Thu, 9 Dec 2021

  

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ADVENTURES > IDENTITY CRISIS?

The birth of Mirre's kittens was cause for Zohra and Robbyn to hiss and growl at her. They don't react very well to change and stress, which is why they had to be heard like this. Furthermore they don't harm anybody, let alone Mirre or her newly born babies. As a matter of fact, they rather avoided the whole situation and just didn't come upstairs.


Phèdre, very uncertain in this situation, the new smells and squeaky things, was not sure what to do. More for show than for anything else she growled softly together with Zohra and Robbyn. Because, well, Mirre was her mother, but for now she really wasn't. That must have been very confusing for her.

After one week everything calmed down and became normal. So much so, that one night I was awakened by Phèdre's cooing. After I had turned on a light, Phèdre appeared to lie in the nursery box with Mirre and the kittens. She washed the children, kept them warm and took an occasional sip of milk from mum. That way the situation worked in her favor as well. The rest of the night and the next day she was unable to tear herself away from the kittens.

At night I stood for 10 minutes at the bottom of the stairs calling her for dinner, accompanied by a rattling bowl of kibble. All who came, not Phèdre. Eventually, I walked up, I lifted her out of the box and carried her down. I put her down to her food bowl. Suddenly she was "awake". Oh yes, food, delicious. She emptied her bowl with relish. Fortunately, after that she came down to feed herself again.

That Phèdre was so interested in the kittens, I found a pleasant development. So she could get used to and practice to be a mother for when she would become one herself. We planned to mate her this year for the first time. That she now could see what kittens are and how they should be cared for, I found a big plus.

Djavi thought less of Phèdre's attention and presence at the kittens. Now she was in the box all the time, there was less - or even no - place for him. There was little else he could do, then wait for the mother or big sister to leave, before he was able to enter the box and assume his part of the care. Or they all had to get closer together so they could fit in all three. There was a lot of puzzling done. Because before you fit three adult Burmese (one extra large) along with six kittens in a box of 50x50 cm, you need a bit more time and some fancy footwork. They eventually succeeded, even without crushing the kittens!



As the weeks passed, the kittens grew like crazy. When they were 4 weeks old they crept quite quickly through the box and even tried to stand up against the edge. That gave me the creeps, because I saw them getting out of the box and smack off the bed. So I moved them downstairs. Fortunately, Mirre found it a good idea too, because I also had visions that she would drag the kittens upstairs constantly.

Just like last year I cornered off a piece of the room, that got bigger by the week. Until the kittens jumped over the fence just as quickly as I could put them back. So the fence was removed and only the corner was left intact. However, the older the kittens became, the less they used the corner and I finally cleared it.

Phèdre grew in her role of big sister. If mum Mirre didn't react quickly to an anxious peep, she rushed to see what was going on. If the kittens pulled acrobatic stunts, she stood looking worried, meanwhile, alerting and commenting. With time her confidence and trust in the capabilities of the kittens grew. Soon she ran with the kittens through the room and romped with them fully. The "caring for" became less and less, the "playing with" became more. Or the lot had to be looking for a nice place for a nap, then she kept a careful watch.


She couldn't resist to continue to drink by Mirre. Despite grumbling on my part, removing her or using the water spray from a distance. It didn't bother her at all. Fortunately the kittens grew well and seemed short of nothing. Mirre didn't feel any pressure to suckle six small and one large child.

When the kittens were about 10 weeks old they were very busy making the house unsafe. Phèdre loved it and rushed around with them just as much. It proved to work very contagious, because Zohra, Robbyn and Djavi became skittish too. Obviously they remembered after a while that they were "mature" and so they then pulled back for a wash and pretend nothing happened.

Phèdre was becoming a big kitten herself. Her "big sister" behavior disappeared rapidly. With all activities she was ready and for every game she gain. She knew even some games that the kittens didn't know. The only thing she wasn't able to play around with was the use of teeth and claws. Then she would complain loudly (which didn't help much) and withdraw offended from the crowd. But once the kittens were sleeping, she crawled back and lay against them.


I am very curious as to how Phèdre will be as a mother. What she has shown so far is promising. Obviously she doesn't have to do it all alone. Mirre will undoubtedly be just as sweet and caring as a grandma as she is a mother. And Djavi will definitely get a paw in and help if he gets the chance.

This litter from Mirre has been cared for fantastically and was raised by the whole family. They are on the point of leaving our house and all have found a fine new home. We can therefore go and prepare for Phèdre's litter in peace.
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