Part 8: Losses and New Arrivals -
Soaring to Sixteen
At some point, the mums normally get tired of having their kittens around and we had moved Donny and Quinn to live with Katie when DÓrna got to that point. They had been together for a few weeks when it became apparent that Katie was pregnant - Donny had been less than five months old when he mated her! She seemed a little off-colour towards the end of her pregnancy and although she did carry to full term, her kittens were still-born. After the births, she went off her food, seeming just to lose her will to live and after three weeks of trips in and out of the vets, her kidneys were failing due to lack of nutrition. We even tried having her on a drip but in the end she had to be put to sleep.
Since we had no full Ocicat queens (just our Variant, Grace), we had enquired about getting a new girl, but the first two that we were booked to get died before being ready to leave their mums. Those deaths were a bridge too far for me and I decided that someone was trying to tell us that we were not meant to work with Ocicats. The outcross that we did is very valuable to the breed, however, so we continued with our plans to complete the process by taking Grace to an Ocicat stud. She gave us a mixed litter containing two female Variants, two female Ocicat Classics and one male Ocicat, and we offered the kittens to the other Ocicat breeders. Only one of them, Anita, actually took us up on the offer, so we gave her the best girl in the litter, one of the Classics. We kept the other Classic girl, Cheeky, just to have something from our brief foray into Ocicats, with the intention that we would spay her and take her out as a show neuter.
A few days after Katie's death, DÓrna gave birth to another two-kitten litter but we lost one of the kittens at a couple of weeks and the other shortly afterwards. One of Grace's kittens was also starting to look unwell by the time we finally got the lab results back for Katie and for DÓrna's kittens and it turned out that the cause of their illnesses had been an infection with an unusual strain of bacteria that was resistant to most antibiotics. The lab had, however, identified an antibiotic that worked and we immediately treated all our other cats and Grace's kittens. Thankfully, the kitten who had looked a little unwell recovered within a couple of days of starting the antibiotics and we have had no further problems.
Having lost Katie, however, we now had a bit of an issue with what to do with Donny, because Katie had been our only girl who wasn't closely related to him, our other girls being his mother and half-sister. After a couple of weeks, I heard that a breeder I knew through a friend was moving to a smaller home and therefore needed to reduce her cat numbers. She had a beautiful Tiffanie girl, Lhasa, whom I had admired when she first got her, and whose pedigree is very unusual. I got in touch with Ash (Puddha's Palace Balinese), and asked if she had spayed Lhasa yet, and if not, whether she would consider allowing her to come to us. Lhasa was booked to be spayed the following day but Ash agreed to put that on hold while she checked if it would be okay for us to take her. Lhasa's breeder agreed and so I arranged to collect her in August, while on business near where Ash lives.
Meanwhile, we were contacted by Mark and Avril Perkins (Ashputtel Asians) who had some interesting pedigrees, and whom I had asked to let me know if they ever had another Tiffanie kitten pop up in their litters. They had decided to give up breeding due to age, however, and were wondering if we would be interested in the last of their Burmilla girls, Tia. I had a look at her pedigree and realised that she also had some very unusual lines which it would be a real shame to lose from the breed, so I said that we would take her. I then had to figure out how on earth to collect her from Poole, but managed to arrange that in mid September, taking our numbers to a new high of sixteen.