Aby-a-Day – July 16: Keeping cool at ArtBeat

It was a fairly warm day today, mid-80s, and at ArtBeat, which takes place in the streets of Davis Square where there isn’t much shade, a warm day feels even hotter. Jacoby was panting, he was so hot.

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So, we popped into CVS, and I bought him a little battery-operated clip-on fan for his stroller. From the moment I got it going, Jake was much happier…and cooler!

(Don’t worry – the blades on this little fan are soft foam. If you touch them while the fan is on, it just stops. So Jake’s nose, ears and whiskers are completely safe.)

Aby-a-Day – July 15: Red(-y) for ArtBeat (Fashion Friday)

Tomorrow is ArtBeat, Somerville’s annual art festival in Davis Square. I love ArtBeat; I’ve gone every year since I moved to Boston in 2000.

In 2007, I took Gun-Hee with me, and last year Jacoby was my date. Jake and I are going together again this year, along with my husband and his sister’s family.

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Every year has its own theme, and this year’s theme is red, so I got Jake a red harness to wear. He’s also going to “wear” an old leash of Tessie’s.

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I also used Tessie’s old collar to make a red lanyard for his ArtBeat dog CAT tags.

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And, just for fun, here is the T-shirt I will be wearing tomorrow…It’s RED, you see.

Toy Abyssinians

As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes I go to eBay and search “Abyssinian” just to see what comes up. The last time I did this, I scored some adorable little plastic toy Abys.

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First, I got this pair of Aby kittens (or, as the slip of paper that came with them says, “The Real Cat’s Childhood”) from China.

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I’m pretty sure they were originally sold in capsules from a vending machine. I have to say, though, I’m quite impressed that they have both a ruddy and a blue Aby; out of ten kittens in this set, Abys are the only breed to have two representatives.

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I also found this little Japanese golfing Aby figurine who came with his own trading card.

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How adorable is he!? Look at those ears, and those big, round, attentive Aby eyes following his ball! Whoever designed the mold for this figure is obviously familiar with Abys; he actually looks like an Abyssinian, and not just a cat that’s painted to look like an Aby.

I wonder if Jacoby would wear a visor like that?

Aby-a-Day – July 14: I love you, Daddy (especially at the vet)!

Angel gets very lovey and affectionate at the vet.

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I almost thought she was going to headbutt Tessie, she was so purrful.

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She contented herself with bonking my husband’s legs and her carrier instead.

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Even at the vet, Angel wasn’t quite brave enough to risk a headbutt with Tessie!

Aby-a-Day – July 13: Wordless Wednesday (Two Cats, One Carrier)

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Abys and Food: A Marketer’s Dream Come True

You may recall my post from last month, wherein I shared a current Iams TV spot featuring a gregarious Aby named Max along with an old 1991 magazine ad for Iams featuring 24 days in the life of an Abyssinian.

Iams seems to have an affinity for Abyssinians. This is the cat featured on their bag of ProActive Health™ Adult Digestive Care:

And this is the cat that, until recently, graced their bags of Healthy Naturals™ kibble:

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Iams isn’t the only cat food to feature Abys; Purina has a Somali on their bags and cans of Pro Plan® Selects®:

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What’s really funny is even FooPets‘ virtual cat food sports an Aby on the bag!

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But the most puzzing Aby spokesmodel endorsement are the Abys on Royal Canin’s Selective Satisfaction line:

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“Only Royal Canin offers THREE nutritional selections for picky cats!” it says, but…Picky? Abys? Based on the Abyssinians I have known, “picky” is not among the top 25 adjectives I would use to describe them. “Voracious billy goats” is much more appropriate, considering Jacoby once tried to eat a McDonald’s Baked Hot Apple Pie…

Aby-a-Day – July 12: Striking a pose

For whatever reason, Jacoby seems to be most photogenic when he’s in the vet’s waiting room.

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I don’t know why, but waiting for his turn in the lobby just brings out his best.

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It’s always been that way, too, from the very first time I took him in.

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Of course, he’s grown a bit since then!

Aby-a-Day – July 11: Fun with IncrediBooth (Hipstamatic Monday)

I took these while Jacoby and I were riding the subway last weekend. They crack me up to look at.

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Seriously, IncrediBooth is the most fun you can have for 99¢. It’s awesome.

Other People’s Abys: Abysphere on Good Morning Kitten

I meant to post this ages ago, but I misfiled the link…anyway, just look at our friends from Aby Sphere, mugging it up on Good Morning Kitten (formerly the Daily Kitten)!

I’m really impressed that someone was able to get three Aby boys to sit still long enough to snap this shot!

Aby-a-Day – July 10: Bravery when it matters

One thing I absolutely love about taking Angel to the vet is how brave she becomes.

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She may be nervous around the house even after three years, but get her in the exam room and she just becomes…well, an Aby.

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Not even Tessie scares Angel at the vet.

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Even more strange, she was more outgoing than Jacoby on this trip. She kept swanning around the room while Jake kept to his carrier…

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…or Angel’s carrier, into which he was barely able to cram himself. I don’t know how comfortable that was for him. Of course, he was the only one who got a shot yesterday, so that may have dampened his adventurous spirit.

Aby-a-Day – July 9: Toothy matters at the vet

Today was the annual expedition to the veterinarian. Everyone is basically healthy (Tessie has an overgrooming issue, Kylie has allergies…and Jacoby, well, Jake’s perfectly fine), and even though it sounds like a major job taking four cats to the vet at once, it’s really not that bad.

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Angel won the “most medically needy” award today the moment Dr. Natalie opened her mouth. For one thing, she’s lost almost all of her little front teeth. She has only two left, one on the top and one on the bottom.

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The bigger problem is she has at least two Feline Oral Resorptive Lesions.

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They’re the really red spots on her gums. She’s already got an appointment set for next month to get those teeth extracted. Removing the teeth is really the only treatment; it’s not always connected with gingivitis or tartar build up. Angel has fairly clean teeth, but she has two FORLS, while Kylie had her teeth cleaned last year and we brush them daily, yet she still has gingivitis…but no FORLS.

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Cats’ teeth are really frustrating to deal with. You can have two cats of the same breed, in the same house, eating the same food and drinking the same water and their dental health can be wildly different. My two Siamese, Harri and Patrick, are a perfect example: Patrick had most of his teeth removed starting from the time he was 5 or 6, while Harri didn’t need his teeth cleaned until he was 15. Angel’s only 4 and she’s already losing teeth…but, according to Dr. Natalie, this would probably be the case even if she did let us brush them. So I suppose that’s somewhat reassuring.

Aby-a-Day – July 8: Designing Felines (Fashion Friday)

My friend Sally (aka HiTideCreations on Etsy) makes wonderful collars and leashes. As I’ve posted in the past, all the cats have their own custom collars, and Jacoby has another collar for his therapy tags, a leash and a harness, too.

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The harness, though, I helped design.

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I based it on a standard figure-8 harness, but with an added belly strap. I sketched out the idea I had in my head, and Sally made it three dimensional.

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It turned out really well, don’t you think?

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I just recently got Tessie a new red step-in harness which Jake will borrow for Art Beat next weekend (the theme this year is “red”), and I completely fell in love with the design. So, I emailed Sally a new sketch yesterday.

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It doesn’t need to be adjustable, like the original, since Jake is (hopefully!) no longer growing, and it will match his leash and therapy tag collar. The design is so much better for cats than a figure-8 harness; it moves the stress from the neck and belly and places it on the chest, and, unlike many dog harnesses, it fits well on a cat’s narrower, collarboneless frame. I also like the long “tails” on the harness for the leash to attach to, because it makes it easier for the harness to work under a coat or sweater (which, if they have leash holes, don’t always have them in the same place), something we had a bit of trouble with over the winter.

So, stay tuned…I, for one, can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Other People’s Abys – Calendar Cats

After several nice days in a row, this morning Boston woke up to dark grey skies and rain, so it was especially nice to see today’s Page-a-Day Cat Calendar page.

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I love the caption, too: There’s nothing like an Abyssinian. This beautiful creature, though lovely to look at, is not a decorative lap cat[*]. The Aby is much too busy playing fetch…or climbing your drapes. As hyperactive as they are, Abyssinians still require lots of attention from their owners and can become depressed if they’re left alone. They thrive in pairs and get along with other cats. Unsurprisingly, Abys also make good hunters, and the females are fiercely territorial. You mean, people have both drapes and Abys??

This guy’s name is Michael-Jake…I’d love to do a poll or study someday, because I have a suspicion that “Jake” may just be the most common name for a boy Aby. Jacoby’s paternal grandfather is also named Jake, so it’s a family name for him, too.

[* Unless, of course, the Aby wants to be a decorative lap cat, in which case all bets are off.]

Aby-a-Day – July 7: Water, water everywhere

Why do they prefer drinking out of my water cup over drinking from their own water bowls or from the running sink?

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That cannot be a comfortable way to quench your thirst.

Never go up against an Abyssinian when a box is on the line!

Cheezburger.com posted an animated gif with a very familiar scene to Aby people today:

I find it rather hypnotic.

Aby-a-Day – July 6: Wordless Wednesday (Boston Common, 2 July 2011)

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Aby-a-Day – July 5: There’s nothing like kicking back under a tree on a summer afternoon…

There’s nothing quite like kicking back under a tree on a summer afternoon…

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…or, in Angel’s case, there’s nothing quite like using a tree as a pillow on a summer afternoon.

Aby-a-Day – July 4: Hello, Dali! (Hipstamatic Monday)

One really cool thing about Hipstamatic is that they release different lenses, films and flashes, sometimes for a limited time, so you are constantly getting new ways to use the app to create images. They just recently re-released a couple of things that were discontinued before I started using the app, and included in the “Retropak” were the Salvador Dali lens and film.

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While it may not be to everyone’s taste, the Dali accessories are really fun to play with.

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Ever wonder what the Beatles meant about “kaleidoscope eyes” in Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds? I think it might have been this.

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This would fit right in on Haight and Ashbury, circa 1967

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Ancient Egypt meets Andy Warhol?

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I think Jacoby is less than impressed.

Aby-a-Day – July 3: Fireworks for my father

I’ve always thought of July 4th as my dad’s birthday first, and then the holiday with fireworks. The card I sent him this year had one kitten hurling itself at another kitten, arms outstretched, so on the inside I drew this:

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Jacoby would totally do that.

Aby-a-Day – July 2: Jake likes the night life

I just love walking with Jacoby at dusk and just after sunset on summer evenings. There’s something about being outside with a cat at night that just feels so primeval.

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So it’s all the more strange that technology would put a damper on the experience. If I try to capture the moment using the flash, the colours come out different than the way they looked to Jake and me while we were actually there (and I can’t get a photo of his face unless I want to live with flashlight eyes).

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Shooting with available light doesn’t look quite right, either, although it captures the mood more accurately. There’s also the problem of shutter speed, and if Jake or I move in the slightest, the image will be blurred.

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And even with all the colour-correcting prowess of Photoshop, the colour never does look just right.

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So it is some frustration that I admit that, for night photography, my iPhone 4 kind of kicks my Nikon’s megapixels.