C-litter born Sept 6 2021 - Bellona & Hector


You can follow the development of the kittens in the Alterskjaer Lion King litter in this blog post. See recent updates week 7-9 below. One of the boys, Mufasa, will be evaluated for breeding with us (see separate blog post) and one of the girls will also be sold for breeding (Sarabi).

 



The beautiful add for The Lion King Litter is designed by my colleague and friend Marita R Sørensen, Tashanas Maine coon in Sweden


The litter name theme selected this time is "The Lion King" - since these kittens are red and cream like their parents and remind me of little lions and lionesses. The litter is a combination of outcross lines and showlines after our F3 Taschanas Goddess Bellona PP and Hector Vasanti (link to pedigree in pawpeds, link to pedigree in "min katt" NRR/FIFE). I am grateful for the opportunity to use Hector in our breeding - and grateful for five amazing kittens that are thriving and adding weight!

Almost two years have passed since Bellonas first litter / our A-litter. Finally on the 6th of September Bellonas second litter / our C-litter with six little kittens (average weight 60 grams) was born in our cattery. Sadly one of them passed away the next morning. But the rest of the siblings are thriving and putting on weight. In this blog post I will keep you updated on the development of the Alterskjaer Lion King litter. You can also follow us on Instagram and Facebook

9 days old and very sleepy after a good meal 

Litter data

Inbreeding: 0%
COI: 9.82%
Clones: 30.8%
Top 5: 59.5% 

Week 1-3

Supplemental feeding

Bellona has very good instincts and is a beautiful, cool and caring mom that takes excellent care of her kittens. She has the sweetest temper - and is very close to her human family - especially my daughter - trusting us with her kittens and loves to cuddle and be close to us. Bellona is also very rare - as she is an F3 Maine coon after a new US foundation imported from Maine - and consequently very important in the joint effort to widen the gene pool of the breed. 

The challenge when breeding Bellona is her inverted nipples as the kittens are struggling to attach and to stimulate milk production in all of them even with help from us. We experienced this when she had her first kittens two years ago - and I knew that this could potentially become a challenge that we had to deal with again. Last time Bellona and Puma collaborated on feeding the kittens, but we struggled to keep little Brutus growing and adding weight. All our efforts were however greatly rewarded as Brutus is now a beautiful grown up boy - working hard to mate our Puma and give us a second generation of Alterskjaer kittens. 

I was consequently willing to "go the extra mile" and take on this job again - as I think it is important to preserve these new foundation lines. Twenty-four hours after the delivery of her second litter I started giving Bellonas newborn kittens extra milk, as they were only able to attach to and stimulate three of the nipples and needed extra feeding. 

This coming Monday - when they turn 3 weeks I will slowly and carefully start transferring them to solid food. These last weeks have been hectic, as sterilizing equipment, preparing milk and feeding kittens has been my daily routine from early morning till late night. I had a mishap with a complete meltdown during boiling equipment one late night during the second week of feeding. Drop dead tired - I went straight to bed and totally forgot to turn of the temperature on the stove! All the plastic equipment melted and dissolved! Huge chrisis!!! Luckily the problem was solved the next day! Thanks to AniCura Katteklinikken in Tromsø who had more boxes with babycat milk in storage (containing the equipment that I needed to prepare the milk for kittens). I had also allready ordered more of the «miracle nipples» (they really are!) - so all went well! I can only blame the «ammetåke» (is there even a word for that in English!?). Feeding kittens 24-7 puts me straight back 14 and 18 years to when my kids were babies as they were both «bottlefed» And babycat milk smells exactly the same as Nestle’s Nan formula for babies. The good news is that all the kittens are adding weight and growing well - no setbacks - they are such enthusiastic milk drinkers. They started out at about 60 grams and are adding more weigh each day. Good job Bellona and good job me!! And a really nice bonus of supplemental feeding is the close bond that forms with each of the kittens in early life.

Alterskjaer Sarafina - two days old

Our little sun rays - three days old - and their daddy Hector when he visited Bellona this spring. Four of the kittens are red like their father. Photos: Ida-Helene Sivertsen.

Portraits of the C-litter kittens 8 days old - they have just opened their eyes. Girls (top photos): Alterskjaer Sarafina and Alterskjaer Sarabi (the only cream kitten in the litter). Boys (bottom photos): Alterskjaer Kion, Alterskjaer Mufasa PP and Alterskjaer Pumba.

Kittens huddle to keep warm and feel safe. Our little sweethearts are only one week old in this photo

Ten days old - Sarafina united with her siblings. Photos by Ida-Helene Sivertsen

Kitten gone missing

Bellona loves being a mom. But it appears that she also enjoys moving kittens around and hiding them in the stranges places. She really gave us all a big scare when one of the kittens suddenly went missing one morning - only 10 days old. At this age thermoregulation is really poor and they depend on each other and their mom to keep warm. Sarafina, the biggest kitten, was no where to be found! The whole family helped search through the room several times moving all furnitures including the big bookshelf! But no sight or sound from Sarafina!!! Luckily Ida-Helene could stay at home and continue the search. And a few hours later a message ticked in that she had located Sarafina in the (closed) cabinet among shoes and ice skates. Cold and quite - but alive! Bellona must have managed to open the door, push her into a narrow opening of the cabinet and then Sarafina must have crawled in on the second shelf under the skate where she was later found! We were so relieved when she was finally back with mama Bellona and her siblings re-fuling on milk and getting warm again. Needless to say - we celebrated the two of them with a good dinner in the evening - Sarafina the survivor and Ida-Helene the rescue woman and now Godmother to Sarafina.

Determining colors

Determining the colours of the red kittens is tricky as the tabby pattern "leak" through the red solid («ghostmarkings»). I think that Alterskjaer Mufasa PP (top left photo below) is a red tabby. With his white chins and the white hair in his ears. And Alterskjaer Sarafina (the two photos in the second row), I think may be a red solid as her chin is more cream than white. It is difficult to tell yet if the inside of her ears are also cream-colored? But they seem to be. The cream kitten Alterskjaer Sarabi (top right photo) may also be a solid. But cream kittens are even more difficult to determine than red ones. Tt is still early on (15 days in the phot) - so we will just have to wait and see. 


One poly kitten

Purified through centuries of natural selection, poly Maine Coons embody the most distinct and visible proof possible of the long heritage of this native Maine Coon breed. 

When I bought my first Maine coon, I did not know much about the history of the breed. Learning about the polydactyly in Maine coon cats, and FIFe´s banning of showing and registering poly Maine coon cats, triggered my interest. I started reviewing the litterature to find out more and have since then worked to spread research-based knowledge on this naturally occuring trait of the breed. 

Bellona is heterozygous for the «Hemingway mutation» (Hw/N). Hence, there was a 25% chance of getting poly kittens in this litter after Bellona and Hector. One out of six kittens in total turned out to be poly. Bellona has two extra toes on each of her front paws and one extra toe on each of her back paws (7-7-5-5). Her son Mufasa is 6-6-5-5, and showing off his climbing skills allready. 

I feel so privileged to be trusted with these unique US bloodlines, and forever greatful for the friendship and collaboration with Johanna / Lynx Luna Maine Coon and Marita / Taschanas Maine Coon who introduced me to the world of outcross breeding and poly Maine coons. 

We are proud to include poly Maine coons on our breeding as they represent an important part of the Maine coon history and unique genetic variation. Poly Maine coons move around and play around just like non-poly cats. Some even argue that they do it better. Their big paws increase the surface area of the foot, facilitating movement on snow and helping the cat climb and hunt more efficiently. This is Bellona and the kittens at day 17. They have started to explore the world outside their little cave. Alterskjaer Mufasa PP is showing of his beautiful mitten paws inherited from his mother Taschana Goddess Bellona PP his grandfather Lynxluna Elders PP and his greatgrandmother Bluebell of Lynx Luna (F1) imported to Sweden from Maine, USA by Johanna / Lynx Luna

Kittens at 6 weeks

Week 3-6 

  • These have been hectic weeks with supplemental feeding of the kittens. I am super lucky to have such big support from my daughter who has been helping me a lot! During these 6 weeks we have given a total of 132 supplemental milk-meals, and the kittens have increased from 60 grams to between 700 (Sarafina) and 800 (Pumba) grams (See table below). 
  • All of them are now eating solid food (paté). They have also started used their canine teeth chewing the little kibbles from Veterinary HPM (Virbac). 
  • They have all stated using the cat box! I am just amazed at how quickly kittens are "potty trained" - it took them about 5 minutes tops to figure it out - so different from puppies!! 
  • They are not playing and interaction and running and climbing and so sweet I could spend the whole day just watching them.
  • Alterskjaer Mufasa PP will be moving to / living with Alterskjaer Lucifer PP and his family when he is old enough. He will be evaluered for breeding with us.

7-8 weeks 



On October 22 I started the process of registering the litter / kittens with their pedigree in TICA. TICA has just developed and launched a new platform - the TICA feline management system. Thumbs up for a this new intuitive and user friendly page. I am now eagerly waiting for the registration paper work to be completed hoping that the rush service fee will make things move faster. 

All five kittens along with their mom Bellona, as well as Puma and Chloe, visited the vet (AniCura Katteklinikk) in Tromsø Nov 3rd 2021 for their vaccination and health check. The kittens were also ID chipped.

Mufasa and Pumba at the vet 8 weeks old



9 weeks

Mufasa, Kion, Puma and Sarafina 9 weeks old enjoying the last glimpse of the sun before the long winter night. All the boys now have wonderful future families and homes waiting. Photo: Ida-Helene Sivertsen.

Bellona and her cream daughter Sarabi at 9 weeks. Photo: Ida-Helene Sivertsen.

12 weeks 

ca Nov 29 2021 - Second vaccination. Neuter / spay kittens that are not going to be used in breeding. MyCatDNA of cat(s) evaluated for breeding.

13 weeks

Kittens ready to move to their new homes when fully healed after the surgery. 

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