Aby-a-Day – 15 January: When we came home

Pyret was right at the door to meet us. Or, more likely, to meet Björn. Pyret was born in 1999 and was bottlefed by Björn and she is very bonded to him. To meet me on time in Stockholm, he had to stay overnight, so he hadn’t been home for nearly a day. Pyret was hungry and missed him, so she was coming to greet him.

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She certainly was not expecting other cats!

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Pyret has been an only cat since Björn’s other cat, Olivia, died in 2010. I really wonder what she thought when she realised that there were cats in that big box.

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I opened the door…

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…and, curiously, Angel was the first one out. It’s like she knew that the airport and the train weren’t home, but she was home now.

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Jake, of course, was not far behind.

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They both took off in different directions to check out the new digs.

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Angel went to check out the living room and under the sofa, and Jake went to explore everything else.

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Including the litter box. Always a good idea to locate the facilities right off the bat.

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“Okay, litter box sorted. Next!”

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Angel was in there soon enough, though.

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Angel’s big discovery was the old cat tree Björn had in his living room. It’s out on our balcony now, and she still loves to sleep in that cubby.

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She explored the whole tree. And even today, my big tree is primarily her domain.

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Meanwhile, Jake was checking out the new cat fountain in the kitchen.

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And while he was doing that, Pyret was checking him out.

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After only a few hours of being home…this was Angel.

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And this was Jake. Moving to Sweden was so freakishly easy for them!

Aby-a-Day – 14 January: Planes, Trains and Automobiles Part 2 (Swedish Sunday)

When we landed at Arlanda airport in Stockholm, it was 7:something am and I am never at my best at single-digit morning hours. Jacoby and Angel, however, were just fine.

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They were, in fact, eager to get out of that crate. (Click for video) Or, at least, Jake was.

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Apart from the cats, I had a lot of luggage. Since it was a one-way ticket, bought a first class ticket. It turned out to be a wise investment, since my extra bags were actually free.

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We had to wait a bit for our train to Skövde, but hey, we got to see this guy.

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We let Jake out on the train (Angel did NOT want to explore) and he was excited to see his new country.

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To Jake, it was just another train ride.

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The trip from Stockholm to Skövde is a bit over two hours, so Jake had plenty of time to bond with his new dad.

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He also found time to check in on Angel.

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When we got to Skövde, we needed a cab to bring us home to our apartment, because I had so much luggage, and also the cats’ crate. Luckily, we had a very friendly cab driver.

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Finally, it was time to go inside.

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Pyret was ready to greet us.

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What happened when we came inside? Stay tuned..!

My Cat From Hell: Mimi the Abyssinian

I realise that this is almost six years old…but apparently they have only just started showing My Cat From Hell in Sweden on a channel we get, so I only just saw this episode. It involved a couple with a 10-year-old overweight cat, Molly, and a young Abyssinian named Mimi.

Now, Mimi is NOT the cat from Hell in this episode. In fact, she’s the victim of Molly’s bad temper. As Jackson describes it:

“Mimi’s an Abyssinian. Abyssinians are spider monkeys. They swing from the chandeliers while everyone else is eating dinner. They need to have directed activity, and they need to have that activity constantly. In the meantime, you’ve got an older, crankier cat who’s saying ‘Just make it stop!'”

Molly actually sent poor Mimi to the vet for stitches after a gash in her flank!

The link above leads to the full episode on Animal Planet’s website, but you need to sign in with a television provider. However, you can see Jackson’s final visit to Molly and Mimi and Jackson’s follow-up with Molly a year later online without signing in.

Aby-a-Day – 13 January: Planes, Trains and Automobiles Part 1 (Swedish Saturday)

You know that I flew to Sweden with the two Abyssinians, Jacoby and Angel. But I’m willing to bet you are very curious as to HOW we came here. I flew IcelandAir, which, because Iceland is an island and because of rabies concerns, requires all animal passengers fly in a specially climate controlled pet cargo hold. I know many people have misgivings about airline cargo holds, with good reason. But I have had only good experiences with cargo travel (my two Siamese, Harri and Patrick, from San Francisco to Atlanta, and then Tessie from Portland, Oregon, to Boston). It’s actually easier than travelling with a cat in-cabin, especially when you are travelling with more than one!

I started acclimatising them to the crate very early, by leaving it out for them to nap in. Tessie didn’t really need to practice, but she did anyway.

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I also locked Jake and Angel in the crate for longer and longer periods to get them ready for an eight hour trip.

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Although I think Angel wanted to get out.

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Then, days before the big trip, we had a practical practice, I used the crate to take Jake and Angel to the vet for their pre-travel visit.

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It was a perfect opportunity to practice shlepping the crate somewhere.

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Ironically, my vet, South Boston Animal Hospital, changed location from a 10 minute bus ride away to…ACTUALLY IN THE BUILDING I LIVED IN on 1 June. I left for Sweden on 17 June. Sigh.

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They were their usual selves at the vet, and of course, they got a clean bill of health.

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Finally, the day arrived! We went to Logan Airport to start our new life.

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We all went into a back room at IcelandAir and the cats were checked out, to make sure that they were who I said they were, and to make sure that nothing was being smuggled in the carrier.

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The flight went without incident, apart from the souvenir shop being closed, dammit. But I was lucky enough to see Jake and Angel’s crate being loaded onto the next plane at Reykjavik.

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And then, at long last, we were all reunited at Arlanda airport in Stockholm. What happened next? Tune in tomorrow, same cat time, same cat channel!

Aby-a-Day – 12 January: A stable genius who’s like, really smart

There were many factors that kept me from posting for the year and a half after moving to Sweden. One was, of course, the predictable shock of moving to another country with another language. But something happened in November of 2016, after I had been in Sweden not even five months.

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American non-voters disappointed the world. I am, officially as an ex-pat, a Massachusetts resident, I vote as a Massachusetts resident, and Massachusetts is the bluest state in the USA. Elizabeth Warren is my homegirl.

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Needless to say, I have been appalled at what has been happening in the US since last November, and for several month I spent most of my computer time reading the news instead of working on photos for my blog.

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So, when I groomed Jacoby at a cat show and had some leftover hair…I decided to use it to make a point. Or something.

Aby-a-Day – 11 January: Run, run, faster than that! You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Cat!

Back in Boston, of course Jacoby couldn’t go outside by himself. We lived in Boston! Even in a park, there were too many big dogs off-leash.

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But the first time Jake was let outside our apartment…he loved it!

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He just ran and ran and ran!

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Grass! Trees! Grass! Trees!

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And no slow human weighing down the other end of a leash!

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WHOO HOO!!!

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He would start to climb a tree…

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…but I guess his clipped claws couldn’t dig into the bark.

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Okay, back to running, then!

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Jake has the funniest run I have ever seen.

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OMG! Grass and trees and I CAN’T EVEN!!!

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It’s like that one episode of Friends where Phoebe tries to run.

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Our area is really very safe, and we’re nowhere near speeding traffic. Our neighbours let their cat roam the field, and he loves it.

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The problem is…we also have THIS guy running around outside in the field.

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I was thrilled when I finally saw him. I had seen evidence of a fox (dead birds, scat), but when I finally saw him, it was magical.

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I had never seen a wild red fox before. I did see one in London, near Hyde Park, but that’s not really the same thing. I have seen grey foxes, back in California…but red foxes are different.

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Not sure what is with the open-mouthed running, though.

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Now, research indicates that foxes are not a serious threat to cats>, but I just can’t let Jake out alone because foxes are bigger than he is. And I’ve read all the Warriors books. And we also have deer and hare out there, and where there are foxes, deer and hare…there are also badgers. So, sorry, Jake…you’ll have to be outside on your leash, even here.