Lucia has produced another beautiful litter of kittens here at Leafhopper Farm. Six healthy babes pile atop one another while mom takes a break to eat something. It was a smooth birth, with contractions revving up around 4am, followed by first kitten drop around 8am. The last progeny dropped by 11:53. There are a lot of white socks. One full tortoiseshell and a pair of tuxedo twins. One Kitten is almost completely black, but for a chest patch. Another tortoiseshell with half orange face is easy to spot in the pile of dark fir.
Black dominates the litter, and that’s momma’s coat breeding through. Her kink tail strain is also present in a few of the kittens. One is almost bobbed like Muir’s; the zig-zag of genetics from Lucia’s mom. It’s a unique physical trait with purely aesthetic origins. Some of the kittens have perfectly strait tails too. They are all a bundle of warm cuddles. Lucia is also very friendly, and purrs when she sees you.
Five days on, the six kittens are eating and sleeping- and will for another week before more senses awaken. They pile up to sleep, and do more of that with full bellies. Lucia is on a wet food, for kittens, and the babes will transition to it before dry food is introduced, but that’s weeks away. For now, mother’s milk will be pure luxury, and thankfully, because Lucia is a wonderful mom, her stable diet throughout pregnancy, and a healthy development in the womb, these kittens are all healthy, well developed little felines.
Lucia’s first little was not discovered until only a week before she gave birth, and because it was the cat’s first litter, and she had not received special dietary enrichment through her pregnancy, only two kittens were born, and both were small, like their mom. This little is big, and dad’s genetics were too. The orange tom was a brawler, I’d never seen him before and have not since. This is the farm’s last litter of kittens, and three generations of barn cat will live on this property. Our plan is to phase cats out again in ten years or so (until this legacy ages out). We will not acquire more cats after that.
The cats have kept mice at bay, and improved the overall rodent issues at the farm, but the bird population has declined, or at least moved out from the cats’ concentric rings. They were hunting rabbits, but have recently been letting many in around the gardens, so perhaps tastes have changed? Maybe an indoor cat in future? There are so many neighborhood outdoor cats now, enough to keep the rodents away. For now, we’ll enjoy feline flights of fancy in the pastures and along our stream.