to last a month... I began to feel quite despondent!

Common sense reasserted itself, however. To start with, many of these breeders were in the US, where $800 for a kitten is the norm, and many go for more,this equates to at least £500 sterling. I charge £425. Some breeds go for more. If you are charging $2000 for a Bengal kitten, which costs no more to raise than an $850 Tonk, then you can jolly well afford to throw in a cat carrier and slightly fancier toys!

It was an education finding out how much certain cats go for on the other side of the pond, it really was...

Also, it's a bit weird. I don't know about you, but when I got my first kittens, Ava and Sofia, part of the pleasure for me was picking out a new carrier, food bowls, bed, toys... I wouldn't have wanted the breeder to do this for me. I find that kind of weird, actually! Admittedly I was like a neurotic new mother (not much changes then, haha!) but these things are so personal aren't they?

I did notice that many of the bigger packs though were bulked up by the free samples breeders can access if they belong to certain clubs... you order a minimum amount of food from them a year and in return they advertise to your kittens' new families by sending free samples and then bombarding them regularly with junk mail. Hmmm. (although I do sign up for the free insurance so??)

There are lots of these schemes in the US and several over here too, most wanting you to breed a certain number of litters a year to qualify, which I feel is equally insidious. To the best of my knowledge, James Wellbeloved do not have such a scheme- if they do I don't belong to it!

Really, am I missing the point here? A kitten pack is meant to provide a few, familiar things for transition, a few toys similar to ones he's already played with, food his tummy is used to, a blanket that smells comforting? Surely giving kitty twelve different foods over the course of his first week is just  going to give him bellyache? Sure they might be free, but???

Now, I could bump the up the price for a kitten, and have a flashier pack, but...having thought about it, I'm happy with how we do things here. Flash isn't the goal, or rather it shouldn't be. The only thing I'm changing this year, and which I did find useful from the topic, is I'm going to include a blanket, which the kittens have used and therefore smells comforting to them. I like that idea and think it will be a good thing to include. But I'm not planning on including cat baskets any time soon!!!

What do you think? What is the point of a kitten pack? Did your Indikon pack make you feel short changed? Was there anything you expected to see in it that wasn't?

Monday, 4 November 2013


Now I don't know if it's me imagining things, but Miss Indigo has become very territorial over the cubby hole in the cat tree. I'm just recording it for information's sake, future reference if you will, because it's interesting. Could it be a mild nesting instinct, an early recce round the house to find possible places? If she is pregnant, she's only two weeks. Her last litter she only started nesting after around seven weeks, with the REM's it was just in the last few days.

Of course, since the last litter, it's all changed round here, the rooms have been switched. So she can't just rely on what she did before. Perhaps that is causing her current speculation. Anyway, it's interesting to me. Although if she thinks she's having them in the cat tree she's in for a disappointment!!!

For my part, I have been eyeing up the Snowsilk kittening cubes, as I do every year. Oh, they are just amazing! Easy to clean, store nice and flat, and being a bit odd like that I find them very aesthetically pleasing as well, but oh my goodness, the cost! I'd have a dog one, not needing a lid (I don't like to confine Mama at all, just the babies while they are new and delicate) and an extension... 24inches or more... what's that you say? £400 plus quid? Well let me just fetch my credit card then cough cough I don't think!

No, I'm afraid my cattery is much more of a... budget enterprise, shall we say? My babies get an underbed storage trug, a rabbit run and the teenager's old Winnie The Pooh baby blankets in which to spend their first few weeks! But they get lots of love, and that's the main thing!

Hmm... must sort out my kittening supplies before too long. Given that it's been two years I expect there'll be quite a lot of things needing replacing/ topping up. Reckon I'll be needing the credit card then!

Oh well. Perhaps one day!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Theo's Tummy

Aww! Yes, that face gets kissed on a regular basis...
So, Theo, my Birman gentleman, has been prescribed this dry food- hydrolysed, hypoallergenic and highly expensive. And naturally only available on prescription. I've bought a bag, but we haven't started it yet... and I'm in two minds about it.

The dry food they have already is a hypoallergenic, single protein kind. It's not cheap. I spoke to someone the other day that controlled her cat's inflammatory bowel by switching to the food I already use. So I figured, in my own muddled way, that the cause of Theo's woes is far likely to be the more readily available Whiskas, or the treats they sometimes have, rather than the kibble. I know the cause of every cat's IBD is different, but stick with me for a bit here, anyway I cut the treats and the Whiskas two weeks ago... and *drum roll* so far, Theo has not had any issues.

Two weeks is a short period of time, but it had got to the point where several times a week he'd be poorly. And it's obvious when he's not feeling right. These past few weeks he's gone back to his bouncy, kittenish self, much to the annoyance of poor Ava, who is generally on the receiving end of his bounce. So while it's not long, it feels significant.

I just feel like if I switch to the prescription now, and Theo continues well, I won't know if it is the new dry food, or the fact he's no longer on the Whiskas/treats that has helped. Also there's the fact that the prescription food is Royal Canin, which Indigo was allergic to. Yes, it's a different variety, but could switching food be opening up a whole new can of (poultry flavoured!!) worms for my cats? Inds has had two pregnancies now blighted by health issues- the allergy with the REM's that wreaked such havoc on her skin, that was only solved by switching food, and the mystery no-idea-what-this-is virus that plagued her with the Von Trapps. I'm eager for her to have an issue free pregnancy this time!!!

Feeding them all separately would be really tricky, because of course they are going to get into each other's food at some point, so I'd rather not go down that route, and Ava needs to be free fed anyway. And I have a lot of cats, I buy kibble 20kg at a time, the largest sack of the prescription food is 4kg.
It's not a good solution for us, is what I am saying. And then there is the cost. I wouldn't begrudge Theo the special food should he prove to need it, but if he doesn't.... well it really is a LOT more expensive than even a good quality kibble such as I buy.

So that's what I am trying. Of course if Theo does now get sick again I shall feel super guilty... but at least I have a big bag of the prescription food at the ready, just in case!

As for the Whiskas... alas, poor Theo, the first day I didn't give him his beloved Whiskas!!! Oh, he was miserable! He stared at me all mournfully with his big blue eyes, meowed pointedly at the kitchen door, and was generally Not A Happy Puss. I've had to rethink that one too, because I am soft and sappy and couldn't bear to see my boy all disappointed. Total pushover. So now, every evening I boil a whole chicken leg, or a couple of thighs or drumsticks, and they all get a treat of shredded chicken come bedtime, after all plain boiled chicken is recommended for poorly tummies as a non-demanding, easily digestible food! Nutritionally- meh, the Whiskas would be better. Raw meat would be far better, but OF COURSE none of my darlings will touch that. So chicken it is. But it keeps my Theo happy, and it's only once a day, and not a lot, per cat, so as a compromise I'm happy with it.

It's keeping the Teenager pretty happy too. Lots of boiled chicken means lots of chicken stock for use in noodles, soups, gravies, risottos... I hate waste... and because I don't eat meat he gets to have the lot!

Damn, but it's complicated having all these cats *grin*

You just keep the chicken coming, lady...

Friday, 1 November 2013

Long, long, long!

Glaring at Sofia
Good evening :)

Once again, I apologise for the absence. Once Indigo's kittens are here, indeed in the run up,  I will get back to daily posting, but things have rather gotten in the way this week. Long time since I posted, and a long post as a result!

So. Kitten news. Having now done this several times before, certain aspects of her demeanour at the moment spark off memories, sort of 'didn't she do this last time?' moments. I spent some time the other day transferring my notes from her previous two pregnancies onto a chart, (yes, more scintillating cat-geekery!) so I can compare at a glance.

So when she started gagging the other evening, I could look on my chart and see yes, actually with the REM litter it was this far in (to the day!) when she was sick. Less obvious signs too- Indigo has been very noisy in the past few days but I see that this was the case in previous pregnancies too, something I had forgotten about. She's sleepy, and a little crotchety, and very cuddly, and bad tempered with the other girls. It will be another week or two before I know if Indigo's stud visit was successful, but the early signs are good.

It was also interesting to see exactly when the girls' relationship broke down. It hadn't been good for a while, but I had forgotten that it was actually a result of Indigo's allergy, which reared it's head when she was expecting the REM's. Of course, we had no idea what it was and it did look as though it could be ringworm. I kept her away from the others, and by the time we'd had the all clear several weeks later the damage had been done. They were still separated nearly two years later. Madness.

Funny the things you forget. They are reintegrated now, of course, but I will be watching them all closely!

Theo's tummy, touch wood, seems a little more settled of late. What a relief! I'll write more about this soon.

I've had a few people interested in kittens of late... obviously we (probably!) have some on the way but I happen to know there's a litter just been born and another due at Rameses, and one due in a few weeks at Tonkadello. All Louis's kittens!

Now an appeal. The cattery Tonkadello, in Kent, have a beautiful, affectionate ladycat who needs a home. This kitty has already been homed, but sadly lost that home after a year because she developed a weeing on the bed habit. SHE IS GORGEOUS.... honestly she's such a pretty cat, curious and friendly. My son and I met her when we went to collect  Inds, and she was happy to be petted, and was purry and talkative. She is adjusting slowly to a house full of cats and kittens again, but really she needs her own home, one where the family are willing to accommodate her by restricting bedroom access. In fact, there's every possibility that in a new environment she won't have an issue at all- it's not unheard of.

If anyone can offer this lovely girl a home, do please contact the folks at Tonkadello.