3-18-22 Friday

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Do eyeballs open this quickly?!?! You’ve only fostered oh, what? 540 newborn litters by now? Give or take, heh. You’d think I’d know by now.

Yeah, they generally start opening between 7 and 10 days – some open even sooner (I think I had one open his eyes at 4 days), and some later.

Kittens grow and change so much from day to day that it seems like half the time I’m waiting for something specific to happen (eyes opening, ears opening, teeth coming in), and the other half of the time I’m shocked that it happened so quickly!


Is the rule the nicer the mom the hissier the babies? I don’t remember kittens being sooo sooo hissy at this age. The pic of hissing in their sleep pretty much threw me over the edge…hope they won’t be so grumpy as adults!

Maybe they’re getting it out of their system now rather than later. 🙂

This is pretty normal – Canasta’s kittens were a few days older at this point last year, and I think I still got the occasional hiss. They grew up pretty friendly. 🙂


Janna: Could you explain the calico genetics a bit more? I know that calicos are (almost) always girls, but why would all of the non-calico kittens in this litter have to be boys? I know I could look this up — I’m a medical librarian, after all! — but I suspect that would open a rabbit hole I don’t have time to deal with today. So now I’ve asked you and I can just wait! 😉

Ricky & Bibi’s Mom: I’m the opposite of more knowledgeable, but I’m a good looker-upper. This site might help.

girlwanderer: I can help!

All right, so it goes like this. You know how a girl’s sex chromosomes are XX and a boy’s are XY? The gene that codes for “orange” and “black” in a cat is carried on the X chromosome – they’re different presentations or ‘alleles’ of the same gene. Orange and black, when there are two X chromosomes, expresses a thing called ‘codominance’, which means that if there are two X chromosomes, one expressing orange and one expressing black, that cell has to pick which one it wants to use. It picks one, and the fur is either orange or black accordingly in that spot, giving us the calico or tortie coloration we know and love. The patchiness happens because he choice of one cell often influences which one the cells around it pick.

A boy, in order to express this coloration, has to be XXY, which is a genetic mutation. That’s why it’s so crazy rare.

So, Mama isn’t XoXb – the tortie/calico coloration – because she’s a tabby and white, which means that if Hollyhock is XoXb, that means her daddy was Xo. Any other girls would also express as XoXb. It looks like all the boys got Xb with tabby genes and some white (Clover is brown, which is really a dilute expression of black).

I hope that helps!

THANK YOU so much! It totally makes sense and I understand it while reading it… and then I look away and it completely leaks out of my brain. I don’t know what it is that makes it impossible for me to retain information like this for so long (I am going to guess that it’s all the random information taking up brain space.)


I notice that their claws are protruding. When do the claws retract like an adult cats?

At about 4 weeks they’ll be able to retract their claws.


Alice reminds me of one of my two cats (Hildy). We fostered a sweet little orange boy last year. Everything was fine at first, but once he got bigger, he really upset Hildy. Just like Alice and Charlie, every time she ran away he thought she was playing. He also horned in on her cat tree territory. She got so upset that she started peeing outside the litter box. The vet said this is because she feels threatened, and when the perceived threat is gone, she’ll stop.

Well, foster baby has been out of the house for 2+ months, and Hildy is still peeing on the floor. She’s been to the vet (she’s had cystitis multiple times in the past and the vet verified that this isn’t cystitis) and she gets medicine to help calm her down. We put down pee pads and use enzymatic cleaner and the litter boxes get cleaned out regularly. We’re wondering if Hildy has transferred her feelings of being threatened by the foster cat to her sister and she needs more private spaces that her sister can’t get to, if we need to change up the litter box situation, and/or if she needs to go back to the vet. She and her sister used to be buddies when they were little but they haven’t been close in about 3-4 years (they are 7 and 8 years old). Do you or other readers have any advice?

Feliway definitely might help, and you might try something like Zylkene (many years ago, back when you could only get Zylkene by ordering it from the UK, I tried it on Maxi, who had started spraying. It did a really good job of calming her down and snapping her out of that behavior.) (Zylkene link for reference, you might be able to find it cheaper elsewhere). Having a private space that is just hers, where her sister can’t get to, might help, too!

(Feliway multi-cat calming kit link for reference – comes with three diffusers and 6 refills.)

If anyone has suggestions, please chime in!


Bramble’s feelin’ grumpy.

Kudzu’s Mondo pillow keeps moving and it’s annoying Kudzu.

Kudzu’s all “What you doin’ out there, lady?”

Hollyhock has a yawn.

Clover can’t be bothered to wake up.

Mondo has a BIG yawn.

And there’s a Bramble yawn. We have some sleepy little slackers, is what we have.

Kudzu has a ::thlurrrp::


Charlie loves this bed (which stays under the table, located between two recliners in the living room) and if he’s not busy stomping around the back yard staring through the fence at squirrels or birds, he’s inside piled up in that bed. Occasionally Archie claims it, but the majority of the time it’s Charlie’s place.


Posted on social media (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Tumblr) yesterday.

Throw Back Thursday: I posted a picture earlier this week of Mimosa sitting on top of the cabinet, peeking down to check on her kittens. It reminded of this picture of Canasta from last year, sitting atop the crate to check on a squeaking kitten. It also reminded me of this picture of Charles, father of the Half Pints litter, sitting atop the tiny cat carrier Caroline decided to birth her kittens in (despite the 2 much larger crates only a few feet away). There was no room in that carrier for Charles, but he was extremely interested in what was going on in there.

Mondo is one sleepy little leprechaun. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

YouTube link
I wouldn’t be too surprised if this is the last hissing video I get. They haven’t hissed at me in a couple of days, and I suspect the only reason they were so hissy this morning is because I was wearing new lotion (and to be honest, I agree with their assessment and won’t be wearing that lotion again. It was very strong!) The main hissers are dark brown tabby Mondo and brown tabby and white Bramble, and I’m pretty sure the spit came courtesy of Hollyhock.

Throw Back Thursday: Whist from just one year ago.

YouTube link
I thought Bramble was going to fall asleep, but then he decided to clean his leg and it kinda looked to me like he wanted to play. He woke up Kudzu who (I am sure you’ll be shocked to hear) has a complaint or two.

The picture I posted earlier this week of Mimosa half-sitting while a couple of the kittens were nursing reminded us ALL of the way Canasta liked to sit and nurse her kittens. That collage shows Canasta with her kittens at just 2 days old, and again at about a month old.

Good night innernets. ❤️


2021: Whist spends a lot of time sniffing around the crate like a little bloodhound.
2020: “Well,” said Javier. “You don’t have to be RUDE.”
2019: In future years, when I think of Willie, I will forever remember him sitting around with a little formula right below his mouth.
2018: No entry.
2017: No entry.
2016: Ken Adams haz a sleepy.
2015: Heeeere he comes to save the dayyyyy! Mighty Pete is on his wayyyyy!
2014: And now we have a screen door!
2013: “Humans. So gullible.”
2012: Lazy Sunday.
2011: (But, y’know, no pressure or anything, Maggie!)
2010: A future litter of kittens (when it’s MY turn to name them!): Dither, Ponder, Discuss, and Swagger. I’ll call them The Verbs!
2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



3-18-22 Friday — 13 Comments

  1. Canasta has to be one of my all time favorite mom cats. She was definitely the total package.

  2. Another couple of suggestions for Hildy’s mom (because I have a tortie with no medical issues who gets stressed and then pees on my bed):

    Anxitane® S Chewable Tablets for Dogs and Cats (a pill, 1/2 am and 1/2 pm, scored for easy breaking, plus added bonus that my cat LOVES them. Begs for them even)

    Royal Canin Calm Formula Dry Cat Food – apparently has the same stuff as Anxitane but added to the food.

    Hope this helps!

    And Robyn – this series of pictures today made me soooooo sleepy!!

  3. There’s another way for a male cat to be calico. He could be a chimera. That happens when two embryos fuse together in the uterus so the cat ends up with DNA from two different individuals. When I was in practice, we actually had a male calico like this. His skin was XX but other parts of him were XY, like his testicles. Unlike an XXY male, who would most like be infertile, this little guy could have fathered kittens. 🙂

  4. “ At about 4 weeks they’ll be able to retract their claws”—->> And by four months they might even consider doing so occasionally! 😉 😀

  5. Suggestion for Hildy; re: litter boxes: If any of the current boxes were ever entered by or used by the foster boy; chuck out the boxes and replace them because she can probably still smell him in residue permeating the box itself. Consider a thorough vacuuming or etc of the cat tree too in case it also smells like him.

    • Thanks, Ali! We replaced all our litter boxes over the weekend, and there’s no pee on the floor yet, so fingers crossed this does the trick!

  6. Another suggestion for Hildy: My old, recently departed calico, Ceci, got stressed out when I went away for a residential summer school session for several weeks (my husband was there, but he’s wasn’t her person at all!), and started peeing outside the box. I had success with breaking her of it using Dr. Elsey Cat Attract litter. Also, as some others have said, very important to get both her and the offending cat’s urine scents cleaned op or gotten rid of.

  7. I’m not saying it’s a good option but if you notice that she’s peeing in a certain place it might help to have a litter box there at least temporarily.

    Then hopefully move it closer to the original one or two the designated litter areas but if she’s favoring one place I would go with it and then work slowly to modify their behavior by moving the litter box

    • Kar’s idea worked for me when Mazzilli had urine crystals. Once the crystals were taken care of (long, drawn-out saga), he went right back to using his original litter box, which he shared with his brother Mookie, and there were no more “accidents.” I don’t think this would work with every cat—they’re all so different!—but it’s probably worth a try. Both boys are now long gone, though always loved in memory.

  8. Do you not handle the Sprouts very much except to weigh them? Does it upset Mimosa when you do? In your videos I see that you pet them a little & sometimes pick them up to set them on their feet, but no cuddles. I’m afraid if I were in your place I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands off the little love bundles! A friend fostered a mother last summer & we handled her kittens a lot from the day they were born. Played with their toes & tummies all the time & it didn’t didn’t seem to phase their mom at all. I so enjoy all your posts & videos. They make my days!

    • I handle them all the time. I only have two hands… I can’t cuddle kittens and make movies of it at the same time. 🙂

  9. Thanks for all the great advice about Hildy! We are going to try things and see what sticks!