Friday, 26 September 2014

Lucy Leaps

The difference in my cats' exercise technique. Lucy leaps all over the place, tripping over her own paws and falling into furniture. Indigo reclines and flaps a paw half heartedly around. Heh.

Theo will bounce around with Lucy, although not as long, although he doesn't in this video,  but Indigo's stance is entirely typical, and not just because she's pregnant!


Lucy has been benefitting from Indigo's increased feeding schedule rather too well, and her weight is creeping up at a rate not much less than her mother's. Lucy doesn't have kittens a-cooking though, so this is not a welcome occurrence. She's also responded to the more food with more pestering for food, driving me bonkers with claims she is 'wasting away here, lady!' when her belly shows a different story.

Sigh. I've yet to decide how to deal with it. As you can see, it isn't that she doesn't get enough exercise!


Inds 5.37kg
Lucy 3.94kg

We've been using Bozita chicken.  Bozita is apparently a bit Marmite, many cats can't stand it. My pair are firmly in the 'yes' camp though, and it's gone down well.

We've also been using Smilla tuna and sardine, which has NOT. It looks nice enough (as cat food goes) lots of big chunks of fish, I know it's decent quality and the cats eat it fine but dear God the STENCH! It really is gag- worthy. In addition, Inds has had several bouts of sickness  on it, which in all fairness is fairly typical of her in pregnancy, and also some litter box issues which is not... and equally gag-worthy. Definitely a food for stronger stomachs than we have round here.

Food, Glorious Food!

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There's been a definite increase in Indigo's appetite this week. Lots of moaning at me for food, and now I know that she's pregnant, I'm not sure the best way to proceed with the eating plan. Oddly enough, the internet isn't being terribly helpful on the subject of feeding guides for obese pregnant Mama-cats. Feeding set meals, and not too much does seem to suit Indigo better though, given she's only had one episode of sickness, unusual for Indigo who is a bit prone.

In humans, if an obese woman is pregnant, the advice is for her to strive not to put anything on over the course of the pregnancy. If she starts at 100kg, she's apparently supposed to end there too, bump and all. In cats, a pregnancy will typically add 1-1.5kgs to a Mama cat, depending on litter size, which is a far greater proportion of her original weight than in a human. So that advice isn't too helpful in terms of cats but one can adopt the vague principle, I guess, and try and prevent her from gaining too much, so she's drawing slightly on her natural reserves... but without compromising the kittens' growth. At least until a couple of weeks from the end when she can eat as much and as often as she darn well likes as far as I am concerned.

So far, breakfast and dinner have been big meals and lunch has been a smaller one. I've divided breakfast into two smaller meals, moved lunch back a bit to sort of mid afternoon and added a few biscuits at teatime- five meals as opposed to three- and that seems to be satisfying her for the moment, and total weight gain is about 100g at four weeks, which is quite acceptable. Lucy is staying pretty much the same so the 'extra' food isn't affecting her, I can only think that Mama is eating a slightly larger proportion at meal times so it is balancing itself out.

All this canned food has had a somewhat annoying side effect. Theo has refused to eat his own can of highly processed special glop, and really I don't blame him, horrid stuff it is! He has been giving me the sad eyes at every meal time. Oh, the sad eyes... makes me feel so guilty! At his last vet visit I got the go ahead to try him on those dinky little cans of pure fish, fish broth and nothing else, Applaws I think, anyway they are about a pound per tiny tiny tin at the pet shop so I'm going to have to find a cheaper supplier. But he loves them, so is still getting his evening treat.

We are using the fish ones because Theo has had virtually no exposure to fish protein food as Sofia isn't keen, so is less likely to show an allergic response, and also fish is naturally less allergenic for some reason. The idea is to try each one for the best part of a week and if there's been no poorly tummy, that food can be considered pretty safe. So far tuna is fine, and we are currently on sardine and mackerel.

More expense... but one happy boy again, and at least with this one I can buy it from the local pet shop in an emergency, it doesn't have to be specially ordered!


Lucy: 3.81g
Indie: 5.08g

We've been using Grau grain free food this week, various flavours, and I have to say, it's not top of the list. It's a really good quality one, looks and smells pretty good and the cats will clear the plate, but it has this horrid habit of spraying you with meat juices when you open the can. Nothing wrong with it, all perfectly fresh, it's the way it is processed. But yeah... it's not all that pleasant if you are like me and invariably forget to hold a paper towel over the can when opening. Urgh!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

So that hint I dropped about Indigo...

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Take another picture and I cut you, lady...

Yup. She's pregnant. Or at least I think she is!

I'd decided some time ago that the next litter was to be her last, but have been weighing up in my mind what would be the best timescale. Ideally I wanted her to have a litter before Lucy did because then Lucy would have an idea as to what it was all about, help out a bit without being entirely responsible, and so on. But then Indigo is, as you know, pretty chunky, so I was torn between this and putting her back on the Ovarid till next year, in order to lose some weight.

I took the advice of several other breeders and the general consensus seemed to be to do it sooner rather than later, as Ovarid itself is not without its risks. And then Indigo went into call, even earlier than I had expected, and rather forced the issue.

With the next call, she went to stud, but, whilst she was friendly enough with her mate, she appeared to have gone out of call. No mating or post-coital behaviour was observed; no encouraging noises were heard. The stud quarters were in their house this time, and... well let's just say Indigo isn't known for being quiet about these things. Cats mating can get pretty rowdy! But nothing. The stud owner and I decided to end the visit early and try again in a few weeks. Home she came.

However, it would appear her boyfriend and I had us fooled all the time and they DID get it on during their brief period together because...

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Nipples!!!! All pink and rosy and plump and pregnant- looking.

I know, I get all excited about nipples every year. But really 'pinking up' is the first definite sign of pregnancy. She's also very tired, and super cuddly, purry and knead-y. She just has a look about her that yells 'pregnant'. And there's some odd little quirks of hers as well that I would never have noticed had I not made notes on each pregnancy (yes, on a nice little table for comparison!)- things like this:

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That's Indigo, emptying my shelves of bedding and taking up a rather possessive, growly residence there for a few days. I thought it was amusing, till I happened to look at my chart and saw last time she got similarly possessive about the cat tree cubby. That was about a week ago, until then I was fully expecting her to go back into call. Of course she plays in the wardrobes all the time, so that could be coincidence... but I don't think so.

There was another very early sign. About a week back from stud, Lucy and Indigo seemed on very bad terms, with Indigo growling at her and even whapping her on occasion. Then I saw what was happening before each time- Lucy was attempting to nurse. Lucy hasn't nursed since she was five months old, but SOMETHING was making her feel kittenish. Some smell, perhaps, that humans aren't able to pick up? Of course Indigo was having none of that nonsense!

Other than that, she seems very well and hasn't shown any signs of nausea this time. My hope is that, because she wasn't with the stud for very long this time, she may have a smaller litter. Of course it doesn't necessarily work that way, but I can but hope!

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Not telling. I just sleep here for the next 6 weeks yes?


Weights this week were Inds 4.97kg, Lucy 3.87kg. They have been eating Animonda Carny, a mixed tray, of which all flavours seemed to be quite acceptable, and Bozita salmon, which was similarly appreciated. Somehow I don't think Indigo or Lucy are picky cats...

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Sock Tonks

I'm going to a fancy dress party this autumn, and what better costume than a crazy cat lady??? Obviously I can't take my real cats, so I've made a bunch of sock cats instead! Some of them are unmatched pairs from the 'wherever did the other one go?' sock box, and the small ones are made from new baby socks.

My sewing falls into the 'more enthusiasm than skill' category, but these are not difficult... if you fancy making your own the instructions are here: Anyway, here are a few of mine: I have about 12 of them and they will be sewn to a dressing gown and slippers for the party!

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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Diet Fail!

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Butter wouldn't melt... hah!

Lucy: 3.85kgs
Indigo 5.00kgs

Oh Lucy. Lucy-Lulu. You are a bad, bad girl!

Lucy, it seems, is every bit as naughty as her Mama. This week she has broken into the kitchen twice (seems she can open doors now, hmm...) and caused a bit of mayhem. The first time she managed to knock over the (big, heavy) tub of kibble. The second time it was a quarter of a pot of cream I had stupidly left out on the side.

And guess who was only too happy to hoover up the mess? Yup, Indigo. The kibble day I was out on the school run at the time, and came back to Lucy sitting smugly on the counter, and Indigo face-first, having not so much a snack but a three course meal. With petit fours and cheese. Face. Palm.

Add this to a few teething troubles from our change of routine, for example the teenager forgetting to take up the other cats' kibble before he lets the Tonks out of the living room of a morning,  Madam Inds has actually put ON weight this week, instead of losing it. Not the most auspicious of starts, then!

Still, Lucy is doing well, pretty much the same, 20g less but that's not much and probably explained by the new toys I got them... a super feather stick which is a cheap version of a Da Bird or a Flying Frenzy (Trixie brand, from zooplus)- I am going to get the real thing though as I can see these aren't going to last long. Lucy loves it. Inds has had a few swipes, but Lucy goes wild and has probably burned off that 20g!

Better luck next week I hope. I have rearranged my kitchen, to make kibble-stealing much more difficult, and am considering a lock to keep my little vandal out of the room completely!!!


Just to record what they have tried:

Feringa: The first time I put it down, one sniff and Lucy was in, Indigo took a little longer to warm up, but by the time I was done in the shower the plates were clean, as they were for every meal after that. No litter box issues.

Bozita sensitive: There is sometimes a small amount left on the plates but this is quite low cal and there's a lot of it. Cats so-so and it is the most expensive option so probably not one we will choose long term. No litter box issues.

Fat Cats Continued...

Meant to post this last week... fail!

Ok, so I have weighed the cats and I am taking this as their official start weight (although Inds has lost some already, and Lucy had an initial loss when I switched the food and has now plateaued)

Lucy: 3.87kg
Indigo: 4.9kg

Their food arrived. Lots and lots of cans and packets. I figure on trying each one for a three day period, unless of course it's a total fail in which case NEXT! I guess three days will be enough time to figure out how much they like it

I thought to myself I had better find a feeding guide so I knew how much they each ought to be eating, and quickly realised there was a HUGE variation. Some foods are nutritionally very dense, others they need to eat twice as much or more for the same calories. Even with the Whiskas, 100g of the pouch food is equivalent to about 150g of the tinned.

It's very easy to overfeed a cat without even knowing, I guess is what I am saying.

Anyway, so chart made, which involved quite a lot of Maths because the feeding recommendations are per kg of cat and neither of mine are on convenient kg boundaries. It wasn't quite satisfactory though. It's all very well saying (as with the Smilla Tuna and Sardine) that I would need 2.67 cans for the day..., but I knew I'd not want to be measuring out .67 of a can, and what would I do with the remaining third anyway? Using it the next day would muck up the next day's amount and if I threw it away the waste would annoy me.  I decided I wouldn't do parts of cans but make up any shortfall with kibble. Cue even more Maths, as I worked out how much kibble would be needed on each day to make up the calorie shortfall. Then converted that into teaspoons because I think we all know that if I can't be bothered to divide up cans accurately, I am not going to get the scales out every morning.

Now it's a while since I did any Maths and it took ALL MORNING and I ended up with a thumping headache but I have a nice chart now that tells me that on 'Smilla' days, my girls need two 185g cans of the wet stuff and six teaspoons of kibble between them, on Bozita Chicken days they need an entire 370g tetra pack plus nine teaspoons of kibble but on Lily's Kitchen days they need the one 400g tin and no biccies at all.

It did occur to me, several times, that all this was a bit bonkers and I ought to just use my common sense... but given my cats are tubby I clearly have none where food is concerned and as for bonkers... yeah I have five cats... I think we passed that particular boundary some time ago *grin*

Monday, 1 September 2014

Fat Cats.

Right then! As you know I've been cracking down on everyone's diet since I realised Indigo was more fat than cat, and Lucy was going the same way. We've had a major change in the way the cats are fed and they, the Tonks, at least, are now not free fed at all.

A colleague (Tonkinini Tonkinese) had had a similar issue with one of hers, and she found a novel solution. She'd not put the biscuits down, but at certain times of the day get them out and throw them for the cat to run for. The cat ate less, and got a bit of a workout in the process. Tonks, as many of you know, are the ideal candidates for such shenanigans, with their love of Fetch etc. Genius!

So, feeling like a bit of a prune, we tried biscuit throwing. Indigo cottoned on right away, but Lucy, oh my word, she was appalled! Fled to the top of the hall cat tree and protested with some vigour. And the next day, and the next. It was the fourth day that she suddenly seemed to click that this was OMG FOOD AND A GAME ALL AT ONCE!!!!!, and now she's the most enthusiastic of the lot. Silly Tonk!

So that helped, and the combination of more exercise and not being free fed meant that Indigo lost half a pound and Lucy more or less stayed the same (which I want, I don't want her to lose, just to grow into herself a little, after all she is still a kitten) All well and good.

Then my vet suggested to me that my greedy guts might eat less if I switched them to mostly wet food. Because it's 70-80% water, they can eat a lot more of it for the same calories, and quite often they don't if you see what I mean. I've certainly found this with Lucy and Indigo. So I thought I would try this, and over the past week I have been transitioning the Tonks over to three meals of wet per day. It's a bit more complicated, what with the needs of the other cats and all, but it's going OK.

I've been using Whiskas but now I'm on a mission to find a better quality food. Which, being me, will involve a spreadsheet and lots and lots of nerdy stats and wafflings on this blog. You have been warned!

There are so many to chose from, but I've had to filter them a bit in terms of price... luxury 70g mini-tins/ sachets are all very well for one pampered puss but with my brood, we need catering size, please, and preferably not too expensive! I haven't ruled anything out, but those brands will be tested only if none of these are satisfactory. So, on order are:

Yarrah Organic
Feringa complete
Grau grain- free
Lily's Kitchen

Let the nerdery begin!

A few notes:

1) Sofia is also portly. However, Sofia doesn't eat wet food at all, so I'll have to think on that one. She may just have to stay portly.

2)At some point, Inds will go back into call, and hopefully conceive. There is a (miniscule) chance she may be expecting now. More on that in another post! She will therefore be fed only a tiny bit less than the recommended for her weight. Lucy will be fed for her weight. Neither Tonk is on a diet as such. If and when Indigo does conceive, she will have enough good quality food to grow healthy babies and stay well, don't worry, and Lucy will also have enough to finish her growing!

3)Tonight, and tomorrow morning, the Tonks won't be having cat food at all. They will be having chicken. This is because my bad Lucy snuck into the kitchen earlier and helped herself liberally to the remains of a chicken carcass that I was planning to use for a pie. Lucy!!!!! Ooh, she is a monkey. Well I'm not throwing good meat away, but the boy can't have it now, so cat food it is!!!