It's kind of hard to believe how much has changed since that Friday in October when Noodle needed veterinary help right at the end of her pregnancy with the end result of one small kitten instead of the litter I'd been expecting and hoping for.
Her kitten was so very tiny, she seemed to me so fragile... a tiny warm bag of flesh and bones who was so helpless and yet had all the instincts to find a nipple and to feed.
I was anxious... would this kitten make it? Would Noodle be a natural mum and manage the demands having a kitten now placed upon her?
Terrified hands that needed to hold this kitten and somehow give her milk on day 3 when she was still not suckling well enough and was now growing weaker... and the difference it made when I did! How quickly those few feeds I supplemented day and night combined with hot flannels for mum changed the outcome.
Seeing this little kitten double in size before my eyes was incredible. Then the surprise of seeing her eyes wide opened when I had expected to see her eyes slowly open over a couple of days! Marvelling at the strength in those limbs and watching the first wobbly and teetering steps that are now so confident that running, jumping and climbing are no problem at all.
The anxieties I felt about feeding solids... worrying was I getting in right and the fear when she refused the pouched food I'd stockpiled during Noodle's pregnancy ready to feed a ravenous litter of kittens. Making up batches of dry food that needed to be soaked for hours before it was soft enough to feed to her which had some success. Then the rapid acceptance and delight in her when I admitted defeat with using commercial food and instead bought a freezer full of raw food. I didnt mind too much because I had planned to introduce to Noodle to BARF after she had finished lactating anyway so this was no hardship really. I will donate the left over food to Cats Protection).
The amazing success of weaning was of course followed by her needing to use the litter tray rather than for mum to clean her up....and I felt so glad when the first twice she got it right. I couldn't belive my luck. Swiftly followed by disappointment when she decided not to use it after all... and then finding a way to help her to work it all out so that we were both happy.
If my kitten was healthy before, the introduction of the raw food diet was like having put into her a couple of Duracell batteries! Now she was motoring; becoming the precocious and cheeky little lady that will be so hard to say goodbye to in a few weeks time.
Now she was feeding and littering it was time for her to have her first bath.... she is so small still that I could do this in the bathroom sink! She didn't seem to mind it too much either!
Finally, since she no longer needed 24hour assistance, I decided to relocate the cat nursery moving it out of my bedroom and taking it downstairs. I took the cage down (jenga) and set it up along with a large fabric pet play pen so I can contain her.
The downside of this move is two fold. The first is that Noodle is in heat again ( the second time since the birth) and is very, very noisy - And secondly in her now being in a quandary....she has always slept with me since she came.... so now she is feeling pulled in two directions - her duty as a mother and being with her kitten, against her wish to be with me (and to be given the attention she feels she needs with these hormones going crazy in her).
So a downside (perhaps) is that the move has put an end to the night time hours of mother - daughter snuggles. It may even have stopped Pot" from nursing on her at all. This is OK because Pot doesn't need mother's milk any longer but it is kind of sad. This separation from mum now will perhaps ease any separation difficulties they might have suffered when Pot goes in January to start her new life... but I must say, I do miss hearing their dual purring....
But all this has made me think more about the changes that are still to come... and of missing Pot.
Im doing all I can to ensure she goes to a wonderful new family...but during these wonderful weeks she has been MY kitten...(well, Noodle's & mine!). Once she is reserved though and the reservation fee is paid, even though she will still here for another 4 weeks she will no longer be mine.
This has to mark the first part of my letting her go completely physically and emotionally.
I know there will be tears..... The plan is that Prune will have moved in with us a few days before hand. Coming when Pot is still here will I hope ease her acceptance by Noodle since Pot and Prune are about the same age.... I am hoping Noodle may just think she has another kitten she had somehow forgotten about.
Im also hoping that when Pot leave, her disappearance wont be so noticable for Noodle because she now will have Prune.
Of course having Prune will give me my new baby to love and bring her own joy...but I cant help but to think about how much letting Pot go and her departure will hurt . And thinking about what action if any, I can do to manage it.
Friends have asked me right from the beginning when I told them of my decision to breed from Noodle how I will feel about letting her kittens go.... True, I'd hoped and anticipated that there would be a litter of kittens (kittens in plural!) which would have meant that the love Pot has had would have been shared..... perhaps her being a lone kitten, and one I have had to hand feed, has served to intensify the bond?
I'd hoped for a solid black kitten in the litter allowing me the solace of keeping one from the first litter born to my cattery....but Pot is not the colour I want for my cattery's future and so there is no viable reason for me to keep her. I am a breeder and my work is to breed beautiful kittens and to sell them. Simple as that. And yet it isnt simple at all.
Of course I love her and would love to keep her. And I do love her. And I will feel sad.
I will though be happy too. So happy (and proud) that I have produced such a gorgeous and healthy little pure Sphynx girl from two happy and healthy parents. Happy because I know without shadow of doubt that she is going to be a delight her new family.
I think of her future family and Pot being to them everything that Noodle is to me and as I do so and reflect on my adoration of Noodle and my pride in her having been a fantastic mum, my heart squeezes and swells with love. To think that Pot will give this gift to her new family feels fantastic.
This is what I am doing this for.