Maxwell Grantly

Magical stories from an independent author

Archive for the category “KittyCatS”

Bandit – The Short-Sighted Cat Burglar

Bandit - The Short-Sighted Cat Burglar

Bandit – The Short-Sighted Cat Burglar

Sophie and her family, Mr. and Mrs. Goggles, lived in the town of Myopia.

Everyone in Myopia was short-sighted and so it was no surprise that, when the time came, Sophie should fail her eye test too. Therefore, Mr. and Mrs. Goggles bought their daughter a small kitten, as a present, in order to console her.

Of course, the family guessed that the kitten was bound to be short-sighted. After all, everyone in Myopia wore corrective eye-pieces. However, they never realised that their new kitty addition was an accomplished cat burglar, with a dreadful criminal record. As you may guess, everything was bound to go wrong.

Read Maxwell Grantly’s latest delightful story, Bandit – The Short-Sighted Cat Burglar, to find out what happened and how Bandit regained Sophie’s trust.

-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-

“Bandit – The Short-Sighted Cat Burglar” can be downloaded, totally free of charge, from Barnes & Noble, Blio, iBooks, Inktera, Kobo, Lulu and Smashwords. (There is a small charge when downloading from Amazon, however, and so you may find the other sites more advantageous.)

Advertisements

Gobbles – The Hungry Cat

Gobbles - The Hungry Cat

Gobbles – The Hungry Cat

When Jack is given a baby kitten, his mother gives him just one rule, “Do not overfeed the cat!”

It’s hard for a young child to care for a new pet, without worrying that it is not eating properly. Can Jack remember his mother’s rule, as he cares for his baby kitten?

Read the latest story from Maxwell Grantly, where things never go according to plan and the most unexpected outcomes always seem to happen.

This story is delightfully illustrated with numerous lovely coloured illustrations throughout the book.

-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-

“Gobbles – The Hungry Cat” can be downloaded, totally free of charge, from Barnes & Noble, Blio, iBooks, Inktera, Kobo, Lulu and Smashwords. (There is a small charge when downloading from Amazon, however, and so you may find the other sites more advantageous.)

Jack and the Space Pirates

Jack and the Space Pirates

Jack lives and works on EM-05, a steampunk space station found on a major trade route between Earth and Mars. He spends his days tarring the insides of frigates and galleons, as they stop for repairs and supplies, on their way to the distant planets of the Solar System. There are very few other children that work on EM-05 and so it can get very lonely for Jack. However, he does have one close friend, an abandoned cat named Jet, and the two of them are inseparable.

Jack and Jet find that their lives are thrown into turmoil when a gang of space pirates steals a valuable galleon. The two friends are flung into an incredible adventure and Jack is forced to devise a cunning plan to return them both to their intergalactic home.

Jack and the Space Pirates is a beautifully produced children’s storybook, with lovely enchanting illustrations on every page.

Is This Kitten Homogeneous?

Jet and Sniffles

When you see a KittyCatS cat with the trait that you want and then you view its family tree; it’s very easy to assume that it may be pure in the trait that you want, if you see ONLY this trait being held by all its parents and grandparents.

Suppose you see a cat with azure eyes and you look at the family tree and notice that both the parents and all four of the grandparents have azure eyes, what do you think the chances are that the cat in front of you has azure as both the dominant and recessive traits? (What are the chances that the cat is homogeneous with this particular trait?)

It would be very easy to assume that the chances were particularly high. In fact, I confess, before I did the mathematics, I thought that the mathematical chance that the cat was homogeneous laid at roughly 90 or 95%. However, I was shocked when I took a scrap of paper and calculated it in full.

Assuming the worst case scenario that all four of the grandparents are heterogeneous (they have a recessive hidden gene that is not azure but some other more recessive colour), the chance that the final offspring is homogeneous is actually just 50%. Yes, that is right, there is only just a 50/50 chance that both the dominant and recessive genes are the same. Unbelievable, isn’t it! If you still need some verification, here are my rough scribbles:

Family Tree

Explanation for above scribbles:

Each of the four grandparents are heterogeneous (Aa) and so there is a one in three chance that their offspring are homogeneous. (We can discount the “aa” offspring from the maths for we know that the recessive fur is not showing.) When combining these three different combinations for the two parents, 16 homogeneous offspring are produced. Again, we can again discount the four “aa” results because we can see from the pedigree page that no cat has a recessive fur type. This means that there are (9×4)-4 different combinations.

I was surprised to see that, despite having a whole page of identical traits, the final cat only has mathematically a 50-50 chance of being pure in the given trait.

What this means, when we view a page full of identical cats, the chances of the final cat being homogeneous in one specified trait is simply 50% (if the grandparents were heterogeneous.) So, don’t let a family tree, full of identical kittens, deceive you into thinking that the final cat is pure.

Synching Cat Energy Levels

Jet and Sniffles

Jet and Sniffles

Synching Cat Energy Levels

You may already know that, if one cat is asleep and one is awake, they will never be able to mate. However, if one cat is happy (over 75% happy) and one cat is not (under 75% happy) they will also not be able to produce a box. Both cats must be over 75% happiness at the same time in order to reproduce and make a box.

The happiness of the cats runs on a cycle, depending on their energy level. Therefore, to get over this potential breeding problem and to maximise box production, it is important to synchronise their energy levels to be as close as possible.

Now, this is how it can be done:

When a cat sleeps, its energy rises from 0% to 100%. When a cat is awake, its energy level falls from 100% to 0% again. Wait until the cat with the higher energy level is awake and the cat with the lower energy level is asleep. (If you spot a chance, you could wake one of them up to create this situation.) The cat that is awake will start to reduce its energy level and the cat that is sleeping will continue to increase its energy level. When both cats have identical values of energy (or are very close) wake up the sleeping cat and the synching is then complete.

Just one word of warning (and an extra complexity) a cat must have over 25% energy in order to be able to be woken. This may need to be taken into account when doing this task.

If the male and female are shared between two different owners, it might be easier if one owner has both cats in order to perform the synching – it can get rather complicated if not. That person can then pass the “other” cat back to the original owner after this is all completed. This may make the task a little easier to complete.

When the cats have identical (or near identical) energy levels, their happiness levels will also be synchronised. This means that they will be at their optimum for breeding purposes and will produce a box at the most efficient rate.

Back Breeding KittyCats

Snowed Under with KittyCats

Snowed Under with KittyCats

Back Breeding KittyCats

Many owners with be familiar with the principle of outcrossing or inbreeding to obtain a desired KittyCat look. If you have browsed the various cat markets looking for a trait to add to your existing stock you have been outcrossing. This is when you introduce an unrelated cat to existing stock to get the desired result that you want.

For example, to produce a Russian Black with passion eyes, my younger brother offered the use of Sniffles (a Bengal Snow with passion eyes) to mate with a cat of mine, Jet (a Russian Black with blue ice eyes) in order to achieve this breeding target. This is an example of outcrossing.

Jet and Sniffles

Jet and Sniffles

However, if I had a sibling, parent or other close family member with the genes that I required, this would have been an example of inbreeding.

Luckily for my brother and I, the majority of our offspring were passion-eyed Russian Blacks and so the pairing had produced exactly what we had wanted, many times over.

Majority of Passion Eyed  Russian Blacks

Majority of Passion Eyed Russian Blacks

However, there are times when the pairing of parents fails to give the result that is required.

For example, look at the following combination of kittens that could be used in an attempt to get a Russian Black kitten, with purple rain eyes and vampire ears.

Trying to Get a Purple Rain Vampire

Trying to Get a Purple Rain Vampire

On first inspection you may think that, because all the desired traits are shown in abundance in both the parents, it would be an easy affair to simply leave the pair bonded together and then wait for them to produce the kitten that you wanted. However, the female (Apollo) has both highly dominant eyes and ears and, very importantly, she has a hidden ear shape of “curious” that is also more dominant than the vampire ear gene of her mate, Prince. This means that, when she breeds, there is a 50% chance of her passing her genesis ear and a 50% chance of passing her curious ear. The result being that, half of the offspring of this combination will have genesis ears and the other half will have curious ears. The goal of achieving a Russian Black with both purple rain eyes and vampire ears with this combination is impossible.

Back Breeding

This is where the strategy of back breeding comes into play.

When two cats produce a box, you are moving forward with the generations. Back breeding is the name given to the method in breeding the offspring with one of the parents or grandparents (or even further back, if you so desire.) For the following example, I have used back breeding with parent/offspring pairings.

(In real life, back breeding is used by livestock breeders and horticulturalists to produce a desired line. However, when over-utilized, it does lead to a decreased fitness in a population. This could be why it is inherently repulsive for use in human populations across the globe, regardless of culture or background. However, with KittyCats, there is no risk of its excessive use and it should just be seen as a legitimate method of shuffling the desired genes in a controlled way to obtain the result that is desired.)

Allow me to illustrate how back breeding works by considering one past project of my brother and myself: the creation of a passion-eyed, vampire-eared Russian Black.

Our Goal: The Vampire Cat

Our Goal: The Vampire Cat

After obtaining the Russian Black kitten with passion eyes, as described above. The new project of Skippy and I was to add vampire ears to the mix and create a perfect kitten for Hallowe’en. This project was to be harder than it may have first seem, simply because vampire ears are so recessive.

One of the kittens produced by the original Sniffles and Jet was called Ellder.

Ellder

Ellder

Ellder had the desired passion eyes and a Russian Black fur and so the next project was to add vampire ears to the mix. One suitable male called Fang was found to bond with her.

Fang

Fang

Fang had the same sombre Russian Black Fur with vampire ears but Lucky Irish clover eyes instead. On first inspection, he might seem the perfect father to produce a vampire-eared offspring. However, the problem was that both Ellder’s genes for ears (genesis, the shown, and curious, the hidden) were more dominant than both Fang’s vampire ear gene and his unknown hidden ear gene. This particular combination would never produce a vampire-eared offspring. But however, more importantly, it could be used to set up a paring that could.

On breeding, one of the two genes from Ellder would combine with one of the two genes from Fang to produce a kitten offspring. The four different combinations could be any one of the following:

Genesis (from Ellder) with Vampire (from Fang)

Curious (from Ellder) with Vampire (from Fang)

Genesis (from Ellder) with Highly Recessive Unknown (from Fang)

Curious (from Elder) with Highly Recessive Unknown (from Fang)

In every one of these four combinations, the genes for ear shape of Ellder were more dominant than the genes for ear shape of Fang and so half the offspring would have genesis ears and the other half of the offspring would have curious ears.

Genesis and Curious Ears

Genesis and Curious Ears

However, this particular pairing had not been in vain. Despite the shown ear shape being either genesis or curious, all of these offspring now had a recessive gene introduced that had come from Fang, the father. This recessive gene may have been either vampire ears or (possibly) an unknown gene that was even more recessive.

This is where the strategy of back breeding came into play. When a daughter was produced, she was then swapped with the mother; Fang was continued to be used as the father. (The reason a son was not used and swapped with Fang was solely because it was the genes of Fang that were recessive and so are the genes we were trying to introduce into the offspring. If we had of swapped a son with Fang, we would have lost the vampire ear shape from the mix.)

Now, it was irrelevant whether this daughter had either genesis ears or curious ears as shown, either had an equal chance of producing the desired outcomes. However, in this particular bonding, the daughter actually had genesis ears. She was named “Chancer” and looked very similar to her mother, with the exception that she carried the vampire ear gene as her recessive trait.

Chancer

Chancer

Ellder was retired from her partnership with Fang and Chancer was substituted in her place. A daughter to mother back breeding substitution was used.

Now, the four different ear combinations between Chancer and Fang were one of two different possibilities, as now shown below:

(Example 1) Either:

Genesis (from Chancer) with Vampire (from Fang)

Curious (from Chancer) with Vampire (from Fang)

Vampire (from Chancer) with Highly Recessive Unknown (from Fang)

Vampire (from Chancer) with Highly Recessive Unknown (from Fang)

(Example 2) Or:

Genesis (from Chancer) with Vampire (from Fang)

Curious (from Chancer) with Vampire (from Fang)

Highly Recessive Unknown (from Chancer) with Highly Recessive Unknown (from Fang)

Highly Recessive Unknown (from Chancer) with Highly Recessive Unknown (from Fang)

In example one, the chance of gaining a vampire-eared kitten was now 50% and in example two the chance of gaining a vampire-eared kitten was 25%.

Actually, in the Chancer and Fang pairing, Skippy and I were lucky and we managed to obtain “Example 1” so that our final kitten “The Vampire Kitten” was born very soon. However, if we had obtained “Example 2” the chances were that it would have been born a week or two later.

Most importantly, we had achieved our goal of breeding the cat that we wanted and we were the proud owners of our perfect Vampire kitten called “The Vampire Prince” well before our target date of Hallowe’en.

The Vampire Prince

The Vampire Prince

Conclusion

I am aware that there is a lot of reading in this blog to digest and that the whole process may seem very daunting to any KittyCats newcomer. However, there is a simple rule that can be used when employing back breeding, that avoids the need to memorize probability charts or learn the theory behind genetic Punnett squares. If you find one trait rather stubborn to introduce into your kittens, it possibly could be that the trait is highly recessive and so back breeding may be required. In this case, simply swap your existing parent with any identical offspring of the same sex. In this way, you will have introduced the recessive gene into the mix and increased your chance of producing your goal from zero to either 25% or 50%

Good luck with your breeding projects. Skippy and I hope that you have found these notes useful and we wish you well in your KittyCats projects.

Post Navigation