In a previous post, I listed the names of five of my kittens and they were all Italian. I went from there to state that it sounds like my kittens were a mob family.
That sounded wrong, and I apologize to all Italian people who deal with the stereotype that all Italians belong to the mafia.
What I meant was, that the kittens compete and fight while nursing so hard they reminded me of the infamous Carleone family of The Godfather, so I named them after characters in the movie. Especially Sonny and Vito, the largest kittens in the mob, who seem particularly viscious. While suckling, either one of them will bump the other off that particular teat and take it over. The other would not put up with it and bump right back. I don't know why, because Carly has more than enough milk to go around. And usually they are eating right next to each other when one decides to take the other's teat. Even though they are siblings, they wouldn't hesitate to do each other in, like the Corleone's. More than once, they'll go crazy during this arguement and start screaming and clawing each other (even as newborns, those claws are sharp) and Carly would lift her head up and look over at them with a "Don't make me come over there" look. And they'll stop.
Last night, Fredo was going bezerk because he couldn't find a way to a free teat (there are six kittens and eight teats, go figure) during dinnertime and started crawling over the top to his mom's face. Without moving her body and disturbing the other kittens while they were eating, Carly opened her jaws wide and clamped down on his head--very scary looking--and threw him down on the floor. She gave him a licking which seemed like a catlike equivelent to a spanking, only not painful and then tucked her arm over his head and held him down in her armpit, while he cried and whimpered the whole time. Meanwhile, she looked totally unconcerned, which is a switch from her usual attentiveness towards her brood's every cry. She looked at me like "Don't worry, I know what I'm doing". Finally, Fredo calmed down, his whining getting softer, and went to sleep.
Carly is a very attentive momcat, most of the time she is very sweet and protective of her kittens. But she'll be tough when she has to. Her favorite is the petite and well behaved Crema who sleeps contentedly between her mother's forepaws. Crema gets more baths from her mom than anyone, too. I wonder if Crema gets more attention because she is the runt and not as competitive as her brothers as well as her bigger and more agressive sister, Gina. I worry more about her too, as she isn't gaining as much weight as the rest.
Their eyes will be opening soon. I wonder how things will change once that happens. As of now, they scoot around on their tummies, their legs aren't strong enough to support themselves. And their hearing isn't developed yet either. I'll keep you posted.