2-15-19 Friday

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I’m not a geneticist either, but I’ve always been fascinated by the genetics of coat colors and patterns in cats.

Charles IS a “brown” tabby. A brown tabby is a black cat that also has the agouti gene (responsible for the ticking, striping, and swirls on the various tabby patterns). Charles is a mackerel-pattern tabby, sort of the basic “default cat”. He also has the white spotting gene, though that can range from a few hairs to a cat that is entirely white (I had one, born with two tiny gray spots that disappeared), and everything in between.

Caroline, a black cat, lacks the agouti gene, but at least for this litter, it’s obvious the agouti gene from Papa has the override. She, of course has the white spotting gene, expressed in the “tuxie” pattern. I, too, expected a mix of tabby and black (and various white spotting on them) kittens. Too bad they don’t have more white, just for ID purposes! Well, and because white spots are fun!

THANK YOU for that simple and easy to follow (and interesting!) explanation, Joy!


And aren’t Charles and Caroline the absolute sweetest couple?? I’m sure I don’t have to ask, but you are going to have them adopted together, right? Actually, I think you should keep them, I’m not done with those two yet. 🙂

They are the cutest – and at this point (unless fatherhood changes him a LOT somehow and there’s a nasty breakup) I’m pretty sure they’ll have to be adopted together. Not by us, but of course YOU are always welcome to fill out the application to adopt them. 🙂


Where did she decide to have her babies? Mom and babies look adorable!

In the smallest, darkest, hardest-to-take-decent-pictures-of spot possible, of course! Why birth the kittens in the big, spacious crate on the left when you can cram yourself (okay, she’s tiny, so there wasn’t really much cramming going on) in the carrier under the built-in desk on the right? I kid, of course – there’s plenty of room for Caroline and the kittens in that carrier. I’ll be interested to see if she ends up moving them in the future. I don’t think I’m the only one who’s hoping very much that there’s a future picture of both parents and all the kittens snuggled up together. Charles can barely fit his ears in there, let alone the rest of his big ol’ goofy self.


(Is that a little shaved spot on boyfriend Sir Khal’s right front leg?! Or is it just the angle?)

That IS a shaved spot on his leg. He went for a dental cleaning in mid-January. I think that if they’re going to shave one leg, they should shave the other to match!


“Please admire the toeses.” Check out those curb feelers! She’s got some awesome ones.

Aren’t those the coolest? She is such a fancy girl. And “curb feelers” is the perfect description!


Robyn, didn’t you say Mamas usually give birth during the evening/night?

This is an excellent question, and gave me a reason to go figure out if there was a pattern to when my mamas give birth. As it turns out, most of them have given birth in the morning hours. Here’s the list:

Very early morning (midnight – 4 am) – Emmy and Mercury.
Morning (5 – 7 am) – Kate, Nola, and Kristi.
Mid-morning (8 – 11 am) – Maggie, Katia and Caroline.
Late afternoon/early evening – Kara, Khaleesi and Lucy.

So even though I’ve always been told that cats usually give birth in the dead hours of the night – and maybe that’s true of cats who give birth outside – only Emmy and Mercury really did that. The only time of day I’ve never had a cat give birth was in the afternoon and the late evening.


Does Khal have a thick undercoat? My orange Khal lookalike – Sir Fluffybutt, Prince of the Fancypants, Catsquatch of College Hill (we call him Jerry), has an incredible undercoat that has a texture that’s somewhere between cotton candy and cottonwood fluff. It sticks to EVERYTHING. The slicker brush doesn’t seem to get his undercoat. Maybe I need one with longer bristles? Also – has anyone had their cat trimmed in the summer? He sheds so much that I thought that might help. Does it?

My recommendation is the Furminator Undercoat deshedding brush, this one.

(They should carry it at Petsmart and Petco, too).

As far as shaving, way way wayyyyy back in the day – 2003, I think – we had our only previous longhaired cat (Fancypants) shaved because he had so many tangles. He was a little freaked out afterward, but he adjusted pretty quickly, and he was so soft, he felt like velour. They left his tail and head unshaved, so he was quite the sight. I don’t know if it would have helped with the shedding – he unfortunately escaped the back yard and disappeared several weeks later (I don’t think that had anything to do with being shaved, he was just generally a jerk.)

If anyone else has advice, please feel free to chime in!


Charles and Caroline were on Love Meow yesterday! That video is just too darn sweet. Everything about those two are just so darn sweet, really.

Charles spent Wednesday night in the foster room with Caroline and the kittens, and it was perfectly fine. For the most part, unless the kittens are howling (which doesn’t happen much), he doesn’t really pay much attention to them. He stuck his head in the carrier once or twice to sniff at them during the night, with Caroline looking on. Yesterday when I was changing out their bedding and had the kittens all sitting in the little green and black basket (sorry, no pictures of that – I wanted to get the bedding changed out and the kittens back into the carrier while Caroline was eating), he came over and gently touched one of them with his paw. So he’s vaguely interested in a puzzled kind of way. I expect him to get more interested as they get older.

These kittens all look SO much alike that we’re going to mark their ears, probably later today. I don’t plan to weigh them every day, since they’re eating so well, but I need to weigh them every now and then to keep an eye on things, and to do that I need to know who’s who!

When we were weighing the kittens Wednesday, Caroline hit her “NOPE, YA MESSED UP, HUMANS” point, and came and took this kitten away from us. Awww, c’mon Caroline, we’re sorry! (She didn’t hold a grudge.)

Lord are they ever CUTE.

We has us a hisser. S/he’s a prodigy!

Siblings always make the comfiest beds.

Those TOES.

“Why you torturing my babies, lady?”

I love that some of her whiskers are white and others are black.

These kittens aren’t crazy about being handled (no kitten this age ever is, really), but they’re not as screamy about it as some past kittens have been.

Sleep, nurse, sleep, nurse, sleep, wiggle around, sleep, nurse, sleep. It’s an exciting life at this age, I’m telling you.

That boy’s ears just kill me.


“Look at that foot, innernets. LOOK AT IT. Isn’t it FABULOUS?” (Alice)

YouTube link


2018: Checking out his escape route.
2017: The eyes have it.
2016: I opened the door to the rest of the upstairs on Saturday, and she came out briefly to look around before she went back into the foster room, climbed into the wall condo and went back to sleep.
2015: No entry.
2014: Norbdate, Flookdate, and Tony(Soprano)date!
2013: “I am just a wee bebbeh chick, poor sad, defenseless meeeeeee…”
2012: Alice showing Sally Peppers who the boss is with that outstretched paw just kills me DEAD.
2011: No entry.
2010: No entry.
2009: No entry.
2008: And yet, somehow I’m SURPRISED that the bedspread is covered in cat hair.
2007: It was severely gross, yet oddly fascinating.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



2-15-19 Friday — 21 Comments

  1. I saw Ma and Pa on Love Meow this morning! The little family… Look at those sweet little wee faces; I love tabby kittens. I’m so, so relieved that Caroline’s maternal instinct has kicked in, despite being a teenage mother herself.

    It is going to be so cool once Charles starts showing interest in his kids! (Wow, reading that sounds like a comment thread for disgruntled single moms, lol.)

  2. Ooohhhhhh! These babies are beee-u-teee-ful (as are their ma and pa)!!! I, too, am fascinated by the genetics of cats and coats – and that was the most understandable explanation I’ve ever read! Thank you!

    Sweet Alice Mo certainly has that Razzle Dazzle gene, no? (I read that in a previous post and love the term and it’s sooooo fitting!)

    Happy Friday and happy post Valentine’s day!

    • didn’t realize I clicked the reply… In a bout of morning confusion, I was going to correct my post, thinking it was actually thursday and not friday. DUH! needmorecoffee…STAT!

  3. I accept Alice’s offering of one leggie!

    It is SOOOO fabulous that offering 2 might have knocked some people clean of their feet!

    It’s so kind of her to consider everyone’s safety!

  4. I don’t know about shaving cats, but I read somewhere recently (something shared on Facebook by someone I know who’s a vet) that repeatedly shaving dogs can induce alopecia. Because I live next door to a 12 year old Sheltie who’s been shaved every summer his whole life to keep him cool, and who now has so many bald spots that he looks like a mange victim, I tend to believe it! (Unless CONTINUAL BARKING can also cause alopecia!) I suppose if you do it once to clear up a matting problem it is not a big deal, but this repeated stuff evidently ruins their fur.

      • Re: Shaving cats. We had a little stray who was definitely most/all Persian and she had that cottony, knotty undercoat. She was a major knot factory and hated to be brushed–if she saw the brush appear she was gone! We tried removing the knots/mats ourselves but we just couldn’t keep up with it. So, we had her shaved several times over the years. She had the “lion cut”–they left her head furry, as well as the bottom half of her legs (looked like Ugg boots) and the tip of her tail like a lion. She looked incredibly cute but definitely different! She didn’t seem to mind–in fact her activity level and perkiness increased a couple of days after being shaved–we think it was a relief to her. She did get a little chilly, so we had self-heating beds/mats around for her and tried to do it in the spring, before the A/C was running. Her fur grew in really well and we didn’t have any problems.

        One caveat: Do your research before choosing a groomer. You want someone who doesn’t just say “Oh…we do cats, too!” and are really just a dog groomer. A good test is to ask to be there with her for the first shave. If they say no, go elsewhere. A good groomer who treats an animal well and has nothing to hide has no problem with a worrisome cat-parent hanging around. We had a questionable experience once, but then happened upon a wonderful groomer who had no problem with one of us staying. In fact, he said he would prefer to groom cats only if he could make a living out of it. After one session my husband trusted him and didn’t have to stay–and that is saying something as this cat was his baby!

        Hope this helps.

  5. The kittens are so cute. Joy talked about having a white kitty with two gray spots that then disappeared. I also had a white kitty with a gray spot on the top of her head. We called her Smidgen because of the spot. The interesting thing is that the spot would come and go. When she was good, the spot disappeared. However, when she had gotten into something she shouldn’t have, the spot appeared. We would come home from work and know if she had knocked something over or had done something she shouldn’t have if he spot was visible. It was so cute. Like all of my previous kitties, I miss her. She crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 1993.

  6. Robyn, I had read that kittens have a “favorite” nipple when they nurse and they always go to that nipple. Have you seen that in your experience? I noticed in the video of the half-pints nursing, that they did not seem to have “assigned nipples”, the 2 most active seemed to be trying a few. Did they not read the manual or are they having a hard time making up their minds?

  7. That one picture of the kitten “reading the blanket tag” is proof that you do indeed have some prodigies in this bunch.

  8. That is indeed a fabulous foot, Lady Alice!

    Thanks for the kind words on my little genetics post! 🙂

  9. Charles and Caroline aren’t … siblings, are they? Sorry to be gross, but they look about the same age and lived in the same house together, which sounds like someone adopted two kittens and didn’t get them neutered.

    I know it happens, and probably isn’t a huge deal among cats unless done repeatedly.

    • They’re not siblings – he’s a year and a half old and she’s 8 months (well, almost 9 months now) old. One came from Craigslist and one from the former owner’s coworker.

  10. I know, I know, it’s kitten time — and they and their mum are adorable — I can’t help crushing on Charles. . .

  11. When do you add the little ones to the In Residence section? After they’ve been named or after they have more character to define their looks or something else? I love watching that Love Meow video; it really touches the heart to see such tenderness.

  12. I suggest naming the tabby with white feet “Nellie” if a girl as she looks a little different than the rest. The others clearly have a family resemblance so can be named after the kids on Little House. 🙂