Aby-a-Day – 18 April: Eulogy for Jacoby (Thursday Things)

Jacoby was such a great poser. He just seemed to understand what I wanted, and I could set him some place and he would sit there perfectly. I never trained him to do that, he just knew that the camera meant that he should hold still.

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When I saw the cat on the carousel in Boston Common, I knew I had to get a shot of Jake riding it. In between rides, they let me put him on the cat and were quite impressed with how cooperative he was.

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He struck this pose when he was only six months old.

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I used it to make this.

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He posed wonderfully without even trying.

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This photo became the iconic #strollercat T-shirt.

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He could be very dramatic at times…

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very dramatic!

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He was so wonderfully patient when I asked him to pose in his clothing.

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Jake loved riding the T.

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When it came to agility…Jake was a little too good at posing!

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Some of the best photos of him were in snow. The first one, with the hat, was published in Boston magazine.

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The current lot are photogenic, and Alfred in particular can throw some awesome poses… but they don’t have that understanding that Jake had. What were a team. We did so much together. I wonder if I’ll ever have that again with another cat.

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It’s not impossible…I said the same thing after Harri died, the last cat I had that kind of bond with. I just don’t know what the magic formula is for finding a cat like that.

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Jake was just so…bulletproof. I could set him anywhere and back away to take a photo, and I knew he wouldn’t jump down. We trusted each other implicitly.

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I love our current LunaTicks dearly, of course. Angel is not really bonded to anyone (she cuddles on her own terms) and Freddy is bonded to everyone. The kittens are also bonded to everyone, Izaak slightly more to me and Lorelai slightly more to Björn. But as much as we love them and they us…none of them have that connection, that spark, that undefinable something that elevates them to another level of human-cat interaction.

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On the simplest level, no other of our cats head bonk me. With Jake, I would put my head down and we would bonk our skulls together like a cranial fist bump. We did it fairly hard, too. When I try to do that with the others, they either back up, or sniff me, or rub their sides against my head…well, Freddy will sometimes pat me on the head. But no bonks.

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I hope I can find another Aby to bonk heads with some day.

Aby-a-Day – 17 April: Wordless Wednesday (Jacoby and Logan)

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Aby-a-Day – 16 April: Taz and Jacoby together on paper (Cartoon Tuesday)

Jacoby’s cousin Taz (GC, GPD, NW Anubis Taz Mania), died last July on the same day as my friend Molly’s husband, Don. Jake and Taz were show buddies. And because they were show buddies, Taz appeared in several of my Aby Cartoons. The first was based on this final at the Seacoast show in 2012.

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Then I did this one, in which Taz seemed more interested in winning than Jake was.

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When Meg brought a girl kitten named Tiger Lili to a show with Jake and Taz…I imagined this scenario.

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And then there was the infamous Paw and Disorder, with Taz as Eames and Jake as Goren. That was so much fun to draw!

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When I spoofed Psy’s Gangnam Style with Jake, I knew I would need to expand the visual joke and illustrate other scenes from the video.

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Of course, Jake is Psy, but also featured are Louis/Fire as the dancing kid, Taz as the guy in the elevator with the cowboy hat, and Angel as the yoga woman’s butt.

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Taz’s final appearance came after the Seacoast show, when he was retired. Once Taz was out of competition, Jake finally had a chance! Jake and Taz were such a team…I hope they still are, somewhere.

Aby-a-Day – 15 April: ” He was my North, my South, my East and West, my working week and my Sunday rest…” (Medical Monday)

Warning: photos of Jacoby’s body to follow…

I was already planning to go to Jönköping last Friday before Jake so suddenly died whilst the vet was on the phone with me. I still went to visit him last Friday…Just not quite the way I intended…or wanted.

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They took me back into the same room I was in when Alfred and I said goodbye to Logan. Philippa, the same vet tech who was there with Logan, brought in his little white box.

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He didn’t look dead…just asleep.

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As if any second he would start that purr of his and snore his cute little happy snores.

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But he was so cold. I petted him all over, telling him that he missed getting his dirty dirty ears cleaned because this weekend was meant to be claw-clipping weekend. I flexed his little toes…he loved it when I massaged his paws. It was so surreal…he looked so alive. He felt like himself. He felt like my Jakey. Except he wasn’t warm and he didn’t push back when I petted him.

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I was surprised his shaved stomach looked so good. I couldn’t see any stitches at all.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

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When we left him at the hospital that Saturday night…I didn’t know it would be the last time I would see him alive. It was supposed to be “see you in a few days,” not “Goodbye forever.” Had I known, I would have held him, cuddled him, hugged him, memorised every inch of him. But I thought he’d be coming home, so we just had a few head bonks.

I miss him…it hurts so much…oh, Jakey.

Aby-a-Day – 14 April: Happy Birthday, Jacoby (Cinema Sunday)

Today would have been Jacoby’s 10th birthday. We had candles already for such a special birthday. I made a cake anyway, for all the other cats to share.

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Unlike Jake, the other cats were a bit taken aback by the burning candles.

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Naturally, Alfred was the least afraid of the fire, because it was on food.

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Once the flame was extinguished, though, they all tucked right in.

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Jake loved the birthday ritual. He was never afraid of the candles and usually had a few singed whiskers after the candles were extinguished.

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He also loved plastic springs.

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I gave him a fresh package of them last year.

However where as most cats bat them, chase them or carry them around in their mouths, but not our Jake. A still photo could never capture his technique, so here is a video I managed to capture.

All Jacoby’s Birthdays

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Aby-a-Day – 13 April: Remembering Jacoby

Today’s post was written by my husband, Björn…

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Our Jacoby is dead. He died in the prime of his life. We had hoped that he would be with us for at least another five or six years, but that wasn’t to be. Following first the announcement of his illness, then his passing, the outpouring of love, sadness and sympathy from people, many who had never met him, was amazing. If a cat can make that kind of impression, it is a very special cat.

I saw my first Abyssinians back in 1992 at a local cat show. My then partner and I went there, as she had grown up with cats. According to her, I fell for the Abys then and there, and I had said something along the lines of that we should get one eventually.

In 1999, we got two cats: Pyret, a housecat, and Olivia, a mixed breed. An Aby was something in the distant future, if at all.

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Fast forward to 2015. Koshka and I were chatting on Messenger. I knew about Gun-Hee, Angel and Jake, having followed her LiveJournal and seen them on her Christmas cards. Our old friendship took an unexpected turn, and suddenly we were a couple. I went to Boston and met her for the first time in 15 years. I was introduced to Jake and Angel, and Jake and I got along great from the start.

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In 2016, Koshka and the cats moved to Sweden. Jake decided he liked the apartment. My aging cat Pyret wasn’t convinced that the newcomers were welcome, but the apartment is big and they didn’t have to rub shoulders.

Soon, we began taking Jake to shows, and the second part of his show career started. That meant going to hotels, usually by train, but a couple of times it was by overnight ferry. Jake loved to travel and see new places.

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Going places meant going in his stroller. One might think that a grown man would feel self-conscious pushing a cat around in a stroller, but that didn’t bother me – I felt pride! Wherever we brought Jake, he drew attention. Strangers would smile, snap photos, ask questions, and pet him. Jake loved the attention. Many people hadn’t heard about Abyssinians, and thus he became an excellent ambassador for the breed and for cats in general.

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Jake was an extremely handsome cat. His vibrant coloring, elegant body, and alert expression won him many prizes, but other people than cat show judges found him striking. But his beauty went deeper than his ticking. He was an affectionate, intelligent and social cat, who made visitors feel welcome.

Sure, he had his quirks, like sitting in the cast-iron frying pan, rolling around on beds kicking himself in the head, and eating any and all plastic bags. Traveling by car meant that one would have to endure his meowing every fourth second for an hour or more.

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When we drove to the animal hospital in Jönköping a week ago, his meowing was barely audible. How I wanted it to be as loud as it used to be! We brought his carrier inside, and he explored the examination room on shaky legs. Koshka and I said goodbye to him, not expecting that it would be the last time we saw him alive. Then followed days filled with worry, and then came the news that Jake, that most excellent cat, had left us. I cried.

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The last year has seen so much death. My mother passed away, and Pyret and Logan died. We didn’t expect to lose Jake, who seemed almost indestructible, but fate wanted otherwise. I got to be his dad for 34 months, which was way too short, but he will stay in my memory until my own time is up. Jake, you made our lives richer, and you were loved by people on two continents. We are all made from stardust, but some shine stronger than others.

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Goodbye, Jake. I miss you.

Also, Jake’s GoFundMe campaign is closing tomorrow, Sunday 14 April on Jake’s 10th birthday. We don’t know how much over the insurance cap his bills are, but we still believe there will be something to donate to New England Abyssinian Rescue.