Aby-a-Day – March 31: Cat-tested and cat-approved

On our way home on Saturday, we also stopped at Doggie Day, which is probably the closest pet supply store to our house. It’s just over the Broadway Bridge where Arlington becomes Herald, but for some reason I hadn’t taken Jacoby there yet. I took Gun-Hee a couple of times, though.


It was also a nice little rest from the wind, which walking from Arlington to Broadway was fairly sharp. Jake seemed happy to be inside, although he did appear a bit overwhelmed by the giant doggie toys. I think that yellow one was larger than he is!


He also had to try out the giant dog bed (notice how he picked the one in colours that harmonise with his fur and coat).


His favourite, however, was this carpeted tunnel section of a free-standing cat tree. He didn’t want to come out. I tried to tell him that we do have one almost exactly like it at home…but apparently this one was better.

We’re #7! We’re #7!

I just got a Catster email about the CFA’s announcement last week of the most registered breeds in 2010. There was some rearrangement in the rankings from 2009, interestingly. The 2009 Top Ten were:

1. Persian
2. Exotic (basically a Persian with short hair)
3. Maine Coon
4. Siamese
5. Ragdoll
6. Abyssinian
7. Sphynx
8. American Shorthair
9. Birman
10. Oriental

The article I found only mentioned the top seven, who were:

1. Persian
2. Maine Coon
3. Exotic
4. Ragdoll
5. Sphynx
6. Siamese
7. Abyssinian

Which is more or less a reorganisation of last year, with the Sphynx and Ragdoll gaining two points each and the Siamese dropping two points. Abys only dropped a point; however, Abys tend to have small litters compared to other breeds, and that does affect the registry numbers.

This line, though, did have me laughing: In a startling upset, the Siamese has fallen out of the top five. The active, vocal and affectionate cat, with its exotic looks, now ranks at Number 6. The Abyssinian has also been demoted to Number 7. “Maybe people don’t want all that activity,” says Miller. “But actually, I know these breeds remain popular; it’s just that some others are today more of an interest.”

What, you mean people would rather eat their meals uninterrupted by grabby hands and they prefer being able to open a door without keeping a sleek brown body on the other side of it?

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Aby-a-Day – March 30: Wordless Wednesday


A feline dental miracle

Last night when I was brushing Jake’s teeth, I decided to check and see if daily brushing was making any difference. I was pleased to find that it was; his teeth are really clean and his gums look very nice and healthy. He just had a little tartar build-up in the crevices of the first top molars on either side of his mouth. I have a dental scraping tool that I use on my own teeth, and last night, I thought, “Hmmm…I wonder if he’d let me…”


So, after washing it carefully, I held him on the counter and I gave it a shot…and he let me scrape the tartar off! I was stunned; I mean, I know he’s an exceptionally patient cat and he trusts me implicitly and unconditionally, but I did not expect him to actually let me chip plaque off his teeth! Cats usually need to be put under general anaesthetic to allow people to do that!

However, I do have to mention that, while I was looking for a dental reference and a picture of a cat’s teeth to accompany this post, I found a greater-than-expected percentage of Abyssinians showing off their pearly whites, like:

Truman Gets His Teeth Brushed - 1
Truman, and


So it seems that Abys seem more likely to let people mess about with their mouths than most cats. Too bad nobody’s told Angel about that…

Aby-a-Day – March 29: Cat about town

Saturday, Jacoby and I went out to Coolidge Corner to meet Lucy, the Recreational Services Director at Brookline Health Care Center. When I mapped the walk from the T stop to the facility, my iPhone showed me a nearby store called Cause to Paws which sounded like just the kind of place we needed to investigate, so after our visit we went to check it out.


Jake saw this Pop-Up Cat Condo and decided it was just his thing.


“Mom! Can we buy this? Please??”


They were having a sale on winter coats – 50% off! – so I had to drag him out of the condo to try on some new clothes. They had a leather jacket that, sadly, was much too small…


…but this coat, made by Animal Wrappers, was perfect! It’s insulated with fiberfill, water-resistant and reversable! And it fit him so well, too – a lot of his coats are too short. It’s even his colour!


He also met Kipper the dog while he was there. There’s another view of this encounter on Cause to Paws’ Facebook page. Jake was polite, but reserved; he was bored and ready to get going. He actually jumps back into his carrier (which I used instead of his stroller for this trip because the Green Line trains are not stroller-friendly) when he’s done shopping. Typical male!

Jake’s Monday Weigh-In – Week 5

Welcome to Week 5 of Jacoby’s diet and exercise plan, and finally, finally we’ve got some news! Jake now weighs 5.1 kg!

Okay, so it’s only 1/10 of a kilogram…but it’s progress!

Aby-a-Day – March 28: Aby Battle! (Hipstamatic Monday)

I’ve been taking a lot of photos with Hipstamatic lately, and I happened to capture a full-on, knock down, drag out Aby battle the other day. Somehow, when captured in HipstaVision, the epic battle just seems more…epic. These are all in order as I shot them, nothing deleted between shots IMG1957 and IMG1965.










This last one I find particularly amusing, because it is such a classic stand-off between these two. I took an almost identical photo last year…


This was January 2010! Jacoby has apparently not learned how to get past Angel yet. No wonder Angel usually mops the floor with him when they go at it!

My dream job

Last weekend, I sent in my application to be the next Purina Cat Chow Correspondent. This is, seriously, my dream job. Travel the country, meet cat people and blog about cats and cat events? And get paid? Yes, please! I mean, apart from the travel the country and the getting paid parts, I kind of do that already.

Part of the application involved an optional video, so of course I made one. I’d have gone to the casting call in Everett, MA and applied in person, but it was the same day as the cat show, so I couldn’t. But that makes a good story, don’t you think? I couldn’t apply in person to be the Cat Chow Correspondent because I had to go to a cat show?

Looking at YouTube, a lot of people are applying for this, so I probably haven’t got a hope, but you never know. There’s a line in the film Fever Pitch (the American version about the Red Sox, not the one with Colin Firth) where Jimmy Fallon’s character asks Drew Barrymore’s character: “Can you think of one thing that you were passionate about when you were 8 years old that you still care about today?” Well, I can. Cats.

So we’ll see how it goes…I do think I’d do a great job, if I was chosen.

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Aby-a-Day – March 27: It’s “coordinated,” not “crazy”

I’ve mentioned that Jacoby and I have the same LL Bean faux shearling coats before, but the problem with being the photographer is that you never have any pictures of yourself.


Thanks to our concierge Noel, however, now you can see Jake and I in our matching outerwear.


Of course, my coat doesn’t have my name embroidered on the back, but then, his hasn’t got any pockets, so I think we’re even.


Which one of us is the copy cat?

Aby-a-Day – March 26: Excuse me…

Jacoby is almost two years old, but sometimes he still looks like such a kitten.


Not the best photo, because i was lucky to get it at all. It really reminds me of a certain LOLcat, though.

Aby-a-Day – March 25: Canucks like the sun too, eh?

Not to be outdone, Jacoby shows that Canadian kitties can appreciate the sun, too.


Although, sometimes it’s hard to tell with Jake…is he really enjoying the sun? Or is he using it to strike a dramatic pose while I’ve got the camera turned on?


It’s really anybody’s guess.

Aby-a-Day – March 24: Angel the sun worshipper

On sunny days, I like to open the blinds and watch the cats enjoy the sun.


None of them seem to appreciate it as much as Angel does, though.


I always say she seems to “see” things the other cats don’t, and this is especially true on a sunny day for some reason. She notices tiny reflections and tricks of light the others take for granted.


Of course, it could also be her native California girl coming out. She was born in the Golden State, after all.

Aby-a-Day – March 23: Wordless Wednesday (Hello, ladies!)


Aby-a-Day – March 22: Better living through technology

The advent of digital photography has seen the biggest improvement in my photography. My dad gave me a Brownie Starflash camera when I was 4 years old and right from the start my preferred subject was…you guessed it, cats (which may or may not have been the fault of the camera’s owners manual). I took so many photos of cats as a child, I think my dad must have dipped into my college fund to pay for the developing. This continued on through junior high and high school; I have more photos of cats than I have of people. I got to the point, once I got my first SLR, where I could take a good shot of a cat in natural light with a 1/8 sec. shutter without a tripod…but for every amazing photo I took, there were dozens of blurry, tilted pictures of cats’ tails as they were moving away from me.


Of course, this still happens with digital photography, but you don’t have to spend money to develop all your duds to get that one stunner. In fact, you don’t have to spend money to develop any photos at all if you don’t want to.


I suppose that’s part of my recent fascination with Hipstamatic; it reminds me of my Brownie Starflash and my later Kodak InstaMatic. The photos take time to “develop” and the flash takes time to warm up and you don’t always know how your photos are going to turn out until you see them. Sometimes, that’s kind of fun.


But no matter what type of film you are or are not using, there’s no denying that thrill you feel when you click your shutter and know, in your heart and in your gut, that you’ve just taken a truly awesome shot…like this one.

Jake’s Monday Weigh-In – Week 4

Here we are, Week 4 of Jacoby’s diet and exercise plan. He eats almost no treats any more, and his food is measured and we don’t let him clean the girls’ plates if they don’t eat all of theirs, and yet…I don’t think I’ve ever been so frustrated by a diet before in my life. This is week four, so it’s been a month and Jake still weighs 5.2 kg…just the same as last week. And the week before that. And the week before that.

I just don’t get why he hasn’t lost anything. I’ve been taking him out to run in the hallway daily, he chases his laser pointer, he wrassles with Angel. But he weighs the same.

Aby-a-Day – March 21: Just Call Her Angel in the Morning (Hipstamatic Monday)

I always feel bad because Jacoby seems to edge Angel out of the spotlight. I try to take photos of her, but (as you’ve seen) Jake tends to see the camera and come running.

angel 001

One time Angel gets undivided attention is in the morning while I’m getting ready for work.

angel 015

Jake’s too busy cadging treats off my husband to hang out in the bathroom with me most days, so sometimes Angel comes in to supervise me.

angel 003

She doesn’t like when I shut the door, though.

angel 004

Sometimes her skittishness almost makes me forget she’s an Aby…and then she strikes a pose like this one.

Aby-a-Day – March 20: Southie’s Parade

Living in South Boston, we’re pretty much at Ground Zero for the annual Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

bagpipes 2009

It’s really something to wake up to bagpipers warming up directly beneath your window on a Sunday morning.


It’s very exciting for the cats, though. Tessie and Jacoby were very interested in the goings-on outside.


This year, we could see the parade warming up on the 4th Street Bridge, too. It looks like there were some Japan Earthquake Relief efforts going on at the parade as well.


Even Angel had to check out what was going on outside!

Aby-a-Day – March 19: Even when it’s not all about Jake…Somehow, it’s still all about Jake

I often am asked how the other cats feel about Jacoby getting the lion’s share of the attention, both here in this blog and in real life. And I always respond that the girls don’t really mind, because it’s not so much that he gets attention as he takes it.

But that’s not 100% true. Tessie does mind, a little.


Tessie loves Sparkleballs. I mean, she loves them. She carries them around the apartment, she croons to them in an eerie, low-pitched yowl, and she always knows when she’s lost one under the closet door. So, today, Tessie was proudly showing me two of her favourite red Sparkleballs when…


…Jake happened. Just look at the expression on Tessie’s face!

Aby-a-Day – March 18: Family Resemblance

My husband recently gave me some photos that he’d taken ages ago, but which I’d never seen before.


This is actually Gun-Hee in the window, taken in March 2007, just before his 6 month birthday.


This one of Jacoby was taken in August 2009, when he was just 4 months old. Look how big his ears were!

I find it fascinating to compare photos of Jake and Gun-Hee; they’re half-brothers and they both strongly resemble their father Scar, but sometimes they really don’t look a lot like each other! Jake is a much larger boy than Gun-Hee now, and in these two photos he looks older at 4 months than Gun-Hee did at 6.

I wish that they could have met. I think they would have been great friends.

Aby-a-Day – March 17: The Wearing of the Green

In our household, each cat gets assigned a signature colour. Tessie’s is red (like the Red Sox), Kylie’s is pink, Angel’s is purple, and Jacoby’s colour is green. We also live in South Boston, where the shamrock is the official symbol. You don’t even need to be Irish to wear it, so these two factors combine to make St. Patrick’s Day just a little more fun.


This year, I got Jake an awesome harness/vest from Etsy seller Little Paws Apparel and it’s seriously great. Comfortable, and it didn’t come off even when he pulled on it. He wore it all day Sunday on our therapy with no complaints. I may need to buy him some more…


…any idea where I can get a kitty wardrobe to hang all his clothes??


But the best part is, since he’s a Southie kitty, he isn’t limited to wearing this harness in March. It was so cute and so functional, I may use it a lot more often.


We may have to actually venture outside for the parade this year…