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Inside Cattery Tour  
 
Stage One
- KITTEN BIRTHING BASSINETTES / PLAYPENS / CRIBS IN  NURSERIES # 1, # 2, or # 3.


These cute little set-ups are: (1) just inside my own bedroom door, & (2) and (3) in downstairs spare bedroom .  I am able to put a chair right beside the cribs, and keep watch over mommy and babies throughout her labour.  As this normally happens during the late late hours of the night, at least I am able to sit comfortably while I monitor her progress.  Picture me sitting with my elbows resting on the frame, waiting to assist in clearing the airway, or cutting the cord.  

My queens all accept, and even welcome, whatever assistance I can give.  They love to have their backs rubbed and chins scratched as a showing of encouragement from me.  

When she has finished delivering all her little bundles of joy, I can easily put fresh bedding under them, and move a heat lamp to the foot of the crib.  For the 1st week, the temperature is maintained around 95 degrees at one corner of this nest.  Mommy can stay cooler at the other end of the bed.


(The cages pictured in these nurseries are there for a very good reason.  If a kitten becomes injured and/or needs supplemental feedings, I can set up an area very quickly, visible to mommy, to accommodate these situations.  Cages are not necessarily evil.  All JFRH kittens are "cage comfortable & confident", and do not freak when they must be caged at the vet's office for their neutering operations.)
 
You can see the lamp with a heat bulb attached that sits by each crib.  The deep crib enables me to move the lamp, and adjust the heat accurately.  I have a blanket securely fastened to the top rails for added privacy.  A large enough space is left open for mommy to easily jump in  and out.

A thermometer sits right in the warmest area of the bedding.  This is monitored very closely to guard against it getting too hot.  The temperature is kept at a steady 95 degrees for the first couple of days:  then, it is steadily lowered a few degrees each day over the next week.    


Even blind and deaf, these newborns are able to crawl into and out of the warmth.  It is truly amazing to watch. 

They will be staggered along the way to the hot spot, each deciding what degree of snugly comfort they desire.  When mommy jumps back into the nest, they crawl towards her warm yummy tummy. 

By 7 to 10 days, the kittens are able to maintain their body heat at room temperature.  The heat lamp can then be safely turned off without worry of the kittens becoming chilled.

The crib offers the mommy a sense of security and privacy.  She and her babies will stay in these playpens for approximately 3 weeks.

Stage Two
- BIGGER PLAY - YARD IN EACH NURSERY


No longer requiring heat nor nightly supervision, Mommy and her 3 wk. old kittens are moved into a larger playpen.  Here they are introduced to a litter pan as well as boiled water and BabyCat kibble.  Bedding is changed to newspapers to help with the cleanup of  'accidents'.  Mommy can come and go as she wants, and kittens are left for longer and longer periods.  They start climbing and playing with the hanging toys.  This area only holds these fast growing kittens for approximately two weeks, and, at five weeks, they are removed totally from the playpens and let run freely in the Nursery.  By now they are totally litter trained and eating solid foods.  At 8 weeks, still with their mommy, they are sent packing into a room best suited for this next phase of their journey.
 

Stage Three
- BATHROOM BOUND

Is there any better room in the house than the Bathroom to test all the new skills these kittens have just acquired?  More space to get around in, yet the litter box is so handy when the little kid's urge sez "RIGHT NOW!"  

By now, Mommy has pretty much weaned them from her milk, forcing the kittens to rely on their BabyCat kibble for meals.  By the 8th week, Mom returns to the Queens Quarters, and gets reacquainted with the other Moms.  

This transition period in the bathroom is a great time for humans to give kitties hugs and kisses.  Socializing comes forward in leaps and bounds during this stay.  A lot of individual picking up and putting back down seems to happen regularly.

However
, one slight problem always seems to occur.  Before any length of time at all, the little'uns are climbing inside the pants pushed down by your ankles.  All goes well until  somebody is in a hurry, or the phone rings.  In a flash, up comes the jeans, without a conscious counting of heads.  YIKES!!!  Those needle sharp claws can grab a hold of tender flesh before back down goes the jeans.  True story my friends.
 


Stage Four
- FREEDOM - "YAHOO  LOOK AT US. WE'RE ALL GROWED UP NOW GRANDMA!"

Or, so they think.  These tiny mountain lions are ready to take on the World. (This picture actually captures their first tentative steps out into the Kitchen.)  Here they will pass their next four weeks, getting into everything, sometimes being a total pain in the butt to the humans trying to eat a meal or drink a coffee.  Life happens and goes on around them, and people come and go.  They meet other kittens.  Basic manners are instilled in them:  number one being, "Stay Off The Table!!!".  A spray bottle of water works wonders with a stern commanding voice.  No physical reprimand is ever given.  

Ragdolls are fast learners. 

On their eight week birthday, they visit the veterinary to receive their first set of inoculations and a health check.  It is now safe for new families to come, pick up, and play with their wee babies.  Lots of fun, happy introductions are made at my kitchen table.  Many times people and kittens are crawling around on the floor, chasing toys and acting silly.  It is truly a joyous visit.
 
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