Tiffany Comes Home
Living with Ragdolls
Then There Were 2
Our First Litter
In My Experience...
Belle Comes Of Age
I can only describe the experience of breeding our first litter of VelvetSky kittens as amazing. Each day was filled with wonderment as we watched the kittens thrive and grow into the beautiful cats they have become. I kept a simple diary of kitten 'goings on' from the day they were born and, through this page, would like to share some of them with you.
So the first litter of VelvetSky kittens had arrived
safely. We fell into bed at 1pm that night, feeling immensely proud
of Chloe, relieved that our first experience of kittening had gone so
smoothly and exhausted, but I hardly dare sleep. Next to our
bed in the cardboard kittening box, lay Chloe and her three beautiful
kittens and I lay awake for most of the night, just listening to the sound
of the kittens suckling, while their Mum purred gently. As it grew
was greeted with the beautiful sight of three white little bundles snuggled
into the warmth of Chloe's sleeping body.
Chloe was a wonderfully attentive Mum , but what really impressed us was the trust she put in us, even when we handled her babies. We began handling the kittens, two boys and a girl, from the very beginning, although initially they were not overly impressed by this and they made their feelings known by 'squeaking' loudly. While Chloe would come to their calls immediately, once she realised it was just us, she would be contented they were in no danger and would either lay beside us washing herself contentedly or use the time to catch up on some eating! We recorded the kitten's weights and changed their bedding daily, but Chloe was such a super Mum, that we did not need to intervene with their care in any other way. We just spent hours watching. Very quickly we realised the kittens each had a favourite nipple which they went to at every feed and when they were not feeding they slept, either cuddled up to Chloe or huddling together for warmth and comfort. They would often be found piled on top of each other sucking on a spare ear, or paw, or on the vetbed, just as a baby has a dummy. As tiny as the kittens were, their little purrsonalities were already developing. One of the boys, Samwise Gamgee, was the noisiest of the three if he was hungry or when he was handled- now he has a huge meow and purr which could deafen you! The other boy, Peregrin Took, was just so greedy. He always fed for the longest, was the heaviest at every weigh in and still is obsessed with filling his tummy at every opportunity. Little Arwen Evenstar, was a lady from the start, petite, well mannered and bright, always being the first to learn what kittens need to learn and always able to teach her brothers a thing or two. At three days old the kittens, which at birth had been pure white, were already developing dark ears and dark noses and by one week old the colouration was noticeable on their feet and chins, so we guessed we had three little seal colour points. Those early days were very special and absolutely fascinating.
By the time our little VelvetSky kittens were eight days old they had more than doubled their birth weight. Their little legs were becoming stronger, as they began to scrabble around exploring their kittening box or searching for their favourite nipple. They were even beginning to have audible purrs, most noticeable while they were suckling, but of course Sam's purr was the loudest. One of the most memorable moments for me was on 6th September 2002, when the kittens began to open their eyes and have their first glimpse of the world they had been born into. I cannot describe how it felt as I picked up the kittens to find them winking and blinking at me, it was just beautiful.
As soon as their eyes were open, the kittens began to behave differently. The boys, Sam and Peri began to interact with each other in a way I had not seen before, tumbling and rolling around together. Later on that day, they started to become adventurous and wanted to investigate what was outside the kittening box. Sam was the first to start peering over the edge of the box, but within a couple of days Arwen and Peri were joining in. Soon it became obvious that looking was becoming tiresome and now it was much more fun to try and climb out!
Our babies were growing up fast and so it was time to move them into more appropriate kitten 'accommodation'. It was out with the kittening box and in with the kitten playpen, which was far safer for active, adventurous little kittens. With more room to play and explore the kittens became even more entertaining to watch and I dread to think how many hours I spent just watching them grow and develop. They began to play together, biffing each other and rolling around just like older kittens do. The speed of their development was amazing and by two weeks old, they were already beginning to learn to wash themselves and each other. Having been handled from their first days, the kittens were by now becoming quite used to their daily cuddles and would usually just snuggle down and go to sleep. Around this time I started the early stages of getting them used to grooming, using a very soft baby brush, gently brushing down their backs and they did not mind it at all, in fact, I think they enjoyed it. As the days passed and their legs grew even stronger they became more and more mobile, no longer so much crawling, but weight bearing on their legs, lifting their tummies off the ground and taking proper steps. With each day the kittens became stronger and bolder and when I changed their bedding they would venture out of the play pen, nervously at first, and then more confidently. Chloe was a little concerned when the kittens first began to leave the confines of the play pen, for their daily voyages of discovery and would sit and watch very closely, although she never picked them up and put them back in the pen. It was as if she understood their need to exercise and to explore new horizons. As the confidence of the kittens grew, so Chloe became more relaxed about them having a little supervised freedom. Once the kittens had perfected walking and running they set to the idea of learning to climb and it was not long before they had this perfected too and by four weeks old they were able to climb over the barrier we had made to keep them in the play pen. Then the fun really began!
Living and Learning
We now had three very lively kittens and much of my day was spent trying to keep them out of kitten mischief. They began playing with the array of cat toys we had provided them with and they especially loved the little knitted mice we had made for them. Arwen showed her brothers how to 'hunt', by pouncing on the mice, clutching them in her little mouth and running around the bedroom with them until she was sure they were 'dead'. The kittens also loved climbing, attempting to climb anything, including my legs, and I can tell you that their claws may have been tiny but they were needle sharp! It was not too long before they were able to haul themselves up the duvet onto our bed and it was here that they liked to sleep during the day. The kittens were now beginning to wean. We began by feeding them baby rice, made with Cimicat, a powdered milk food designed especially for cats. It was a messy business and it took them a while to get the hang of eating the food instead of paddling in it, but they cracked it in the end and it was not long before they were eating proper kitten food. They still continued to feed enthusiastically from Chloe, whenever they could, and she never became impatient with them, even when they were still trying to suckle at 10 weeks old! I was amazed at how easily the kittens learnt to use the litter tray. We had introduced them to this when we first put them into the playpen, at two weeks of age. We placed a small tray, containing a non-clumping litter, into the pen with them. It is important to use a non-clumping litter, such as Catsan, because kittens do have a habit of eating the litter. If they were to eat pieces of clumping litter, this would swell inside their tummy and make them very poorly. Our kittens investigated the tray frequently, sleeping in it, sitting in it, throwing the granules of litter and yes eating it! Once they were weaning, after each meal, I would just place them in the tray and then out of the blue, at a month old, Little Arwen discovered the real purpose of the tray. It was not long before Sam and Peri had the idea too. Now the kittens were litter trained, we were able allow them more freedom and so we moved them downstairs with the rest of our cats and our dog, Toby, where they quickly learned what living in a busy, household was all about. The kittens continued to thrive and we spent so many hours playing with them, grooming them, cuddling them and giving them lots of love. Our time and commitment was rewarded with three loving, well mannered, beautiful seal, colour pointed kittens that we were proud to call VelvetSky kittens.
Saying goodbye, we knew, was going to be very difficult. We had always intended to keep one of the kittens from our first litter and after much soul searching we decided that Samwise Gamgee would stay with us and that we would find loving homes for Peregrin Took and Arwen Evenstar. Fate played its part, as my Mum's 18 year old lovable, loyal moggy, Topsy, had to be put sleep in November. Mum missed Topsy so very much, as did Solo, Mum's 6 year old Ragdoll, so she decided it was the right time to have another cat. She chose to have Peri, and so now we needed to find the perfect family for little Arwen. Arwen was nearly 4 months old before that family turned up , but goodness me she fell on her little paws! Stephen and Mary, visited us, along with their little girl, Ellie, on 18th January 2003. They are a wonderful family and straight away we knew that Arwen had at last found the home she deserved, where she would be loved and pampered like every Ragdoll should. The first litter of VelvetSky kittens spent their last whole day together on 21st January. It was a strange day, sad, but at the same time I felt a great sense of achievement that our kittens were going to give love and pleasure to others. Stephen came to collect little Arwen Evenstar the following morning. Letting her go was one of the hardest things I have had to do, but I have no doubt that Stephen, Mary and Ellie will give her the most wonderful life and we here at VelvetSky are very thankful to have found her such a special, loving home. Stephen and Mary have stayed in touch with us and Arwen has settled beautifully into her life with her new family and is very happy. As for Peri, well he too has settled into his life of feline luxury with my Mum and Solo. When Mum comes to visit, Peri and Solo tag along too and it is quite something to see that Sam and Peri are still the best of friends, playing and snoozing together just as they always did.