Yesterday I got a huge surprise that made my jaw fall to the floor. I was using my real camera to capture some kitten shots. It’s a nice change from the iPhone, although I am still impressed by the quality of the images Apple produces, especially when I need to be quick on the trigger in low light. But yesterday I had excellent light so out came the camera.
I was photographing Sipke in the late afternoon sun on the window bench. At some point, the kitten was washing its belly and all of a sudden something was revealed to me that I did not expect: Sipke is not a female, but a male kitten! I am stunned! It does explain how big he is getting lately. And when I look at his face, I actually can see some Tom-cat features starting to appear. My brain had a hard time processing this new knowledge though. The name Sipke (‘Sippy cup’) really belongs to this male kitten. My initial plan to change the name is null and void, because Stipke, who I now know to be a girl, has been named because of the spots on her belly. One of the Dutch words for spot in Dutch (my native language) is Stip. So the only adjustment I have to make is in my own brain. It is really weird.
But the more I think of it and look at both kittens, the clearer it gets. The smaller of the twins really is very small. She will not grow into a big cat, I think. Unless there are some gigantic growth spurts coming. At the moment, she is still nursing with her mom a lot and I need to help her get fully weaned. Who can really blame her: if Mitsy keeps allowing her to nurse, then that is the best nutrition she can get. Nice and cozy as well. Mitsy certainly is well-fed and I figure she still has quality milk to offer. However, I have (finally!) found a new kitten kibble that Stipke seems to want to eat. It might be that her teeth are only now coming through and that is why she does not eat some of the food the others eat. So I am now also offering her kitten milk from the store and am mixing it in the food. And she is finally starting to eat a bit more. She is pretty slim, not emaciated, but her belly is flat. This morning I made sure that Sipke could not steal her food and I think she got a good serving of everything.
Mitsy is now on Raw food. It comes in large frozen patties that, once thawed, need to be consumed within 3 days. It is a complete meal for her, but it is a guessing game how much she needs because we have not weighed her, neither has the vet. When she was there for her vaccinations and health check, she resisted being handled to much, that the scales did not even come into the picture.
When Mitsy started coming to our house, it looked as if she would not be more than 6 lbs. Now that I have occasionally been able to lift her a little bit, I know that she is heavier. She has a solid build, all muscle and right now her belly is nicely rounded. So I am guessing that her weight is between 8-10 lbs even though she is a small cat. This morning I put her bowl with raw food in a spot that she did not immediately saw. I have only really lifted her twice before and the second time was to sort of drop her off in the crates for the night and she took offense to that. But this morning she was very friendly (she always is when you bring food) and I wanted to ‘relocate’ her so that she would be in front of her food. And she still feels pretty solid. It amazes me how much this cat can eat in one setting. She takes her time too. She enjoys her food. Now that she gets the raw food, she still likes a little bit of the other stuff, but significantly less than before. I am happy every time she enjoys a meal.
Sipke also is a good eater. Both he and Mitsy will steal from Stipke though, if I do not protect her. So I try to feed her separate from the other two. She needs to get nutrients. So it pleased me to see her gobble up a tray of kitten milk. I will keep giving that to her until she fills out a little bit more. It is weird referring to her as a girl. I need to reprogram my brain!