Thursday 22 July 2021

Motherly Love - it’s a fickle thing!

Well here we are at the 3 weeks old mark already. The boys are doing so so well. Have you seen their latest video uploaded to my YouTube - channels Sphynx CatCam and Naked Sphynx Cat Hampshire ? I try to have them here  (it is shown above?) Please message me if you don’t see videos where they should be and I’ll point you towards them. 

The video was taken today when after an evening feed & weigh in I had left the room to wash up and sterilise the teats & syringes. I came back to see Prune busy licking the remnants of any milk from their faces. Motherly love or a craving for their kitten milk? In the video I made it seems that once satisfied that nobody had milk left for her to clean away she lost interest and just left. I carried on filming, as I wanted to show the first signs of play interaction between the brothers. One  on his back was eager to engage in some “rough n tumble” or perhaps he had had so much milk his tummy and was so full that he was like a turtle trying to flip himself back over, but was making out it was play he wanted in order to save face? 

Weights this evening are: Pudding 264g/Blue 267g/Blue 197g/Blue 238g. 

It’s hard to keep them still to get a good reading but they are decent weights though we are slow to get over the 200g mark with the dinkiest lad. I reckon he have cracked it by next weigh in. Milk is being guzzled with gusto and I’m greeted with the sewing machine like kitten purrs now that they know to anticipate full tummies when I open the door.

I had planned a move this weekend for them, but I had a brain wave and have ordered some EVA interlocking squares for insulated flooring since it’s laminate floor in the room i want to relocate them too. They are starting slowly to show that they need a little less sleep and a little more activity so it’s time to set up a more open pen which I’ll do once the floor arrives next week. I’ll create a sheltered area to snuggle in (with a heat mat just as they have now, safely under a with its triple layered cover on - they have that and vet bed at the moment as well as mum when she is there. The more open area will allow them to exercise and indulge in toy play. I know a certain someone who will be overjoyed to have more access to them!!

With that in mind, I may leave the nest intact and place them back there overnight, depending on how mum feels as once in the play pen there is no way to keep Floozy out. It might be that they all decide to snuggle together as a family overnight in the pen or it might be that Prune allows Floozy to babysit and she will snooze away from them as she has been doing more and more this week. 

This taking time away is all part of the process… obliviously, when she is with them they want to suckle and as demand for food is higher  every day she is unable to meet demand plus she gets sore so moves away but she also goes back to check on them often. Overnight she rattles the nest crate door to wake me to let her in, and again to let her out. Often!

I can’t leave it open as the kittens can get out and as they are commando crawling can get under furniture where I’d find it hard to reach them. If it was open I think Floozy would sleep in there and I’m not sure that they are ready for that just yet.

Prune leaving her kittens for periods of time allows them to rest, to stretch, to move around l, deal with time without her involvement. They learn to be a little self sufficient in the company of their siblings and, to begin to play. They do call if they need anything but honestly she checks and nurses often in short bursts so they rarely get over hungry, I’ve not seen an empty belly yet! 

When Prune was an adolescent, Noodle had her last litter. A single kitten survivor. Like Floozy is, she was eager to be involved, and Noodle was happy to allow it. I love that my beautiful girls are all so happy to work together and I don’t have to keep them apart because of jealousy or kitten theft as others have to. Anyway, Pru and this kitten (Nebula) were stuck together like glue for everything from feeding to litter tray use, sleeping and play and I think this is what will happen now. It must be a natural community living behaviour. Lie with elephants where the young watch, emulate & learn while the mother keeps a check that things are ok. 

I’m then expecting Prune to begin bringing them mice -Toy ones! She did it with her last litter & it has to be  instinct at work otherwise how would she know that this toy represents her natural prey & is what her babies need? She does not bring toy fish or birds, only mice. And it doesn’t even matter to her if the mouse is pink with a fluorescent yellow tail, it’s still recognised as mouse. All three more surprising really since she is 100% house cat, too nervous to be outside even with a harness. She has never seen a mouse or needed to hunt though I’ve gratefully seen her hunt and kill 8 legged visitors (which I LOVE her for)! What’s the trigger for this behaviour to begin? I think teeth. She will have felt teeth and surely this is the signal that it’s time her kittens to give up milk and instead eat meat. I’m expecting this in week 4-5 so not too long away now - then there’s los of new lessons for our sweet little cohort of Sphynx kittens to take on. How to eat and how to use the toilet facilities!