3-23-18 Friday

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Look, look! Less than TWO weeks after Stardust went home, here she is with Phoenix…


And bathing!!! How sweet is that?!

(Thank you SO much, Debra!!)


From Claudia: I’m writing you because my 3 and half year old cat was recently diagnosed FIP+. After almost crying my eyes out I’ve decided I have to make the most of our time together. What should I expect going forward? How can I make everything smoother for her when her health starts deteriorating? Should I really avoid adopting other kittens to keep them from being infected? Thank you for your input.

Much love to you and all your readers who are always willing to give advice.

I’m so sorry to hear about this, Claudia.

When Elwood had FIP in 2012, it was a very gradual shutting down. He slowly slept more and more, he ate less and less, and then came the day when it was clear that there wasn’t joy in his life any more – and if I could tell you exactly what that looks like, I would; if you’ve seen it before, you’ll know it the instant you spot it. In retrospect, we probably waited too long to let him go, but it’s always hard to know when that point has come. I say follow her lead – if she wants to eat, give her whatever she wants. If she wants to be loved, love her ’til she’s annoyed. If she wants to curl up and sleep, let her.

As far as avoiding adopting other kittens, FIP is a mutation of the Coronavirus – many, many cats get it, and it only mutates to FIP in a small percentage of cats. (This is how I understand it – if I’m wrong, someone please speak up.) We obviously didn’t stop bringing cats into the house (or adopting them!), and I don’t think you should worry about it, either.

If you guys have anything to add, please do!


Have you made any more progress with Katia? I have my fingers crossed she keeps warming up!


Are you able to pet Katia yet, or is she still wary of humans? These kitties are the cutest!

As of yet, I’ve been unable to pet Katia. I thought I’d very lightly touch her head while I was petting kittens yesterday, and she did not take it kindly. (How, with all those kittens wiggling around did she KNOW that it was me touching her?? HOW??) I apologized and told her I wouldn’t do it again… but I think we both knew that I was lying when I said it.


Have you ever had a polydactyl before, Robyn? I have a couple, including one that has seven toes on her front paws!

Back in 2014, we had Thomas, who was polydactyl (and also a bit freaked out by the ceiling fan.)

Terry from the True Blood 6 wasn’t polydactyl, but he had a wonky paw:

He had the normal number of toes on that paw, but they were separated so that at first glance you thought he had an extra thumb.

That’s it so far, though now I can add little Ornj and his extra thumb to the list!


Hey, Kristi, Katia and their babies made Love Meow!

VERY cool!

Someone asked on Facebook the other night how many times Love & Hisses has been on Love Meow. I guessed 20+ times, but I got curious, so here are the L&H kittens who have been on Love Meow with links to each of the posts on Love Meow:

Pattypan, Lucy and the Fools, PW and the Grocers, Khaleesi, Livia, Kate, Ciara, Stompers, Hutch, Dandelion, Dandelion, Thistle, and Purslane, Tony Rocky Horror Pickle, Emmy & the Noms, Brandywine and the ‘Maters, Stompers (again), Charlie Peppers, Emmy, a couple of the Noms, another Nom, Jake and Charlie Peppers, Maggie, Maddy, Beulah, Hydrox & the Cookies, Maggie’s kittens, the Bookworms, Maggie’s kittens (again), Maggie (that BELLY), Greg Brady, Starsky & Hutch, Starsky & Hutch (again), Maddy, the Cookies, and The Seven.

That’s 34 by my count, and with the post about Kristi & Katia, we’re at 35!


Were Katia’s kittens larger at birth, since there were only four? Can we see side by side pictures of both litters right after birth, pretty please?

Katia’s kittens seemed a bit bigger (I wish I’d weighed both litters at birth, but I was afraid to stick my hand in to grab any of Katia’s kittens for the first few days!), but I have a picture of Katia’s in the pie plate at 4 days old. Give me a day or two to get a picture of Kristi’s in the pie plate, and hopefully I’ll have a comparison pic for you on Monday.


Have you ever had a buff/white kitten before, like those 2 little jellybeans from Kristi’s litter?

They’re starting to get faint stripes, so I believe what we have here are two meezers. I have had meezers in the past, and here are all the meezers and white kittens (just because) for y’all to admire.


Hamilton, Jefferson, Marty & the Runt, in 2009. (WARNING: this is a very sad post, because we lost all 4 of them.) I don’t know for sure that they were meezers rather than solid white, but looking at the pictures, I’m pretty sure they were.

The Cookies in 2009 – Lorna Doone (Orange) in the front, Tim Tam (Blue) to the left (chin down on the edge of the bed), and in the back Hydrox (the tuxie), Milano (Pink), and Keebler. (The kittens had nicknames caused by the color of ear polish I used so I could tell them apart at first.)

Jon Snow, from the Starks in 2013. (He looks pure white in that picture, but he turned out to have a striped orange tail.)

Ralph (top) and Trader Joe, from the Grocers in 2014.

And Lumiere from Belle & the Beasts, in 2017.

White kittens.

Evita, Hermano, Pancho & Sofia – Los Gatitos, from 2010.

Dandelion, from the Weeds, in 2012. Dandelion also turned out to be FIV positive and was adopted straight from here into her new home.

So, unless I’m forgetting someone (and that’s entirely possible), that’s 12 meezers and just 5 solid white cats we’ve fostered so far.


I know that i’m being ridiculous but I can’t help but worry about all of those kittens in that small space.

Apparently there’s no danger with the different sizes but I’m imagining some wrestling/tussling and someone squishing a newborn. Or are they all so squishy still it doesn’t matter/hurt?

A couple of people have expressed concern. All I can tell you is that I’ve seen mother cats regularly lay on their kittens, and the kittens complain and crawl out from under them. I’d never say never, but at this point I haven’t seen any of the little ones stuck under the pile – and you better believe I’m keeping an eye on them!


How many kittens (& what colors) are Sophia’s kittens? Any pictures?

There are pictures of Sophia (the third mother cat that Fred wouldn’t let me take) and her kittens in the comments to this post on Facebook. She had 5 kittens, but one of them passed away.


Oh joy! Robyn, have you ever had ten tiny babies all at one time? What a circus!

This is an excellent question annnnd…. off the top of my head, I had Kate (who had 5 kittens) and Khaleesi (who birthed 4 and adopted Norbie) at the same time. NOT in the same room, though. I don’t think I’ve ever had 10 kittens, let alone 2 mamas, in one room all at once. It’s going to be MADNESS in that room in a few weeks!


I took a look at your 2007 post – Moving into Crooked Acres – and noted a great picture of your car loaded with five cat carriers – a photo replicated in the account of your recent move…but that one had far more carriers! Perhaps a side by side comparison would not go amiss?

Here we go! March 2007:

Spot, Spanky, Miz Poo, Mister Boogers, Sugarbutt, and Tommy. Huh. I wonder where the 6th cat was? Maybe in the front seat.

Annnd December 1st, 2017 (this is the day we picked them up from boarding at the vet and brought them home) :

Newt, Maxi, Kara, Joe Bob, Jake, Alice, Stefan, Archie, Dewey, Frankie & Khal.


When both moms are in the crate, do the kittens nurse on their own mom’s Or do they crawl up to whichever spot is free on either milk bar?

Also, when we had litters, after a bit each kitten had his own nipple and would fight for it. Any of that behavior yet?

The kittens just latch on to the closest milk bar. I had always heard that kittens mark their own nipple and gravitate to that one, but I don’t see any kittens expressing a preference. All nipples appear to be community property!


Is there a lot of noise coming from the crate (squeaking, meowing, whimpering, etc.) with the sweet pile o’ kittens? I would think so!

Actually, it’s surprisingly quiet in there! (Actually, more than once I’ve heard an angry screaming kitten and gone running into the foster room, only to find that I was actually hearing a bird from outside. Squawking birds sound very similar to wee angry kittens!)


How soon will it be before they won’t all fit into the crate?? It’s kind of crowded in there already!

Good question. I have no idea – we’ll have to see!


Besides practicing for the future, does kitten hissing serve any purpose?

Or does that stop predators from attacking them since they’re being so gosh darn cute?

Honestly, I’m only guessing at this, but I suspect that to a predator, a litter of hissing kittens possibly sounds like a nest of snakes, and thus something to be avoided. (I could be completely wrong, of course.)


Dean is perpetually amazed by EVERYTHING.

Oksana is perpetually appalled by me and my camera.

Torvill is perpetually serious because life is hard when you’re this little.

Katarina just wants to know how she got into this predicament.

Katia’s kittens have not left the crate of their own volition yet, and in fact aren’t all that interested in life beyond the crate. I mean, can you blame them? There’s a lot of awesome inside that crate!

To change out the bedding in the crate yesterday, I lined a plastic basket with a blanket, and then piled all the kittens into it.

It was a very full basket!

Katarina thinks this bed made of kittens is awfully comfy.

Little Ornj gets his hiss on (but looks like he’s laughing at his own joke.)


Oksana’s all “You no touch these babies, lady. You hear me?”

Katarina keeps an eye on things.

Katarina, Torvill (over to the left) and some little ones.

At this point, Katia and Kristi are mostly taking turns in the crate with the kittens, though there are plenty of times when they’re all in there together. When I got this picture, Kristi was hanging out in her old favorite spot, in front of the window.

The whole family.


I did a 30-minute live stream on YouTube last night, just testing it out to see how it works. It went fairly well, although the camera I’m using – an old iPhone – isn’t the greatest and I had a time figuring out a decent angle (it’s an old iPhone on a tripod, balanced atop a couple of bricks. Somehow, it did NOT get knocked over!) I’m hoping to do a regularly scheduled couple of hours in the morning and again in the evening in the future, but it’ll likely take me a few days to figure out what works best for us.

I think if you subscribe to my YouTube channel you’ll get notifications when there’s a live stream, and I will do my level best to remember post on the Facebook Love & Hisses page when we’re going live – but even if you don’t get to watch it live, YouTube will make it so that you can watch it (see below for last night’s live stream.)

YouTube link


Stefan’s having himself a rough, rough life.

“You tawkin’ to me?”


2017: So ladies and gentlemen, say hello to Nola.
2016: The Fakers, 3 weeks old.
2015: β€œI not think I gonna fit on that Jet(Blue) plane, lady. You crazy!”
2014: No entry.
2013: Warning: there are a LOT of wee pink kitty toes in this post.
2012: Newbery gets a back rub and thinks maybe he likes it.
2011: (So RUDE, snapping a picture of a poor pregnant lady from behind!)
2010: Sometimes another kitten will join in on the howling, and OH their hearts are just breaking at the injustice of not being able to get through the door, they are PERSONALLY insulted at this turn of events.
2009: Here we go, all seven present and accounted for!
2008: No entry.
2007: Their evil chicken talons don’t poke holes in the kiddie pool?
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



3-23-18 Friday — 32 Comments

  1. You should call that video “Mayhem at the Moshpit”. Bet it would be a hit. You can barely see Katia for all the kittens!

    How could I forget Jon Snow (he of the screaming like a 10 year-old girl with a spider on her pillow fame) and Dandelion!?

  2. I envy you the amazing kitten therapy you have at hand!

    There is one thing I am a bit confused about that I am hoping you can help explain. I know Siamese cats are their own breed and have been used as a forerunner for many other breeds. (My family had a lovely blue point Siamese named Rikki-Tikki-Tavi when I was a child.) How are Siamese kittens showing up in a mixed breed litter? Is the name just used if they have enough of the characteristics? That would make sense, especially given how many breeds they had a paw in forming; the genes aren’t going to be scarce. I’ve just never thought of attributing a breed name to anything but a purebred kitten. (Just in case – That’s not meant as snobbishness by the way; all mine are of the “stray” breed, so it never was an issue.)

    • Meezer is the name often used, but the technical term is “colorpoint”. There are people on this blog who know more than I do about kitten genetics, but it’s a mutation in the enzyme tyrosine kinase. Tyrosine kinase is a step in the metabolic pathway used to produce melanin, which is the substance that produces dark coloring in cats (and humans). The mutation causes this enzyme to not fold correctly at normal body temperature, and an enzyme that doesn’t fold correctly can’t do its job. (Protein folding is a complicated and crazy business and I won’t bore you with it.) This causes colorpoint kittens to appear white at birth. The good news is that the enzyme isn’t missing, just wonky, and it does fold correctly at slightly cooler temperatures, so the extremities (the coolest parts of the body) darken up as the kitten gets older. In fact, the older the cat gets, the more they’ll darken up.

      • Ah, thank you very much for the explanation. With “meezer” coming from the last part of “Siamese” it was confusing. Having the colorpoint characteristic and using the shortened version of the name makes more sense now. Much appreciated!

        • You’re welcome. It’s associated with Siamese cats because that’s where the coloring pattern originated, but many domestic breeds now show it on occasion.

          This is also why all point cats have blue eyes — the darker iris colors never generate.

        • Yup. Lynx point coloring is a very recessive trait.

          The other neat thing is that If you shave a colorpoint cat, the fur will come back in white at first.

        • Wikipedia says you can crossbreed a tabby and a colorpoint and get a lynx point. Unsure of validity.

          • Well, lynx point coloring is a combination of the colorpoint mutation plus tabby markings. The presence of tabby markings is a dominant trait (inherited via the Agouti gene), the colorpoint mutation is recessive.
            So you can only get lynx point kittens from this pairing if the tabby parent also carries the colorpoint mutation (recessively), since a kitten must inherit one mutated colorpoint gene from each parent to become a colorpoint. For the lynx/tabby markings, one Agouti gene from one parent is enough.

  3. The Love Meow posting reminds me of the newspaper article about the egg within an egg that one of your chickens laid and you and Fred were interviewed by a local reporter. You and Fred later read the article with the quotes from each of you “performed” with exaggerated Southern accents. It was too funny.

    • Torvill has a generous sprinkle of white hairs on his face (especially above his eyes) and Dean (for the most part) doesn’t.

      • Thanks, I was going to ask this too. (and the answer was what I suspected- Torvill has more white guard hairs.) They definitely remind me of my Buzz when he was a babe, he’s a DMH with a sprinkling of white guard hairs (actually he could be a very recessive tuxedo…. he has one white spot the size of a quarter on his belly. His mom was a short haired tux and his [supposedly, I never saw the dad but this is what the people who owned the mom said] dad a floofy grey tabby and white.)

  4. Claudia – I am so sorry to hear about the FIP diagnosis. It is so very hard. I lost a kitten Coral to it, and like Robyn, I think denial had me waiting too long to make a decision. I got good advice from Connie – better a week too early than 24 hours too late. If you aren’t sure, ask a good cat person friend to help you make a list of good days versus bad days. As for kittens, I would make sure any new cat/kitten you bring in is fully vaccinated, but otherwise you should be fine.

  5. Sorry about the FIP diagnosis. Signs depend on if they have the wet or dry form. Both have fever, lethargy, anorexia, and weight loss. Dry form will also have signs of the organ it is affecting (ie kidney failure, liver failure or neurological signs…etc). The wet form will have fluid accumulation. If it is in the chest, they will have respiratory difficulties and if in abdomen, discomfort with big belly. You can tap and remove the fluid from these areas but it will return very quickly.

    • My Basil was diagnosed with fip. In 2 days he went from acting like his jolly old self, to refusing to eat/drink and became lethargic. His was the wet variety, and his chest was filling with fluid,and my vet cried as hard as I did when we said goodbye to him.

  6. Such wonderful pictures of the babies. I think Katarina is my favorite. (BTW: you spelled it Katrina in a couple of the captions.)

    And Stefan. I just love Stefan. He reminds me so much of my first male cat that I named Tommy. Tommy would let me dress him up and push him around in a dolly buggy. His mother, Muff, was my very first kitten. I got her when I was 2 years old.

    Just think, a year ago today you introduced us the Nola. Hard to believe that in just 11 days, Andre and Bella will be 1 year old.

    • Oh, thanks for letting me know of the misspelling, that would really have annoyed me when (if!) I noticed it in the future! πŸ™‚

      I can’t believe it’s been a year since Nola first came to us. 2017 was a crazy year, all in all!

    • That’s a “2” – they numbered them at the vet as they were testing, spaying, and neutering, to keep them straight.

    • Yeah! I sent that link to Mike about Katia and Kristi co-mothering. Glad to see he posted it. Not surprised to see there are Love & Hisses fans that also love Cutetropolis.

      These 2 are a couple of my favorite websites for fun and smiles.

  7. I lost two kittens to FIP (one in 1978 and one in 2004, so not related), one wet, one dry. The dry was the hardest to diagnose, and even then, it wasn’t definite, but he had a large sarcoma in his intestine, which is usually associated with FIP at such a young age. It was all sad and traumatic. When each was clearly suffering (though it was suffering in a different manner from the other), euthanasia was a kindness to them. I miss them still.

    Research on FIP has ramped up, and treatment may be available in a few years. πŸ™‚ Probably not for this kitty. πŸ™ I’m so sorry!

    This article, however, shows what is going on with the research currently: http://news.vin.com/VINNews.aspx?articleId=44800

    Oh Stefan, you are such a goof!

  8. Oh Hydrox. The kitten I almost drove 14+ hours for. Y’know, before the husband said it would end in divorce (haha). I love seeing their faces again