Aby-a-Day – January 31: Beauty in detail

Before I got Angel, I hadn’t ever really seen a red Abyssinian close up. Based pretty much just on photos in books, I believed they were just sort of faded ruddy Abys.

So not true. Their colour is described as “warm, glowing red, distinctly ticked with chocolate-brown,” and there should not be any black hairs at all. It’s subtle, but beautiful.


As you can see, even the back of Angel’s head is fascinating.

Aby-a-Day – January 30: Jakey, Jakey, pumpkin eater

Since I took the photos of Jacoby eating the pumpkin straight from the can, I had to buy more pumpkin. I got larger cans this time, and the cat-food can lids don’t fit on them, so I’ve had to store the pumpkin in a Chinese soup takeout container.


Of course, this means he can stick his head right in there to eat the pumpkin.


I’d read that cats find pumpkin “highly palatable,” but this is a little ridiculous.

Jacoby is ready for his close up

Our friend Sparkle posted a heads-up in her blog today about the Fresh Step video contest on YouTube. I think I missed the earlier post on this, because…a video contest? Sign me up! Or rather, sign Jacoby up…if ever a cat was born to be in front of a camera, it’s him.

Basically, all you need is a cat, at least one video longer than 10 seconds and shorter than 3 minutes, and a YouTube account. Entering is done through Fresh Step’s YouTube channel. The rules are fairly simple; the toughest one for me is that there can’t be any music. Still, I managed to come up with a few entries: I submitted “Jacoby’s Christmas Crazies,” “Acrobatic Jacoby,” “Jake and the Meat Tray,” “Stop! Thief!” and “Jacoby Helps With the Laundry,” and I can still enter 20 more videos before the contest closes on May 16. And of course, now I know not to add music 🙂

I guess this has become a sort of defacto New Year’s resolution for 2011, entering Jake’s photos and videos in contests…but why not, right?

Aby-a-Day – January 29: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Jacoby!

Jacoby has chronic diarrhea that flares up on occasion. The vet knows about it; he’s healthy otherwise and I’ve been adding Bene-Bac powder to his food for over a year. Still, I figure it can’t be pleasant for him to have the squirts, so lately I’ve started adding some canned pumpkin to his food as well.


What I didn’t really expect, though, was that he’d actually like it.


And he doesn’t just like it…he licks it out of the can!


If I hadn’t witnessed it with my own eyes (and iPhone), I don’t think I’d have believed it.

Aby-a-Day – January 28: Bedside manner

Recovering from the oral surgery, this is what I see when I wake up from a nap:


It’s funny that Jacoby and Tessie are the two who stay on the bed with me. Angel will camp out near me on the sofa, and Kylie spends the night on the bed above my head…but Jake and Tess seem to have the bulk of bed duty.

Aby-a-Day – January 27: A sketchy character

Ever since I can remember, I have sketched during lectures. I did it all through junior high, high school and college, and I do it during work meetings. I find that I can remember what was said by looking at the sketches as much as I can by reading what I’ve written.


The other day, we had a meeting at work, and among my notes was this rough drawing of Jacoby. I just had a WB Mason pad and a ballpoint pen from my credit union…but I think it looks like him.

Aby-a-Day – January 26: Wordless Wednesday (Love)


Vote for Jake!

I’ve entered Jacoby in Humane Society’s Spay Day 2011 Online Pet Photo Contest. I signed up to help a local animal charity connected to Angell, MSPCA at Nevins Farm, so you may have to donate to vote, so don’t feel you have to vote if you don’t want to spend the money.

When I signed up, I didn’t realise they were asking for donations in exchange for votes. But I’m on my post-operative medications, so my reading comprehension may not be 100%. I got it via my Zazzle account, and it was presented more as a photo contest. And I couldn’t resist entering this photo:


So, if you’re up to it, please…vote for Jake?

Aby-a-Day – January 25: I’ll be there for you

Later today, I’m going in for gum graft surgery, something that I have been putting off for years (and can you blame me? Yeeeesh). I’ll be home from work for a few days recuperating, drinking all of my meals and (hopefully) finally getting through my backlog of photos. While I’m apprehensive about the procedure, I’m not worried about my aftercare.


I’m pretty sure Jacoby will be taking excellent care of me.


I’m pretty sure he’s looking forward to this much more than I am.

Aby-a-Day – January 24: Don’t let the cat into the bags!

This is why I laugh every day…Jacoby is just so entertaining…and silly.


This was back before Christmas. Somehow, Jake got entangled in a plastic shopping bag while scouting the kitchen counter.


To add to the hilarity, Angel and Kylie were sitting on the cat tree, just watching his dilemma.


“Uh, guys…?”


“…A little help, here?”


“Fine. FINE. I’ll manage, thanks anyway.”


It finally dawned on me to get some video of this. I switched my camera over and let it run…for almost 12 minutes. This video is edited down, but as you watch it, remember that, in total, Jake was walking around wearing this silly bag for at least 15 minutes!

He’s such a goofball. Pardon the messy floor; this happened right in the midst of wrapping Xmas presents (which is probably fairly obvious). And if you’re curious about that catchy song, it’s a Korean pop song, 피크닉 (Picnic), sung by Cha Tae Hyun.

Baby, it’s cold outside

It was -2º this morning in Boston (yes, you read that correctly. MINUS. TWO. FAHRENHEIT. Colder than the Arctic Circle. Seriously).

I was woken up in the middle of the night by a warm, soft weight on my neck. Jacoby was wrapped around my neck like an Abyssinian fur stole. I’m not sure if it was to keep himself warm, or if he was trying to keep me warm…

He weighs 11.3lbs now…while I appreciate his concern, he was kind of heavy lying there across my trachea.

Aby-a-Day – January 23: Window dressing

Because of Angel’s missing eye, she has somewhat faulty depth perception. Where Jacoby leaps onto the windowsill without a second thought, Angel has to strategise.


When they were trying to look at the blizzard the other day, it was really interesting to watch Angel. She really wanted to jump up on that windowsill…


…but she just wasn’t sure she could make it.


Finally, she decided that she could see the snow just fine from where she was, thank you.

Aby-a-Day – January 22: The Hamburglar

Our first Abyssinian, Gun-Hee, loved to steal things and carry them back to his lair, aka the portable show cage that he considered his den, clubhouse and fort. One time, it was raw lamb; another time, it was a package of hot dogs.

Jacoby definitely shares more than a few of his late half-brother’s quirks. Since we’ve brought the show cage back into the apartment, Jake’s adopted it as his hideout.


He also steals meat.


My husband was thawing out some hamburger. I was in the other room, when I heard him shout, “Hey! Jake! JAKE! No!” Naturally, I had to see what was going on.


Jake was in the living room, on the new cowhide rug, with a vacuum-sealed half-pound package of 93% lean ground beef.


He was obviously headed towards his hideout with his ill-gotten gains, but the semi-thawed meat was either too heavy or too slippery for him to carry all the way there.


Not that he didn’t try…


He even tried to get Angel to help him!

Aby-a-Day – January 21: “Up High Is Where I Like to Go…”

This photo reminds me of a cat poem by Paul Gallico


Up high is where I like to go
Watching people down below
That’s why you find me up a tree
Where no one can look down on me

I love the fact that the same man who wrote “Pride of the Yankees” also wrote a book of cat poetry. Of course, with one cat named Jacoby and another named Tessie, I’m not thrilled that he chose to write about that team, but Paul Gallico is proof that Real Men Have Cats.

Aby-a-Day – January 20: Words for Wordless Wednesday

Yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday post showed Jacoby with the urns of Harri and Patrick, my two Siamese. When Harri died in 2006, I had a custom cremation urn made for him by Alex in Welderland, so when Patrick died last November, I knew he needed one, too. It came last week, and I had to photograph the two urns together.


And Jake had to help me! Harri was a sealpoint Siamese, and his urn is the dark brown one; Patrick was a chocolate tabbypoint Siamese, so I had his urn made in a silver colour. You can see his crooked smile, caused by having about half his teeth extracted by the vet. The tail also has Trick’s tabby stripes on it, which you can see in the photo below. Alex is a joy to work with…if you ever need an urn for a dearly departed kitty, she’ll make it easier for you to deal with.


Here’s their backs…You’ll notice that Jake is also showing us his backside.


Jake was, admittedly, less than helpful at some points during the photo shoot.


This is why I don’t use real tealight candles in Harri’s urn.

The case for purebreds

BlogPaws posted a fascinating article yesterday arguing the case for purebred dogs from a different perspective.

While the article is mainly about purebred dogs, but it raises an interesting point: “A [purebred] dog is as much a part of a people’s culture as is its language, dress and art.”

This is true of cat breeds as well. While many modern breeds can be documented back thousands of years. Siamese and Korats, for example, decorate the pages of the Cat-Book Poems, which was written between 1350 and 1767. Japanese Bobtails and Singapuras are common street cats in Japan and Singapore, but they weren’t registered as “breeds” by the CFA until 1976 and 1982, respectively.

Cat breeds symbolise their native countries. Manx cats are so entwined with the cultural identity of the Island of Man that they’ve even graced that country’s currency. But what happens if a breed becomes extinct?

Abyssinians are one of the oldest registered breeds (which means that people have kept track of their linage and parenting) and have been known as a “breed” since the mid-1800’s. While they are thought to have existed in Ancient Egypt, no one really knows for certain. Representations of cats that look like modern Abys have been found in pyramids and settlements around the Nile…but they also look like a lot of other types of cats. The cats we know as “Abyssinians,” along with Persians and Siamese, have been bred for less than 200 years.

Abyssinian cats are a breed that was nearly lost, and not so long ago, either. They almost died out in Europe during WWII and only through cats that had been sent to the US and Canada during the previous 20 years kept the breed alive.

From “Journey from the Blue Nile – A History of the Abyssinian Cat” by Aida Bartleman Zanetti:

“During the Second World War English breeders were compelled by food shortages and the constant threat of being “bombed-out”, to drastically cut their stock in Abyssinian cats. Some were exported for safety to America. A nucleus of their fine stock however has been preserved and is once again a matter of great interest to all breeders everywhere.”

People often ask me why I have purebred cats and not rescues (although, as Angel can tell us, the two are not mutually exclusive), and I have a lot of reasons, asthma and allergies chief among them. But there is also that sense of…history? I suppose that’s as good a word as any. My pedigree is mixed and shadowy; I know my grandmothers’ maiden names, but that’s about as far back as I can go.

Jacoby, however, can trace his history back to Sedgemere Peaty, born in 1894, and to me is an amazing thing to me. I guess that I like that I can vicariously climb his family tree since I haven’t one of my own.

Aby-a-Day – January 19: Wordless Wednesday (Urning his keep)


Aby-a-Day – January 18: The Aby distance between two points

There are two ways of doing things: the simple way, and the Abyssinian way.


Because this is obviously the only way to get to the bathroom sink from the top of the litter cabinet.

Aby-a-Day – January 17: You’ll never be lonely

One really great thing about Abys is that they are so interested in what you do. It’s kind of gratifying to be so fascinating to someone. Add in a member of the “kitty velcro” breed, and you can pretty much guarantee you’ll never have to anything alone. Ever.

Last week, my back was acting up, so I took a good long soak in a tub of hot water and epsom salts.



While Tessie was content to just monitor me, Jacoby of course needed to have a closer look.


“Just what is going on here?”


“Really? Water?”


“I’m not going in there!”


“Hey! Watch the splashing!”


“I think I’m safer behind the shower curtain.”


“If you start getting any ideas, I’ll just duck for cover.”




“What made you think this was a good idea, mom?”

Aby-a-Day – January 16: Her master’s voice

I love this photo of Angel waiting for my husband to give her some shrimp.


I mean, can’t you see the resemblance to Nipper the RCA Victor dog?