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Minxie and Her Kittens

In honor of the kittens' 1 year birthday, we present "Minxie and her kittens."

The Birth Announcement:

Date: Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Length: a few inches
Weight: a few ounces
Sex: Not determined yet
Number: Quintuplets!

Minxie had her kittens yesterday -- 5 little cuties. A grey/black tabby, an orange tabby, a lighter orange tabby, a black one, and a little two-toned kitten (the last one born).

The kittens:

newborn kittens
The kittens

Minxie and her kittens
Minxie, the proud mom -- and her babies

orange kitten
The biggest kitten

5 tiny kittens
Not sure what to do outside of mom

In the second picture above, the spot where Minxie is sitting is a blood stain where the last kitten was born. Everyone is doing fine. As you can see Minxie is a small cat and somehow she fit all those kittens in there, although she was waddling quite a bit the last couple of weeks.

The kittens were one week old in the photos. They are all doing well, including Minxie (the mom).

one week old kittens
They have grown quite a bit in a week and are more active in the sense that they squirm around over top of each other. They don't tend to leave the pack, but stay close together in a kitten ball.

orange crush
The kitten being held is the biggest one, whom we've dubbed "Orange Crush" for the way he wiggles over his smaller siblings to nurse -- generally pushing and "crushing" them out of the way.

There is a lot of squeaking when they are getting set up to nurse. Minxie is very good about being available basically 24x7.

Minxie's kittens
The third picture shows the kittens holed up in a clean litter pan while their nest area is cleaned out and fresh sheets and blankets provided. The kittens are not too sure about this unfamiliar surface. They push and squirm long it to see what its made of.

Two weeks and one day old...

The kittens have had a busy week -- their eyes are fully opened, their mom moved them (from behind the laundry basket under the sink counter to under the desk in the office now), they started trying to stand, and are now taking a few very shaky steps. In addition, they've just started really interacting with each other -- licking, biting, pawing at each other -- in training for kitten wrestling.

It's so cute to watch them. Their legs can't quite support their weight yet, so they wobble when they stand and can only take a couple of steps before they either sit down, go plop, or roll over. But they're right back up and on the move.

To take the pictures, the computer tower that is in front of the desk opening and the box to keep the kittens contained has been moved. Minxie the mom definitely was hovering and keeping a close eye as the pictures were being taken. Most of these pictures are "escape from alcatraz". As soon as the way was clear, out they came -- a few wobbly steps at a time, but undaunted.

The kittens from left to right, front to back: Orange Crush, Little Andrew, Light Orange, Tabby, and Two-Tone (in the back).

Escape from Alcatraz
Escape from Alcatraz

wobbly kittens

curious kittens
What is that?

Orange Crush
Orange Crush, the biggest kitten

This week the kittens are three weeks old...

They are much more coordinated now. They can walk several steps without difficulty -- although if they try to go fast, their back legs roll out. They also want to pounce on each other, but fall over in the process. This doesn't faze them one bit. They are extremely curious and love to explore their kitten pen in front of the desk. Kitten wrestling and sleeping are favorite pastimes, too.

Some sleepy
Orange Crush and Light Orange, Two-tone and Little Andrew (Blackie). LO has had a growth spurt and is no longer the smallest. Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell LO and Crusher apart now.

LO and Tabby exploring

sleeping kitten
Crushie is still sleepy

kitten wrestling
Tabby, Blackie, and Two-tone wrestling. Two-tone is now the littlest one, but is just as curious and loves to wrestle as much as the others. Being the smallest, Two-tone often ends up underneath -- but undaunted.

kitten wrestling
Hands are a source of great curiosity! Little Andrew and Two-tone are in the lead, and LO is at the back.

This week the kittens are four weeks old...

Trying to climb out of the kitten pen is the current big thing. Little Andrew escaped when the pen walls were only 2 boards high, so another was added to make the sides 3 boards high. The kittens love to scamper about, and then swarm over mom to get a meal. Kitten wrestling is still very popular.

Orange Crush
Orange Crush is still the biggest and growing fast!

Milling about
Milling about -- from left to right: Tabby, Little Andrew, Crusher, and Two-Tone

starting to nurse
Mealtime is starting... Tabby, Crusher, and Little Andrew are settling in. Light Orange and Two-Tone are still distracted but they will be there soon...

nursing kittens
All the kittens are nursing and Minxie is relaxing while the little ones have their fill. Crusher is on top as usual, and little Two-Tone is underneath. The other kittens are where they normally like to be. Despite the calm photo, all is not so still -- there was a lot of squeaking going on as they settled in, and if anyone gets dislodged, the squeaking will start up again right away! They won't hesitate to try to push each other aside if someone decides to switch positions.

Two cute kittens
These two cuties are Light Orange and Two-Tone.

This week we show additional pictures of the kittens at 4 weeks old. The kittens are very active and they have surprisingly sharp claws and teeth -- which they are not at all shy about using on humans and each other.

Little Andrew and Orange Crush
Little Andrew and Orange Crush

Two-Tone, Crusher, and Tabby
Two-Tone is thinking about climbing up, Crusher is stepping over Tabby to see what is going on

Light Orange wants to escape
Light Orange wants to escape (they still have blue eyes -- can you tell?)

Tabby wrestling Two-Tone
Tabby wrestling Two-Tone

Little Andrew playing with toes
Little Andrew is playing with his guardian's toes

The kittens are growing and very active, and are 5 weeks and one day old in the photos. The big news of the week is:

  • They are no longer confined to the pen (or should I say, it can't confine them any longer?), but have free range of the office
  • They started eating solid food (they still nurse poor Minxie every chance they get!)
  • They are using the litter box, somewhat
  • People have started to visit them

Tabby, Light Orange, and Orange Crush
Tabby and Light Orange and Orange Crush (in the back). These three are hoping to escape out of the office, wondering if they can scale the office paper boxes blocking the entrance. Two-tone just walked away before the flash finally went off (you can see the tip of her tail). Little Andrew was behind the door -- a favorite spot.

Face off
Face off! Light Orange and Little Andrew. Even though the pen is open on both ends, they still like climbing over it, then having a kitten face-off over the top.

Kitten wresting
Kitten wrestling continues to be one of the top favorite activities (nursing and exploring are also in the top 3). Little Andrew and Two-Tone are attacking Tabby.

Free for all
Free for all! Now everyone is in on the game.

New game
Different items have been put in the pen and the kittens love exploring these objects. Two-tone is playing with a mark on the back of a small paperback book and Tabby is watching.

The kittens at 6 weeks continue to do well. The accomplishments this week include:

  • Eating solid food -- wet and some dry (the dry well crushed) -- quite a lot of food for their small sizes (they are still nursing)
  • Using the litter box fine now
  • Climbing and jumping well -- they can jump off their pen wall instead of tumbling off
  • Stalking each other and doing real pounces
  • Playing with cords and anything that looks like a cord (these have mostly been removed anyway -- but they will find any that are around)
  • Their eyes look like they may be starting to change color

Two-Tone climbed up on the tool chest and is thinking about taking a little snooze

Little Andrew
Little Andrew wants to scale the computer tower

Light Orange
Light Orange is fascinated with the cables

Pretty Tabby
Tabby posing for the camera

Orange Crush and Light Orange love climbing and exploring -- here the lower shelf of the bookcase is exciting territory

This week -- week 7 -- was more of the same activity as last week, just more speedy, more jumping, more higher jumps, more kitten wrestling. They are getting stronger and able to do what they've been doing better. Their eyes are definitely changing color, although I don't think they've settled on a final shade yet. Right now they are a sort of indeterminate pale shade, not green and not yellow.

A few items of note:

  • Little Andrew escaped over the box-tower arrangement blocking the door. We put him back in the kitten room and made sure he couldn't espace again. Well... He can make a terrific noise when thwarted from doing what he wants to do. Angry kitty!
  • Playing with new things is enjoyed by the kittens. We put a paper towel tube in there and they found that a lot of fun. We also put a kitty condo in there, and Orange Crush especially likes to get inside
  • We let them explore the hallway (instead of putting them in the hall when he vacuumed the kitten room, which they did not like). At first they didn't want to go, which is odd considering how they want to escape, but eventually they were all sniffing about.
  • They are eating well and not nursing much any more. Sometimes they pester Minxie but she rarely lets them, and if they do get to nurse it's not for long. They're growing up.

paper towel tube
The tube is fun (Crusher, L. Andrew, Two-Tone, and Light Orange)

Tabby looking out of door
Tabby thinking about exploring

Little Andrew relaxing
Little Andrew being calm for a change

3 kittens playing
Light Orange and Two-Tone playing, and Orange Crush with the tube

More pictures of the kittens at seven weeks, except Light Orange who was always behind something or just disapearing from the picture frame. The kittens are investigating new territory -- the hallway. They are eager to leave the kitten room, although some are more eager (Little Andrew) than others (Two-tone).

gray tabbies
Tabby investigating the box tower that normally blocks off the kitten room. Two-tone is looking over, thinking maybe it's time to do some exploring.

kitten paws
The kittens love to get behind doors and play paws with each other. Here Little Andrew is hiding and playing with Two-tone.

Little Andrew escaping
The end of the hallway has been blocked off with a large piece of cardboard, but that isn't going to stop Little Andrew from trying to make his escape

Orange Crush
Orange Crush

The kittens at 7 weeks and 5 days are WILD. They wrestle fiercely, going for each others' throats, tails lashing, backs arched, pouncing! They love to wrestle their Mom, Minxie, too, and she just bowls them right over.

Racing, climbing, jumping, pouncing, stalking, tail biting (as well as biting everything else) all still very much in. Tabby was chasing her tail the other day. Playing with a sock (dragging it all around, chewing on it, clawing it, playing tug of war with it, tossing it in the air and pouncing on it) is a big favorite, as is playing with a little ball. Getting in the cat condo, and climbing all over it (including the top) is a lot of fun. And the paper towel tube is still popular. Hanging out at the S-curve, climbing the book cases, climbing on the pen walls -- also still part of the mix.

The kittens have had a chance this week to explore more of their guardian's place and to see his big cat, Bluey. For the most part they don't seem to notice him, and he just stares at them.

The kittens don't appear to nurse much. When Minxie comes in, they end up playing rather than nursing. The kittens really like dry food now, and seem to prefer it to the wet food. They also are fascinated when we scoop out their litter boxes. They will pretty much stop what they are doing and run over to see what's going on. Usually within a few seconds all 5 of them are clustered next to the box, staring.

And now a few pictures of them doing their typical kitten things:

Little Andrew, Tabby, and Two-Tone
Little Andrew and Tabby, with Two-Tone grooming

Orange Crush and Little Andrew
Orange Crush and Little Andrew

Light Orange and Two-Tone
Light Orange and Two-Tone, with the sock

Two-Tone with the ball

The kittens are so grown up now at 8 weeks. They got a chance to do more exploring of their guardian's condo, and they all became more accustomed to new places. Their personalities continue to develop in their individual directions. Orange Crush is a purr-cat -- scritch him and he starts purring. Tabby is a bit standoff-ish -- you have to prove you are a worthy person before you can touch. Little Andrew is super adventurous and determined to get his way. Light Orange is curious and likes attention almost as much as Orange Crush. Two-Tone is all wired-up energy and wants to play, play, play.

The usual activities are still favorites (wrestling each other and Minxie-Mom, climbing, jumping, pouncing, stalking, batting at things, etc.). The kittens are usually racing about -- then suddenly it's nap time. They don't nurse at all except for occasional attempts, and usually Minxie doesn't let them.

Tabby and Orange Crush
Tabby and Orange Crush relaxing on the S-curve

Little Andrew and Light Orange
Little Andrew and Light Orange -- nap time at the kitty condo

Two-Tone getting ready to bat a kitty toy

Orange Crush
Orange Crush (or Crusher or Crushie)

Well, the time has come to say goodbye to the kittens. It was such a wonderful experience getting to know these little ones -- each with a distinct personality! -- and watching them grow. We'll miss them!

Little Andrew on the cat condo
Little Andrew on the cat condo -- a favorite play spot

Tabby giving a "what are you doing?" look as we were waving our hands and making noises (Look over here!)

Light Orange
Light Orange

Playing with shoelaces
Light Orange and Two-Tone playing with shoelaces

More pictures...

Play break
Orange Crush, Tabby, Two-Tone, and Light Orange on a play break

cute kittens
Orange Crush, Two-Tone, and Little Andrew

On the cat condo
Orange Crush, Light Orange... and Tabby scaling the heights

Not long after these photos, the kittens went to their new homes and got their real names.

Little Andrew is now Satchmo. Orange Crush and Tabby went together and are Frisco and Buxton. Light Orange and Two-Tone also went together and are Commander Chickpea and Captain Django. All have grown into friendly, playful cats and continue to do well.

And... all the kittens were found to be boys! There is a 1/32 chance of 5 kittens all being the same sex.