Aby-a-Day – April 30: Visiting Brookline Health Care Center

Jacoby and I have visited the assisted living facility in Brookline three times now…most recently, today. It’s quite different from NewBridge in Dedham, and it’s fun to experience the differences. For one thing, the residents here are right in Coolidge Corner, and they often go outside on their own. Also, there are short-term patients who aren’t necessarily elders. It makes for a nice variety of people for Jake to meet.


Jake is a definite natural when it comes to therapy work. He is 100% Abyssinian, and by definition high-spirited; as one website puts it, “Abys give new meaning to the word active!”. But get him on a patient’s bed, and he’s the most patient, gentle cat you’ve ever seen.


He settles right in and stays with them until I tell him it’s time to go.


Medical machinery and other paraphernalia don’t faze him at all. He’s just an amazing little cat.


He also doesn’t mind posing for photos while on the job. This is him and the center’s Activities Director, Lucy.


I’m still working on his “formal” working gear, and haven’t quite come up with the perfect uniform for him to wear. This harness-vest from YapWraps works really well and the built-in handle comes in super handy; on this visit, I put his Delta Society vest over the YapWrap, threading it through the handle, and that worked well, but I worry about how that’ll feel on him when it’s 90º and the air conditioning on the T is broken. I’m thinking to sew Delta Society patches on it instead. Work in progress…

Aby-a-Day – April 29 – Top hat and tail (Fashion Friday)

A couple of days ago, I posted photos of Angel wearing the purple pirate eyepatch I had made for her by Etsy seller CatAtelier. Well, now it’s Jacoby’s turn! She makes a mean top hat…


I wish you could really see this hat. The inside is as perfectly crafted as the outside.


I put his hat together with his tuxedo tie from Snoop Catty Catt, and he’s ready for the swankiest New Year’s Eve party!


He’s supposed to wear this with his ears inside the hat, but he didn’t want to.


That’s okay…I think having his ear out gives him a rather rakish look.

Aby-a-Day – April 28: Tie One On

I’m really amazed at how much clothing and accessories specifically made for cats is available on Etsy. I mean, we’re talking about an animal that purportedly doesn’t like to wear a collar much of the time here. And what makes it even more interesting is the crafters’ cats actually do the modelling, too, and they must enjoy it (otherwise these people wouldn’t have fingers to make the clothing with), right? So imagine my delight when I discovered Snoop Catty Catt, purveyors of feline formalwear.


Because, of course Jacoby needs a tuxedo tie.


If for nothing else, so he can break out his GQ modelling moves.


I got him a matching necktie in the sage-green silk, in case he ever needs to go on a job interview.


The sage necktie’s lining is a shamrock print fabric.


He also has a necktie made from the same shamrock print, so he can dress up for St. Patrick’s Day next year.


Or for when he wants to be dressed up, but not too dressed up.

Aby-a-Day – April 27: Wordless Wednesday (Smile!)


Aby-a-Day – April 26: Yo ho ho and a barrel of catnip!

Thanks to Etsy artist Cat Atelier, I finally have the one thing Angel’s always needed: A pirate eye patch!


It’s made of leather, in her signature purple. And it’s not the first one that she’s made, either; evidently Angel isn’t the only pirate kitty out there.


Angel was about as thrilled as you might expect about her new accessory.


I suppose I’m lucky to have gotten any photos of her wearing it at all!

Better Luck Next Time

No dream job for me. I was not selected as the Purina Cat Chow Correspondent, but according to the email I got today, I was a runner-up.

They did send me a nice form letter, though:

Koshka, you are amazing. In fact, we think you’re the cat’s meow. Unfortunately, you weren’t selected as the Purina® Cat Chow® Correspondent.

Thanks for letting us get to know you better. We learned a few things about you:

1. You tell a great story.
2. You are really talented.
3. You have a boundless passion for cats.

To show our appreciation, we’d like to give you a special gift. When you buy any size bag of Purina® Cat Chow®, we’ll give you a bag of the same size, FREE.

And I get a free bag of Cat Chow, so there’s that. But I’m surprised how disappointed I am, considering I never really thought I’d get it. I guess, deep down where I didn’t notice, I actually did have a little feathered fluttering hope. I suppose that’s why cats pounce on and kill feathered, fluttering things. They know better about these things.

As they say in Boston…there’s always next year.

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Aby-a-Day – April 25: Jake and his other sisters (Hipstamatic Monday)

Jacoby usually prowls the hallways with just me, but, as we saw last Monday, he sometimes escorts Angel about the carpet.


He also accompanies Tessie from time to time.


They tend not to explore the hallway together the way Jake and Angel do. They’re sort of on a joint independent mission when they go out together.


Jake doesn’t go out with Kylie very often, because when Kylie goes into the hallway, she goes out there to RUN, not flop and loll about. Kylie’s entire goal in life is to break the condo hallway land speed record, and it’s amazing just how fast she is. She can make an entire circuit in the time it takes Jake to go three steps and then fall over.


So shots of Kylie and Jake together in the hallway are rare, comparatively speaking, but they do exist.

Jake’s Monday Weigh-In – Week 9

Well…Jake still weighs 5.1 kg. I don’t get it…we’ve been going on outings, and therapy visits, and he’s still on his diet…but he seems to be stuck right on 5.1 kg.

Maybe once the weather gets nicer, we’ll start walking more, and that scale will show some progress in a downward direction.

Aby-a-Day – April 24: Wait, you mean it’s NOT all about me?

Today is Kylie’s birthday. We did the usual birthday can-cake, which she enjoyed.


But Jacoby had a little trouble understanding that it wasn’t his birthday.


He paced and circled while Kylie ate her fill.


It was really pretty funny how he just didn’t understand how it could possibly be anyone else’s birthday.


“What do you mean it’s not for me?”

Aby-a-Day – April 23: Angel WILL give you lovings

Usually Angel is a pretty laid back, chill little cat, happy to accept pettings as they come. But every so often, she decides to demand attention. When that happens, look out!


She turns into a little purring, kneading machine, relentless in her quest for headbutt targets.


She will approach from any angle until she achieves her objective.


Paws going like mad the entire time.


And purring so loud she almost drowns out the television! It’s really adorable.

Therapy animal article in Animal Wellness magazine

Back in November, I got an email from a friend of a friend which said:

[mutual friend] gave me your name and thought you might like to tell me about your therapy cat. I’m writing an article for Feline Wellness magazine – deadline soon – and could use hints for people thinking of doing therapy work, finding out how you decided your cat was a good candidate for visiting, and any good stories you have to tell – sad, happy, funny.

Of course I wrote back, even though back then we hadn’t gone on any visits yet. I got an email this morning from her telling me that the article has been published in the latest issue. The story appears on page 75 of the April/May issue of Animal Wellness. She says that Jake and I get a nice mention. I haven’t had a chance to track down an issue yet, but Barnes and Noble and Whole Foods were two places she suggested I try finding it.

How exciting!

Aby-a-Day – April 22: Living art

I never get tired of watching Angel.


She never really seems as goofy as Jacoby; no matter what she’s doing, even if her actions are silly, her demeanor never is. She reminds me more of Egyptian statues than Jake does much of the time.

Aby-a-Day – April 21: Stairway to Heaven

Sometimes instead of running around in the hallway, I let Jacoby run up and down the back stairs in our building.


It makes a nice change of routine. There are different things to explore there, like handrails!


The rough concrete feels different from the carpeting, too.


Jake understands the concept of a doorknob, even if he hasn’t quite got the height to act upon it.


The nice thing is, he has a great range to explore but I can stay in one place and keep my eye on him.


It’s a long way down!


Jake talks more when we’re on the stairs. I think he likes the way his voice echoes on the metal and cement.

Aby-a-Day – April 20: Wordless Wednesday (Cat at work)


An Easter Reminder: Lilies = DANGER

I was just reminded of this today: Easter Lilies are poisonous to all cats. Actually, any member of the Lily family (Liliaceae are dangerous; a good rule of thumb is not to trust any bulb plant around cats. Onions, garlic and asparagus are members of this family, as well as tulips, daffodils and amaryllis. Even just a little bit of pollen on their feet, or drinking the water the lily has been in, can be dangerous.

This hits very close to home for me. Jacoby’s older brother Cypher (same parents, different litter) was staying with his owner’s mother while he and his wife were on their honeymoon, which happened to be at Easter. The mother was given a bouquet of mixed flowers, including one lily. Cy, being a playful young boy Aby, had to investigate the new flowers; no-one is sure exactly what happened, but he either played with and/or bit the lily and, not long after, started showing symptoms of renal failure. He was rushed to the vet, but it was too late. He died two or three days later, before his people were able to return home. He was only 7 months old.

All parts of the plant are dangerous, so it’s best to just not allow lilies inside (and also watch out for giving cats food containing onions or garlic). If you go on outings with your cat, avoid any bulb plants you might encounter in a park or greenway; I have to remember to keep Jake away from the many patches of tulips and daffodils along the Fort Point Channel Harborwalk this time of year.


Roses are safe, though, and they have claws so they can defend themselves in a way cats can appreciate (Carnations are okay, too)!

Aby-a-Day – April 19: Big in China

I’m always amazed at how popular Jacoby is becoming. After his birthday, I got a couple of emails from our data entry office in China. hipstajakeIMG_2425

“Say happy birthday for me to this good-natured guy!”

“Wow! Jake looks like a super star! Our colleagues fall in love with him! We are all his fans!”

“I am so sorry that I forgot Jake’s birthday. A few days ago, I tried to remember to send you the wishes on the birthday day when looking at the calendar. I believe you gave him a wonderful birthday! Kiss him for me. I love him.”


It amazes me the impact that one little being can make on so many people. Sometimes I’m asked why I do this blog…well, I guess this is why.

Jake’s Monday Weigh-In – Week 8

Well…Jake still weighs 5.1 kg. He has a bit of a belly, still, but I think he’s looking slimmer. What do you think?


Aby-a-Day – April 18: Jake and the Japanese Abys (Hipstamatic Monday)

Jacoby looked so debonair with the toy Japanese Abys that I had to take some photos with the Hipstamatic.




I think that Hipstamatic just enhances Jake’s charisma. If that’s possible.

Aby-a-Day – April 17: Jake gets all the dolls

I’m not really sure why, but there aren’t many stuffed toy Abyssinians out there. Stuffed cats, oh, yes, and many of them represent breeds (Himalayans, Persians, Siamese, and even Maine Coons and Scottish Folds can easily be found, along with tabbies, calicos, whites, greys, blacks and bicolours), but Aby plushies are hard to come by. However, Japan seems to have a fondess for Abys, and I had a hunch that if I ever did find a toy Aby, it’d be in a Tokyo toy store.

The problem with Japanese websites is that they’re in Japanese, and I can’t even guess at the words in Kanji. I know the Korean alphabet and can make out words in Hangul, but Koreans aren’t quite as kitty crazed as the Japanese.

Happily, Google Chrome is the great equaliser, and using it I was able to find a sitting Aby kitten and a “crawling” Aby kitten from a shop called Ojisan in Okegawa City. Needless to say, I ordered them as fast as my little fingers could type in my payment and shipping details.


I think they’re wonderful. Jacoby, however, is not so sure.


Still, as he always does when there’s a camera involved, he posed quite handsomely with the pair of them.

Aby-a-Day – April 16: Wakey, wakey, says Jakey

This is the first thing I see almost every morning when I wake up.


Jacoby is a highly effective alarm clock.