New Lines

Ocicats originated as a cross between Siamese and Abyssinians, in the 1960s. Most registries still allow outcrossing to Abyssinians, to improve the breed, and TICA allows outcrossing to Abyssinians or Siamese. Genetically speaking, it helps keep the gene pool as broad as possible to allow outcrossing to the parent breeds, especially in the rarer breeds like Ocicats. (The Australian Mist, for example, allows outcrossing to the primary parent breeds – Burmese, Abyssinian, and Domestic Shorthair.)

(Eris & siblings as kittens)

Our little Eris is a first generation Ocicat, the result of an outcross mating between Sunchaser Danaerys (a chocolate marbled Ocicat) and Shayba Finn McCool (a cinnamon silver Abyssian). She is cinnamon, heterozygous for the ticked Abyssinian pattern, and – most significantly – only distantly related to the Ocicat lines in Australia (through her mother).

Eris’ first litter – now 10 weeks old – is to Ozspots Golden Eagle, aka Monkey, a gorgeous chocolate spotted Ocicat boy. There were only 2 kittens born, but as expected, we saw 50% spotted and 50% ticked and wildcat-striped like their mother. We are not retaining any kittens from this litter for breeding, but we are hoping to keep one from Eris’ next litter.

Final Week

Last week, the kittens all got their vaccinations and microchips (which they did not enjoy), and now we’re at that final stage of raising a litter: the last week before they go home with their new families. It’s bittersweet.

When kittens are born, they are just little fuzzy peanuts, needing warmth and love to keep them alive. By the time they’re lived with you for 3 months, you’ve seen them learn to walk, to jump, to play. You’ve seen their personalities emerging, the one which is always a lapcat and just wants a cuddle, the one who finds themself alone at the other end of the house from their siblings and just shouts for company until someone goes and finds them. The one who plays pounce, and the one who finds the toy mouse under the couch and drags it out to prance around as if this was Very Important Prey that they hunted. But you also get to see how their personalities will match with their new families, and imagine their future as beloved family members, which is a sweet and happy thing.

So, in summary, I will miss these babies as I miss all out kittens, but I’m also looking forward to seeing them thrive in their new homes. And being able to leave shoes out without having the laces chewed through.

A House Full of Kittens

I realised today that although I’ve posted some pictures on instagram, and even on facebook, I haven’t put any photos or updates up here on the Troublemakers. Which is the name all kittens get when they reach about 8 or 9 weeks old, and which lasts until they’re at least 6 months old.

Fleetwood, Florence (Neko), Ferdinand (Artemis) and Fermi are definitely trouble. Adorable trouble, but still trouble. Climbing on the kitchen counter and the table to test boundaries, digging in the pot plants for rocks ot play with (toys are not as exciting as rocks you’re not supposed to have), trying to open the cupboards (Hah! we have toddler-locks on them so that the cats can’t get in), and generally dashing up and down the house at 4am trouble. I’ll miss them when they go to their new homes.

Eris is growing up

Little Eris has gone into call for the first time. Poor baby is so confused. She’s been following our (neutered) rescue around the house and begging him to help her out, trilling and mewing, because he’s the closest she’s ever met to an entire tomcat. He isn’t much help though – after being chased around the house by a very keen kitty teenager, he awkwardly grabs her by the scruff, then stands there, like, is this it? Is this what you want? Then he wanders off while she calls and calls for him to come back. I shouldn’t laugh, but it’s kinda hilarious.

Eris, sleeping in the sun

Eris is our gorgeous first-generation Ocicat queen, daughter of Finn from Shayba Abyssinians and our own Danaerys. Her kittens will be split between the regular spotted oci-kittens and freckled kitties like her, but her genetics should help keep the whole breed healthy in Australia and avoid the inbreeding which can be a problem for the rarer breeds like ocicats, which don’t have a lot of people keeping the breed alive here.

There won’t be any kittens for a while yet though, no matter how enthusiastic Eris is. She’s not quite a year old (her birthday is June 28), and I’d like her to be at least a year and a half before we think about finding a boy for her, to make sure she’s finished growing. Hopefully she has a nice long break before she goes into call again.

Marbled Babies

The kittens were born on Apr 25, making them almost 3 weeks old now. Two boys and two girls, two chocolate and two lilac. They’re all adorable, and Dany is such a sweetheart – she trusts us to pick up her tiny babies and cuddle them, although she watches carefully and gets anxious for themto be back in the nest if they start crying or get frightened.

That happened a bit the last few days as their eyes started to open and they realised that being picked up meant being high and bright and super scary new things. They’re calming down about it now. Benefit of being picked up every day from when they’re born, it’s not so scary, even when you can see how high up you get (shoulder height for a human sitting ont he floor – not really very high, but it is for a tiny cat).

Kittens on the way again

Dany is starting to look for nests, and she’s past her morning sickness phase and is now in the constantly hungry and crying for treats phase. She’s pretty cute, although she is a terrible scrounge at the moment! She and Veronica (our new little princess, many thanks to Tracie of Jazmarez for such a cutie) still don’t get on, but they’re not actively hating each other any more so there’s that. They just won’t share a plate for treats.

Veronica (or Zeffy, as we’re calling her at home) has made fast friends with all the other cats in the house. Even Cloud, our retired matriarch who is actually also her maternal aunt, is patient with her wanting cuddles and grooming all the time. 🙂

More updates when we have updates on Dany’s pregnancy.

And then there was one

It’s so strange to have the house no longer full of kittens underfoot – only Eris is left with us now, the other three have all gone to their forever homes. You wouldn’t think that four kittens is enought o have kittens underfoot literally all the itme, but it is. Eris is missing her sister a little, in that the other (adult) cats don’t want to play all the time, but she seems pretty happy to be getting all the lap time she wants without sharing, and stealing the adult cats’ dinner without sharing. We’re trying to teach her not to do that, but the other cats still tolerate it because she’s still little enough that she pings their kitten-radar for food sharing.

Its one of the funny things you get to see, raising kittens. Cats don’t share well, generally – they chase one another off their food to get more, or smack one another on the nose or hiss to show that they won’t be chased away formt heir food. Two of ours have to be fed in sparate rooms becuase they eat, respectively, at the speed of light and super slowly. (We don’t leave food out all the time for our cats, because ants, and also they get wet food so it goes nasty if you leave it out.) But kittens are an entirely different thing; they come and try a bit from the plate of the most possessive adult cat, and she just wanders off and lets them have it, or moves so that she can eat form one side of the plate while the kitten dives in mouth first from the other. It seems to wear off when the kittens are around 4 – 5 months old, and they start getting the ‘go away, this is mine’ hisses.

Anyway. Our little lioness (Eris) is happily lying in the sun right now with her mum. Hopefully her siblings are enjoying the sun too, in their new homes.

Almost all grown up

So weird to think that the kittens will be 12 weeks old on Monday. Eragon is going home to his new family this weekend, and little Earnest early next week. We’ll miss them, although I’m sure their new families will adore them – Earnest has taken to coming to greet us when we get home, purring like a truck engine, and Eragon has decided that he is 100% lapcat. Emelia is staying a little longer, and Eris is staying with us as our future breeding queen, so the house won’t be entirely empty. still, it’s going to be strange to have half as many babies underfoot.

Kitten Pics

These guys are so cute. They now know when dinnertime is, and come running – although they also come and try to copy their mother, winding around our feet in the kitchen while we’re putting their food together. Tripping hazards of the worst sort.

Microchips and first vaccines have been applied, and they were very good about it. No fussing at all, even in the car, and it’s a long drive to the vet and then home again. The vet and the vet nurses (all of them came and had turns cuddling the babies) thought they were adorable. That was a quiet evening, Dany, George and the kittens all cuddling up after the excitement (well, George didn’t have that much excitement, unless you count watching the chickens from the cat run, he just likes to cuddle)

9 weeks old

Rainy day for the official first day of spring, but everything is flowering and we have baby chicks hatching in the incubator, so it does feel like spring anyway. And kittens, obviously. Sharp-toothed little terrors who are now teething and have decided that everything is for chewing and nibbling and nomming right now. Including humans. They’re pretty good about being gentle with hands and fingers (95% sure big friend), but toes and, specifically, thighs when they’re waking up from a nap in one’s lap, are fair game (like, maybe 12% sure big friend, 90% sure bed or toy).

Pics (and slow-motion video) up on instagram.

On the bright side, they are now mostly on board with the ow, ow, ow, humans are not for climbing rule, and have stopped trying to scale my legs for fun when I stand still long enough. So.. baby steps, I guess. They are learning, and they are babies still.

All four are booked in to get their microchips and their first F3 vaccinations this week. It’s bizarre to think that they’re 9 weeks old already.

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