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Fred’s book is now available on the German Amazon site, in case anyone out there’s interested!

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Sari asked:

I wonder why Maggie keeps a physical distance to them – does she get hot in the cave or maybe it’s too crowded for her liking? πŸ˜€

I didn’t know the answer to this, but Doodle Bean chimed in and said:

Scientists think that the mothers’ spending time away from the nest encourage the kittens to develop faster because they have to work harder and harder to get to the milk – using their eyes and noses to find her, getting it together to walk to her, etc.

It may seem harsh to us, but Nature is like that.

Which makes total sense. I notice that the older the kittens get, the less inclined Maggie is to go running over to check on them at every little sound they make.

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Does it appear that at least one, if not two, of the babies might be fluffier than the rest, and therefore destined to be medium- or long-haired beauties?


Those babies are so stinkin’ cute! I’m wondering if they have short hair with baby fuzz or are they going to be long haired kitties?

I do not believe we’ve got any that will turn out to be medium or long-haired cats, I think they’re all short-haired. But I could be wrong! (On a side note, of all the cats I’ve fostered, I’ve had very few that were long-haired.)

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Aww explorer Declan is wearing his wee white exploring socks and mittens πŸ™‚


Here at Crooked Acres, one must be properly attired when exploring. It’s one of the things I insist upon!

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To: Robyn Anderson
From: Your fans
Re: Kara, Corbie, Alice, probably Stinkerbelle, Tom and Sugarbutt and maybe Rufus, Maggie and her kittens

We have read your posts over the years and have re-read Kara’s birthing story because you put that convenient link in there. We are getting the very strong impression that when you write “And no, we’re not keeping them”, what actually happens is that you end up keeping at least one. Just sayin’ that you’ve written that phrase about Rufus as well as Maggie and her litter…

Watch out! We’re going to start nagging any minute now!

As long as, after they go off to be adopted, y’all realize that it’s not ’cause I don’t WANT to keep them that I’m not keeping them. I pretty much want to keep all our fosters. These guys will be especially hard to give up, since I practically gave birth to them myself.

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Maggie’s “soothing mama” sound reminds me a bit of the trilling chirps in the “two talking cats” video:

YouTube link

I love that video – those cats are so SWEET.

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Looking at the kittens and Maggie, I can’t help but wonder what the Papa McMao looks like. I mean, the babays have more white than Maggie, does it mean it comes from their daddy?

I don’t have a clue, as I don’t really know much about cat genetics (catnetics!), but I’m sure someone out there knows. Anyone?

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WOW!! Where did you get all these fabulous chicken breeds?!?! They’re wonderful and so healthy and so proud and gorgeous!!! Oh I think I’m in love with your array of chickens!!! Lovely!!!

Well, thank you! The crested polish chickens were bought from a hatchery a couple of years ago. These days, most of our chickens are “mutts” because we decided why buy from a hatchery when we’ve got hens who can – and want to! – hatch eggs for us. We’ve got two hens sitting on eggs at the moment, and they should be hatching any time now.

We hadn’t intended to have baby chicks quite this early, but hens who are broody (ie, want to hatch babies) can be pretty tricky, and earlier this week Fred found a hen sitting on a clutch of 18 eggs. He candled them (shone a bright light through the egg) and found that 15 of them had definite growth. And as it happened, another hen was going broody at the same time, so he put 7 eggs under one hen and 8 under the other, and we should have babies any day now.

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Wee babies toes! I am 99% sure these are Ciara’s toes.

More nursin’.

Hungry babies.


“Your ear smells funny.”

“::gasp:: OH NO SHE DI’IN’T!”

Bath time for Maggie.

At just under three weeks old, the McMaos are spending more time out of their den of their own volition. I put a cat bed in front of the kennel to make it easier for them to get out if they want to, and occasionally they (especially Declan and Ciara) do. I was a bit worried the other night, because the kittens were out exploring the room at bedtime, and I was concerned that they wouldn’t be able to figure out how to get back into their den. I put out some extra cat beds and made sure the ceiling fan was off, and figured Maggie wouldn’t let them starve or freeze. Sure enough, when I got up in the middle of the night to peek in on them, they were all back in the cave.

I can’t believe they’re almost three weeks old!!!

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(Elwood’s face is cracking me up.)

(And Corbie’s face is cracking me up here!)


2010: What they didn’t address in that article is whether people who have cats are 30% MORE likely to have a stroke after they step in a cold pile of cat vomit in the middle of the night.
2009: Elijah and Phinneas would like you to know that it’s endlessly exhausting to be so cute.
2008: Pile o’ monkehs.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



4-22-11 — 20 Comments

  1. *sigh* I LOVE the nursing pics, too!! With our mama Lucia so skittish, the only nursing I’ve gotten to see of our brood is via the kitten cam. πŸ™ Doodle Bean’s assessment of why moms seem to move away seems right on target. Smootch up some little pink toes for me!!

  2. That may be the smuggest look I’ve ever seen on all of the pics you’ve posted of Corbie!

    I want a McMao. That’s all I can think when I see all the stripey backs and legs and tails at it nursing.

  3. I love those babies’ little ears! Wrinkled! And the toes…

    Pack them all up and send them over, please. I’m sure Maggie would appreciate the break anyway.

  4. For what it’s worth, many years ago the feral Queen of the colony where I was doing TNR had her last babies a day or two before I caught her, and mom got to raise the last ones inside- much to her annoyance, as she was a very feral cat and hostile to humans. She was, however, an absolutely excellent and devoted mother, and even took in some orphan kittens we brought to her as well. She guarded her children and fussed over them and never let them out of her sight, because humans were the enemy and she was going to keep them safe.

    How this relates to Maggie’s brood is that we eventually had to take the kittens away from her a little early (6 weeks instead of 8) because they were being hampered in their development by mom’s over-protectiveness. She wasn’t ever leaving them alone, so they weren’t socializing as well as needed, and were showing coordination problems from lack of exercising, as she kept them in her nice, safe den as much as she could. After only a few days away from mom the kittens caught up to their proper development and socialization, and turned out just fine.

    Because I’m telling her story, I want to add that the momcat, named Marlene, eventually tamed and became a pampered and much loved house cat. She was three when I caught her, four when she came inside for good, and fifteen when I had to put her to sleep for oral cancer, a little over a week ago. She was the best cat and the best mom anyone could want. I also had one of her adult children with her, and she was a loving and caring companion to her up until her last day. She is missed.

  5. Funny, I was thinking over what Daddy McMao looked like yesterday – or Daddies McMao. We know no dad was orange. The O gene is sex linked, so a ginger dad will give ginger color to all his female children. Mom has no orange, because she doesn’t seem to be a tortoiseshell. So boys will have momma’s “No orange” gene only, girls would have daddy’s O gene and be torties/calicos.

    The white socks/tuxie colors are all controlled by one gene that sits in the Albino gene, along with pointed genes that Himmys and Siamese had. Momma doesn’t have any, so the dad(s) must contribute to make the white socks. The amount of white (from just the feet to the entire cat) is controlled by other genes that aren’t too well understood, but probably dad looked pretty much like the kittens that have more white on them.

    Long hair is a recessive, so both parents would have to contribute a long hair gene for a kitten to be longhaired. If daddy was long haired, and momma was a carrier, odds are that half would be long haired. If both were carriers, one in four would be longhaired.

    If long haired genes were just as common as short, you’d expect one in four cats to be longhaired. On a recent Cats 101, they said the true proportion is one in ten. So the long haired gene is less common, and you have to have two to actually be longhaired.

    • Fascinating stuff! Now you’ve got me wondering about my cat’s parentage. But I have no idea what either of her parents looked liked…

      • Well depending on what she looks like, you can tell something about how the parents might have looked. For example, if she is orange, you know her parents were an orange male and an orange or calico/tortie mother. But even in cases where you have a lot of information, its still just an estimation – there are still uncertainties.

        As another example, the McMao daddy could have been a totally white cat. There’s a dominant gene for that, and normally you’d expect half his kittens to inherit it. So with 5 kittens there’s only 1 chance in 32 that he had such a gene and no kitten got one, but it still could have happened. If he had two such genes, they all must have inherited it, so we know he couldn’t have had two. Similarly, we know he didn’t have two genes for ticked tabby markings, because that would have dominated momma’s mackerel tabby genes. But he could have had one, and nobody inherited it.

  6. I just had to comment on how cute the babes are! I just rescued three four week old kittens from a warehouse (10 more left there) as they were the ones I could catch. I admire you fro your foster care!

  7. Oldcat beat me to the cat coat genetics answer! Who says cats slow down when they age?!? It’s a great answer, to boot.

    All I can contribute is a link to a Cat Coat Colors. It’s pretty cool to see the wonderful variety of cat colors out there!

  8. Oh gosh – 18 eggs?!?!? WOW! That’s a big clutch for one hen to lay! How amazing! Is that usual?? Awww but it’s great that you’ll have baby chickens soon though – how gorgeous!!! And you are creating your very own Anderson Breed of Chicken! Yay!

    Squeeeee for the McMaos and Maggie!!! She is such a perfect mum kitty to her perfect babies!!

    Yay for Corbie and Elwood! LOL!! Take care

  9. in re: Why does Maggie leave the kittens alone so much?

    I’d also guess that she’s out “hunting.” Non-kibble-fed mamas would need to go out and find food. I can’t recall if they eat it immediately at this stage or bring it back and show the kittens how to eat solid food by noshing down in front of them. Later, Mama would bring the prey stunned, then barely stunned, then fully functional so the kittens learn to hunt.

    IIRC, the killing bite at the prey’s nape is a learned behavior. Cats who haven’t been taught will go after the neck area, but if they don’t have the knack of sliding the fangs between little mousie vertebrae … well. We had a very happy mouse living under the bookcase for a while. The live trap worked eventually … πŸ˜›