Aby-a-Day – Day 304 of 365

Inspired by his injury, here is Jacoby dressed in his Halloween costume: An Egyptian cat mummy!


Beware the curse of Bastet’s sacred mummy!


To avoid suffering the mummy’s wrath, you must appease him with an offering (preferably something seafood-flavoured).

I am Aby, Hear me RAWR!

Imagine my delight when I saw this little cutie on I Can Has Cheezburger today…

Other people’s Abys – Recycled Aby greetings

This completely cracked me up when I found it. Back in March, I posted my collection of Abyssinian greeting cards. One of the cards I featured pictures a rather phlegmatic little ruddy kitten:

So the last time I was at CVS, I checked out this year’s crop of Halloween cards and I found this…

It’s the same Aby kitten! He’s just got vampire fangs and a cape drawn on. The text of the card is the same, too, except with “halloween” in the place of “birthday.”

Although, I suppose it worked, didn’t it? I bought the same card again!

Aby-a-Day – Day 303 of 365

(Continued from yesterday’s post…)

It’s been a week since Jacoby’s accident. He’s still on antibiotics, but he seems to be adapting to his injury well. Today, he’s been attacking our reindeer skin rug, shoving my intricate box configuration around so that he can hide under the bed, and sleeping inside his fighter plane, so apart from the foot, he’s quite obviously fine. And that’s while trying to get him to rest!


In fact, he’s been such a little whirlwind of activity, it makes me a little nostalgic for his pain medication.

Aby-a-Day – Day 302 of 365

(Continued from yesterday’s post…)

Jacoby went back to the vet today to have his foot examined again. I was hoping his toe pad would be healed enough to forgo the bandage, but unfortunately, the cut is still open, and bled a little bit when Dr. KC cleaned the area.


I know Jake is getting fed up with his bandage, and his sock. But even with the dressing, he’s still walking too much for the wound to heal up. It’s the pressure he’s putting on it – which in a way is a good sign, because he’s obviously not feeling a lot of pain if he’s able to ignore the injury and walk around on it. He isn’t really even limping.


So his foot was rebandaged today, with more padding on the bottom of the foot, since we can’t exactly make him keep it elevated or give him crutches to walk around on. And we have to go back on Wednesday. If the cut still isn’t closing up, he’ll have to have stitches. He’s stuck with the new improved bigger bandage and Sock 2.1 (it’s grey this time).

(…to be continued)

Aby-a-Day – Day 301 of 365

(Continued from yesterday’s post…)

I love this photo of Jacoby taken nearly 12 hours after the accident. Camped out on the sofa next to dad with his new fuzzy green toy, a little fuzzy from his pain medication, watching the Giants-Phillies playoff game…


…and you know I was waiting on him paw and foot, too. I think the only downside for him was, he’s a cat, so there wasn’t any work or school to get to stay home from on Monday.

(To be continued…)

Abys are Abys, no matter what their colour

I stumbled upon the most wonderful website today: For Cats Only.

What makes it so wonderful? Why, Abyssinians, of course! The stars of this site are two Silver Abys named Sonny and Cher.

The site is really quite cute, and the photos are hilarious. It’s really fascinating to see photos of Silver Abys; they aren’t common at all in North America as the CFA doesn’t register them and TICA accepts them in their own separate division. But Silvers are bred in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, Europe and Scandinavia;

It’s very strange that Silvers aren’t more common in the US and Canada, since one of the most famous Abys, Aluminium II, was probably a Silver Aby. He was one of the first Abyssinians to be brought to the US from England in the early 1900’s, and his name appears in virtually every Aby’s pedigree – including Jacoby.

So come and meet Sonny and Cher!

Aby-a-Day – Day 300 of 365

(Continued from yesterday’s post…)

I made Jacoby a little sock out of a fabric hair band to keep him from worrying his bandages off despite the bitter “no chew” flavouring.


I chose a white one because I was least likely to wear it, and because it looked like a miniature plaster cast. I signed his “cast” with get well messages from the other cats.


He still tried to take it off, though.


He also got a little confused sometimes and thought his sock-enclosed foot was a toy…must have been the pain meds! Although in his defense, it did kind of look like a Hot Cat.


And of course, he wasn’t above playing up his injuries to his very dramatic advantage!


However, the white sock got a little dingy from normal use (especially trips to the litterbox) and it seemed the knot on the end, while it made a good bumper and afforded extra protection to the end of his foot, was annoying him in the “I keep seeing that thing out of the corner of my eye and it’s bugging the crap out of me!” kind of way. He was also pulling at the top of the sock with his teeth and tearing it, so I had to add another bandage at the top. This is how it looked by Monday night.

So, when we came home from getting the bandage re-wrapped at the vet, I set about creating a new and improved sock.


This time, I used a black hair band, and turned it inside out so the knot end was hidden. I also left the other end longer and folded it in so he’d be less likely to bite at the top of the sock.


Behold, Sock 2.0! Jake seems to approve of the modifications – just look at those happy paws.

(To be continued…)

Uncle Jakey!

I got some good news from Sherry (Jacoby and Gun-Hee’s breeder) on Monday: Jake is now an uncle! His brother Dillin and Siren from Eszencia cattery had four kittens! It looks like there are three boys and a girl…

Siren x Dillin litter Oct. 25 2010

Look at the proud mama and her kits! I love this photo…the colour saturation reminds me of Kodachrome prints from the 60’s.

Aby-a-Day – Day 299 of 365

(Continued from yesterday’s post…)

Jacoby and I went back to the vet today to have his foot checked. We had to hide the food at midnight in case they needed to sedate him and stitch up the wound.

Dr. KC carefully unwrapped his bandages. It was so suspenseful, it reminded me of that Twilight Zone episode where they unwrap the “ugly” girl’s face bandages. What would we discover under the absorbent padding and tape?

Happily, his foot is healing well. One pad has a cut which isn’t closed up all the way yet, but it already has nice granulation tissue. This was also our first chance to really get a good look at the extend of the damage without blood getting in our way. His foot is slightly swollen, so they gave him Metacam*, an anti-inflammatory, to take along with his Clavamox.

The doctor decided against stitches because the skin is healing well and sutures might cause the area more trauma. She also recommended we “keep him quiet” and perhaps “isolate him in one room”…I said I’d do my best…but he is an Abyssinian! We couldn’t keep him isolated when he was a tiny kitten, and we couldn’t keep him quiet after his neutering operation. But I’ll definitely give it my best shot.


Here’s Jake with his fresh new “no chew” bandage. You’ll notice that the bandage section on the end of his foot and around the top are not no chew…tomorrow, I’ll show you how I kept him from pulling it off.

(To be continued…)

* I know there is some controversy around using Metacam in cats. He isn’t getting a very large dose at all and he’s only taking it through Thursday.

Abys are Everywhere – Sparkle the Designer Cat

Interestingly enough, while I was looking up articles about the dangers of escalators, I happened upon an ad/link to a blog belonging to Sparkle the Somali.


Sparkle is a gorgeous Ruddy Somali living in SoCal. She’s published two books with her cat-to-cat advice, and has quite a following.

How funny that I discovered her while Googling ferocious escalators, but it proves that Abys (and Somalis) really are everywhere!

Aby-a-Day – Day 298 of 365

(Continued from yesterday’s post…)

As I said yesterday, I’ve heard stories of people getting things caught on the escalator, and sometimes being seriously injured, but somehow I never quite understood the severity of these accidents. I’d always kind of thought they were an urban legend, the kind of dire threat that parents tell children to make them behave in public. After having done a little internet research, I know that isn’t true. People die on escalators!

And what’s even more scary…Evidently, the escalators in Boston T stations are known to be particularly dangerous.

I’ve heard stories about accidents on the T, of course; an 82 year old woman died on the escalator at State Street last year, and five years ago a man died on the Porter Square escalator when he sat down on the step and his hoodie got caught. I lived two blocks from that station for 9 years! That escalator is really long, so I can see why he sat down; evidently, he was drunk, too. He also worked at Kaya, a Korean restaurant we used to go to all the time. And then the whole accident that caused the Crocs lawsuit happened at Aquarium station, which has an entrance inside the building I work in!

But while I’d heard about these accidents as teasers on ads for the local news broadcasts, I guess I thought the accidents were kind of the victims’ fault because they were drunk, or very old or very young, or they were goofing off or playing on the escalator. In other words, I didn’t think it could happen to an able-bodied, healthy person who was paying attention and not impaired in some way.

Turns out, it really can happen to anyone. Jacoby has walked up and down escalators many times, and he always (instinctively, I thought) avoided the edges and the top and the bottom gaps because they’re sort of naturally intimidating. In the past, he always jumped over the last step. And you see people with dogs on the escalator all the time; service dogs, MBTA police dogs and pets all ride the T and frequent the stations, and you never really give it a second thought. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog carried on the escalator, unless it was already inside a purse. And the warning signs don’t really say anything about pets on the escalators, only children and strollers.

So the moral of the story here is: Escalators are dangerous pieces of heavy machinery. Even though we see and use them everyday to the point that they blend into the environment, they have many moving parts, they run at a fairly quick pace (1-2 feet per second), and they’re made of metal with sharp edges. All things considered, it may well be more dangerous to ride an escalator than it is to drive a car. And, while they do have built-in safety features and emergency cut-off switches, they don’t always work. Supposedly, the MBTA escalators are supposed to all be fitted with sensors that, if anything is caught in the steps, are supposed to stop the escalator. Maybe a cat’s toe isn’t big enough to set them off, but the escalator we were on didn’t stop when Jake got caught. They’re all supposed to have emergency stop buttons, but they aren’t always immediately obvious; the ones on the Broadway T escalator were on the lower part of the right side handrail, quite close to the floor; they also had covers over them that, if you were in a rush and somewhat panicked, seemed like they’d be hard to open. And the stop button doesn’t always work.


Here is Jake on the way home from the vet, riding a much safer MBTA vehicle…a bus!


It may have been the pain medication, or maybe he was still in shock, but he was very interested in looking out the window on the way home.

(To be continued…)

Aby-a-Day – Day 297 of 365

Today, on a very special episode of Aby-a-Day…

Yesterday, I needed to run an errand downtown. Jacoby was a Tasmanian Devil of activity that morning. He woke me up trying to break into the bedroom closet, he moved all the sheepskin rugs into the bedroom and attacked the reindeer rug, and turned over the fighter plane. Since he likes to go out with me, and he had energy to burn, I took him with me. Since the trip would mostly be just riding the train and going up and down a lot of stairs and escalators, we didn’t take the stroller; I just took Angel’s small carrier and his leash.

We had a pretty good time riding the T and we talked to a lot of people. He had on his sweater, because it was cold, and of course that garnered a lot of comments. I completed my errand, and we headed home.

That’s when it happened. Jake likes to run up and down stairs, and that includes escalators. He also knows when we’re close to home, and tries to break free and run home. So, when we got to Broadway, “our” subway station, he wanted to run up the escalator. He pushed out of the carrier, but he had his leash on, so I let him go, trotting after him to keep up.

At the top of the escalator, I stepped off and then immediately heard a squawk. I turned and, to my horror, Jake had his foot caught between the top step and the hole where it goes back underneath. I gasped, “Oh no! HELP!” and for a frantic second, I glanced around wildly for the stop button. I didn’t see it.

Now, I’ve heard those stories of people wearing Crocs getting caught in escalators, and I’ve also heard about how small children are in danger of injury on escalators. I’d always thought that was kind of an urban legend. So when I saw Jake with his foot caught, I immediately thought of those stories, and had a mental image of him getting sucked into the machinery. Since I didn’t see the emergency stop button, I just grabbed his foot and pulled him out.

I saw blood on my hand, and just instantly reacted (I really don’t remember the details). I kept ahold of his foot – I didn’t even look at his injury – and went up the stairs to go to the vet. We live literally just down the street from our vet and take the #9 bus from Broadway station to get there, so in my emergency reactive state, I went to wait for the bus. After waiting maybe a minute, I realised how stupid that was and hailed a cab. Thankfully, a cab stopped almost immediately and took us in. I told him what had happened, promised that I wouldn’t let any blood get on the seat, and assured him that the vet was just up the street about 12 blocks. He turned around to look at Jake…and, miraculously, pulled out a roll of paper towels! He handed me a wad of them, which I gratefully took and held firmly to Jake’s foot.

I was babbling to the cabbie, but I don’t remember Jake making any sound, even when I put pressure on his foot. He just sat quietly on my lap while we drove up the hill to the vet.

They know me pretty well there; having four cats, three purebred, in a neighbourhood of dog owners doesn’t hurt, and I also give them my cat art calendar every year. I’d also been there twice this past week because of Angel’s giardia. So I walked in, and said, “I have an emergency…” and they ushered us straight to the back.

Dr. Waggener wasn’t there, so we were seen by Dr. Horrigan, who I’d never met before, and Sean, one of the vet techs. We went into the surgery and I finally saw how bad Jake’s injury was.

Because of all the blood, I figured he’d at least lost a claw – they bleed a lot if you cut into the quick during normal trimming. But what I was really afraid of was that he’d lost a toe or toes…or part of his foot. I literally had no idea what his foot looked like; for all I knew, he didn’t even have a foot. So when I finally saw it…

He hadn’t lost a claw at all. Just one pad was cut. It was a deep cut, to the tendon – I actually saw it. We debated whether to put him under and stitch it up, or if we should use surgical glue; since he had just eaten, and because I was worried about further trauma caused by removing the stitches later, we opted for the glue.

Here he is being worked on. The hand with the bracelet is mine; I was acting as a sort of extra vet tech during all of this. The only reason I took any photos at all was I had gotten my iPhone out to look up his weight, which I record for all our cats using Pet First Aid, an awesome iPhone App, so we could give him pain medication without having to pick him up to weigh him.


He was so amazing the entire time in the surgery. He didn’t move, he didn’t struggle, he didn’t cry. Sean kept marvelling at how calm Jake was. And he will be fine, but…it was awful. All that blood, and the sound he made when he was caught…horrific. In my shock, I guess I did everything right and didn’t panic or lose my head; I honestly don’t even remember half of what I did. But I didn’t freak out, or lose it, or panic or cry; I just went into autopilot and did what I needed to. I guess I know how I react in an emergency, now.

(To be continued…)

Aby-a-Day – Day 296 of 365

Here’s another photo of Jacoby and Tessie together. You can tell that Tessie was in the basket first, and then Jake came over to lie down with her.

jaketess 011

Evidently, there was no room inside the basket, so Jake opted for the adjacent windowsill, which is less comfortable, but more sunny.

jaketess 010

“Um…do you mind? You’re blocking my light!”

Aby-a-Day – Day 295 of 365

Jacoby and Angel are probably the closest friends, so much so that I really believe that purebred cats recognise members of the same breed. Maybe the similar genetics make them smell more alike, I don’t know, but when Jake came home for the first time, he and Angel were playing together by the end of the weekend.

But when Jake wants mothering, he comes to Tessie. It’s not unusual for Jake to appear out of nowhere and cuddle up to Tessie while she’s sleeping and insinuate himself so that she wakes up and starts grooming him.


I’m almost certain that’s what happened here.

Other People’s Abys – The Daily Kitten(s)!

Abyfan Martinjh99 sent me a link to today’s featured Daily Kittens: Three handsome boys named First, Second and Third. They live in St. Petersburg (formerly known as Leningrad) and they even have their own website, AbySphere! How did I not know about this before?

The photos are spectacular. Look at this cheeky baby backtalking mom!

Definitely add this to your list of daily reads! Thank you, Martin!

Aby-a-Day – Day 294 of 365

Of all the possible kitty combinations in our family, the least likely (and the least stable) one is that of Tessie and Angel. As the oldest and youngest females (who both came into the household as adults), respectively, they seem to have the most problems in the dominance arena.


That’s what makes photos like this one especially sweet.

Itteh Bitteh Aby Committeh – Part 2

I’m convinced that I Can Has Cheezburger is trying to kill me. It was bad enough when they posted that painfully cute little Aby kitten last week…they went and did it again this week!

The fact that it may well even be the same Aby kitten as before doesn’t mitigate the fact that they are not Cute Overload! They need to stop with the lethal levels of adorability!

Sigh…he is a little cutie, though, isn’t he?

Aby-a-Day – Day 293 of 365

Jacoby is a fearless hunter.


Especially when his prey is already conveniently dead and wrapped in plastic.


Notice that he has one eye on me and the camera…


Of course, it’s also entirely possible that he was just after the styrofoam meat tray

The Abyssinian world is a small one, indeed

Looking for a link to explain the traditional Abyssinian grooming trick of bay rum and a leather chamois the other day, I discovered Abyssinian Club – a Worldwide Society of Abyssinian Breed Admirers. Not sure how I avoided finding this site before, to be honest! It’s a pretty informative site and I’ve added it to the “Aby Friends” link on this blog.

However, while I was checking it out, I clicked on the Abyssinian Colours page…and whose photo do I see but Haro’s Jake of Eszencia, aka TJ, aka Jacoby’s paternal grandfather! Not only that, but the photo was taken by Sherry Pellerin, Jake’s breeder.

I thought that was pretty incredible. What are the odds?

And yes, while Jacoby was named for Red Sox player Jacoby Ellsbury, the name “Jake” is also a family name on his father Scar’s side of the pedigree.