Monday, December 10, 2012

Nail Care 101

Each kitten leaves Ounce Cattery with at least one nail trimmings.  We do this a few times in order to acclimate them to the process. 

We reward them with wet food after the process to make it feel more like a "spa treatment". 

Nail clippers work, although clippers are available at PetSmart. 

Trim every two weeks when they are young, then every three months when they turn 8 months. 

To trim nails, trim the sharp point off and stay away from the red blood area (or the bleeding will begin).

We also recommend multiple scratching posts in your household to protect your furniture.  Cardboard or old carpet remnants work very well.  Cat condos are also available with scratchers built into their design.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Leaving the Cattery: Introduction of Kitten to Pets

When the quaranteen perior is over, and you are ready to introduce your new kitten to the other pets in your household, make sure you supervise the introduction as well as the first few meetings.

Tabitha Playing with OnyxFrom the book Cat Care 101, the authors recommend the following:

"Cat meets Dog:  Take control of the first meetngs by keeping the dog on a leash, or by placing the cat in a small play pen.  If dog shows any signs of aggressive, separate immediately.  Once dog and cat are used to each other, they can be safely left alone.

Cat meets Cat:  Allow the cat to sniff the kitten and, if the cat should attack, separate them immediately.  It may take as long as a month for them to settle down.

Cat meets Rabbit or Guinea Pig:  Supervise the kitten in the company of rabbits or guinea pigs:  if a kitten climbs over a small animal, even in play, it may harm it.  Do not let a small animal out of its cage if an adult cat is around."

Leaving the Cattery: Bringing Your Kitten Home

It is essential that your kitten live in an adequate living environment with access to fresh air, food and water.  In addition, necessary veterinarian care, grooming and human attention are tenets for a happy cat!

Ounce Cattery feeds our cats and kittens Royal Canin.  Cats/Kittens are free fed. 

Kittens are fed two to three times daily.  It is very important that you keep your kitten on the same food as we have been feeding here, to avoid stomach or intestinal upset.  To assist you, a two week sample will be provided at pick-up.  If you decide to switch to your own brand of cat food, mix the sample with new brand slowly over the course of a week.

Clean fresh water should always be available. 


Ounce Cattery kittens have never been allowed to free roam outside. 

During the quaranteen period make sure the new kitten has an area of its own where it can feel safe.  This includes access to water, food and his/her litter box.

Leaving the Cattery: Examining the Kitten

1.  The rear should be clean.  Lift the tail gently and check for any signs of diarrhea or discharge.

The kitten's ears should be clean and dry.  If there is any dark colored wax or if the kitten is scratching there could be a problem.
Bright eyes, free from discharge, are a sign of a healthy kitten.  Check that the third eyelid isn't showing.
4.  The nose should feel velvety and slightly moist, and the nostrils should be free of any discharge.  Listen to the kitten's breathing.  If it is unsteady, the kitten may have a varal infection.

Gently pry open the kitten's mouth.  A healthy cat will have pale pink, uninflamed gums, white teeth and odor free breath.

6.  The abdomen should be rounded but not pot bellied.  When picked up, the kitten should feel a little heavier than it looks.

7.  The coat should be smooth, soft, and glossy.  Part the coat to check for evidence of parasites (ring worms, etc..) or flea dirt.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Why Ounce is Different

Placing our bengal kittens with the right family is the most important part of my job as a bengal breeder and we take it seriously.   Not just to ensure you get a lifetime pet that you will love, but to ensure our bengal kittens get placed with a family who will love and care for them for their lifetime.  
We aren't like many breeders.  What differentiates us from other breeders?

·         By doing so, we ensure that our kittens will always have homes to go to.  We are committed to ensuring we find great homes for our bengal kittens before starting the process of new litters.

·         Our cats are our family.  We don't circulate queens in and out.  When we bring a cat into our program, we bring it into our family.  And, to Ounce, family means forever. 

·         We stay connected.  We want to hear about the kittens.  We want to see the pictures. 

·         We ask questions.  We ask questions to determine the feasibility of kitten placement.

·         We encourage YOU to ask questions to ensure you are making an informed decision (see recommended questions below).

·         We care.  It is our sincere goal to place you with a bengal that you will love for its lifetime and in return you will earn its love for its lifetime. 

Questions You Should Ask:

1.    What are the bengal traits I should expect?
2.    What is the scope of the purchase agreement? Does it provide a health guarantee? For how long?
3.    How much of the deposit is refundable if at all?
4.    What are the grooming requirements?
5.    How big do bengals get?
6.    What do you feed your cats, what would you recommend and why?
7.    Are there any genetic problems that affect this breed?
8.    How many cats do you currently have in your cattery?  Can I view the cattery and meet the parents? 
9.    How often do you (i.e. me, the breeder) produce litters? How do you manage cat socialization?
10.  Has my cat been exposed to children or animals?  And, if yes, describe how they react/relate.

Questions I Will Ask You:

1.    How familiar are you with the bengal breed?
2.    Are you planning on a pet, pet and show cat or breeding cat?
3.    Do you have other cats and how many?
4.    Are they altered?
5.    Are they kittens or adults? Do the current adult residents acclimate well to other pets?
6.    If you are replacing a loved one, was it due to illness or age?
7.    If so, what was the illness? FIP? FLV? Accident? etc...
8.    What is your living situation. Apartment or home? Near a main road?
9.    Have you reviewed the terms of the purchase agreement?
10.  How did you find Ounce?  Recommendation?  Website?  TICA Breeder List?  Etc....

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tabitha came home today.  It seems just yesterday she come home for the first time.
It all began after the death of my beloved Lilac Point Siamese. My son, Devon, really took the loss hard and while I wasn't ready for another pet (ever), I knew how important it was for him. I told my husband to find a pet the complete opposite of my Siamese and he did that. He researched and found the Bengal breed and then proceeded over several months to locate a breeder eventually leading him to find Tabitha.  Well, ur, actually he found Daisy.

You see, the breeder had already started calling our girl Daisy.  But within minutes we knew she was no "Daisy".  She was an absolutely beautiful girl with an extremely wild essence coupled with a mischievous nature that this Gemini could relate to.  We started throwing out names, but one stuck:  Tabitha. 
One word describes Tabitha's personality -  exquisite. She loved to play with the boys by either fetching with toy mice or by playing tag and chasing them around the house (although it looks more like stalking). Her best friends were a Black Labrador and Lucian (see All About Lucian). She was not afraid of dogs, which worried me often - but she proved she could carry her own. She loved water and often hopped into the shower before my husband in the morning. She was brilliant and at the same time stubborn.

When she arrived she had a terrible case of worms and hookworms, which the vet immediately addressed. Of course, not before saying that it was the worst case of worms she had ever seen. YUCK! The worms did not prevent the kids from playing with her, kissing her and carrying her around like a purse.  Oh, and our vet said that Tabitha was one of the most well behaved Bengals she has seen (proud parent smile beaming!!).

After a week in her presence, I had written five posts about her in my blog.  In one of them I wrote, "I could write and write and write about Tabitha. She warms my heart every day. If I didn't know better, I would swear she was a Gemini. I think I have met my match and I love it."  To learn about Tabitha's pedigree, go here

As we laid Tabitha in her final resting place, we recounted some of our greatest memories of our girl.  Here are the attributes that bring a smile to our face.  
·        She twitched her nose. I am talking full blown whisker movement.   Think Hazel in Watership Down x 100. 
·        She always had a look like she knew something you didn’t.  When she was around, you could hear "what Tabitha?" often.
·        She was a nook cuddler.   Knees, arms, necks were where she could be found snoozing at night.
·        She was a walking mood ring.  Her eyes and ears mirrored her mood.  The boys learned quickly that when Tabitha said no, she wasn’t teasing and there would be no second chance.
·        She could fetch like no other.  Her favorite were small mice, but she would fetch wrappers, scrunched up paper, socks, etc…  Many of her children acquired this trait.
·        Hide and Seek was her favorite game.  The sink and bathtub were two of her favorite hiding places.
·        She could hear things that no one else could.  Doors opening, cat food cans opening….
·        She was an uber groomer.  Kittens, stuffed animals, and kids.  You name it and she would groom it.
·        She most happy when she was pregnant.  Sounds crazy, because I had the opposite effect :), but Tabitha became the queen matriarch when pregnant.  Taking care of herself, the other cats, her humans ...
·        She was a ninja.  She wouldn’t be there, then she would be.  No black smoke, invisibility cloak or magic, but when she wanted to be somewhere she just was.

She was 67 days pregnant when she went from being a thriving girl to lethargic.  I had only seen Tabitha this sick once other time, but antibiotics and time had brought her to a full recovery.

A trip to the vet found that she had a serious bacterial infection.  A C-section was conducted and both kittens were dead.  The theory was that one kitten died in vitro and as it was decomposing it started a bacterial infection.  The infection quickly spread to the other kitten causing its death.   Under my instructions to save Tabitha, the vets removed her uterus.  She was monitored for two hours before being moved to our local 24 animal hospital.   Before leaving my vet, she mentioned her concern at Tabitha’s blood panels. 

Within an hour at the animal hospital things went from bad to worse.  She was fighting a very high fever and during this time she was became anemic.  We moved forward and followed the vets advice for a blood transfusion.  The blood transfusion at first showed signs of working, but soon she was reporting even lower panels.  The emergency vet said there was nothing else they could do.  Time was of the essence with two choices:  let her go or transport her to UC Davis.
As I was readying picking up Tabitha, a dear friend stopped by and provided some sage advice.  I immediately called my vet who was on her day off, but called me back immediately.   After a heartfelt conversation, I knew what I needed to do:  go be with Tabitha and have a conversation with her about what was going to happen next.

I wanted to see a sign.  But I did not.  Instead, when the technician brought Tabitha to me, she was so very weak.   She lay in my lap with her chin on my hand.   No purring.  No whisker movement.  Tabitha was totally spent.  As I talked with her, she would close her eyes.  My friend, who always had something to say, was totally silent.  I knew what I needed to do.  Tabitha died in my arms.  As she went to sleep I reminded her how loved she was and that we would meet again.
I believe that people and animals come into our lives for a reason.  And, in reflecting on Tabitha's life with our family I have nothing but great memories.  She brought utter joy to our house since the day she came to us.  And while she is dearly missed, she left quite the legacy on our hearts.
RIP Tabitha 2008 - 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Remembering Tabitha

Heartfelt = her breeder's cattery name
Tabitha = witch from Bewitched
Chat = French translation of cat
of Ounce = our cattery name named after the majestic snow leopard (also known as "ounce")
Tabitha was born on 5/11/2008 at Heartfelt Bengals (breeder Karron Taylor). 
Tabitha is a Silver (Black) Spotted Bengal with green eyes.  She is absolutely gorgeous with heavy whisker pads, full white around her eyes, a full chin and round nostrils.  She has a heavily muscled body with big feet.  She has a unique pattern on her shoulders that I love when it gets transferred to her kittens.  She has dark black arrowhead rosettes covering her body all in a horizontal pattern.  She is silver glittered.Parents & Pedigree
Her mom/dam was Silvergene Softaz Silq of Heartfelt (SBT 053102 029) and dad/sire Spothaven Silvr Dream2 of Heartfelt (SBT 012605 034).

To view Tabitha's pedigree,
click here.
Her personality is exquisite.  She loves to play with the boys by either fetching with toy mice or by playing tag and chasing them around the house (although it looks more like stalking).  Her best friends are a Black Labrador Retriever named Onyx and Lucian (see All About My Lucian).  She is brilliant and at the same time stubborn.  She can hear the refrigerator door opening from upstairs even if the boys music is blaring. 
HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy) – For her annual heart check (12/21/10), Tabitha had a cardiac auscultation test ("auscultation is within normal limits") and an echocardiography with doppler ("results were within limits of normal ").  The cardiologist reported a normal cardiovascular examination ("No evidence for HCM present at this time.").  See report here.

PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) - On August 14, 2012 Tabitha’s test results were returned as N/N - Normal, cat does not have rdAc mutation.

PK DEF (Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency) - On August 14, 2012, Tabitha's test results returned as N/N - no copies of PK deficiency, cat is normal.
Photo Album
Can't get enough of Tabitha?  Us either.  For more pictures of Tabitha, click here.