A HOUSE FULL OF KITTENS - 30 IN ALL
On 15 October 2007 Tretchi, our brown girl, gave birth to seven kittens. Tinkie and Tikka, both pregnant and great friends of Tretchi did not take much notice of Tretchi's litter. Whenever Tretchi was available, they all played together.
It works like this in our house. The girls are free during the day to run around the house and garden, at about 17.00 they all go into their various dens to spend the night, while Taurus, our stud, has his time outside. Three weeks before our pregnant girls give birth they are allowed to stay in the house. Of course they sleep on our bed, and when the time comes to deliver their babies they give birth in our room in a specially made crib. This is all good and fine when one has only one female or the females are buddies. But we had five pregnant girls and not all of them see eye to eye! Tikka was due next, so she and Tinkie slept with us while Tretchi and her babies were now in the nursery. Tikka delivered three babies on 11/11/2007. So now we had ten kittens!
Tinkie was due next so and we moved Tikka and her litter to the guest room. By now I was more than a little stressed as Tinkie, Tiffany and Tisha were all due in the same week and Tiffany does not like Tinkie. Luckily by now Tretchi's babies were big enough to leave the nursery to explore the house. Tinkie had her six babies on 06/12/2007.
Tiffany and Tisha were due next so we moved Tinkie to the nursery the next day, sooner than normal but we needed the space in our bedroom. Now there were sixteen kittens in the house.
Tinkie was not impressed and started carrying her children back to our room. But when she encountered a closed door, she happily settled in the nursery.
By now Tisha and Tiffany were allowed in the house. Tiffany's babies were born on 10/12/2007 - seven kittens. Tisha's on 14/12/2007, also seven. Luckily we have two cribs. By now I realized that each female wanted her own space. Between them there were seven female Lilac kittens all the same size. I could not let them be together, I would never be able to identify which kitten belonged to which Mother. Immediately after Tiffany's kittens were born, we moved them to my sewing room. Tiffany was happy and immediately started purring. Tisha stayed in our room and was quite content with this arrangement.
Tretchi, Tikka, Tinkie and Tisha all got along. They all knew which room their kiddies were in and they could came and go as they wished. I was running around from room to room with numerous plates of food. Each litter had five bowls of different pellets to choose from, but of course that is not food!
But Tiffany and Tinkie were at loggerheads. As soon as they saw each other, there was a fight and then everybody joined in. So we had to keep them apart. We opened the outside door of the sewing room and Tiffany could go outside at will. Strangely enough they do not fight outside.
To add to the chaos the Festive Season was drawing near. Old friends were popping in to say hi, some with their Burmese in their arms. I was also expecting my human children to visit. So we were in for a houseful - 30 kittens, 5 mommies, 1 stud, 4 adults and 2 of my 4 children due to spend Christmas with us. Tretchi's babies took over their new owners the week end before Christmas. So when Christmas came we only had 23 kittens and 2 children. Tikka's babies now had the run of the house and we could move Tiffany from the sewing room to the guest room.
Tiffany and Tinkie were still fighting, so we had to open the outside door and close the door leading into the house. By now Tisha's babies were out of the crib and exploring our room so we moved them into our daughter's room, she had left just after New Year. I had to feed the 20 small babies baby porridge 3 times a day with a syringe. These were two of the most difficult weeks of the whole experience. It took me 20 minutes to feed each litter. Boy was I relieved when they started eating by themselves.
We had the five moms in the house with the thirty kittens, but there are still five adult cats. Taurus, our lilac stud lives in his hotel. The other four females Tosca and Thando [both spayed], and Talisha and Tekla, sleep in their dens at night. During the day they passed through the house hissing and growling, at everyone, they were fully aware of the smell of kittens!! I had no time to do anything but feed kittens and clean litter, luckily Lallie, my darling hubby, took over. He did everything for the other adults, except clean the dens - that is my job. He also did a lot of my many house hold chores, even blossomed into a splendid chef!
Tikka's three kittens took ownership of their new people in the middle of January. Now there were only twenty kittens running around in the house. These twenty are all nearly the same age and the same size. To tell the difference between them I marked the seven lilac girls with a red koki pen on the left back paw. They provide hours of amusement with their antics and there is always a game or a play fight in progress. There are kittens where ever I look, sleeping together or chasing each other up the curtains. I love watching them playing and get very little done. I am sure it is just as much fun for them to be part of such a big happy family.
Lallie and I are very grateful that we've managed to raise so many kittens without serious hiccups. It was a privileged task, but also a huge responsibility which involved a tremendous amount of work. (I won't dwell on the detail of all the many chores.) But the joy that these kittens bring to us and we know into the lives of all their owners, makes it worth while and the house will be very empty and quiet when they've all left the nest!