I learned long ago that you never know what to expect with kittens. One day they are fine, the next they are terribly ill. You think one is a girl, and it turns out to be a boy (or vice versa). Both of those things happened with this litter.

Carisa noted that Percy looked pretty exotic. In person, he is a tabby with a few orange spots. I thought it odd that a male cat would have orange spots with tabby markings. That color designation is called “torbi,” as in tortoiseshell tabby. The tortoiseshell pattern is largely restricted to female cats because of genetics. The black and orange gene are on the exact same place on the x chromosome, so in order to have both, you need to have 2 x chromosomes, hence the need to be female. Every now and then a genetic mistake happens, and a kitten comes out xxy. The kitten will be male, but he will be sterile unless he can find a female cat with an xxx genetic makeup. Both are exceedingly rare, so the odds of that happening are slim. I gave little Percy’s naughty bits a look just to see if he really was a boy, and wouldn’t you know, he’s a girl.

Michael and I wanted to keep the Arthurian theme for this litter, so we named her Elaine after a character in Le Morte D’Arthur (The Death of Arthur in English) where the original Arthurian legend comes from. Elaine was in love with Lancelot, but he did not return her affections. She eventually died of grief, which sounds a little morbid for a kitten, but most of the Arthurian Knights died in the book, including Arthur himself, so you have to think about it in the context when they were alive.

Speaking of Arthur, he took a turn for the worse today. He and Elaine have both gotten more congested, but Arthur actually lost a lot of weight. He’s still affectionate and able to be entertained with toys, so I just put him on fluids and added a Vick’s plug-in to the kitten room. I also offered him some baby food, but he wasn’t interested. I’ll give the Vick’s and the fluids some time to work, then I’ll try getting him to eat again. I might have to give him some Nutri-Cal. He’s also going to a vet appointment today, so maybe they can help the poor fellow.

Lance and Gwen are getting better rather than worse. I’ve only heard 1 sneeze from Gwen, and she is all energy. Lance is playful, too. I’ve not heard any sneezes from him, but Michael may have before I went in. Gwen made weight right away, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they wanted to keep her when I take her to the vet appointment with the others. We’ll see.

I’ll let you know what happens to the sick ones after our appointment. Wish them luck.

Edit: The kittens are on Azythromycin now. That’s pretty powerful stuff for a kitten!


2 thoughts on “Developments

  1. In all my time at the shelter working with cats, I had only ever seen one male tortie. I was very surprised, as you were too, that there was a male torbi. Guess that mystery was solved, and they still are extremely rare.

    Thanks for the genetics lesson.

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