Aby-a-Day – April 30: Really, Jake? Really?

Jacoby cannot not be in a photo.


Angel is not pleased…

Aby-a-Day – April 29: The OTHER side of Jacoby’s bedside manner

As I illustrated in this past Tuesday’s cartoon, Jacoby really doesn’t like it when I sleep in on Saturdays.


I can’t tell you how many mornings I’ve woken up to this face hovering over me.


However, yesterday I managed to get a semi-decent shot of Jake’s favourite wake-up trick of biting and pulling on my earrings to get me up. Granted, these were taken with the iPhone’s front camera, which isn’t very high-res, but you can see what he’s doing.


He’s a smart cat. It’s really hard to sleep through someone trying to yank your earrings off of your head.

Aby-a-Day – April 28: Jake the therapy cat

It’s been a while since Jacoby and I have done any Pet Partners visits, and that’s mainly due to my having surgery last August. But that doesn’t mean Jake isn’t therapeutic!


I stayed home sick one day this week with an attack of vertigo, and when I woke up from a nap, this was the first thing I saw.


Jake had cuddled up against my stomach to help me feel better! I had to carefully reach for my iPhone to get a photo without disturbing him, so this is a very close close-up shot!


To orient yourself in the photo, the burgundy and blue-and-white-flowered comforters are to the left. I’m on top of the comforters, and the black at the upper right is what would be my lap if I were sitting up.


The one thing I wish I’d been able to capture is the cute little stretch/hugging his back legs thing he did when I woke up and petted him.

Aby-a-Day – April 27: Angel and Jacoby, a love story (Friday Flashback)

When Jacoby was a kitten, he and Angel used to playfight together tirelessly…

















They used to be so much fun to watch…they would just chase each other for hours. I even managed to capture it on video…this is when Jake’s a bit older than the photos above, however.

They need to start playing like that more; Angel’s becoming a bit of a butterball lately! A little workout with a ruddy sparring partner might be just the thing.

Aby-a-Day – April 26: Sound asleep

Angel’s most favourite place to sleep, as I’ve mentioned many times before, is in front of our large flat-screen TV.


Which I get. I mean, it makes total sense: it’s warm, it’s right where we’re always looking so she feels safe from sneak Tessie attacks, and she’s literally basking in our attention.


But, depending on what we’re watching, it’s loud. I’m always impressed that she can crash out so completely in such a noisy place!

Aby-a-Day – April 25: Wordless Wednesday (Draw Something!)




Aby-a-Day – April 24: Agree to Disagree (Cartoon Tuesday)

This is a fairly accurate representation of what happens chez us on any given Saturday.


Today is also Kylie’s 7th birthday! Happy birthday Miss Kylie!

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

Aby-a-Day – April 23: Angel in the sun (Hipstamatic Monday)

Angel is so photogenic.



I mean, really. She seems to be in the shadow of the other cats sometimes, but look at that face!


…Even when Jacoby barges in. Because apparently I’m not allowed to take a photo without him.

Abys in Need: Abyssinian and Egyptian Mau in Iowa Shelter

Stories like this always make me sad. Two seven-year-old bonded buddies, King Louie the Aby and Little Dragon the Egyptian Mau, are looking for a new home in Iowa. They’re being fostered on behalf of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa in Des Moines. It doesn’t say why these two gentlemen are in need of a new family, but they’ve been homeless for over a month already.

King Louie is a purebred red/sorrel Aby. He’s a little chubby, and he’s the shyer of the pair.

Little Dragon is a striking silver Egyptian Mau, and he’s said to be “like a dog” in many ways.

According to the website: These guys are a friendly pair who make themselves at home quickly. Dragon, a purebred Egyptian Mau, is the more affectionate, outgoing and vocal of the two. It may take a little longer for him to warm up, but once he does, he’ll be your best bud! He actually acts like a little dog sometimes — he likes being roughhoused, head-butted and scratched. Louie, a purebred Abyssinian, is a watcher-on-the-sidelines. He observes everything, and you can see how intelligent he is as he considers every situation. These boys are a great pair and love each other very much. They need a very quiet home with either older kids or no kids and preferably no other pets. Louie has a tendency toward bladder crystals, so he will need to be on special food for the rest of his life.

If you know anyone in the area who needs a couple of lovely boys, please contact Carol at cgriglione@arl-iowa.org.

Aby-a-Day – April 22: Rubber baby buggy bumpers

As I mentioned last week. one of Jacoby’s birthday presents was a Hexbug Nano. Kylie’s birthday is this coming Tuesday, and she got a Nano, too…and Tessie and Angel will have Nanos, too…



…But they don’t get theirs until their birthdays, or their gotcha days, whichever comes first. I also got one for myself and one for my husband, so eventually we’ll have six Nano Hexbugs to play with.

I bought a couple of Hexbug habitat sets and built a pretty sweet track for the bugs to run on. I thought that if I had a habitat for them, they’d be less likely to get lost. Cat toys in our house have a bad history of getting lost in our house.




Jake, Kylie and Tessie were really excited about the Hexbugs.


Jake, especially.





The April birthday kitties, Jake and Kylie, especially enjoyed their joint birthday present.



It was really cute to watch them watch the Hexbugs.

So, just for fun, I made a video of Jake, Kylie and Tessie watching the Hexbugs. Disclaimer: it’s kind of dark, and it’s not super exciting, but it’s kind of cute and fun to watch, anyway. I know they weren’t made to be cat toys, but I can personally vouch for their popularity with the feline set.

In case you’re wondering, we did try to get Angel to join in…she seemed a little afraid of the Hexbugs. I hope he changes her mind when she gets her own bug.

Aby-a-Day – April 21: King of the bed

This big leopard-print bed was a Christmas present for all the cats. And it’s big enough to fit two, if not three, cats.


And on his birthday, Jacoby got the bed all to himself.


Although, he didn’t seem to like me taking photos of him in it.


He bore the attention well…


…although, clearly, I was keeping him awake.



Aby-a-Day – April 20: Bring in the Fun, Bring in the Toys! (Friday Flashback)

On one of the Aby lists, Hinka Chapman shared the following quote, said to her by one of her pet owners:

“Where there is no fun, Abys will create their own fun!”



Yep…sounds about right!



Jacoby has always had a fascination with plastic shopping bags.



He doesn’t seem to be outgrowing it, either. We have to hide bags from him because he chews the handles apart and he also gnaws holes in them, making them pretty useless for scooping the cat box (which is the reason we don’t always use more “green” shopping bags – if we did, we’d have nowhere to put the poop).

You may recall this documentary on what happens when Jake gets a hold of a bag…

Aby-a-Day – April 19: Pop goes the Angel

Angel, despite living with us most of her life, is still a skittish cat. She eats on the cat tree because she feels more secure up there. However, the way she eats up there is highly entertaining.


Her dish is placed on the middle level, which has a hole leading to the lower level.


And then Angel pops her head up through the hole like a whack-a-mole,




she takes a few bites,


goes back down to swallow,




then she pops back up to get some more!


It doesn’t seem like it’s a very comfortable way to eat.


However, it seems to work for Angel!

Aby-a-Day – April 18 – Wordless Wednesday (I am SO proud!)


Space: The Feline Frontier

Disclaimer: These are not Abys. But I had to share this with all of you because it’s awesome. I mean, what could be better than cats…in outer space? And you know that Abyssinians were the first spacecats

Anyway, behold: Cats in Space:

(If you watched Star Trek on the local independent station after school, you’re really going to love this.)

Also check out the “Making of” video…The kitties will assimilate you! Resistance is futile!

Aby-a-Day – April 17: Everybody knows his name (Cartoon Tuesday)

Jacoby really does react when he hears his name on TV. He hears “Jacoby” a lot, because Jerry Remy, one of the announcers on NESN, tends to call players by their first names or nicknames (he was a player, himself, once upon a time). But it’s amazing how many “Jake”s there are on TV (in fact, we’ve started asking Jake if he works for State Farm). While I was watching an episode of Law & Order: UK, a female character called the Jack McCoy counterpart’s name (Senior Crown Prosecutor Jacob Thorne, aka Jake), and it woke Jake the Abyssinian up from a deep sleep!

Since baseball season has started up, and since Jake’s birthday was yesterday, I give you this:


Unfortunately the real Jacoby injured his shoulder on Friday the 13th and will likely be out for two months…but our Jake will still hear his name a lot even if his namesake isn’t playing.

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

Aby-a-Day – April 16: Go me, it’s my birthday (Hipstamatic Monday)

Jacoby spent a lot of his birthday on Saturday parked in the big cat bed.


The cat bed, of course, happened to be in a really great sunbeam.


And Jake’s pretty sure that that sunbeam was just for him.


I’m the birthday boy, and this is all for me!

CSI: Kylie and Jacoby

I have been intrigued by genetics and inheritance since I was about four years old; my dad bought me a little book on zoology when I was seven and I wore out the part that illustrated basic Mendelian theory with black and white guinea pigs. Of course, cat genetics were my primary focus; in 7th grade, while everyone was trying to grasp how a green smooth pea and a yellow wrinkled pea would produce all green smooth peas, I was making a four-trait Punnett square showing to to breed a black Scottish Fold to a blue-point Siamese to get folded-eared, pointed cats (and I even took into consideration that the fold gene couldn’t be homozygous). Why didn’t I go to college for this stuff? Well…who knew this would actually turn out to be a “thing” back then?

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to get Kylie’s DNA tested because I just wanted to know if she really is part Maine Coon as I’ve always suspected. I also want to know if, underneath her big white spot, she’s actually a blue tabby (which the little patches on the top of her head when she was a kitten implied). But every time I looked, there “wasn’t a DNA test that could tell what breeds a cat was descended from, the way you can test a mixed-breed dog for its ancestral breeds,” because, basically, most cat breeds haven’t been distinct for as many generations as have dog breeds.

But I figured there HAD to be a way to figure out certain breed traits, since so many cat breeds are based on genetic mutations (Abys are, actually, one of the few breeds that aren’t really based on a mutation, interestingly enough). And, today, while answering a question about the Siamese (thermorestrictive partial albinism), I found (via this super-cute and also informative link) that UC Davis actually does several genetic tests for cats that, while not breed-detecting, can at least tell you some probable genetic contributors.

(Pause for a bit of irony: I grew up in Davis, California I did not go to UC Davis because, being a typical 17-year-old, I wanted to “get the hell out of town” as fast as I could…so I went to CSU Sacramento. Whoo hoo, moving on up to the big city!)

I ordered two tests for Kylie: the Longhair Mutation test, which will tell me which longhair mutation, if any, Kylie carries (N/M1, N/M2, N/M3 or N/M4: Cat has short hair and carries one copy of a long hair mutation. Cat can produce short and long-haired kittens depending on genotype of the mate), and the Coat Colour Panel, which will tell me, among other things, if she carries the Agouti (tabby) gene or the Dilute gene. So, finally, I’ll know if she is part Maine Coon and if she’s a blue tabby with a big white spot.

I also ordered a test for Jake, the PK Deficiency/Progressive Retinal Atrophy carrier combo test, because those are the two major genetic-related problems Abyssinians are known for, and it’d be nice to know if I might need to worry about them cropping up someday.

These are actually part their “birthday presents” this year, since they’re both born in April…talk about perfect timing!

And, when the results came back, I was so giddy!

Jake’s were all good news:

PK DEFICIENCY results for Pellburn Jacoby Stealin’ Home(CAT44879):
N/N – no copies of PK deficiency, cat is normal

PROGRESSIVE RETINAL ATROPHY (PRA) results for Pellburn Jacoby Stealin’ Home(CAT44879):
PRA-CEP290 Result:
N/N – Normal, cat does not have rdAc mutation
PRA-CRX Result:
N/N – Normal, cat does not have Rdy mutation

But Kylie’s results…WOW.

Agouti Result:
A/a – Offspring can be agouti or non-agouti depending on the genetics of the mating. (So, she is a tabby underneath the white!)

Amber Result:
E/E – No copies of the mutation for Amber. (Not a surprise)

Brown Result:
B/B – Full color, cat does not carry brown or cinnamon (Again, not a surprise)

Dilute Result:
D/d – One copy of dilute allele. Cat is a carrier of dilute. (She is NOT a blue. She carries it, but she’s not a blue tabby under the white. Which is interesting, because she had grey spots on her head. Hm. That result is kind of puzzling…)


I mean…she’s not a blue tabby? Don’t her little “racing stripes” look blue?


I mean…I guess they could be brown (genetically black) tabby marks, but they really look more blue than black to me. Still, DNA doesn’t lie, so it must be black.


Gloves Result:
N/N – Normal, cat does not have gloving. (So her white spotting is not the glove/mitted type).

Colorpoint Restriction Result:
C/c(s) – Carrier of Siamese colorpoint restriction (She carries the Siamese gene! That I wasn’t expecting! If she had kittens, they could have been pointed! This is definitely the shocker of Kylie’s colour results.)


She could have had kittens that looked like Patrick!

And her Longhair results…Well, I was right!

Genotype Result: N/M4

Cat has short hair and carries one copy of a long hair mutation. Cat can produce short and long-haired kittens depending on genotype of the mate.

M4 isn’t the genotype that’s specific to Maine Coons (that’s M3), but it does occur in Maine Coons. M4 is the longhair mutation that’s present in all longhaired cats. But still, I was right, one of her parents (or possibly a grandparent) was a longhair, and she may still actually be part Maine Coon (since she’s a native New Englander, it’s a pretty good bet that she is).

I just think it’s so very awesome that we can even get this kind of information on our random-bred, Craigslist kitty!

Aby-a-Day – April 15: Birthday presents!

The best part of any birthday is, of course, the presents! This year, I got Jacoby a couple of fun things along with some useful ones.


One of his gifts, his leopard-print harness and coat I already gave him when we went to the cat show in Providence last month. But I got him a snazzy coordinating Flexi-Fashion leopard-print leash to go along with them in situations where an extendable leash might be useful.


His one fun toy I got him is a Hexbug Nano glow-in-the-dark crawling bug. Technically, it’s not meant to be a cat toy…


…but it’s a glow-in-the-day robotic insect. Of course Jake loves it. It runs on batteries, so it needs to be played with under supervision.



Human supervision, Tessie! But, nice try.


And, last but not least, I gave him a Golden Pheasant tippet, because he loves feathers.


I tried to put the tippet on top of the Hexbug, but it vibrates too much to stay on without some sort of adhesive.


Kids these days seem to always prefer the new electronic toys over the old-style traditional toys, don’t they?

Aby-a-Day – April 14: Happy Birthday Jakey!

Today is a big day! It’s Jacoby’s third birthday!


I may make a bigger deal of this than I should, but because Gun-Hee didn’t make it to his second birthday…


I have always made my cats special “cat can cakes” for their birthdays.


This one was made using a specialty cat food from New Zealand I found, ZiwiPeak “Daily Cat” Moist Cuisine. This was venison and fish, and “fish” includes New Zealand Green-Lipped Mussels. And that candle on his “cake” is all-natural beeswax, so it’s especially non-toxic and good for cats.



Jake is fearless in the face of the lit candle. He loved his can cake this year!


I’m not sure if he really likes venison and fish, of if he’s really just happy to be eating something that isn’t UT diet.


Whatever it was, he really loved it!


I know I get a little silly about my cats’ birthdays, but when they enjoy it as much as I do, it’s hard not to get excited.

Happy birthday Jakey!