Willow's Story

Ladybug Willow

Bodwin's Ladybug Willow

In the beginning of 2002 Tony thought he would like to have a Sphynx cat. When this became a reality and Zozie came to live with us it confirmed my idea that I would like to have a Devon Rex cat. My friend Susanna who is also chairman of the Danish Rex and Sphynx club was planning to mate her female Jodie with a newly imported Devon Rex cat from Norway called Balvenie, now owned by Suzanne Trolle. I asked Susanna if I could buy/adopt one of the kittens and I chose Willow.

Bodwin's Ladybug Willow was born on the 5th of November 2002. Her parents are Bodwin's Jodie; a Tortie/smoke female Devon Rex, and Balvenie av Ochremenko, a Black/ smoke male Devon Rex. Willow has one brother, Little Lord Lurifax.

Willow is a Silver/black spotted/tabby female Devon Rex and came to live with us on the 4th of February 2003 from Susanna Toldi Bugge's cattery, Bodwin's.

So our cat family now has a Cornish Rex, a Sphynx and a Devon Rex along with all the other cats who live with us. Willow is very playful like all kittens and her special friend is Zozie. They sleep together in the radiator bed.
Zozie and Willow

Mating Ladybug Willow

At the World Show in November 2003 we met Jørgen and Linda who breed Devon Rexes. With them they had a very nice stud (friendly, calm and with a good coat) called Narnia's Pinoccio - he is Black and White, rather like our Athos. Myrtle was very taken with him and talked to them about the possibility of mating Willow to him.

We had discovered that Willow has the blood type group B which can be dangerous for any kittens, if unsuitably mated (See Blood Groups in cats.)
Jørgen later had Pinoccio tested, and he also turned out to be type B, so we made tentative arrangements to contact them once Willow was old enough.

Willow started calling when she was still too young, so went on to the P-pills. After a few months we took her off them and then on the 8th May 2004 we made the journey across the Storebælt bridge to visit Pinoccio. Here is Willow six weeks later!

A heavily pregnant cat!
On the 15th July 2004 Willow gave birth to five kittens; all very nicely furred.

After our attempts at providing her with nice 'nesting' places, she decided to share with her friends and owners by starting the process on the sofa! We provided towels for her when her contractions were getting more powerful, and she was cuddled against Zozie when she was pushing hard to get the first kitten born. After it arrived, she just relaxed and I had to turn her round to get her to realise that she had a kitten to clean up! Clementine was actually born at 17:12 and weighed 83g.

Next came Laurel at 17:41 (85g) followed quickly at 18:05 by Rowan (87g). He was rather slow to emerge and needed a little help to get his face clear and cord parted.

We all had a short break until 19:25 when Holly was born weighing only 69g, and another break before the last kitten came into the world - Judas at 20:25 (88g). (Judas and Rowan were the only boys.)

Now we are six
Eventually we all got to bed at midnight, with Willow and family resting happily together in the guest room in the nesting box we had intended her to use. On Friday morning, she was happy to stay there while I gave her some fresh food and water, and then moved the whole box onto the sofa where Omar and Zozie visited from time to time.

Unfortunately, the bad breathing signs that I thought I had seen in Judas, looked worse, so I drove him to the vets and Peder checked him over. His heart sounded good and his mouth and nose were clear, so Peder gave him some antibiotic and steroid with a couple of syringes of water under his skin in the hope that he would improve.

Sadly, by 5 pm I was convinced that although he had not lost weight, he had a problem with his diaphragm and so took him back to Peder. The diagnosis was confirmed as it was then certain that he was breathing abdominally, so while I held him on my palm, Peder put him to sleep. On Saturday I buried him in our garden's cat cemetery.

By Sunday we could all relax with the four kittens each gaining weight satisfactorily, and on Monday Gerd and Wasse were their first visitors - Willow was happy to show them off!

A week later Susanna and Camilla came to see them all, and we found out that they are all boys!

    Click here for the album  ---   "Willow's first litter"

Now came a quiet period where we could all see the kittens growing in size, experience and agility. Much interest was shown by the older cats, with Willow happy to let them be admired, as long as she was allowed to worry about them just a little! There was, however, a shock coming for Willow! We acquired our first German Rex at the beginning of August and for Willow, it was hate at first sight. I suppose that it was not really hate, just an over the top defence of her kittens! On the Cats page, there is a link from Sue's picture to her story.

Willow worried, as do all mother cats, when the kittens started to try and explore, but all went well until one day she decided to move them all. Try as we might, she insisted on burying them under our sofabed! In the end I gave up. But, the sofa had only short legs, so it was impossible for us to fetch the kittens out when necessary. The solution was to make the legs higher, and then block off about half the depth so they were reachable. Combined with making a special bed area next to the end of the sofa, that satisfied Willow.

During all the carting around, we discovered that Willow would find all the kittens if they squeaked for her, but as they got bigger and tried to escape, she was completely unable to keep track of them all! Apparently a mother cat can count like this - here is One Kitten - here is Another Kitten - so, I know I have more than One, so that extra one must be the total. End result - two kittens without a mother!

Four little beauties
We had our first enquiry for the kittens at the beginning of September, and a week later Niki and Daniel came to look at them. The kittens were then just under 8 weeks old and very happy to have someone new to admire them. They particularly liked Holly and Laurel. They came back a week later and finally decided for sure to have Holly to live with them and their Norwegian Forest Cat, Smokey.

Niki and Daniel were to be married early in October, so we arranged for them to collect Holly a week after that. Unfortunately, all was not developing well for the kittens. First Holly lost his appetite, and then Laurel. After many visits to Kirsten, our vet, and a continuing struggle on my part to keep them going, the sad conclusion was that they had both developed FIP. First Holly and then Laurel had to be put to sleep, brought home for the others to say goodbye, and then buried in our cat cemetery.

Niki and Daniel came back to see us, but decided that Clementine (the kitten we still might have sold) was not for them. We still keep in touch, although they are moving to England with Smokey and Dillon (a stray kitten they picked up) to be nearer to Niki's family.

The final part of this sad episode was that due to some very out of date quarantine regulations regarding a cattery that has had FIP, we have been unable to show any cats until after February 2005, and unable to sell Clem until after May. By now we have grown so fond of him, that we will keep him. I am writing this in March 2005 - another sad event is that Sue died in January, but it was not FIP, so that is good to know for the cattery as a whole. Now we have our second German Rex, Evelyna, so I must keep at it and write her story!

Willow likes her adopted daughter, Evelyna

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