December 27th 2009 5:36 am
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I suddenly realized that I haven't written in my diary since September! Just in case you think that's because Mommy is now deep in a relationship with Breeder Daddy, har har har to that. As a mentor and cat friend, he was great, but once the relationship became "romantic" (I'm not sure it ever was), he started showing his ugly side--a quick temper and too much curiosity about Mommy's finances. (You may wonder how I know this. I know it because Chibi, who has now mastered all the living languages and is next going to try to learn all the dead ones, overheard Mommy talking to her aunt on the telephone.) Bye bye, BD! He was always nice to me, but then he wasn't considering marrying ME.
So, we're back to our household of 17 cats and one human. (Ten of the cats are those nasty, nasty kitten creatures.) We would love to live in a house, but it's too expensive in this part of town, where Mommy has lived for over 20 years. Actually, I suspect that she prefers living alone.
Recently, I've been a pretty mellow fellow. Umesaburo's presence doesn't bother me, although Spike seems terribly jealous and will go up to Ume's cage (can't have an intact male roaming freely amongst a bunch of intact females) and howl at him. I don't bop the kittens anymore, or even hiss much. It's Chibi who's changed--she growls at her own kittens (now four months old) and at the other queens. She remains affectionate to Mommy, though. Chibi doesn't seem to want to talk about it much, but I get this feeling that motherhood wasn't all that she thought it would be. When she came back from BD's after her tryst with Umesaburo, she climbed to the top of the cat tower and stayed there for three days, glowering at everyone. Well, she had a difficult pregnancy, and it turns out that little Quincy, one of the Gang of Four, has a seriously enlarged heart. Of course, that means that he can't be sold, so after the holidays Mommy's going to take him to a vet cardiologist to find out what's wrong with him, and commence treatment. Dr. Vet thinks Quincy doesn't have too long to live--his heart is just too big. And I always thought a big heart was a good thing...Meanwhile, his mother Chibi, the budding doctor, not only growls at him and her other kittens, but punches him in the face. Not a very good bedside manner, I'd say. She's going to go to the vet, too, to see if there's some physical reason for her growling all the time.
Quincy's heart condition could be HCM, which is associated with the Maine Coon breed (although moggies can get it, too). If so, it means that one of his parents (Chibi or Umesaburo) carries the HCM gene. You test for this by sending a cheek swab to Washington State University. If one of them tests positive, then he or she will be desexed and removed from the breeding program. However, Dr. Vet thinks it could be some other kind of heart defect, since the heart is much larger than any he's seen in HCM cats. Poor Quincy.
On a more cheerful note, there's a cat show mood in the air. The big Regional Show is coming up, and FIVE of us are going. Not me, thank the Great Cat Goddess. Harvard and Lowell, two of Chibi's kittens, are going, as well as Chibi herself, Currier (Leila's daughter), and Elise (who is now mostly called "Motorboat" for her big purr). The kittens are going just so Mommy can see how Chibi's children are rated by professionals; it's usually the older kittens who win ribbons, so they probably won't get anything, but showing kittens is fun--says Mommy. I have a dim memory of being shown when I was a kitten; I didn't hate it and try to kill judges in those days. Chibi is going because there are lots of foreign judges, and only foreign judges like torties. Currier and Motorboat are going because Chanan is going to be there, and Mommy wants him to take their pictures. Motorboat is at her prime (she has a tail to die for), and Currier is devilishly hard to photograph--her features get lost in the tortie markings. They will be entered as "Opens"; get six ribbons for being the best in your color class, and you become a Champion. Currier will probably become a Champion in this show because she probably won't have any competition. It's iffier with Motorboat--she's a better cat than Currier, but brown tabbies with white are a dime a dozen, and usually a male beats out a female. Oh, well, that gives Mommy an excuse to go to another show. Motorboat is by far the best cat in the cattery, and definitely show quality, but when Mommy was looking at another breeder's web site, she realized that some catteries have cats that are ALL show quality. It usually takes ten years for a cattery to really get going. More new cats, more of those odious kitten creatures...ugh. But Mommy's buddy cats are Currier, Spike, and me--we're usually in the same room with her, and get most of her affection.
Now for another sad topic. I'm lying next to Mommy's computer, and saw her watch a video about Japan's all-kill shelters. Dogs and cats are gassed to death after three days. Mommy felt sad and sick to her stomach. It made her think about why she is a breeder. There is no guarantee that cats she produces will not end up in a shelter someday. But, so far, her clients have all been people who Mommy felt were reliable and loved the kittens she sold them. If they didn't buy from Mommy, the clients might have gone to a pet store--bad news. Mommy loves cats, but her interest in us has extended to showing and breeding. She feels that breed cats should not be allowed to go extinct (which almost happened to us Maine Coons!), and that the cat fancy benefits all cats, both purebred and moggie. For example, the Winn Feline Foundation was founded by the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) (the association I'm registered with) to promote feline medical research. People in the cat fancy (we're not talking about backyard breeders here) love all cats, and are understandably concerned about cat health, which for years was a relatively neglected area of veterinary medicine. For example, they've sponsored research on HCM, which may help poor little Quincy.
Oh, my, too many thoughts for my chickpea-sized brain. Think I'll take a nap in a plastic basket with some of Mommy's paperwork in it. Zzzzz...
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