Photo Comments (1)Age: 7 Years Sex: Female
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Leave a treat for The Magnificent Seven
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Hey, I had enough trouble giving them names in the first place. Who needs nicknames? They're all named after buildings at Harvard; I figured that was ALMOST as good as giving them Greek god names (my first choice!).
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October 7th 2008
Sleeping in a bunch to keep warm. Plugging into Mommy for nourishment.
Having their nails trimmed. Being weighed.
No one is old enough to understand toys yet, but Chibi left her favorite mousie toy next to their bed yesterday.
Favorite Nap Spot:
Under my bed. However, today they confused me by changing their spot and sleeping NEXT to the bed.
Mommy's milk and, from today, canned food mixed with KMR!
They are learning to toddle around, and I can't explain how cute that is. Otherwise, they've learned to make eye contact with me and respond to my voice.
I adopted Leila, their mother, in July 2007. Leila, her older brother Harvey (neutered), and his younger sister Chibi (intact) were first adopted as pets, but since they are pedigreed cats, I started getting involved in the show world, and when you do that...well, most exhibitors also breed, mostly on a small scale (one or two queens, a stud cat, one or two litters per queen per year), and I just sort of decided to try my hand at having a litter. Leila's a total pro as a mother--cut her kittens' umbilical cords and ate all seven placentas while I was at work--but I myself spent the month before she gave birth having hyperventilation and panic attacks. Of course, prior to birth she had all the standard prenatal tests, focusing on HCM, which Maine Coons are prone to--needless to say, I wouldn't have bred her if there were health problems. Cats are smarter than humans! Leila was big, but not the proverbial watermelon, and I suspected that she would give birth to a biggish litter, but I was NOT prepared for seven kittens, and it gave me one of the most jolting experiences of my life when I reached under the bed (yes, she had a birthing box, but chose to give birth under my bed, which means that I can actually hear the kittens sucking away at her milk at night), and found a tiny tiny tiny little paw extended to me!!!
I had to choose one sex for the Magnificent Seven, so I chose "female," as there are four girls and three boys. The girls are Hilles, Byerly, Currier, and Cabot, and are all tortie and white like their mother. The boys are Leverett, the moose-sized orange tabby, and Winthrop and Eliot, two almost indistinguishable brown tabby and whites. At one month, they are beginning to manifest their individual personalities, but they will be staying with me for at least two more months, and I hope to make them as affectionate and people-oriented as possible. Of course, proper health care is a must, and the most important thing is to find them fantastic forever homes! Fortunately, Maine Coons are as popular in Japan as they are in the U.S., so I think I'll be able to find them all new families...but, as you can see from the lousy photos, I have to get a better camera and learn the fine art of cat photography in order to help them find their new homes. By the way, the father is my own breeder's stud (no blood relationship), who is named Umesaburo and a handsome brown tabby dude. (See Leila's page for his photo.) Both Leila and Umesaburo are Champions with the CFA, which means that they may not be perfect specimens of the breed, but are superior enough for the cat world to consider them worthy of passing on their genes. Since Leila is a tortoiseshell, she could have had kittens of a variety of colors--brown tabby and white, tortoiseshell, calico, black and white, red tabby and white, but for some reason the usually ladylike and reticent Leila chose to give birth to FOUR torties like herself, which delights me (the more colorful the better!), but which may be hard to find homes for--torties are an acquired taste. Meanwhile, I'm learning as I go. My own breeder freely gives advice (and scolds me when I'm making mistakes!), and my cat show friends, most of whom are breeders themselves, also give advice. However, it seems that the best advice comes from the cats themselves--they've made it very clear the past few days that weaning time has come, and that's our next big task. For those of you who are interested, see my thread in "Other Meows and Purrs." By the way, although I hope to be able to sell some of the kittens (the ones I can't sell will find good adoptive homes anyway), there is absolutely no profit in this enterprise. I won't even go into how much it cost me for the stud fee, the cages and playpens required for a breeder's license (which is also not cheap), not to mention the money spent on kitty food, kitty litter, vaccinations, prenatal and neonatal check-ups, as well as the money I must spend buying a good camera to help them get forever homes, AND the money I've spent showing my cats in cat shows in order to prove myself a responsible breeder. I probably could have put my human child through a year at a community college for what I've spent...and the initial fee for buying the cats was the actually the cheapest part of the whole deal. This is a labor of love. I am happy, Leila is happy, the kittens are happy, and I hope that their new mommies and daddies will be made happy for many years by them. I've dipped into my retirement savings to do this--small-scale, responsible breeders consider themselves lucky if they don't go into the red every time a litter is born. Anyway, all I'm hoping for now is loving homes for my grandkittens. Oh, and I must add that this is not an advertisement for selling kittens, which Caster rightly forbids. I live in Japan, and doubt that any of you out there would be willing to import kittens to your country, even if they were free (take my kittens, please!). I'm sort of resigned to not being able to sell any of them, so this is NOT an ad. Just a description of what it's like to start out, shakily, in the world of cat breeding. I'm not sure I'll continue, but this has enhanced my understanding of cats tremendously. Cats are miracles on four feet.
Update January 3, 2009:
The size of Byerly's body has caught up with that of her head (originally she had a tiny body and an enormous head and looked like a creature from outer space), and she shows promise of growing up to be a beauty like her Mommy. She and Eliot are the most affectionate of the bunch, and invariably sleep with me. Cabot is the shyest, and was badly frightened by the sound of the hair dryer yesterday. Currier is an oddly beautiful cat; aside from her charming freckles, she has a good muzzle, good ears, and a long torso; she might make a good candidate for breeding. Hilles is the most curious and daring of the bunch; she climbs up everything, and is probably the most intelligent of the kittens; she's also very affectionate. Leverett is a fluffy orange moose with an enormous rib cage; he has beautiful classic tabby markings, but unfortunately has a bump on his nose that will keep him from being a winner in the show ring. Alas, he also seems to be rather dim-witted. Winthrop is probably the best candidate of the bunch for becoming a show cat; he started out being rather shy, but now comes when his name is called. He's almost as big as Leverett, and has good ears, a good muzzle, and a so-so profile and markings. All of the kittens have unusually long tails (compared to moggies)--I think they've probably inherited their Mommy's gorgeous tail. All in all, this time Leila may not have produced a Grand Champion, but we certainly don't have to be ashamed of this brood of well-proportioned, inexpressibly cute, well-mannered, and healthy kittens. Yay for The Magnificent Seven!
9 of 9
We all found homes!
I've Been On Catster Since:
|November 5th 2008
||More than 7 years!
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