Burlamien Cream of Caledon departed on 5 th January to Holland as a new stud. He is the son of Tristan and Tinkie. We are very proud of this boy and wish him all the best. Hopefully his off spring will better the Burmese breed in Europe.
Update: Callie arrived safely and here he is in his new home – Klazienaveen, Holland!
Update: Callie fell in love with a lilac girl, Lali and became a father when he was 11 months old!
Callie and Lali | Lali and kittens
When we first received the e-mail from Michelle Drakes for the purchasing of two kittens, I was immediately against it. Then Lallie said why don’t we try our hand at exporting just for the experience. So we decided to go for it.
Michelle was very pleased and sent us as article about requirements for Dubai imports. Because we are not a Rabies free country the kittens had to have blood tests done 31 days after receiving their rabies inoculations. The latter could only be given when the kittens were 12 weeks old. When the results were available Michelle could apply for the permit to import into Dubai. So the main obstacle was the age of the kittens – they were going to be teenagers when they arrive at their destination!!!
Tinkie, our red female had three kittens at the time – a cream boy and two lilac tortie girls. Michele adores the tortie type and chose the two girls. The whole family came to South Africa in December to visit their family and also paid us two visits. We were satisfied that our baby girls were going to a very nice home.
Everything went without a hiccup. The litter had their first inoculation and deworming when they were nine weeks old. Chili, the cream male kitten, left shortly afterwards and we were pleased to have Sabrina and Kimeer for a while longer. The twins went for the rabies as planned and the blood was drawn 31 days later. The micro chipping was also done the same day. So far so good.
But not for long. I phoned Onderstepoort five days later to enquire about the results and to my horror discovered that they did not receive the blood!! Somewhere along the line the blood was delayed for a whole week and it was supposed to have been couriered overnight!! We were under the impression that the tests only take three days, but after speaking to the pathologist at Onderstepoort discovered that it takes eleven working days!!! Michelle was dismayed and totally frustrated. So were we because in the meantime Sabrina and Kimeer became “ streetwise” – they discovered ways to get outside and getting up to all kinds of mischief!
Well, finally on Wednesday 11 March 2009, twenty days after the blood were drawn, we received the results and took the kits for their health certificates to the vet. They were dewormed again and also received some frontline for protection against fleas. Michelle immediately organized the permit and Christelle from Animal Travel the exporting. Then three days later, on the day the kittens were 20 weeks old, they departed for Dubai. After an overnight flight Sabrina and Kimeer arrived safely at their destination much to the relief of everybody involved!
When I look at them now at 10 weeks, I cannot believe that I’ve really done it. They look and act like any other kitten – shiny coats, nice and sturdy bodies, playing, purring etc.
But let me start at the beginning. On the 25th of May we took mom Twiggy to the vet for a caesarean. She had a lot of growths and the vet decided to spay her as well. Maybe the operation was too much – she was long “under” She wouldn’t eat or drink and Lallie ( hubby) and I had to force feed. The next day we took her back to the vet but she sadly passed away a day later – kidney failure. We were devastated!
Now I had eight babies to raise. It meant feeding them every 2½ hours and of course doing the bottoms as well. The whole expedition took an hour to complete and the clean-up ( syringe, teats, swabs etc) another half hour! For the first couple of weeks that was all I did. I never left the house. Lallie did all the shopping and even had to go alone when his sister invited us for lunch in Hermanus.
By the fourth week I managed to skip the night feed and they were on five feeds 7 am – 11 am – 3 pm – 7 pm and 11 pm. Now it became easier and I didn’t feel like a zombie during the day any more. I also started giving them baby porridge. Everything went very well and the kittens were very good. They seldom cried and I had to wake them for their feeds.
The only problem was that they were a bit constipated. We decided to take them to the vet for a thorough check up and also for de-worming. Each had to have an enema and that helped a lot.
At five weeks they started on solids and also began nibbling on kitten pellets. And drinking milk out of a saucer!!!!! I was over the moon.
To hand rear a litter is off course no joke and I have the utmost respect for a female cat with kittens. But it has a lot of compensations. The kittens are so used to be handled from the start that they become very friendly towards humans. One of the characteristics of the Burmese breed is that they love people. With a hand reared litter is so much so. Whenever I came into the nursery all of them jumped up to greet me purring their little heads off. These kittens were also not so naughty and mischievous than previous litters. Their toys had a longer lifetime and even the house plants survived. No curtain climbing at all! A strange thing for me was that not one of our other girls took any notice of them. I pleaded, warned, begged. If only one of them could lie with them. But was no use. When they saw one of the kittens they spit and growled at them. I thought that maybe the girls would take to them when they are older, but no luck. No one accepted them or helped in any way!
I keep thinking how proud Twiggy would have been of her bonny babies – six girls and two boys- six brown and two blue kittens. Some of them the split image of their mother. I am so grateful that all of them have made it and will always be thankful that I was given the opportunity to try to save their lives.
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!