Aby-a-Day – 4 Maj: Isle of Dogs WIP (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last weekend, we watched an amazing movie called Isle of Dogs. It’s a Wes Anderson film, which I find rather hit-or-miss, but I did like his first stop-motion animated feature, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and it looked intriguing, so we gave it a shot. And, oh, was it worth it!

For a movie with the word “dog” in the title, it was actually, surprisingly, quite focused on cats. It’s an interesting Japanese pastiche in which the cat-loving Mayor Kobayashi has banished all dogs to Trash Island. In the introduction to the film this is all explained with some beautiful illustrations and scenes. My favourite, which is only seen for a minute or so, is the incredibly elaborate Cat Temple (seriously, look at that link; they did an incredible amount of work to create something that’s basically only one scene)! Of course, I instantly noticed the five cat statues to the right of the temple doors…one large, one tiny, two medium-sized and one small. I had to pause it and point out how the five cats matched our own five!

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And then…I had to draw it. This is the sketch…

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And here’s the ink. Covid aftereffects have really been kicking my butt this week, so it took me a while. I know where I want to go with this, and how I want the colouring to look, but it’s taking me longer to actually do it than I planned.

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If you want to see the time lapse video of the work in progress, click the image to open it in another window.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Maj: Look at this smexy boi! (Hipstamatic Monday)

Sometimes the simplest things make beautiful photos.

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Dasshiell was at the end of the sofa, just grooming himself, but something about his pose, and the lighting, intrigued me.

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His fur is growing back on his belly, by the way. The Zylkene seems to be working.

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As I have said before, Hipstamtic can salvage a bad photo…but Hipstamatic also transforms good photos into art.

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And apparently, Dash has inherited a bit of Jacoby’s ability to work a camera. Look at these poses!

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That is some steamy side-eye Dash is giving me.

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Pure smoulder. Yeah, baby!…Oooh, behave!

Aby-a-Day – 2 Maj: Silly sandcat (Silly Sunday)

When we went outside the other day, one place Lorelai had to visit was her beloved sandbox.

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She loves to roll around in the sand so much.

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It’s different, looking at still shots vs watching her roll around live.

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She looks a lot more goofy in the still shots.

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She tries to become one with the sand. It’s so much fun to watch.

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Rory carefully examines her next rolling spot in the sand.

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And then she just…goes for it, Relationship goals: find yourself someone who looks at you like Rory looks at the sand.

Aby-a-Day – 1 Maj: A bird in the paw (Swedish Saturday)

Because of Covid, I have not had the energy to clip the cats’ claws on our regular schedule (it takes a LOT of energy to clip five cats’ claws and do all the other necessary grooming).

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That turned out to be a good thing when we took the cats out for the first time in forever last Thursday.

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Because Lorelai ran right up a tree with the intent to catch a wood pigeon!

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She actually got wicked close, too.

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She was also fearless and überconfident up in the tree.

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Rory was in complete control up in that tree.

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And when she decided to come down out of the tree, even that was deliberate and measured.

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I mean, look at the focus on that face. She’s in complete control.

Aby-a-Day – 30 April: Spade and Archer (Photoshop Friday)

Well…I’m back. And yes, I actually did test positive for Covid-19. As did Björn and Kalle. My symptoms, oddly, were mainly stomach and intestinal, not lung-related. Not really what I was expecting at all. Of course, I really wasn’t expecting to get the virus at all, since I was following the rules my adopted country wouldn’t…but here we are. And I am pretty angry about it, too. Nobody wears a bloody mask in this country except me and I still get sodding Covid. Don’t get me started.

But, you know…this is a happy blog, about kitties and happy things, not anger at the way a nation has mishandling a worldwide pandemic…so…

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Here is Dashiell in the office of Spade and Archer in San Francisco.

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And here it is again, with a little extra noir added for good measure.

(PS: Covid-19 is no joke. Seriously, you don’t want to experience it.)

Aby-a-Day – 16 April: This wasn’t the way I wanted to go viral (Photoshop Friday)

So, since I posted last week, Björn is still in the hospital (he may get out tomorrow), and I have tested positive for Covid. Despite having asthma, my lungs and breathing are remarkably all right; my biggest reaction has been in my gut. Nausea, a metallic taste in my mouth, and zero appetite. Since the last time I weighed myself (the last time I weighed the cats), I have lost 5kg (11lbs). Hey, every cloud has a silver lining, right? Anyway, the other night at about 4am, I had this brilliant idea for a 1950’s-style weight-loss ad…it doesn’t include a cat, but it’s a pretty decent Photoshop if I do say so myself.

Aby-a-Day – 11 April: A sad anniversary and an update (Serious Sunday)

I haven’t posted since Thursday, because…Björn and I have been sick. Björn is actually in the hospital with Covid, and I have a wicked cough but no fever yet. It’s also the second anniversary of Jacoby’s death, so with all that going on I haven’t felt very inspired. Kalle and I will get tested for Covid on Tuesday, and hopefully Björn will be home soon. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Aby-a-Day – 8 April: Siberian Tigers at Borås Djurparken (Thursday Things)

This is the last installment of the series about the big cats at Borås Djurparken. This week, it’s the Tigers’ turn.

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Unfortunately, unlike the other cats, the Tigers were…underwhelming.

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But at least we got to see them at all. We did not get to see the African Wild Dogs or the Wolves at all that day.

Aby-a-Day – 7 April: Wordless Wednesday (Sunshine Girl)

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Aby-a-Day – 6 April: Kiipi and her Kitten again – Work in Progress (Cartoon Tuesday)

I have been working on the drawing of Kiipi and her kitten.

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This is the ink outline with the base colour filled in.

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Without the ink, the colour alone has a rather neat “paint by numbers” effect.

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And here is the ink, colour and shadows. I just need to add the fut texture and background, and this one is finished!

Aby-a-Day – 5 April: Thanks for the memories (Monday Memory)

Facebook gave me some wonderful memories this morning. The first was the time a shirty MBTA conductor made me miss my stop to meet Meg for a cat show.

The second was of Tessie, happy with a box. Facebook can be evil…but it’s good for something, at least.

Aby-a-Day – 4 April: Dashiell meets Jacoby (Silly Sunday)

Yesterday, Dashiell was lying in a bright, warm sun puddle, and I commented that, in that light, Dash really reminded me of Jacoby in the sun. So Björn got the idea to introduce Dash to Pancake Jake.

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Dash was actually a little afraid of Flat Jake.

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He actually backed away from Flat Jake.

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Lorelai came to see what was going on. Flat Jake sits in a window that Rory frequents, so she’s more familiar with him than Dash is.

Aby-a-Day – 3 April: Here comes Zakky Cottontail (Silly Saturday)

In the Abyssinian and Somali Facebook group I admin, every Saturday is Caturday, the day where people can post non-Aby/Somali cat photos. Every week, I make a fresh banner, featuring Izaak, that’s a different colour scheme so people can tell them apart.

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Since this weekend is Easter, I added bunny ears on Zak’s head. I was pretty pleased to find a photo of a rabbit that was almost the exact same colour as Zak. I wonder if rabbits come in sepia?

Aby-a-Day – 2 April: Welcome to 2021, the year of the silly memes (Photoshop Friday)

2021 seems to be defining itself as the Year of the Meme. First, we had Bernie Sanders and his mittens, and then, last week, we had , an enormous container carrier ship the size of the Empire State Building stuck in the Suez Canal, blocking all other carriers and stopping roughly 10% of global trade. So, of course, “Boaty McStuck-Face” launched a fleet of silly memes. Of course, I had to make one…and a cat sitting on top of a bunch of boxes with the ubiquitous “If I fits I sits” caption. I posted this in the Facebook group This Cat is PHOTOSHOPPED, and so far it’s had almost 2,000 (!) reactions.

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And then, I did this. Because of course I did.

Aby-a-Day – 1 April: Adult Cheetahs at Borås Djurparken (Thursday Things)

Continuing >the series about the big cats at Borås Djurparken. Last week, I focused on the Cheetah kittens, and this week we’ll look at the adult Cheetahsthey have at the park.

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I don’t remember how many adults there were in the enclosure; I think there were two adults to the several kittens. I think it may have been two mothers with their combined litters.

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Interestingly, the adult Cheetahs didn’t really interact with the kittens all that much.

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They just walked on past the kittens, staying in their own bubble.

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I love this shot. You can see the muscles in the hind legs; they are like coiled springs. The power of the Cheetahs' speed is obvious.

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The park also had an informational Cheetah display with information on wild Cheetahs’ territories and life styles.

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There was also an articulated Cheetah skeleton. You can really see how big their carnassials compared to the rest of the skull.

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Cheetahs are the only cats whose claws don’t retract. But look how heavy and thick their claws are – they give them excellent traction when they’re chasing down prey.

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Still, as interesting as the insides are, looking at the outsides of the Cheetahs is a lot better.

Aby-a-Day – 31 Mars: Wordless Wednesday (More Singa sharing)

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Aby-a-Day – 30 Mars: Happy Birthday to my sister, Karen! (Cartoon Tuesday)

My sister’s birthday is tomorrow. I got her a card, but things being what they are, I didn’t mail it in time. So, I reckoned I’d just sent it to her electronically. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I always draw a little cartoon in the cards I send people. But if I’m Messaging my sister her card, what’s the best way to add my traditional drawing?

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With Procreate and Photoshop, of course! And this card drawing is better than most, because I was actually able to do a sketch beforehand. Usually, I just freehand the drawing in ink.

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This is the ink version, done in Procreate.

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If you’re interested, you can watch the Procreate time-lapse video of the sketch and ink on Flickr. Click the image to view the video in another tab.

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And here is the inside of the card that my sister will get tomorrow. The Swedish translates to: “If you were a cat, you’d be turning a hundred and eleventy-twelve years! Congratulations on your Birthday!”

Aby-a-Day – 29 Mars: Cats are such brats sometimes (Hipstamatic Monday=

Björn bought some really nice bratwurst and had it for breakfast yesterday.

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A certain little girl was very interested in the brat on Björn’s fork.

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This was actually pretty unusual for Lorelai; she’s big on raw meat when we’re cutting it up for cooking, but she’s not usually so grabby when it comes to cooked food.

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It was so funny to watch her!

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It smelled good to me, but it must have smelled amazing to Rory for her to act this way.

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But Rory had competition for that brat, though. Someone else wanted it, too, and look at the daggers she’s staring at him.

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I know you probably thought it was going to Alfred…but it was Izaak!

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And for Zak to try to steal food is even more unusual that Rory doing it. He is strictly a raw meat kind of guy.

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And he wanted it even more than Rory, too.

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Björn said Zak was really pulling down on his hand. For a little dude, Zak is strong for his size!

Aby-a-Day – 28 Mars: Our best virtual show yet – The Singa (Cat Show Sunday)

Yesterday I posted Lorelai’s and Dashiell’s results in the Garden State Cat Club Virtual Show. Today it’s Izaak’s turn. His best final was 5th Best in Sharon Roy’s ring.

This is what Sharon had to say about him starting at 3:54.

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Zak was 8th Best Cat in Championnship in Vicki Nye’s ring. She also finalled both Rory (in this same ring) and Dash, so she liked all of our cats.

Vicki’s assessment of Zak starts at 4:11.

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Zak also made 11th Best in my friend Lorraine Shelton’s ring.

She really liked him, too; see what she had to say starting at 2:53. With Dash making two finals, Zak three, and Rory four, this really was our best virtual show ever!

Aby-a-Day – 27 Mars: Our best virtual show yet – The Abys (Cat Show Saturday)

I entered Dashiell, Lorelai and Izaak in the Garden State Cat Club Virtual Show a couple of weeks ago, and the finals were announced earlier this week. Today, we have the Abyssinian finals. Rory got the highest final: SECOND BEST in Kenny Currle’s ring!

You can see his assessment of Rory on YouTube starting at 5:06.

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Rory got 10th Best in two other judges’ rings: Jeri Zottoli and Nicholas Pun.

You can see Jeri’s comments at 4:00.

Nicholas’ opinion is at 3:52.

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Rory’s lowest final was 13th Best in Vicki Nye’s ring.

Here’s what Vicki had to say about Rory starting at 1:37.

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They had a special class for cats who were never shown because of the pandemic called “A Star is Born.” Vicki gave him 4th Best in her ring.

This is was Vicki thought about Dash, starting at 5:56.

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Dash was 7th Best in Gary Veach’s ring, just ahead of his nephew Max! Max also finalled in some of the rings that Dash didn’t.

You can watch Gary’s commentary on both Max and Dash here starting at 4:34. Tomorrow, we’ll see how Zak did in the show.