Aby-a-Day – October 31: A master at work (Hipstamatic Monday)

Meg had Chanan photograph her red girl, GRC Anubis Kuki Airani, at the show, and I was lucky enough to be around to watch him work.


Knowing I’d want to make a post about meeting the famous Chanan in person as soon as I could, I took photos of their session with my Hipstamatic.


It was really great to meet Richard, and he has some amazing stories to tell.


He seems to not only love his work, but he obviously has a lot of fun doing it.


He’s a one-man show, using only a hand-held Canon DSLR in one hand and a long wand cat toy in the other.


He has a large collection of long dowels with different types of toys on the end; he said that there’s always a tip that some cat will go for.


You have to be really alert while watching him ply a cat with one of the sticks; when he flicks the stick back, anyone in the “danger zone” is at risk of being clobbered in the face.


The man is a serious cat whisperer. That was the best thing about watching him work.


He works in a semi-enclosed space, and the cats could easily jump off the table and escape under the curtain or through the open side…but they don’t.


Jacoby was really cranky this weekend (a male cat peed somewhere in the show hall and it set him off), but Richard managed to calm him down, and he got some amazing shots.


He even took a couple of me and Jake together in costume, and yes, my inner 7th grader was flailing around in a major squee the whole time I was posing. I mean, not only was I having one of my cats photographed by Chanan…but he was photographing me, too!


You may notice that Richard wears knee pads while he’s working.


Those aren’t to save his knees, he explained.


He wears them, he said, because his wife was tired of him coming home with holes in the knees of his pants. “She said, ‘you’re not a six year old! You shouldn’t be wearing out the knees of your pants like that!'” he told me.


I only wish I had not been so shy the first day of the show; I didn’t approach him til towards the end of the first day.


He was also set up at the opposite end of the show hall from where we were benched, so it was hard to spend a lot of time watching and talking to him while he worked.


But you know how when you meet someone you’re a fan of, and you’re a little afraid they won’t live up to this image you’ve created of them in your head?


Well, that didn’t happen here, and I think that’s the best part of the weekend, to be honest.


Incidentally, this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine featured a photo of Richard working with a Sphynx in Santa Monica. Considering he was in striking distance of Manhattan the same weekend it was published, it’s a pretty amazing coincidence.

A Grand Day for Abys

I got this email from Sherry, Jacoby’s breeder, tonight:

Just wanted to share some great news with you. This weekend, I attended Ellie’s 2-day CCA Show in Halifax, NS. I brought Pellburn Buddy Guy Slippin’ In (because he already had a fair amount of Grand Points), and his niece, Cassia Alexandrina, Dillin and Ginger’s daughter (Ginger’s breeding replacement now that she’s spayed). Cassia earned her Champioinship on Saturday, and both got some finals and Grand Points, although not enough for Buddy Guy to Grand, but there is much better news!

Dillin (Pellburn Johnny Dillinger, son of Scar (who you all knew) and Instincts Catalina (from Chris G.)) stayed home for the weekend, for once. But some of his relations sure had a great weekend! His sons Eszencia Diego and Dylan (mother is Hinka’s Eszencia Song-of-the-Siren Moon) also attended the CCA show. On Sunday, Diego finished 3rd Best Cat in Show and Dylan finished Best Premier in Show AND just a couple of points shy of Granding! Diego also did awesome at a big CFA show in New Jersey this summer 🙂

But on the very same day, far far away in Groton, CT, Dillin’s brother Pellburn Jacoby Stealin’ Home (Jake), became a Grand Premier at his 3rd CFA show as a Premier! As you can read in his mom Coco’s “The Daily Abyssinian” blog, it was a real nail biter 😉

Congratulations to Diego, Dylan, and Jake!!

Sherry and Buddy Guy3_1538

Oh yeah, forgot to mention, Buddy Guy won Runner-Up for Best Costumed Cat, he was “The Buddy Guy” and I was “Mustang Sally” LOL.

If you look at the background of her photo, you can see why she and Buddy Guy are wearing polka dots!

Other People’s Abys – A Racy Mooner Halloween

Check out Racy Mooner, a blue Aby who just loves dressing up for Halloween


I love the expressions on this cat’s face!

Happy Halloween!

This year, I got my act together and got everyone a Halloween Costume, not just the Abys.




Jacoby’s costume, of course, is a team effort with mine. It was quite a hit at the show yesterday!


Angel’s always been a pirate, but, as I posted Friday, this year I improved her costume tremendously with a new hat, a dress, and an eyepatch.


Kylie’s costume is something I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years now: Hello Kitty.


Or, if you prefer, Hello Kylie.

I admit, Tessie’s costume is lame, but at least she has one this year. I have wanted to get her a nurse outfit for a couple of years, now, but haven’t found one I like. Last year, Jake and I went to Petco sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving, and I snagged some kitty Halloween outfits for $2-$3 each. One of these was a pink butterfly costume.


Pink really isn’t Tessie’s colour (it’s Kylie’s, actually), but her registered name is Bes Butterfly, so I bought it. And, it was worn by a celebrity this year, so how could I pass it up?


And she doesn’t seem to mind it. Still, next year, I vow to get her that nurse costume.

Aby-a-Day – October 30: The Rally Squirrel must have been at the show this weekend

It was a very agonising, nail-biting weekend. Going into this show, Jacoby had 66 points. He needed 9 points to earn his Grand Premier title. In his first two shows as a Premier, he earned 24 points and 42 points, for a total of 66. Given that many of the judges at the show this weekend had helped him earned these points, My friend Meg and I thought it wouldn’t be too difficult for Jake to Grand at this show.

We were wrong. Apart from the fact that he was not the only Aby in Premierhip for the first time and so had competition for the all-important purple “Best Premier of Breed,” he was also “too heavy” according to a couple of the judges.

Each purple ribbon is worth a point, and at the end of Saturday, Jake had won 4 Best Premier ribbons in the 5 rings. Coming into Sunday, he needed only 5 points. 5 points.

In the first ring, the purple ribbon went to Laurel. in the second, it went to Jake. Then, in the next two rings, Laurel was Best Premier in Breed, and she earned a Second Best Shorthair Premier to boot. By the last ring, Jake had won 5 purples, and only needed 4 points to Grand. If he didn’t make it to the final, he would have to wait for his next show to become a Grand Premier.

Much like the World Series, it all came down to the very last ring, presided over by a judge Jake had been seen by, Lois Jensen; Judge Jensen had just put the two Championship Abys in her Top 10 final, which we said was a sign. I was sitting next to one of Laurel’s breeders, (Debbie from Instincts cattery), in that final ring. It was one of the most intense judgings I’ve ever been involved with.


It’s pretty much a given that if a cat does not win a purple ribbon, they will not make the final. And if Jake didn’t earn more than It all came down to Lois Jensen’s preferences in Abys. Laurel and Jake are similar, but while Laurel is a petite, dainty girl, Jake is a rangy boycat. Which type would the judge favour?


After she’d examined both Abys and deliberated over their appearance as compared to the Abyssinian breed standard. And it was on Jake’s cage that she hung that purple ribbon. If he didn’t make the final, he’d have 72 points, three shy of the 75 points needed. If he did make the final, with any ranking, he would have enough points to Grand.

I was in the ladies room, looking for paper towels, when he was called up for Lois Jensen’s final.


And…she gave him Best Shorthair Premier and Best Allbreed Premier! It was like a walk-off grand slam on the last strike of the last out of the 10th inning. Jake knocked it out of the park on his last at bat.

Grand Premier Pellburn Jacoby Stealin’ Home. It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Aby-a-Day – October 29: Abys, Abys everywhere!

Unlike every other show Jacoby and I have gone to this year, there are Abyssinians in abundance at the cat show today.

There are three kittens entered:


A ruddy (usual),


A red (sorrel),


And a fawn. I haven’t seen a fawn Aby at a show since I took Gun-Hee to shows as a kitten.



There are two Championship Abys, Meg’s red Grand Champion Kuki (who I somehow managed not to get any photos of today) and Instincts Cozumel, a ruddy, and, of course, Jake and Instincts Laurel in Premiership.


But the biggest surprise was seeing a ruddy Aby in the Household Pet class! Her name is Kiri and this is her first cat show; her registration hasn’t gone through so she is showing as a HHP this time instead of a Premier.



The weather was lousy – it started snowing at around 3pm! It’s not supposed to snow before Halloween!


And, sadly, Jake did not make a final today, and did not earn his 9 points. He did get 4, though, so he only needs 5 more points to become a Grand Premier.


Better luck tomorrow!

Aby-a-Day – October 28: Shiver me timbers (Fashion Friday)

We’re on our way to Groton, CT for the cat show this weekend, but that doesn’t mean Angel can’t show off her new and improved Halloween pirate outfit!


She really needed a new hat. Her old one had built-in dredlocks (why!?), and no feathers.


No feathers! How can you have a pirate hat without feathers? I did salvage the little kitty skull-and-crossbones from her old hat, though.


Then, of course, the wonderful eyepatch that Abyfriend Julie of Cat Atelier made, along with a pirate dress made by another Etsy seller, Pampered Pup n’ Stuff.


And…voila! The Dread Pirate Angel!


I have to say, I’m impressed with how well she posed for me.


It’s pretty obvious she knows full well how awesome she looks.


I suppose that next year, I’ll need to find her a cutlass.

Do the Toki Poki and turn yourself around…

You may recall my post about Toki Poki last month; well, I received my Toki Poki trading cards the other day and I have to say I am super-impressed. They’re amazing! They’re very professional looking and seem like they’re much more expensive than they actually are. I really love them.


I am very impressed with how nicely they’re packaged! They come in little drawstring bags inside really nice little boxes. Jacoby was, of course, very interested in his cards…


I think he approves!


Angel also seemed to like her card. Hers was laid out specially on the back so the type fits in with the shape of the photo.


Tessie examined her card very carefully.


Kylie was happy with her card, and the way the green complemented her eyes, but she was less than pleased with me flashing the camera in her face.

When you join and order your optional trading cards, you also receive a random sampling of other members’ cards, which is fun. I got cards for cats (and dogs) from all over the world, including Australia and New Zealand. Portions of the cards’ profits are given to various animal-related causes, and random collections can be purchased for as little as $5 per pack. You never know…you could get one of my cats’ cards!

Puss in Boots: Backstage Auditions

This may be the best movie promotion I have ever seen.

Not Aby related, admittedly, but I just wanted to share. The Sphynx especially cracked me up.

I really hope the Puss and Boots movie (which opens tomorrow) lives up to the clever tie-ins and apps they’ve been releasing.

Aby-a-Day – October 27: Yes, you can

I ordered Jacoby a good supply of prescription urinary tract diet canned food from Southern Agriculture. I chose them because they have a very wide selection of brands (Iams, Royal Canin, Purina and Hills) and they sell cans by the each, rather than by the case, so you can order as much or as little as you want. While Jake isn’t exactly what you’d call a picky eater by any stretch of the imagination, I didn’t want to buy too much of any one brand in case he didn’t like the flavour.


I swear, he could smell the food right through the box…and the cans!


He definitely seemed to know the box was for him.


He was very patient, waiting for me to open his box.


Not to mention, very interested in the contents. I think he’s making sure all the cans arrived safely.


Satisfied, he went to claim a good seat to help me unpack the box.


“Look at all this loot!”


“Little cans and big cans! It’s like Christmas!”


“These are mine.”




“All of these cans are mine!”


“This box is mine, too. In case you were wondering.”

So far, he seems to like all the brands, but the Royal Canin appears to be his favourite. I wonder if this is because he ate it as a kitten, before he left his mother to come live with me?

Aby-a-Day – October 26: Wordless Wednesday (Native cuisine)


Abyssinians are Everywhere: Catalyst and Catacombs

Thanks to Jacoby’s cousin Toki’s human, Julie of Cat Atelier, I was incited to read Catalyst and Catacombs, two “Tales of the Barque Cats” books by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.

(I had forgotten that Sparkle reviewed these books earlier this year).

The nominative stars of the books, the Barque Cats, are the science fiction version of ship’s cats, future descendants of the same Maine Coons who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean centuries ago. But the real mastermind behind the events that take place in the books just happens to be a cat named Pshaw-Ra, who…well…here is how he is described: “Were he not the bold, heroic, cunning, adventurous, incredibly brave, fast talking, quick thinking, highly skilled, and of course devastatingly handsome cat he knew himself to be, all would have been lost. But thanks to his daring, his farsightedness, his willingness to spend month after solitary month in alien space cleverly tricking passing ships into unwitting participation in his master plan, his race would be saved.”

Chester, a tuxedo tom Barque Cat, calls him “the tawny shorthaired big-eared Pshaw-Ra…”

Oh, yes, indeed. Pshaw-Ra is an Abyssinian, all right. In fact, he’s out to save his race; as he explains to one of his daughters, “Our gene pool, it seems, has become too shallow and we are now too interrelated.” And if that isn’t the sort of problem a future race of intelligent, telepathic Abys would have, I don’t know what is.

And these books are a wonderful conglomeration of some of my most favourite things: cats, science fiction, and cats in science fiction. The first thing I was reminded of were the stories of the Instrumentality of Man by Cordwainer Smith, not just The Game of Rat and Dragon, which the authors acknowledge as an inspiration, but also Norstrilia. And a cat who’s telepathic and flies his own spaceship? How could that not remind me of The Cat From Outer Space. Of course, Jake is somewhat less self-aggrandising than Pshaw-Ra, but they do share an affinity for fishy treats and fraternising with longhairs…

I have to admit, I was also reminded, just a little, tiny bit of Flyball, the Space Cat, Moofa the Martian cat, and the kittens Tailspin and Marty

There is also some wonderful Ancient Egyptian mythology, as well as little nods to both Paul Gallico and Scarlett, the cat who saved her family.

The only bad thing I have to say about these books is that there are only two of them; I was sad when I got to the last page and had to bid farewell to Pshaw-Ra and the Barque Cats.

Aby-a-Day – October 25: Pose with Puss in Boots

I just downloaded a super fun app the other day for my iPhone. Pose with Puss in Boots, from DreamWorks may be just an advertising gimmick for the new Puss in Boots movie coming out this weekend, but it’s also really well done and an absolute hoot to play with.


The app allows you to insert Puss in Boots, Kitty Softpaws and other characters from the new movie into photos taken with your iPhone or Android device. You can use photos you’ve already taken, or take new ones incorporating the character of your choice.


There are several poses of Puss, including one flamenco dancing with Kitty, along with the other characters from the film (although, let’s be honest, the cats are the ones everyone’s going to use), and also Puss’ hat and his boots.


I took this one of Jacoby with Puss’ hat. You can move your chosen element around on the screen and resize it if necessary before you click the shutter. If you have a posing camera ham like I do, it isn’t hard to get great shots.


You can also take a photo with one element, and then go back and add other elements to make a fun composite shot.


I haven’t played around a lot with it, yet, since I only downloaded it last night, but so far I’m highly impressed (and amused).


Also included in the app are videos (including the awesome Old Spice spoof “The Cat Haz Swagger”), an Easter egg hunt, and a feature that repeats everything you say in “helium voice.” The only downside I’ve found is that there’s no way to mute the sound, so don’t try playing with this in a meeting or during a movie!

Best of all, it’s FREE! It actually works better and is more entertaining than a lot of apps I’ve paid for, so if you like Puss in Boots at all, I’d definitely recommend it.

Aby-a-Day – October 24 Let the world be your canvas (Hipstamatic Monday)

Jacoby not only knows what a camera is for, he knows the sound of my iPhone when it’s in camera mode.


I know I always say this, but…tell me this cat isn’t posing!


“How’s that one, Mom? Did you get it?”

Aby-a-Day – October 23: Going up, safely

One year ago today, Jacoby ran up an escalator and his toes got caught in the machinery. Thankfully, thankfully, Jake’s completely fine. Apart from a slightly deformed claw on his back foot, he bears no scars from his accident.


But he will never be allowed to run up an escalator again, that’s for sure!


Technically, strollers aren’t supposed to be taken on escalators, either, but the elevator was broken at this station.

Cyoot Kitten Alert

I Can Has Cheezburger’s Cyoot Kitteh of the Day is a tiny Aby today!

How adorable is this little guy (or girl)?

Aby-a-Day – October 22: Visiting the welders’ kittens

As I’ve posted several times before, Jacoby and I often visit the semi-feral cats we call the “welder’s cat.” For the most part they are taken care of by the welders; they’re neutered, spayed, fed and sheltered.


However, every so often, we’ll see kittens over there. This is one of those years.




Jake does seem to like the welder’s cats, but that didn’t stop him from bluffing this year’s litter of kittens with a few hisses.


It didn’t work on this little grey girl we call Sarah, though. She brazenly came up and sniffed Jake’s tailtip.


Little scamp!

Aby-a-Day – October 21: He’s a big boy now (Friday Flashback)

It seems like Jacoby has always been a big boy, but when we first got him he was just a little guy. When you see a photo of him without something to measure him against, it’s hard to tell how big he is, but when there’s context, well…you can see he’s grown a lot since he was a kitten.



Compare him, for example, to the closet door in the bedroom…


Or to the flower print on our sheets…



You can really see how much he’s grown!


I always say that Abys don’t look like kittens for very long. They turn into little miniature adults a lot sooner than other cats do.


Of course, no matter how big he gets, some things never change.


He’s still as playful as a kitten – that hasn’t changed!

OMG! Chanan!

Warning: Cat geekery and photography fangirling to follow…

The Halloween weekend Groton CT show has added CHANAN as the show photographer!

They are THE cat photographer in the biz. They are, seriously and without a trace of hyperbole, a legend. They’ve been photographing cats at cat shows since 1976 and you see their signature on at least half of all the pro shots you see anywhere. Basically, everyone who takes photos of cats wants to be like them.

I really want to have Chanan photos taken of Jacoby on his Grand Premier weekend. This is an incredible, and really rare, opportunity! I got pro shots of Jake taken at his first show done by a person just starting out…and they’re awesome and I use them a lot…but Chanan is just…it’s like having a Tiffany diamond or Kobe beef. It’s just the apex of its genre.

Here’s a couple of my favourite shots taken by the pro photog at the show in Milton this past February:




Chanan’s prices aren’t as bad as you’d think, and it varies a bit depending on how many photos are deemed worthy. I’m thinking to have Jake’s photos done the second day, and perhaps have him pose with the ribbons he’s won in the past. I’d also like to have a photo or two of us taken together; since Sunday of the show is the day before Halloween, I’ll be in costume and I’d love to have a shot of us together in our Halloweeny finest.

But, wow…the chance to have Jake’s photos taken by the best in the business? I am PSYCHED!

Aby-a-Day – October 20: What makes you so special?

Like most households, cats are not allowed on the counters in our apartment.


While most of the cats know this rule and abide by it, for some reason Jacoby seems to think that the rule doesn’t apply to him.


I am not sure why he thinks this.


We tell him, “No, Jake!” and “Get down, Jake!” but he doesn’t listen.


Actually, I take that back. Jake does listen. We tell him, “Get off the counter, Jake!” and he does get off the counter.




Because sitting on the rice cooker is not, technically, sitting on the counter. It’s sitting on the rice cooker.


And Jake can’t see the meat from the floor, so he’s perfectly willing to push that technicality for a better view.