When you see the kittens every day, it does not appear they are growing much. Until they do. Take, for instance, Cheetah. We thought that she was quite delicate for quite some time. She is at the more timid of the kitten spectrum. Well, until we saw her today. We paid a lot of extra attention to her in the past week and whether that did the trick, or good old-fashioned mother milk did, we will never know. But today she looks pretty round, active and much more solid to us than before.
Sometimes the roles reverse in the feline family. For quite a while we figured that Kabiri was the biggest of the kittens. But now he is the one who seems to have hit a temporary pause in his growth. Pumba, on the other hand, is starting to look long, lanky and high on his feet. He is a beautiful black short-coated Tom-cat, who has had his eye on the rack that blocks the entry door to the room for quite some time. If we are not quick and careful, he will jump right over one of these days. He is a delightful chap, full of beans, very curious and quick. The two twins seems to be in sync with their growing up. Both are still pretty small, or at least: smaller than their siblings.
White versus black
Spooky is sort of the go-between. Due to her long coat you can’t really tell how big she is. She seems more slightly built than the others. Time will tell how tall she will get as an adult female. Pumba and Spooky share a funny characteristic: they both have long white hairs in their otherwise largely black coat. These white hairs are also present in the other kittens, but in Tabbys they are a lot harder to see.
It is said that these long white hairs are typical for young kittens. They are usually longer than the rest of the coat and their function is to help the kitten ‘feel their way’ into the big outdoors. They tell them where their body ends and comes into contact with the world. It helps them with the spatial experience of everything around them. Like, “Will I fit through this hole?” Or: “How close am I to an object?” These hairs have nothing to do with the true colouring of the cat, so I have been told. I have also been told that a truly completely black cat is not very common. We have already seen that neither Pumba nor Spooky are 100% black. Especially in bright sunlight, you can see that they both have tabby markings and they sometimes even look more dark brown than black. Not so strange, if you look at mom and dad. For a cat to come out completely black, both parents have to be black as well. So, our two kittens are not turning gray prematurely, they just have baby hair!
The lanyard on my phone is a constant source of entertainment for the kittens. I can often take advantage of that by making photographs from new angles, as they are trying to grab the lanyard. My phone is a toy to them because of that. Sometimes one of them steps on the camera trigger and makes an unexpected selfie. The other day, it showed more of me than of Sipke. But Kabiri did a do-over yesterday that came out a lot better!