Abys in Need – 26 dead Abys in freezer, 18 more living in squalor…AGAIN!

This is ghastly. Rhode Island Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals discovered 26 dead Abys in a freezer and 18 more in “very poor condition” yesterday. According to the RISPCA investigator, the surviving cats were underweight and covered in feces, but none were in such bad health that they will need to be euthanised. Well, thank StarClan for that!

But what really pisses me off is…THIS ISN’T THE FIRST TIME this person has done this! Eight years ago I posted about this exact same idiot who had 48 Abys, along with a corn snake, one dog, a turtle and two other household cats confiscated by the RISPCA. Just as last time, the cats are at the Potter League for Animals, so if you’re interested in helping to rescue one or more of these Abys, please contact the Potter League for Animals (Newport, RI), 87 Oliphant Lane, Middletown RI 02842, Phone: 401-846-8276, Email: info@potterleague.org. But keep in mind it will probably take some time to get them healthy enough for adoption.

Additionally, my friend Meg has started a donation page on Facebook in Cousin Taz’s memory to raise funds to help the Potter League help these Abys.

And now I need to go hug Angel.

Aby-a-Day – 18 July: Wordless Wednesday (Phone home)

Aby-a-Day – 17 July: Cats of the World (Cartoon Tuesday)

Okay, technically not a cartoon, but you may remember when I took Alfred to Anicura to say goodbye to Logan, I mentioned the “Cats of the World” poster hanging in the cat waiting room.

Here’s the Abyssinian…he looks grumpy, like Jacoby. The ears seem a bit small, though.

They illustrated the red Abyssinian separately. Again, the eyes and ears seem small. They didn’t include the other Aby colours.

The Somalis were included on the poster together. Again, they don’t look quite like Somalis, do they?

Last but not least, we have the mighty Singapura! Of all the drawings, I think they caught the Singa best of all.

Aby-a-Day – 16 July: “No guts, no glory” (Medical Monday)

(This post was written by Björn, as I was so busy helping the doctors I wasn’t as able to record what was going on.)

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Jacoby has been really grumpy for the past few months now. He’s been hissing and growling, lashing out at the kittens (but not hurting them, thankfully) as well as attacking Alfred and Angel. He’s been barfing more than usual, and on top of that, he’s lost a significant amount weight over the past seven months, going from 4.9 kilos in January to 4.1 kilos the first weekend in July (10.8 lbs vs 9.4, or a sixth of his weight). We’ve been mystified by this change, which is so unlike Jake. He used to be a sweet, stable cat, and his current grumpiness has to be an indication that something’s physically wrong with him. He’s been to our local vet a few times; a blood test done in April showed no abnormalities and we tried amitriptylin, Metacam, Feliway, calming collars…everything we and the vets could think of, but nothing helped. While at the cat show a couple of weeks ago, we were talking to our neighbor about cats (of course), and she mentioned a cat of hers that had had similar symptoms because of plastic he had eaten that had stuck in his digestive tract. That set off bells – Jake has always been a plastic eater, to the point where we have to tuck the plastic garbage can liner in carefully so he doesn’t eat the bits hanging out; we just had never made the connection between that and his sudden personality change. We had an ultrasound appointment with our regular vet, but as it’s vacation time right now, the ultrasound technician wouldn’t be back until 24 July. We didn’t want to wait that long now that we had the idea about plastic, so Koshka called the AniCura animal hospital in Jönköping, some 100 km (60 miles) away. They are the same people who took care of poor Logan in his final days, and we know that they are a professional outfit.

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We got up early on Friday 13 July, and took the local bus to the railway station. The train ride was one hour, passing through the fields and woods of a summery western Sweden. We arrived in Jönköping around 10am, and killed half an hour before getting on the bus to the animal hospital.

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Jake visited the local tourist office where he made an impression on the staff.

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Next to the bus stop, there was a pigeon with a death wish, as it strutted about without any regard for the predator in the stroller. Good thing for the feathered fool that Jake was tethered.

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Then we got on the bus, where Jake regaled the bus with the song of his people.

The three of us arrived at the hospital some 20 minutes prior to our appointment. The animal hospital is a well-run operation, with separate waiting rooms for cats and dogs.

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Jake was called up, and it was time for his ultrasound. The ultrasound tech was a friendly Pole named Dr. Wojciech who had 20 years experience in examining animals with ultrasound. He shaved Jake’s belly (the fur would interfere with the readings otherwise),

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applied the gel,

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and began the examination.

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Jake struggled a bit, but he bravely endured the 25-30 minute examination. Dr. Wojciech pointed out the organs to us, like the intestines, kidneys, stomach and so on. It was really interesting to see Jake’s insides.

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He could tell us that there was no signs of any plastic or other foreign bodies, which blew our working theory out of the water. There were signs of some enteritis in the small intestine, but Dr. Wojciech didn’t think that was the reason for Jake’s problems.

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After the ultrasound, we were taken to another examination room while we waited to see the next vet. You may recall from when Koshka took Logan to this vet that they have excellent bird TV.

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Well, this time it was extra excellent.

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A magpie came to eat at the feeder! Jake wasn’t especially impressed, but Koshka got very excited.

Dr. Cecilia arrived, and, like Wojciech, she impressed us with her professionalism.

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She asked us about Jake’s symptoms and problems. As an optometrist, I know about how to do an anamnesis, and I thought she was very thorough.

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Dr. Cecilia ordered a full set of blood tests to be taken, and a veterinary nurse (whose name unfortunately evades me) brought syringes and the other paraphernalia needed.

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Jake got a mild sedative, was rolled into a towel, got his front leg shaved, and his blood drawn. He was very brave about it, not causing any trouble. The vet nurse bandaged his leg.

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Dr. Cecilia wanted a urine sample, which was to be drawn by Dr. Wojciech.

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Jake had to go back to the ultrasound room, where his bladder was located by ultrasound.

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By using a syringe and drawing the urine directly from the bladder, any contamination by proteins from the urinary tract was avoided. Dr. Cecilia returned, as she’d remembered one more thing she wanted to check. She palpitated the base of Jake’s neck, and confirmed a suspicion she had. She noticed that his thyroid was somewhat enlarged on the right side. Jake got a prescription of Royal Canin Sensitivity Control. This diet is to be followed until the vet calls back about the final diagnosis, but if we are lucky, there’s just a problem with his thyroid. That is easily medicated.

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The whole visit took about two hours with very little waiting time between the examinations. The vet bill was about 6000 SEK (about USD $680), but most of that should be covered by the pet insurance. We said our goodbyes to the hospital staff, and took the bus for a quick trip to IKEA.

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Even in his stroller, IKEA would not let Jake in, so we took turns shopping. And, since he had fasted from 21:00 the night before, Jake was ravenous. While I shopped, Koshka let Jake try his new food, and he polished off two packets of the wet version.

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After IKEA, we had a quick visit with my mom, brother and sister, and then, finally, dinner at a new Mexican restaurant in the center of town.

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A long day for all of us, but well worth it.

Aby-a-Day – 15 July: Playtime for kitties! (Cinema Sunday)

It has been crazy hot here in Sweden this summer – like, Boston summer hot. We just aren’t used to this here; in Sweden, not only do most places not have air conditioning, but they don’t even have an air circulation system. It’s hotter indoors than outdoors during the heat of the day. So, we took Jacoby, Alfred, Lorelai and Izaak outside the first weekend Zak was with us. We took our Ferocious Friends cat toy with us (we met them at the Somerville CopyCat Festival five years ago). It’s really a great toy to take outside . it’s very sturdy and durable…and the cats love it!

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As you can see by Rory’s stalk-and-pounce.

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Freddy, too, was unable to resist its siren’s call.

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At one point, almost all the cats were playing with the toy…everyone except Jake.

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But really, it was mainly Zak and Rory…take a look at the video to watch them play with it.

Aby-a-Day – 14 July: “But that’s life. One long tunnel. ” (Silly Saturday)

Back in my old apartment in Somerville,I had this aswesome floor-to-ceiling cat tree from Drs Foster and Smith, and it was well-loved by Harri, Patrick, Tessie, and Gun-Hee…but especially Kylie.

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Specifically, the fleece tunnel that hangs from the first level platform.

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Most cats want to go high, and eschew the low-hanging tunnel, but not Kylie.

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At the time, Kylie had a “knitten,” a little kitten that looked like her. It was her favourite toy, and she, of course, took it with her into the tree-tunnel.

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“Hey! Come back here and enjoy this with me!”

But after Kylie was young, the tree went into storage, and no cat got to climb it until we moved to Sweden, but even once we set that old tree up in Björn’s apartment, literally no cat used that tunnel…until Lorelai showed up on the scene.

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Rory discovered that tunnel and she owned it.
I know it’s not in focus, but this photo captures Rory’s joy within the tunnel.

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“Yay! Tunnel!”

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It’s so cute watching her loll about in that thing.

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I wonder if it’s a kitten thing? An adult cat can easily fit in the tunnel, but none ever lie in it.

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When Izaak arrived, he tried to share the tunnel with Rory.

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It was a bit crowded in there for the pair of them (look at Rory’s back foot!), but they made it work.

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For a while.

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Then Zak started to sort of ooze out the backside of it.

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Pretty sure he was pushed…

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…because a certain little girl seemed awfully proud of herself once she had the tunnel all to herself again.

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“…What? I didn’t do anything. He wanted to get down!”

Aby-a-Day – 13 July: Life imitates art (Fashion Friday Flashback)

An unsung hero of cat art history is Girard “Gig” Goodenow. I can’t even find a biography of him online, but a Google search of his name will give you plenty images of his art. I had a set of four of his “Pity Kitties” with huge, sad eyes in my bedroom when I was four years old. But a few years ago I found a print of one of the series of cat prints he did for Women’s Day…the Abyssinian, of course.

Well, I finally got around to finding a frame for it, and, after I unrolled it to look at it after years of it being packed away, both Björn and I were struck by how much it looked like a portrait of…Alfred. Eerily so, considering the print is 53 years old.

So we got Freddy to pose next to his two-dimensional doppleganger.

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Or, rather, I should say we tried to get him to pose. It didn’t start off well…

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This is one of the best photos of them together!

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At last Freddy took a good look at the portrait.

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“Wow! That really kinda does look like me!”

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“This is amazing..! It’s like looking in a mirror!”

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I think Freddy has a new-found appreciation for vintage cat art. I wonder if this Abyssinian was based on one of Freddy’s ancestors?