Aby-a-Day – February 29: Wordless Wednesday (Only once every four years)


The Book of the Cat

I was given a copy of The Book of the Cat (edited by Michael Wright and Sally Walters) for my 17th birthday, and it was one of the best birthday gifts I have ever gotten.

Originally published in 1980 and currently out of print, even 30 years later it’s still one of the most informative and useful cat books I own. I actually searched for years to find a hardcover copy, and I refer to this book frequently.


This book is one of my biggest influences. It features breed paintings by Peter Warner that are among the best I’ve ever seen. One of his illustrations of a Siamese was the genesis of my first tattoo, of my Siamese Harri.


It also has a copy of this photo, the first I ever saw of all four Aby colours (red/sorrel, fawn, ruddy/usual and blue) in one single litter. The first book I saw this photo in was a Christmas gift in 1974, and that was when I fell in love with blue Abys.


And this photograph I have just always, always loved. The obvious affection between this Aby and his person has always made me so happy.

The point of this post is that I happened upon a spare copy of this wonderful, beloved book a few days ago. It’s a paperback edition, printed in the UK, in almost perfect condition – the cover’s got a bit of a ding, but all the pages are there and the binding is like new. And I love this book so much, I want to share it with the world.

However, I only have one spare copy. So I can only share it with one of you. Leave a comment on this post by Sunday, March 4, at 3am Eastern time (midnight for you west-coasters), and I’ll randomly select one lucky reader to win!

A 16-ring cat show that’s accessible by public transit? Sign us up!

Very exciting and last-minute development, everyone: Jake and I are going to a cat show this coming weekend! We’re entered in the TICA show in Providence, RI, which is very cool and very interesting for a number of reasons. First and foremost, since it’s in Providence, Jake and I can take the commuter rail to the show all by ourselves, like we did when we went to the Mansfield show back in August. The show is at the Rhode Island Convention Center, which is connected to the Westin Hotel (which is, of course, pet friendly) by a skybridge, and which is only a third of a mile from the Providence train station. So the logistics of doing a show without a car are covered very nicely.

The fact that this is a TICA show is really exciting. I’ve never been to a TICA show as a spectator, let alone an exhibitor, so it’s going to be a whole “brand new frontier” kind of experience. Jake, who is a Grand Premier in the CFA, will be starting out at ground zero as a Novice in TICA, so that makes it a little more interesting than going to another CFA show where Jake’s already in the upper echelon. Not that we won’t ever do CFA again, but it’s really kind of nice to be able to start over from scratch and become a Champion Alter in another registry. And, the thing that really got my attention is, this is a SIXTEEN RING SHOW! Most two-day CFA shows are eight or ten rings, twelve at the most, for both days, but this? This is huge. Sixteen rings is like two shows worth of judging.


I have my TICA registration sorted; I will have to register Jake in TICA, but a cat is allowed one show with registration pending, and I’m already working on getting him registered. If I’m reading the instructions correctly, I just need Sherry to sign a copy of a three-generation pedigree and pay TICA $20, so that’s not too difficult.

I also checked in with Abyfriend Molly from Tigerflower, who checked her contacts and found a friend of hers knows someone who has an Aby who will be at the show. She forwarded me part of the email, which said, “I know Tammy, who is showing the alter she got from me, will be there. Dexter is number one alter Aby in TICA right now, but we will welcome competition.” So knowing there’ll be another Abyssinian there – a really good one – makes it even more interesting. I can’t wait to see how Jake does against the “best neutered Aby in the registry,” you know? And I love the name Dexter for an Aby! I wonder if he is a cereal killer..?

Not only that, but it appears that the TICA show is being held in conjunction with the 19th Annual Rhode Island Pet Show, so there’ll be a lot to see besides the cat show (assuming I have any time to go look at it, with eight rings a day).

(Note to self: There has got to be a cat show filk in there somewhere: “Eight Rings a Day”…)

I also got a good tip from Sheila Dentico of Abyroad on the Unusual Aby Yahoo group: she said she thinks two friends of hers are going to be there with a Cinnamon Silver Somali (try saying THAT 5 times fast!), so I’ve got another name to look for. And, wow…never seen a Cinnamon Silver anything in person before…oh, brave new cat association, that has such kitties in’t!

As it was explained to me: TICA shows typically have more rings than CFA shows, anywhere from 10 rings up. 16 is pretty high, but they are trying to max the number for the end of show season shows would be my guess. (The show season ends at the end of April.) The scoring for CH and Grand works rather differently, but they might hold a seminar to explain the scoring and the scoresheet in the catalog is not that hard to understand.

Also, all cats of a color/division/breed compete with each other, no separation by sex or title level at all. And the judge does NOT know what title any cat has achieved, so it is much more democratic. So even a cat that is not yet a Champion might get a Best Cat if it is really good.

Susan Graham, from Aksum Abys, who knows TICA well, sent me some information on scoring and also a really nifty Excel spreadsheet to keep track of any points Jake might earn this weekend. I love Excel, and I have a feeling that this will come in awfully handy!


And, speaking of cat shows, I happened to find this photo from 1982 of my first “show cat,” Sgt. Pepper, who was a chocolate-point and white HHP. This is back in the Dark Ages before we had SurdiShelters and used bedsheets for cage curtains!

Big weekend with new frontiers ahoy!

Aby-a-Day – February 28: Round and round she goes… (Cartoon Tuesday)


Angel really does chase her tail on the top of the cat tree; I Tweeted a couple of these photos when it happened, but since I took them from a distance in poor light with my phone, they were pretty bad. So I drew them instead.

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Other People’s Abys – An Aby mention in the 500th Simpsons episode?!

I have to admit, I’m not a big Simpsons fan. When it started, I lived in a place without a local Fox affiliate, and, not being able to watch the show, I just never really got into it when it started.

However, I am not oblivious to the show, which, after 23 years on the air, just broadcast its 500th episode on February 19th. And how could I not notice a mention of an Abyssinian on this bastion of American popular culture?

To wit: “I’m at least as smart as a cat, right, Lou?” “What breed, Chief? I mean, I saw an Abyssinian once who could change channels.”

Want to see/hear it for yourself? The episode is available to watch on the official Simpsons website, but hurry: it expires in 26 days! (The pertinent scene is in the third section, roughly at 15:10.)

Happy birthday, Do Lou!

Just wanted to wish a quick “Happy Birthday” to diabetic blue Aby Do Lou, who turns 9 this year!

Here’s to many, many more!

Aby-a-Day – February 27: Bright and colourful (Hipstamatic Monday)

I love how bright and oversaturated these photos are.


They seem so cheerful for the end of February, don’t they?


They say Abyssinians are “the colourful cat,” and, well, I guess Jacoby lives up to that.

Other People’s Abys – A random collection of Abyssinians

Just a few things you, my readers, have shared with me.

Virginia D. sends me wonderful things, like this video of Little Man demanding to be combed:

She also sent me this hilarious LOLcat starring two red/sorrel kits:

Then, I got an email from a woman in Finland, Sanna-Leena, who thought that Jacoby was his cousin Toki. She also posted this photo on the Abyssinian Cat Club Facebook group with the caption “I think I just duplicated Kossi, whoops”…

Speaking of cousin Toki Nantucket, Julie emailed me to let me know that Toki was featured on Buzzfeed!

Finally, I was looking for old cat food print ads today, and I discovered this:


OMG, I remember this food! I remember being so impressed with those little yellow “nutrition nuggets” in the packets. I actually remember these boxes! There was also a blue one with a black and white tuxedo kitten, which I think was chicken, and there was also a yellow box with I think had a white Persian on it, which was probably tuna. Wow. I found this scan, and I was instantly transported back to 1974 and feeding my cats in the garage of our old house.

Finally, I’m kind of bummed that Puss in Boots didn’t win the Academy Award…but the movie with the dog won. Sigh.

Aby-a-Day – February 26: King of the (box) castle

Recipe for fun: 1 cat + 1 box.


Add sunshine.


Let sit until well blended.


Be alert for any silly faces.


Photograph heavily until the mixture shifts.



Aby-a-Day – February 25: Every day is Boxing Day!

Sometimes, I wish I could be a cat. It must be awesome to get so excited about an ordinary cardboard box.


Don’t Jacoby and Tessie look like they’re having fun?

Aby-a-Day – February 24: Cuffs for the well-dressed cat (Fashion Friday)

After posting photos of Jacoby in his tuxedo suit, tie, dickey and top hat, I realised that he needed some cuffs (with cufflinks, of course) to complete his outfit


As luck would have it, such things are readily available on Etsy.


I didn’t want to put the whole formal ensemble on him to try on the cuffs, but that didn’t stop him from posing with them.


He’s such an obliging model!


Of course, pheasant feathers help.




Hey, we all have our little tricks of the trade!

Aby-a-Day – February 23: The one-eyed cat is queen

Yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday photo was an accident; I didn’t mean to take that photo with the flash on. And, whenever I can, I touch the eye reflections up in Photoshop. But this photo shows the “scars” on Angel’s good eye so well, I left it the way it was.


I’m not sure if it’s because of the eye infection she had as a kitten, but most of the time when you look at Angel’s eye, it’s dilated and dark. Only in certain light does it look like a regular cat’s eye.


And I’m not even sure what the “perfect” conditions are for her pupil to turn into a typical cat-like slit. It’s not just bright sunlight. It seems to need to be the right kind of bright sunlight.


I find it interesting when her eye looks “normal.”


So when I see it, I tend to take a lot of photos of her.


And as long as I remember to turn off the flash, Angel’s totally fine with that :-)!

Abys in Need – A Happy Ending for Topaz

You may recall my post of a couple of weeks ago about a handsome red/sorrel Aby who was found in a parking lot in Alexandria, VA. Well, I am happy to report that he has found a new home.

The following emails were sent to one of my Aby lists:

First, his rescuer wrote: Thanks so much for your help. I have gotten a few “nibbles” already, but nothing that suitable yet. There has plenty of time to assess his personality, and Topaz really needs to be an only cat, but all the respondents to your SOS email thus far have been people looking for a second or third Aby to join their family.

Also, I do not think that he would travel well, so potential adopters in places in Texas just won’t do. I’m hoping to find him a home in the Greater Washington DC area of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. That covers a lot of territory, so, hopefully, someone out there would like to adopt Topaz.

I sent a more detailed response to someone else that I will share with you below because this response has more background information that you may find useful:


Emails are not the best way to communicate because they are so brief, so please allow me to go into more detail. I did not rescue Topaz last week when I sent the email to ARL (The Abyssinian Rescue League). I actually rescued him in November just before the holiday season started, so there has been ample opportunity for an owner to step forward to claim him, but that has not happened.

I have over 20 years of experience in animal rescue. As soon as I rescued him, I took him to my vet immediately to have him checked for a microchip and to do an exam and basic tests and shots. There was no chip. I also filed “found pet” reports and checked local shelters, vets, rescue groups for reports of missing Abys, canvassed the neighborhood for missing cat flyers, checked nearby apartment/condo buildings for reports of lost pets, checked the newspapers, pet blogs, Craigslist for lost pet notices, etc. I have done all the steps to locate an owner several times, but no one has claimed him. It is sad for any pet to be abandoned, especially such an unusual animal as Topaz. Unfortunately, though, as we animal rescuers know all too well, some people do abandon pets. When it is time to move, they leave the pet behind and then get a new pet at their new destination. I privately refer to such people as serial pet killers.

There are plenty of purebred pets on death row in animal shelters who can attest to the fact that even purebreds get abandoned. I, too, am amazed that this exceptional little fellow was dumped on the street, but that seems to be what happened. I could not believe what my eyes were seeing when I first spotted him slinking down the sidewalk in front of the mall! Even from a distance, I could immediately tell that he was either a purebred Aby or Oriental Shorthair who had no business being on the street!

The only other possibility that has occurred to me is that perhaps his owner died, and no surviving relative wanted that cat, so he was dumped. Unfortunately, that happens too. Based on reports from shopkeepers at the shopping mall where I found him, he was out there for about two weeks. One of the shop clerks left food for him. That is probably the only reason that he survived until I spotted him. It was pure chance that I was driving by at the right time and spotted him. What are the odds that an animal rescuer would drive by at just the right time — especially an animal rescuer who planned to go trapping that night to rescue a different cat, so food bait and a trap were on hand. After he got friendly with me, I just picked him up and popped him into the trap and took him to the vet. I seem to have my own “Thanksgiving” tradition of rescuing an animal from the street in November.

No one has filed a report of a missing pet Aby, no one has checked with local shelters about a lost Aby, etc. Some people go away for the holidays and the pet escapes while the in the care of the pet sitter, but there has been plenty of time for the owner to return from the holidays and reclaim, but that has not happened. Sometimes an owner has an accident or becomes ill and is hospitalized for a few weeks. Plenty of time has elapsed for an owner who was temporarily incapacitated to reclaim him, but no one has claimed him. During this waiting period, though, some good things have happened. His pawpads have healed (living on the street chapped his pads), he has gained weight, and now he is in good condition now for rehoming. I did not want to place him during the holidays any way since that is a bad time for pets to be adopted, so I wanted to wait until the New Year before mounting a full-scale effort for adoption.

He is a lovely cat, but no one can keep every animal that he or she rescues, and he really needs to be an only cat. I suspect that he was an only cat in his previous home because he is not fond of other animals. Since he is an Aby, I thought that it made sense to reach out to the Abyssinian Rescue League for help in finding him a new home. Any help that you can give would be most welcome. Finding a home with an experienced Aby owner would be ideal.


And, then, happy news! Topaz found his dream home! Sharon sent this follow-up to the Aby list:

I have very good news to share with you: I have found a wonderful home for Topaz,the young Abyssinian whom I found abandoned on the streets in Northern Virginia. Topaz will reign supreme as the only pet in a home where he will be spoiled rotten. The gentleman who is adopting comes from a family of experienced animal rescuers. He has wanted to adopt an Aby for some time, but he wanted to adopt a rescue animal. Finding a rescue Aby is not easy since Aby owners take tremendously good care of their pets, but, at last, his dream has come true with his adoption of Topaz.

I would like to thank you and your colleagues with their assistance in this search for a new home for Topaz. Several people responded to the “SOS” that you sent on behalf of Topaz, but, since Aby people love Abys so much that they have more than one Aby, none of them could offer Topaz a home where he would be the only pet. Your support and theirs, though, meant a great deal to me as I searched for the right home for Topaz.

Let’s hear it for happy endings! I’m so glad to hear that this boy has a new home.

Aby-a-Day – February 22: Wordless Wednesday (Angel’s good eye)


Aby-a-Day – February 21: Everyday I’m Strollerin’ (Cartoon Tuesday)


I say this all the time about Jacoby and his stroller; you have to admit, it’s a pretty pimped out ride.

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Emmy and Allie – An Update!

Kelli, who found her younger Aby, Allie, through this blog, sent me this update today:

I took this short video this weekend of my two girls. As you can see, they have quickly become the best of friends. Allie is getting so big so fast. They always grow up too quickly!

How adorable is this? Didn’t I say they’d be fast friends before long?

Aby-a-Day – February 20: Statuesque (Hipstamatic Monday)

Jacoby sometimes seems to pose without even trying.


I came upon him sitting on the cat tree in the entryway, doing a very nice impression of an Egyptian Bastet sculpture.


He was doing it without there being a camera pointed at him, but once I did aim a camera at him, he kicked it up a notch.


“I see you, camera.”


Look at him flex!


Such a ham.



My husband set his coffee mug down next to Jake, and even that, his reaction to the coffee mug, is a photo op for my little camera ham kitty.


I love this little brown guy.

Aby-a-Day – February 19: Nom nom nom

I love to watch Angel eat.




She doesn’t really like to eat on the floor, so she lifts her head and looks around frequently.




Sometimes, she needs to chew.






When I flip through these photos quickly on my camera, they look like a little movie. It’s like one of those old-style cartoon flip books we used to make.

Heads will roll!

I just had to share this with you all. Abyfriend Mycrobe, who made the wonderful catnip sampler I posted about this week, just listed a fabulous new creation: A Catnip Abyssinian Head!

How great is this? I love the description, too: Is it an Abyssinian cat or is it a mutant rabbit? You decide! Well, I say it’s an Aby, and I say it’s awesome!

Aby-a-Day – February 18: Saturday night bath

Angel loves the top of the cat tree.


She obviously feels very safe and secure up there, as evidenced by her bathing routine.










I mean, she feels really secure up there!





Even though Tessie is just over there on the top of the other tree, too.


Of course, Tessie is on Angel’s blind side, so maybe Angel doesn’t know she’s there.