Aby-a-Day – February 28: Passing judgement

Being judged at a CFA show is exhausting!


Judges like Liz Watson examine you from thoroughly from head…


…to tail!

What we really need here is a montage…

Starting today, I’m going to monitor Jacoby’s weight with a Monday Weigh-In. I’d like to at least try to get him below 11 lbs; I’d very much like to take him and Kylie to the 10-ring show in Concord, NH on April 30 – May 1, but Jake needs to be “svelter” before we try a big show like that.

I’ve decided to track his weight in kilograms rather than pounds simply because I think it’s more accurate, especially when measuring on a weekly basis. I think his goal weight right now is 4.75 kg (10.5 lbs), but let’s see how he progresses. All we’re going to do is reduce canned food, measure dry food, and cut out treats…and Cheetos…and try to get him to exercise a little more with more sessions with interactive toys like lasers and wand toys. Nothing too drastic; that plus the warmer weather and more outings should make all the difference.

So, today, before his nightly canned food, he weighed 5.2 kg. A good starting point, I reckon.

Tune in next Monday to see where he is!

Aby-a-Day – February 27: Premier Pellburn Jacoby Stealin’ Home

This morning, we woke up to a winter wonderland.


However, the show, as they say, must go on. It was a big day for Jacoby, as he earned his sixth Winners ribbon, making him a Premier. This means, the next show he goes to, he will begin to earn points towards becoming a Grand Premier.


As usual, he knows how awesome he is, and he knows when a camera is pointed at him.


But the big news of the weekend was little miss Kylie, who, after eight judges’ meticulous scrutiny, managed to score the cycle! Out of six cats, she managed to place once in each place: 6th Best, 5th Best, 4th Best, 3rd Best, 2nd Best, and Best HHP! And she was named Best HHP by three different judges!


Here she is with judge Iris Zinck, shmoozing after being awarded her rosette. What a little princess!

The CFA’s newest Premier didn’t completely miss the spotlight: check out his photo in the Milford Daily News!

Aby-a-Day – February 26: Jacoby’s first cat show

Well, it was a really long day. I got professional photos taken of Jacoby, which are awesome and which I will share. We got a really great spot for our cage/home base, at the end of a row, with a wonderful neighbour named Lora with two adorable Sphynxes. Having a good space and a nice neighbour are key elements to having a nice show day. Lora is planning to get her boy Sphynx certified to do therapy work though the Delta Society, so we may be seeing them again in a different context.


.Jake did really well. He didn’t hiss, he didn’t get grumpy, and he interacted well with the judges. Considering he didn’t do shows as a kitten, and he’s never been around this many cats before (I think 190 cats are entered), that’s awesome.


The Grand Premier Aby wasn’t able to get to the show because of the weather, so Jake is the only Aby in Premiership. As such, he automatically wins 1st Place, Best of Colour and Best of Breed. As the best male Ruddy Open (an Open cat is a cat who has not yet earned his Premiership), he also receives a Winners Ribbon; when he gets 6 of these, he will become a Premier. Barring a disaster, he should have 6 by the end of the show tomorrow (ribbons at CFA shows can get confusing; the CFA has a tutorial on them).


The bad news is that Jake didn’t make any of the judges’ finals today. He’s a bit overweight, they told me, but his colour and conformation is spectacular. Since it’s winter and we can’t go for walks as often, and because he had his escalator accident that made him less mobile, I think that he’ll slim down as soon as it gets warmer. Besides, I wasn’t expecting him to make a final; I am only hoping to see how he does and for him to earn his Premiership.


We did get to meet Jake’s two little Red/Sorrel cousins, Anubis Taz Mania and Anubis Lew Zealand. They were adorable!

Kylie was the superstar of the family today, though. There were only 6 Household Pets entered, but in two rings she was named Best HHP! I don’t have any photos of her on my camera or phone (I took movies of her), but rest assured that a photo will be procured.


After the show had closed for the day, I rewarded Jake with a little walk around the lobby. I packed his Yap Wrap for the show because it has a built-in handle, just in case! That was just what he needed; I could tell he was getting a little frustrated at being carried all the time.


So I let him wander around and just followed him and kept him from going into the restaurants. We checked out the pool, explored the hallways and chilled on the lobby sofa. It was a good day. Wonder what’s in store for tomorrow?

Aby-a-Day – February 25: Live from the DoubleTree Hotel in Milford, MA

We are here in Milford for the CFA cat show this weekend. Jacoby has been extremely busy making sure our accommodations are up to his high standards.


He’s made sure the heat was on and working properly…


…and that our lighting was sufficient…


…and that our door lock was secure.


Kylie, on the other hand, is more interested in what is going on outside.


The rain turned into snow just as we arrived.


She’s also quite happy about the microwave in the room warming up the gel heating pad.


Meanwhile, Jake thinks it’s just so cool that there are two beds in our room.


He keeps going from bed to bed, rolling all over them.


I’m sure he thinks one bed is just for him.


Kylie has decided that if the cat show gig doesn’t work out, she can always try to be the new spokescat for DoubleTree hotels. Sweet dreams, Kylie!

Aby-a-Day – February 24: It’s hard work being this beautiful

There is some preparation that needs to be done before a cat show. High on the to-do list is grooming, and this includes getting a bath.


Ask not for whom the towels wait, Jacoby…they wait for thee!


Luckily, Jake isn’t very hard to bathe at all. Good thing, too, since he’s so big and strong, with weight to throw behind his strength. And he’s slippery when he’s wet!


He’s been getting baths since he was a kitten, and he doesn’t mind getting wet, so he just puts up with baths with an air of dignified resignation.

Aby-a-Day – February 23: Wordless Wednesday (Showtime!)


Aby-a-Day – February 22: Like father, like son

As I mentioned yesterday, Gun-Hee went to cat shows with his (and Jacoby’s) father, Grand Champion Pellburn Scarface Cat Pacino. Of course, I got some photos of him in action.


This is him in Marge Collier’s ring. She placed him in her finals at this show (this was taken at the show in Concord, NH); she was also the judge who made Gun-Hee her best kitten in her ring at this same show.


And here he is at the show in Hudson, NH, posing with his Third Best Cat rosette for this ring. I also have a video of Judge Collier presenting the award; in finals, judges usually explain what made them select the cats that they did and showing the cat off to the spectators.

Jake’s first therapy visit

Yesterday, Jacoby and I went out to visitNewbridge on the Charles in Dedham, and meet with Leslie, the volunteer coordinator, about coming in for regular visits with the residents who live there.


It was actually snowing when I woke up, so I bundled Jake up well before we went out. I also just got him a new microwavable heating pad for his stroller, so he was nice and warm.

I was kind of thinking that this would more of an “interview” type of situation, so I didn’t put on either of Jake’s official vests, but I did put on our credentials (his tag and my badge), and I brought our official visiting bag. This turned out to be a good thing, because after a quick chat, we went upstairs and actually met a lot of the residents!



Jake was his sweet, goofy, charming self, both with Leslie and with the residents. It was my first time doing this with Jake “for real,” and it was probably a good thing I wasn’t expecting it – if I had known we were going to do this, I would have been a lot more nervous! But it was great; Jake was an absolute rock star, and he was completely unfazed at a crowd of women with walkers and wheelchairs milling about the elevator lobby when we arrived, people vacuuming, “Family Feud” blaring on the TV, and things being dropped in the kitchen. One woman couldn’t quite get her hands to him, but he put his head under her hand and helped her out.


Leslie had us pose together for a photo. I look like a total dork, but I like it anyway.

Jake really is a good-natured cat, though. He never seemed to reach a “sensory overload” point the entire time we were out. Even on the way home, despite a somewhat bumpy and loud shuttle ride, changing trains on the T (I had to carry his stroller up and down stairs), and stopping at the post office, he was still happy and ready to talk to people and be petted. Even after we got home, he strolled around and played with Angel and the other girls as though he’d been napping all afternoon!


We also had to get our picture taken for our NewBridge ID badge! At least in this one, we’re looking at the camera (more or less)!

Today, Leslie emailed me: “Thanks so much for coming in with Jake yesterday. It was a pleasure meeting both of you, and what happened upstairs with the residents was truly amazing! I am thrilled that you two are going to be visiting here, and you are going to make a lot of people very happy.”

Our first visit is Saturday, March 12. We’re on our way!

Cool T-Shirt Alert: I Can Has Cheezburger!

This is an awesome Abyssinian-related shirt available at I Can Has Cheezburger’s LOL Mart for a limited time! They’re only $15 (shipping included) and only available through Saturday. Once they’re gone, that’s it – only a few of their designs are ever rerun.

I don’t know about you, but that cat reminds me a lot of Jacoby…

Aby-a-Day – February 21: Family reunion

One of the best thing about Gun-Hee’s first shows was that Sherry, his breeder, also came to those shows, showing his father, Grand Champion Pellburn Scarface Cat Pacino (who became a Grand at the second show Gun-Hee went to) and his uncle, Grand Premier Pellburn White Lightning).


This photo is at that second show in Concord, NH. Sherry and Gun-Hee are sharing a sweet moment reconnecting. If you look at Sherry’s hand, you can see where she’s written Scar and Whitey’s ring numbers to remind her when they are called up by the judges.

Aby-a-Day – February 20: Showtime!

Jacoby is a registered, pedigreed Abyssinian in two regististries: the CFA and the CCA. His full name is Pellburn Jacoby Stealin’ Home.

Even though he is neutered, he is eligible to be shown at a CFA or CCA sanctioned cat show. Neutered and spayed cats can compete as Premiers rather than Champions, but apart from that, the cat show experience is identical.


I went to my first cat show as a spectator when I was in junior high, and this is where I first fell in love with Abyssinians. I really enjoy showing cats at cat shows. I’ve only ever done CFA shows, but I started in high school, showing my Siamese mix, Sgt. Pepper, as a Household Pet. Later, I also volunteered at shows, first as a cage cleaner, and later as a judge’s clerk. I stopped doing shows after I started college and Pepper got older, but I never lost my love of shows. In fact, it was as a spectator at a cat show in Boxborough, MA that I met Sherry and Scar, which led to our adopting Gun-Hee and then Jake.

This website has some great candid photos of the cat show experience…and, if you scroll down a bit, you’ll see Uncle Whitey with Sherry and her niece! Just above that photo is a shot of one of Jacoby’s cousins, Eszencia Fabulous Finnegan, exploring the show on his leash. Jake’s grandfather, Haro’s Jake of Eszencia (“TJ”) is part of that cattery, so there’s doubtless some tangled branches in their family trees.


I showed Gun-Hee as a kitten, and later as a Premier. He earned his Premiership, but I never showed him once he earned his title because he started not to have fun at them any more.


Look at this hiss! Although, to be fair, he was trading insults with Aby Castle Hottownsummerinthecity, a firey redhead if ever there was one.


We showed Tessie as a Household Pet (she is a registered Asian with TICA, but Asians aren’t recognised by the CFA yet), and at one show she won Best Household Pet.


Next weekend, Jacoby will participate in his first show, as an Open in Premiership, at a CFA show in Milford, MA. I’m very interested to see how he does at this show, not just to see if he earns enough ribbons to become a Premier, but to see how he interacts with the judges and how he tolerates being around all the other cats and the general hustle and bustle of a two-day cat show. We’re also taking Kylie to show as a Household Pet, because white cats always get a lot of notice at shows.


Of course, there will be lots of photos when we return from the show, but in the meantime, here’s a few from Gun-Hee’s show career.





This last one is especially special: it’s Gun-Hee with judge Marge Collier, who is bringing him out to receive his Best Kitten ribbon in her ring at his second show in Concord, NH.

And then, a call to therapy

Out of the blue on Friday, I got this email:

I am writing to ask whether you and your Pet Partner would be willing to come in to visit residents at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center at NewBridge on the Charles in Dedham.
Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Dedham provides both short-term rehabilitation and long-term care to a total of 268 elderly residents. Our facility has been open for a little more than a year, and as the Volunteer Coordinator, one of my highest priorities is to bring in canine-human volunteer teams. We are a dog-friendly facility, and the presence of animals here would truly enhance the quality of life for many of our residents.

Wow, right? I’ve been wondering how we were going to break into the therapy thing. After Jacoby’s escalator incident, and then the holidays, therapy visits have been on the back burner. So to get this email out of nowhere was pretty awesome. There was just one tiny little word that worried me… So I responded:

There are just two things…
One, I don’t have a dog. My partner is an Abyssinian cat named Jacoby (Jake). He’s very interactive, loves people, and isn’t afraid of very much at all. He loves meeting people and would be great in your situation. If you check my blog (address below), you will see photos of him out on adventures with me.
So, if you don’t mind a feline-volunteer team, we’d love to come in!
Second, I don’t drive…but I assume you’re T accesible?

Luckily, the answer was quick and positive!

I would LOVE to have you and Jake come…I had assumed he was a dog because I haven’t heard of two many cats doing this type of work. I have two cats myself, and they are a little too high-strung. I think our residents would absolutely love it!
If you take the Orange Line to the Forest Hills T station, we have a
shuttle that picks people up on a regular schedule and brings them back to our facility. We are not right on a T line, but lots of the employees and some of the volunteers travel here that way. Is that doable for you?
I’d love to meet with you at a time that works for you.

After a game of phone tag and an actual conversation, Jake and I will be going on a visit to the center on Monday afternoon. I am excited and yes, a little nervous. This is going to be a big week for me and Jake, both as partners and individually.

Aby-a-Day – February 19: Reminder of summer

My husband has been going through all the photos he has taken of the cats, some of which I don’t remember ever seeing before.


This one of Jacoby and Angel sunning themselves in the window on a summer day should bring back memories of sidewalks uncluttered by giant, dirty snowpiles…

Aby-a-Day – February 18: What’s Up, Pussycat?

You may have wondered why, on the masthead of “The Daily Abyssinian,” all that you can see of Jacoby is his upturned chin.




Yeah, I really couldn’t tell you why that is.

Aby-a-Day – February 17: He’s a big boy now

Once a month, we weigh each cat and record their weight in Pet First Aid on my iPhone. During their monthly weigh-in last weekend, Angel was 10.4lbs. Jacoby was 11.8 lbs! He’s getting so big!


He used to be such a little guy compared to Angel.


Now look at him!


He’s bigger than his (unneutered) brother Dillin, too. Sherry and I emailed a couple of days ago, and she said, “Dillin weighs 10.78 lbs, and he’s a bit heavy, meaning he would probably be more fit at about 10 lbs. I thought Dillin was big and a bit overweight LOL! He doesn’t feel very fat, just a bit flabby and not really solid like Buddy Guy (their brother from another litter).” Jake is solid; he feels like a coiled spring when you hold him.


Even better, Tessie has lost some weight, and she is now down to 11.1 lbs! Which means that, despite appearances, Jake is officially the heaviest cat in the house.

Other People’s Abys – Calendar Cats

Today’s Page-a-Day Cat Calendar shows three Somali boys!

Interestingly enough, these Somalis live with the same people who had the Calendar Cats on January 4 last year! I’m so envious! Two photos in two years! I’ve been trying to get a photo of my cats into the Page-a-Day Cat Calendar for (literally) 25 years (I know I had one in 1986; I used to save the pages), but I’ve never been one of the chosen. My sister got in once, I think in the 2001 calendar. But I keep trying…someday, I’ll make it.

Aby-a-Day – February 16: Wordless Wednesday (I can has?)


Aby-a-Day – February 15: Move over, Chester Cheetah

As I’ve posted before, Jacoby loves Cheetos.


He’s also not afraid to deploy his lazors in order to get them, either.


My husband knows better than to let the bag out of his hands.


Mmmmm…orange, powdery, cheezy goodness!

Aby-a-Day – February 14: My funny Valentines

Angel wishes you all a Happy Valentine’s Day!


Of course, it’s hard for anyone to do anything around here without Jacoby and Tessie “helping” them…



So…Happy Valentine’s Day from everyone (except, apparently, Miss Kylie, who didn’t wish to play with the sparkly heart-shaped kitty toys)!