Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Expanding the Kitten World, Halo's Kittens at Seven Weeks by Karen Rose Smith

Halo's kittens have brought us untold joy.  Just watching them play is such a treat.  Playtime has become more energetic and wilder so at seven weeks we thought we should expand their world.  My office is a large room over our garage.  Up until now, we had makeshift barriers--an old door turned sideways--to keep them in a portion of it.  Halo has had the whole office since she came in in June but for the past six weeks, she has chosen to stay in the portion with her kittens.  For the past few days, though, she has been hopping the barriers, but still watching over them.

At eating time the past few days, we have taken one kitten at a time to the other area of the office to let them explore for a few minutes.  Yesterday we took all of them over there together for two play times.  This morning, Halo decided we should keep their world expanded.  It was amazing to watch. She jumped across to the new area while they played.  Then she called them.  She sat atop the sofa at the one place they could learn to climb up to arrive in the other section.  Paddington answered her call.  There he was, on top of the edge of the sofa, with no way to descend again.

So we opened up the office.  Halo led the kittens in running back and forth across the entire room and helped them explore the perimeters.  They played and explored, running crazily at times, for about an hour.  Then she called them to her on the rug in the new area and the suckled and napped.  But when I returned, though, they were in their old spots to sleep in my computer area.  It will be interesting to see if they keep that up.  Once the kittens escape their boundaries, there is no way to keep them back in.  We were lucky the division of space worked up until now.

This week saw the kittens playing with their own tails, climbing and leaping farther, and now scratching on surfaces that will help hone their claws.  Hopefully we have enough scratching posts around that they can learn to scratch on those. Also, they seem to have litter box etiquette learned.  We placed a box in the new area as well as two in the old so there is less opportunity for accidents.

We eliminated a feeding this week this week and hope to eliminate another.  They are eating about five times a day.  But they are also still suckling.  We are letting them lead into what we hope is a natural process.  I've consulted with cat friends and read any material I can find.  The vet tech told us we should separate them from Halo at six weeks.  My immediate reaction was to ignore that advice.  Halo is an excellent mom.  She keeps track of those kittens no matter where they run or try to play hide and seek.  Our situation is a little different than most with three other cats outside the office.  Also we will be keeping Tia for twelve weeks and Mayzie for 14. We're keeping Paddington with Halo. Separating Halo is not practical or at this time or warranted.  Friends who have seen many litters of kittens come and go have advised me that "slow" is the best way to go.  So we're not rushing this process that has been unfolding from the day Halo's babies were born.  They are heart-warming to watch. Halo is leading them and teaching them every day.

More of the kitten saga next week!

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Vonnie Alto said...

You are taking excellent care of the kittens and Halo! Too bad all kittens aren't given the same nurturing care you have provided Halo's kittens!

Yes, keep the kittens with Halo as long as possible. I can't believe that a vet tech told you to separate them at 6 weeks. That's cruel and far too young. The kittens need to be physically bigger before they should be given away. They also need their mother's milk and guidance to thrive.

Debra L Martin said...

I love reading about the kittens. And yes, I agree about not separating the kittens from their kitty mom too quickly. Pretty soon on their own, they spend less and less time with her and you'll know it's time for them to be adopted.

scaro said...

Hope you are going to make a book of your three
little kittens wit all your pictures included!!!
Carol Smith

KRS said...

Carol--I'm thinking about putting all the blogs into a book just to give cat lovers a reference to go by if they do this. But I don't think I can include the photos. We'll see.

Debra--that's what I'm hoping. She's still really attached to them. Even though they're eating more, they still go to her to get washed and suckle.

Vonnie--the vet tech talked about them as if they were a commodity to be sold. Got my dander up. I tild her we were keeping them 12 weeks. Curious to see what vet says in that practice.

Deborah Blake said...

You know my opinion: that vet tech is an idiot. Separating the kittens from Halo early brings plenty of deficits and no benefits. Look at what she just taught them!

She has turned out to be such a wonderful mother--I'm glad this adventure has turned out so well. (For all of us watching, too.)