Da Bird

I heard about Da Bird toy before, that it was very popular among cats, but I did not manage to find where to buy it.

Well, recently I saw it here and ordered one for our cats. And they love it! Jossan is the only one who is not impressed, but all the other cats adore it, especially Albert and Leroy. That toy might be the key to Leroy’s future weight loss. We hope…

Albert: “Where is it, where is it?”

Albert, defying gravity

“I got it!”

“It’s mine!”

Leroy, not really flying, but doing his best.

Leroy’s fur is a bit darker and shorter where it was shaved earlier this summer when he had a benign lipoma removed. The fur will be the correct color again in a few months.

The Siamese tree

Saturday afternoon at our home. It has been raining all day and it is already dark outside (it is 6 PM here). There is a whole 2 months left until Christmas but it already feels like the holidays are around the corner!

The heating is on, and our ‘furry lizards’, how Jocke called them, the pride of Siamese, are lying close to the radiator, the beloved source of warmth. 🙂 Maven with her fluffy semi-long fur does not feel the cold, she is lying in another window, looking at the street.

The Siamese tree. Up – Jossan, Claire, Leroy. Down – Albert, Miii.

 

First plants on the balcony

Today we had one sunny day after a lot of rain and cold last week, so we tried to arrange the balcony a bit. We want to grow plants that cats like to eat (like lettuce and Roman salad), also, herbs that we use in cooking and flowers that are not poisonous to cats.

It is a whole summer project, I guess, but the first plants (if I do not count pelargoniums that hang outside of the net, towards the street) have moved to the balcony today.

Albert: “Work fascinates me. I can watch humans work for hours and hours.”

The cats smelled the plants carefully (that is, all cats except Albert; Albert chewed on everything but rosemary). Jossan chewed on some salad as well. The cats seem to appreciate our efforts (or, at least, they do not complain, and they showed a lot of interest in gardening).

“Rosemary, what is that good for?”

“Salad, on the other hand…”

“… yes, salad is tasty!”

Miii: “Hmmm, lavender…”

“… yuck! That is probably not edible (if you are not Albert, that is)! It smells like a hand soap!”

Leroy, The King

Balcony

We are turning our balcony to a kitty jail!

Kitty jail – the net is put! The cats are exploring the new floor.

The balcony is towards the street, on the southern side of the house. It is about 6 x 1.4m in dimensions and has two doors, one from the dining room/kitchen and another from the living room. It is pretty big. We decided to put the net on it and arrange it so that we and cats can enjoy time there without a cat falling over the fence (they would not really fall because they are clumsy, but they may jump if a bird flies too close…)

Balcony – the kitty tree is out

We have a lot also, some 1200 sqm, and Maven, Leroy and Miii go out and run there when we are out. Maven even takes walks with us through our neighborhood, without a leash. Miii and Leroy are pretty disciplined, but Maven is  best in that aspect of all of our cats. Jossan is not too obedient, and Albert never showed any interest (so far) in going out. We took Jossan out on leash since we moved here, when she was not pregnant, (it is not like a dog leash, Jossan has a little vest and a rope attached to it, at her back, it does not go around her neck. It is comfortable for her!). Jossan used to go out without vest before we moved, but she was a bit stubborn and did not come immediately every time I called her.

Leroy – living a fat cat’s dream – you are out without having to go down the stairs! And your bed is out too!

It is good for cats to get fresh air, but under controlled forms; too many cats die in traffic or kill birds and cute small animals. I know they are predators, but I find it very hard to think of our fluffy balls as cold-blooded killers.

Maven knows what I think about her killings; I screamed in horror every time she brought me dead, half dead and even – alive and unharmed ‘presents’. She was very bad when she was younger. She did not kill any bird or a mouse in about two years now. Leroy caught flies a few times, and Miii found a snail once in the garden and was very proud about that. 🙂 She yelled and meawed so that everyone in Stockholm heard about her ‘catching’ a snail. Jossan is a real killer, and Albert would be the same. And I am not sure how obedient he would be. He is like his mom. An independent kitty. Independent cats cannot go out and  do whatever they want. But they should get fresh air.

We bought a plastic black net (black so that birds can see it; then they do not fly into it) and plastic tiles for the balcony. We only started arranging the kitty jail and they seem to like it so far.

Leroy, Miii and Maven still get to go out to the lot as well as to the balcony when it is sunny. Jossan is pregnant, so going out to the balcony is very good for her; she can get some fresh air that way.

Jossan is enjoying the spring weather

Cats really love to feel the wind, sniff all the exciting smells and listen to birds. Happy cats!

We will put more shelves and some plants (the question is – which plants are at the same time not poisonous for cats and taste so bad that Albert would let them grow? Hmmm). It will take time, but we are looking forward to the project!

Merry Christmas!

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! This year’s card is inspired with our White Squirrel’s activities. 🙂 I drew it on paper, scanned it, processed it a bit and added the text in Gimp.

Many warm hugs from us and the cats! 🙂

Snow!

Yesterday we finally got some snow in Stockholm that did not melt immediately. We are experiencing an unusually warm winter so far. The cats were mesmerized with snow (as always). We put the food for small birds in the lilac bushes and the cats like to watch them eat it.

First snow, December 2011

Hmmm, Maven is on the window on the other side of the living room. But, where is Albert?

The White Squirrel

Last Sunday in November

Less than a month is left to Christmas! We started putting the decorations; so far the new curtains are up and yesterday we put the stars in the windows.

Our little helpers in action:

A black smoke bun, someone?

I have no clue how Maven manages to fit in such small boxes and baskets!

Albert, giving a helping paw as always:

My humans have no sense of composition!

Our cats adore the blankets we use during the winter; they are soft and cosy.

The Siamese pile

Miii chooses Jocke

About two months ago, we went away for a vacation and our cats spent eight days in a cat hotel. That was a new place, that they never visited before. It is close to where we live now.

It was the first time we picked the cats from a cat hotel that they were cuddling with the lady that took care of them! She really spent a lot of time with them and she seemed so sad when we got them. But, we were happy!

After they came back home, Miii decided that Jocke should be her human. I was always her preferred human. Although we planned that she will be Jocke’s cat when we got her, she picked me, there was no help. Jossan  was pretty pissed off because of that and it took them a long time until they worked out how to share me. But now Miii decided that both Albert and Jossan is too much to share a human with and decided that she is best friend with Maven and that they share Jocke! Maven is not so delighted with that; Maven likes to be close to humans, not to other cats. Siamese like to sleep close to humans and close to each other, on the Pile.

"You and I, we are best friends!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "Oh, no, a Siamese..."

When Miii came to us, 2,5 years ago, she was very shy and hid from people who would visit us. She became more and more brave and social, but that happened slowly. Last week she yelled at one friend that came by and demanded that he pets her! Then she jumped in his lap and purred and demanded more petting. She did a similar thing to another friend that came by last Tuesday.

Miii discovered that you can get what you want from other people too, not only us, her humans. 🙂

Blanche in her new home

Blanche moved into her new home nine days ago. That is an interesting home; two humans and three Siames cats, two of which are as white as Blanche! Yes, two Foreign Whites. 🙂

White Siamese (or – Foreign Whites) are not common. There are very few in Sweden and Norway. The first ones I saw in Sweden were Snow Queen and Snow Princess, the cats from a small cattery called Love me tender. I was in love, but it took a few years until we got our first white Siamese, this time from our own breeding. That is Albert. We kept him fertile for some time and two ladies were interested in mating their Siamese cats with him. Thanks to that now there is five more white Siamese in Sweden and Norway, and two of them will stay at their breeder’s homes.

Also, there are two more whites we got – Balthazar and Blanche. Blanche, Jossan’s white daughter moved to Love Me Tender cattery!

Blanche was tough while we were there, for a few hours. But then we left and she realized that she is small, the other cats are big. They smell and sound differently and everything is new and scary! The humans were nice and she was petted, kissed, fed and played with, and the big cats left her alone, so it was not all bad after all. She is sleeping in her humans’ bed every night, under the blanket.

A day after she moved to her new home, she was already playing around in the apartment, but was also afraid and careful at times. During the following few days she was playing tough with the big cats, roared at them (she is tiny and they are big :)) and even followed them and ‘attacked’ them as a little terrorist!

With time she got tired of all that and being the baby she is, she needed some more love and attention from the big cats, not only humans. The big cats were curious, but certain rituals had to be fulfilled. Cats have their rules and protocols and they stick to them!

Yesterday: Blanche sitting next to Sessan. Sessan is ignoring her.

This evening we got a picture from her ‘mom’. Sessan, one of the big cats came and lied next to the little Blanche and licked her! 🙂 Then Coco licked her also. What a happiness for little Blanche! She is a part of her new cat family!

Today, finally: "You are small and yucky, but I'll lick you. But, only because I feel like it".

Blanche’s new mom blogs about her cats here, it is in Swedish.

We miss Blanche, but we are happy that she is so loved in her new home and that it is going so well for her! Many thanks for the pictures and regular updates to Blanches new mom, Dragana. 🙂

11 weeks (part 2: reflections)

The kittens were curious about the table in the guest room. They were a bit surprised with their reflections. Earlier there were stuff on it, so I guess they did not notice how funny it actually is.

The kittens saw mirrors before, and they were a bit excited about other cats back there. 🙂

Beatrice, 11 weeks

Balthazar (front) and Blanche

Belle

Balthazar (front) and Blanche

11 weeks (part 1)

The kittens turned 11 weeks today! They are so big now. Next week they are getting their second vaccine and in two-four weeks they will be moving to their new homes. The feelings are mixed. They are all moving to very good homes and we are looking forward to see how it goes for them in the future.

This is how the beginning of our evening with the kittens looked like (it is Stockholm, and summer, it is still not completely dark yet).

In the living room, Leroy was sleeping on one of his sheep

While in another room, the kittens were slowly waking up from their afternoon nap (Bea, Blanche and Jossan is behind them)

Balthazar and Belle, on another highest part of the cat tree

"You were saying?"

B-litter; a photo session that went wrong

We tried to take some photos of the kittens today. They turned 10 weeks and all of them weigh over 1kg!

Here is a number of photos we took today.

And this is how it looked most of the time (one of their favorite toys is on the picture, it is made to look like a real dragon fly and we cannot leave them alone with it because of the plastic parts. They are crazy about it. The big cats adore it, too):

It's mine!

Albert feels fine

Albert feels well, and behaves as usual, except that he is much more at my side. Last night he slept in our bedroom and we closed the door so the other cats would not disturb him. Leroy was a bit upset, he protested for 5 minutes from the other side of the door.

Albert thought that all the attention was very nice. He cuddled and slept next to us all night.

I started working again today, but Jocke is at home with the cats, he has one more week of vacation. Albert ate this morning and he seems fine. And he is so happy. He is not weak or anything like it, he is moving and behaving as a strong healthy cat. The whole Friday drama feels so unreal.

7 weeks pictures. And the tree.

The individual pictures from the Monday photo session are now uploaded here.

And the cat tree… it was so much fun for the small cats to get the whole new tall furniture! We did not put anything that tall in their room earlier since they are small and not scared of anything, but yesterday we bought them the furniture with a lot of funny parts, 165 cm tall. We padded the space around it with a lot of pillows. The kittens went crazy, climbing, jumping and behaving like little monkeys. Jossan was not happy at all. She gave us that look – ‘Are you completely insane!?’

In the morning we found all the kittens sleeping in the cat house with the pillows put over the entrance. Jossan lured them in and dragged the pillows and blocked the small ones from exiting the tipi! 😀 Jossan is such a clever cat and a good mom. She never ceases to impress me.

Jocke took a cool video of the tree, seen from a kitten’s perspective:

More pictures from yesterday and today:

Belle peeking

Beatrice, boldly going where no kitten has gone before

Your tail! My tail? Wait...

B-litter, day #2

The kittens are almost two days old and they are growing before our eyes.

We weighed them this evening and three of them went 20 gr up already and one went up 28gr! Jossan is so proud of them, and the big cats come and sit and watch the small ones few times per day, from a meter or two of distance.

I wonder what Albert is thinking… he is so excited, and scared and curious at the same time. He can just sit and calmly watch his mom and his small siblings for hours.

My sun!

Albert loves to lie in the sun. There is plenty of space on the couch close to the window, on the floor, on the cat furniture…

But sometimes Albert wants all the 20 sqm of sunny spots for himself! Greedy Albert!

"Bad Miii! Go away from my sun! MY SUN!"

But, Miii is so cute! She deserves all the sunny spots in the world! Albert is still small and silly and has moments when he wants EVERYTHING for himself.

"Look at me! I am so cute!"

PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) test

Jossan and Albert are tested negative for PRA.

That is great news, it means that the kittens any of them parents will never get PRA and become blind, no matter whether the other parent is a carrier or not (this is an autosomal recessive condition). The disease is not associated with gender. Since it is a recessive disease – two copies of the gene, in this case – CEP290  mutation are required for the cats to lose their vision. There is no treatment available for the condition.

PRA stands for Progressive Retinal Atrophy. 

The cats with two copies of the CEP290 mutation have normal vision at birth.  Vision loss progresses slowly and is variable, with most cats becoming blind by usually 3-5 years of age.  Some estimates are that 33% of Siamese and related breeds are carriers of the mutation, meaning that about 11% of them will eventually become blind later in life.

You can check which cats are tested so far and what the results are here for female cats and here for male cats. Click on [h] far right next to the cat’s name to see the test results.

Please observe: not everyone has tested their cats used in breeding programs yet. I have become aware of this just a few months ago, after a study in Finland has been done. Also, not everyone is going to register the results in Pawpeds; not all the breeders are aware of the existence of the Pawpeds – the cat database. But more and more reports will arrive with time. If you plan to mate your Siamese/Balinese/Oriental or buy a kitten from a breeder, make sure you know the PRA status of the cat in question. Carriers and PRA-negative cats will never develop PRA. Only homozygous cats will.

The goal is that with selective breeding where a carrier can be mated only with a non-carrier we will be able to minimize the appearance of the mutation within the Siamese gene pool.

We sent our cats’ DNA to Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, UC Davis, California. We got the results 8 days after the lab had received my letter with the samples. Read more about PRA here.

Information in Swedish:

Om PRA: http://www.pawpeds.com/healthprogrammes/pra_se.html

Rekommendationer: http://www.pawpeds.com/healthprogrammes/prarecommendations_se.html

Från rekommendationer:

“Alla köpare av kattungar som är bärare och kattungar vars PRA-status är okänd (där inte båda föräldrarna är fritestade och negativa) ska informeras om sjukdomen, om det faktum att en förälder är bärare och om den risk som finns om kattungen används i avel.

Heterozygota bärare kommer visserligen aldrig att få några symptom och då kan man lätt tänka att informationen är irrelevant för den som köper en kattunge bara till sällskap.

Men eftersom det inte alls är ovanligt att köpare av katter till sällskap senare ändrar sig och i alla fall vill ta en kull efter sin katt och de då kanske drar igång det hela utan att höra med uppfödaren till katten, så är det lika viktigt att köpare av kattungar till sällskap också till fullo förstår vad sjukdomen innebär och vad det kan betyda för deras kattunge.”

P.S. Goofy, dad to A-litter and dad to the upcoming litter will also be tested for PRA in the near future. Judging from Albert’s results, he is negative or in the worst case, a carrier, but cannot be a homozygote.

Updated, May 2011: Goofy is also tested PRA-negative. All the kittens that he and Jossan had are PRA-negative since both parents are not carriers.

Cats in the sun

Jossan, Miii and Albert are resting in the sun. Albert is hardly visible, he fits the background so well.

There is 38 days left until the kittens arrive, if everything goes well. Jossan is going up in weight just fine, 430gr since the start of the pregnancy.

She was clumsy and quite active lately and played and rolled on the floor with the toys, and even fell once (10 days ago) from a shelf, but she still continued going up in weight really well and shows no signs of discomfort at all. We are going for a checkup and an ultrasound exam in 2 days (on Tuesday).

 

Jossan is dating again!

Jossan (S*Me-Na-Yak Call Me Josephine Brown) is dating again!

Her date is – Goofy, IC S*Edo Créma de Luxe, the dad of the A-litter! Although Albert and Goofy have different looks, there are similarities; Albert is white like his dad and moves and has a body language that is pretty much the same! That was quite amazing to see, I did not remember from before how Goofy moved and cuddled. He was mostly stunned and excited when we introduced him to Jossan last year, so he did not interact with us a lot.

Here is a picture of Goofy and his brother Musse we took when we left Jossan in Sala, about 1 hour 15 minutes drive from Stockholm, two days ago.

It was a bit funny; the first time we were there, about a year ago, Jossan seemed to be scared, and hid immediately. But now – she jumped on the kitchen table, behaved as if Sofie’s apartment was her summer house or something. She apparently recognized where she was and she was not displeased. After a few minutes we let Goofy in and he started singing and flirting with Jossan. Then we gave them some privacy and left. We got a message from Goofy’s owner yesterday, she witnessed one mating and heard another!

We miss Jossan, but we do not miss her yelling and calling for a guy. She (as the most of cats) calls a lot when in heat. Also, Albert had to be separated from her, and it was not fun for anyone, but he has such a nice temper and we have a big house, and enough cats so that everyone has a company. Albert is still small, but he changes from Dr Jekyll to Mr Hyde when he feels that Jossan is going in heat. Then he is all stud, 110%, calling and following Jossan. But when his mom is not in heat, or when she is away, he is a little baby, playing with his toys and cuddling with us all the time.

We hope that this time we are as lucky as last year, that Jossan has a problem-free pregnancy and nursing period, and above all – that she remains healthy and gets healthy babies. If all goes well, the delivery will be around the 4th of May.

Ullisen

Swedish word ‘ull’ means ‘wool’ in English, and Ullisen could be translated to something like ‘Wooly’. Last week I bought Ullisen to our cats! Ullisen is made of wool from sheep from Öland (an island in Sweden) and with ecological catnip. Our cats have a hundred of toys. Some they love more, some not so much. You can never know what would be their favorite toy. They do not like the same toys. Jossan does not like toys at all.

The cats love Ullisen. No one of our cats is a wool-chewer, but it must be something in wool that tastes really good, since they love to play with it. Even Jossan plays with it sometimes (and she does not play with toys since she became fertile, 2,5 years ago, she is like, so above it…). But, Ullisen is really a Leroy’s toy. Although Albert thinks they should share. But, Leroy does not share toys. Oh, no.

P.S. I bought Ullisen on Tradera (Swedish ebay, sort of), but the lady that makes ullisar also has a site here.