Friday 1 December 2017

So much progress.....

Wow! I can't believe its been so long since I posted an update. So much has been happening.

Mainly what's been happening is under the heading of Weaning - Pot ..

I wanted to use a BARF diet having read the great things said about it and instinctively felt it was the most natural food type. However by the time I'd made that decision it was time to mate Nood

Before Noodle was mated I had left it too late to get her onto raw food which was a shame as it was a plan I had made to use it for her kittens.... the fact that making the change even in the earliest days after mating was considered dangerous to do made me rethink pretty much everything.

Finding out that I needed to keep Noodle on her normal commercial diet throughout her pregnancy and also throughout her entire lactation I chose to use the Hills Science plan diet, just changing it back to the kitten dry that she had had throughout her first year of life and that I knew I could trust.

Since she would not be able to change to raw until after her litter had gone I realised this presented an issue with weaning her coming kittens on to it - how would I stop her eating it, and yet have it available to them.

Added to this I felt a degree of uncertainty of using raw food for delicate babies before I had gained user experience as well as a worry about how or if prospective would relish a new kitten they bought being on a raw food regime.

I decided there and then I needed to rethink my plans regarding their weaning and because buying in larger quantities is more cost efficient, in preparation for the weeks ahead, knowing Noodles food needs would increase as her pregnancy progressed and then to produce plenty of milk for a hungry litter I bought a few kilos of dry food as well as several boxes of pouched kitten food too.

Come weaning time... and as a complete novice I was rather nervous to begin.

From about week 3, alongside the dry food always available to her, I also began introducing pouched food to Noodle in addition to her normal dry food diet. The idea behind it was that wanted her baby to see her eating it, and to become intrigued not only by its 'appetising' aroma but also by watching Mum eating.

However, Pot would not under any circumstances accept, lick or go near the pouched food bowl. Noodle didnt mind and happily kept eating it as it was offered. When we got to the beginning of week 5 when weaning must begin in earnest I knew I needed to step it up a gear...

Since pouches were rejected I tried mushing up the dry food with hot water, allowing it to become soft and wet enough to be slushy. This met with Pot's approval and she would now consider tucking in... as long as it was warmed before being put on the table.

In week 6, we were still only accepting small amounts of the mushed dry food and still refusing point blank to try the pouched. Not great progress if I was to get her to the stage where she would be acquiring all nutrition independant of mum.

Additionally, the mushing of the dry food was not ideal as it  takes some hours to be ready so needed planning and management. Mushing enough to ready when needed and to satisfy  but not so much as to be wasting lots of food. How would I get her to a place if we continued like this where I could confidently hand her over with a simple to manage food plan?

One evening,  thinking I could hear Noodle having a snack from her bowl I looked down and was surprised to see it was Pot who crunching away at the kibble. Who would have thought those tiny, admittedly sharp, teeth and jaws could crunch away at the dry food? OK, I know she recognises the smell as being food for her but if it takes so many hours to get soft imagine how hard it must be for such tiny jaw bones and muscles!

I considered I may have to wean the pouches in... mixing some into each batch of mushed dry until she would accept it....

As all this is going on, at the same time I am talking often to other breeders who have experience  in order to gain guidance and tips and sharing progress and pictures with my most prominent prospective buyer.

As we emailed and I sent updates and photos... I described the foods Pot was eating (and those she wasn't) . I asked my might-be owner how she would be feeding long term i(f she  decides to buy her) and was delighted to learn that she had a mind to use a BARF diet... which got me thinking.....

Prune, the new girl I am purchasing is around the same age as Pot is and she is being weaned on raw food and loves it. Because she will be on raw I will have to buy some in...

I need lots as my plan too is to get Noodle on it finally.

With Christmas and the bank holiday closures come along shortly as well as the Christmas delays, it made sense then to get a supply into my freezer right now... and then I thought, well since Pot is most likely going to be onto it when she is purchased, why not get her on it now?

And this is what we have done - and it has begun so well.

Having had so many refusals of other food I tentatively offered her a dish in which was a spoon of raw food that Id made slacker with some warm previously boiled water. to take the chill off.... I gave her a sniff... and her head popped up... mmmm interesting!

She came closer to sniff in the bowl......

"What is this you are offering me?".. "Do I like it?"

I dip in my finger coating it with the meaty goo....and hold the tip to her nose.... she licked... and kept on licking... lowering my finger her tongue follows me into the dish... ta-dah! She was eating like a Ninja.

She filled up (or so I thought) and walked away.... Mum went to look .....but it was unfamiliar to her. She backed off when Pot came back for second helpings.

Pot took several more mouthfuls, then walked away again. This time mum seemed all set to polish it off herself... but  wait.. no.... what is this? Why, it's Pot back for more!

The same raw food was equally well received for breakfast today too! And, as I write I am listening to the chomping sounds of both Mum and her daughter tucking in to their own bowls of raw food, this time given it without water to loosen or warm it.

Im am overjoyed!

'Pot tries raw food for the first time'

24 hours later......