Female cats aggressive towards cat who just gave birth

Cat_nursing_newborn_kittens

We have five indoor cats (4 females and 1 male), all rescued as kittens, and one of them gave birth to five kittens yesterday. Now we are witnessing behavior we’ve never observed in all our previous cats, ever: Female cats aggressive towards cat who just gave birth.

Newborn_kittens
Welcome the five newest members of the family.

I tried googling this phenomenon to find out the reason behind it and hopefully get advice on how to handle the situation. But most of the information I found were about the mother cat exhibiting aggression, and not other female cats being aggressive towards the mother.

Miruku and Kamiya, the two unspayed females, are the ones who show the worst aggression. They hiss, puff their fur, and even attack with their claws when they see Paddington, the mommy of the 5 kittens. (She’s called Paddington because she was rescued from a rice ‘paddy’, and we initially thought she was a he).

female cats aggressive towards cat who just gave birth
Miruku, an unspayed female, hisses at Paddington, the cat who just gave birth.
female cats aggressive towards cat who just gave birth
Kamiya, another unspayed female, is also not happy about Paddington giving birth.

Paddington is trying to remain calm through all this. She comes up to us for cuddles, as if seeking comfort and reprieve from her tormentors.

Cocoa, the spayed female, shows no increased aggression (emphasis on no increase). She is the loner among the five, and has always acted like a total b*tch towards everybody, including her humans. But now, she’s like an angel compared to Miruku and Kamiya!

spayed female cat shows less aggression towards cat who just gave birth
Cocoa, our spayed female, is not too affected by the newborn kittens.

Ally, the neutered male, does not care at all. He’s always been the chill one, even before we had him fixed. Always been as cool as a cucumber.

Ally_male_neutered_cat
The male neutered cat Ally is the definition of calm.

I’ve read about closely related female cats taking care of each other’s kittens. So maybe the explanation for the female cats showing aggression towards the new mother is because they are not related at all.

You’ve heard of other female animals committing infanticide on the babies of another female. They do this for various reasons. In meerkats, dominant females kill the babies of subordinates so the latter can act as nurses for her own babies.  In chimpanzees, they do it due to competition for foraging areas.

Maybe the aggression of Miruku and Kamiya towards Paddington is an extension of negative feelings towards the new kittens.

Right now, we are not sure how to deal with this bad behavior from these two female cats. Have you had female cats aggressive towards cat who just gave birth? I’d love to know how you dealt with the problem.

So far though, the other cats have kept relatively distant from the area of the house where we placed the box where Paddington is nesting. We are hoping that in time, everyone will come to accept the new kittens as part of the family.

Vegetable Gardening at Home: How To Grow Bok Choy In Containers

Bok choy in containers

JULY VEGETABLE OF THE MONTH IS BOK CHOY or PECHAY

Scientific Name: Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis
Family: Brassicaceae (Cabbage family)

How to grow Bok Choy in containers is fairly easy. But before that, a little background. The word Bok Choy comes from a Chinese term that literally translates to “blue-green vegetable.” And if you stare at the dark green leaves of this vegetable, you may indeed detect a bluish hue. A mainstay in Chinese cuisine, this has very low calories (20 calories per cup!), and is full of Vitamins A, C, and K, and lots of minerals like Potassium and Calcium.

How to grow Bok Choy in containers
Bok choy can grow quite well in 1.5L soda bottles.
Tips on how to grow Bok Choy in containers

When growing Bok Choy in containers in your home garden, keep in mind the following tips:

  1. Use containers that are at least 15 cm (6 inches) deep. In my experience, 1.5 liter soda bottles seem to work fine.
  2. Well-drained, loamy soil is best. These plants hate watery soil
  3. Germinate seeds in a seedling tray.
  4. Transfer seedlings to containers when at least 2 or 3 true leaves have appeared. Make sure to keep that the center of the whorl where the new leaves appear above the soil level.
  5. Keep plants in sunny area with at least 6 hours of daylight.
  6. Never allow soil to dry up. These plants wilt easily.
  7. To avoid cabbage worms, loopers, etc., you may choose to cover plants with a net or spray with an organic pesticide.
  8. Harvest only outer large leaves to keep the supply going for a longer time.

Note: These tips on how to grow bok choy in containers are based on my experience. Other gardeners sow the seeds directly in the pots. I prefer to transfer so that the hypocotyl (lower stem) can be planted below soil level (see photo below).

bok choy seedlings
Bok choy seedling showing hypocotyl. I prefer sowing before transplanting, so the lower part of the stem can be planted below soil (Photo courtesy of gardentowok).

How to grow bok choy in containers successfully may take a little bit of dedication, but it’s a rewarding experience to have readily available fresh, chemical-free Chinese greens at home. The challenge lies in keeping the cabbage worms at bay. Make sure to harvest before they proliferate in your area.

Stir fried Bok Choy
Use minimal ingredients to bring out the mild flavor of bok choy (Courtesy of Not Just Baked)
Cooking Suggestions for Bok Choy
  • Stir-fried is still the most popular. Use minimal ingredients (garlic and soy sauce) to retain the delicate flavor.
  • Boiled in soups, like the Filipino “Nilaga” or “Pochero”.
  • As ingredient in stews, like “Kare-kare”, a type of peanut stew.
  • Chopped and eaten raw with tomatoes, onions, and vinaigrette dressing.

 

Salt solution does wonders for kitten’s sore eyes

Kitten with pretty eyes

Conjunctivitis or sore eyes can be quite common in kittens since their immune systems are still not well-developed. Fortunately, we have a cure that costs almost nothing but is highly effective: salt solution!

Unfortunately, our kittens developed sore eyes, and one of them had it so bad, she could barely open her right eye. She’s one of those we rescued more than a month ago, thrown away like trash with the umbilical cord still attached.

We are currently taking care of 9 kittens of different ages in addition to 7 adult cats, so you can imagine how illnesses and infections can spread quickly.

We’re happy to say that she’s alive and well, except for the conjunctivitis. At its worst, her right eye looked much worse than the one in the photo below (I wasn’t able to take an actual photo):

Kitten_cojunctivitis
Even a kitten conjunctivitis as bad as this can be cured by salt solution. Image courtesy of merckvetmanual.com

I cleaned it up daily with a salt water solution, and it wonderfully healed after just a few days. This is what she looks like now (actual photo):

Kitten with sore eyes
This kitten’s right eye was cured with a simple salt solution. It was extremely inflamed and could barely open just a few days ago.

It still doesn’t look pretty, but believe me, it looked horrible a few days ago, I was afraid the kitten would go blind!

So how do you use salt solution to cure sore eyes? Here are some tips:

  • Use a pinch of salt dissolved in clean drinking water. Ideally it should be as salty as your tears.
  • Dip a wad of cotton in the salt water and squeeze out excess liquid.
  • Wipe the kitten’s eyes gently, but firm enough to remove the dried up tears or pus.
  • Clean the eyes and surroundings as best as you can. Leftover gunk will be the source of further infection.
  • Do this once or twice daily, depending on severity.
  • If the kitten is healthy enough, give it a bath using appropriate kitten shampoo, to disinfect the rest of its body. Avoid bathing the eyes.

If the kitten’s eyes do not improve within 3 days or so, it’s best to consult a qualified veterinarian. They will prescribe proper medication, which will probably be eye drops or ointment with antibiotics.

If you’ve had similarly wonderful experiences with the use of salt solution, you need to share them with us, don’t keep them to yourself! 🙂

Eco-Friendly Biking Event Defeats the Purpose

Biking event

Biking is a wonderful hobby that is hailed by many as a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and keep your body fit at the same time. I love biking, even though here in the Philippines, I never bike along national roads because of the unfortunate hazards and struggles that accompany the activity.

However, many biking events that aim to promote this delightful hobby make the huge mistake of holding it within highly urbanized and heavy traffic-prone areas. Take for example the recently-concluded CalamBikeFest 2016, a segment of which was witnessed by my mom and I last Saturday on our way to the Makiling Botanic Gardens in UPLB. We were going to attend a tree walk with the Philippine Native Plants Conservation Society, and we decided to take public transportation instead of driving there.

Calambikefest facebook cover
Image from the Calambikefest facebook page

We live in General Trias City, Cavite, and during one leg of the trip, the jeepney ride from Calamba to UP College, we were stuck for several minutes in one spot, longer than what we hoped (we anticipated traffic, but not that heavy!). We later discovered that it was due to all the bicycles passing through the intersection, which the traffic police blocked for the safety of the bikers.

One of the passengers in the jeep audibly complained, “Pahamak itong mga bikers na ‘to” (These bikers are such a nuisance). Which made me feel sad, because biking is such an awesome hobby that everyone should take up if they have even a little time and resource for it.

The event caused a massive buildup of vehicles in the area around SM City Calamba, which has always been prone to heavy traffic in the first place. If you calculate the amount of man-hours wasted and carbon emissions produced due to the traffic jam, whatever benefit the event gave had been outweighed by the damages it caused.

I advocate biking 100%, but large bike events, or any other big occasions for that matter, need to be planned carefully and organized in such a way that other people not involved will not suffer from its consequences. Maybe they should study the traffic flow, and identify the day of the week and time of day when their event would have the least impact. Or hold it in a less busy part of the city.

Otherwise, not only are its objectives of being eco-friendly or promoting heroism (in the case of CalamBikeFest) defeated, they also provoke the ire of the people in the community.