Aby-a-Day – June 30: The Annual comes but once a year

Sorry for the brevity of today’s entry…it’s been a long day, and I took nearly 3,000 photos this morning!

Today was the main day of breed council meetings at the CFA Annual Meeting, and I was fortunate enough to attend the Abyssinian Breed Council Meeting.

I feel the need for a disclaimer, here: I am not a morning person. Pretty much the only way I see the sunrise is if I stay up all night. And the Aby meeting was first on the schedule, thanks to the curse of the alphabet.

That being said, the meeting was fascinating. I went with Meg, and there were people I’ve met before, like Lauren Castle-Flynn and Lisa-Maria Padilla, and also people I’ve only conversed with by email, like Christine Ruessheim< and Susan Graham. We went around the room and introduced ourselves, and I was floored by hearing names I've only read on Jacoby's pedigree, names like Nepenthes, Saika Shams, Zehnder and Devande.

If you're wondering what happens at a breed council meeting at the Annual Meeting, well…it's not that mysterious. First, the rosettes were awarded to the breeders and/or owners of the Top Ten Abys Kittens, Top Ten Abys in Championship and Top Ten Abys in Premiership. There was Breed Council business, which mainly involved a discussion of allowing Ocicat breeders to use Abys as outcrosses in their breeding programs, but also touched on the issues around eight-generation rule and shorthaired Somalis in Aby lines.

But the best part of the meeting was the presence of our friend GP, NW Hitails Banjo Mooner.



Banjo was there with his person, Lisa-Maria Padilla.


He was very interested in the goings-on.


So interested that he had to get right up in the action.


Breed council secretary Darrell Newkirk scooped him up so that he could participate in the presentation of his own award. This is his Fifth Best Aby Kitten award.


He was also the Best Abyssinian Premier this year.


Banjo explored the entire room in the two hours we were in the meeting.



He made sure we were all safe from the threatening mosquito hawk that was flying around the window.


“It’s okay, he’s dead. And you’re welcome.”


Banjo did a little crowd-surfing, too. I posted all the Abyssinian winners back in May, and it was fun to meet the people behind the cats.

Aby-a-Day – June 29: Remembering Gun-Hee (Friday Flashback)

Yesterday was the 4th anniversary of the end of Gun-Hee’s battle with FIP. Even though we have Jacoby, his half brother, I still miss that little boy.


One of the last outings we took was on June 11; we went to Harvard Yard. He posed with John Harvard.


I didn’t notice it at the time, but he was already starting to show signs of the disease.


I still think about him every day. Having Jacoby is a bit like having a part of Gun-Hee back, but…


…it’s still not the same. Gun-Hee always seemed a little sad, like he knew he’d have to leave sooner than he should.

There is some good news, though: Yesterday, at the Winn Foundation Symposium at the CFA Annual Meeting, Steve Dale announced that the Winn Foundation had just that day been given a cheque for $10,000 expressly for FIP research (as a donation to their Bria Fund)! What great news!

Aby-a-Day – June 28: You don’t ask, you don’t get

Angel has a special sixth sense when it comes to food.


If someone is eating anything that she thinks is even remotely appetising, she wants some.


She does this all the time. I’ve only just managed to get some photos of it.


What she also does is stand on the arm of the hand holding the fork. I wasn’t able to catch that.


That’s because my fork hand was busy holding the camera.



What I also couldn’t really capture was the all very loud purring that she was doing while trying to charm me out of my salmon.

Winn-ing the fight against FIP

Interesting the way things collude sometimes, isn’t it?

An interesting new study just came to my attention today via the Winn Foundation blog: Risk factors for feline infectious peritonitis in Australian cats

According to the blog entry, “the purpose of this study was to determine whether patient signalment (age, breed, sex, and neuter status) is associated with naturally-occurring feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) in cats in Australia.”

Of course, Australia, being an island nation, makes a nice enclosed laboratory for a study like this. What I didn’t know (but have suspected), is this: Pedigreed cats were significantly over-represented and domestic crossbreeds under-represented in FIP cases. Several breeds were over-represented, including British Shorthair, Devon Rex, and Abyssinian. Male cats had a significantly higher proportion of representation than female cats.

That dovetails nicely with my personal theory that there is at least some component of FIP that involves the Y chromosome. And I hadn’t seen that Abyssinians were one of the more susceptible breeds before this article. There’s a related article which explores this further: “Abyssinians, Bengals, Birmans, Himalayans, Ragdolls and Rexes had a significantly higher risk, whereas Burmese, Exotic Shorthairs, Manxes, Persians, Russian Blues and Siamese cats were not at increased risk for development of FIP.”

Interesting! And what’s more, this weekend is the CFA Annual Meeting, and just so happens to be about 6 or 7 stops away on the red line in Quincy. I’m going to the Winn Foundation Symposium this afternoon; the subject is “Diving Into the Feline Gene Pool” and one of the speakers is Dr. Leslie Lyons from UCD, who pretty much invented all those Cat Genetics and Ancestry tests that I got for Kylie. She and her study are also the subject of a National Geographic feature entitled “The Science of Cats.” I can’t wait!

Then, on Saturday, I’ll be attending the Abyssinan Breed Council Meeting with Meg. That should also be quite an experience.


But the biggest reason that it’s somehow fitting that all these things fall into place on today of all days? Today, in 2008, was the day that Gun-Hee lost his battle with FIP.

Edit: Steve Dale posted a recap of the Symposium on his Pet World blog on the Chicago Now website. Check it out! There’s also a shot of our friend Banjo Mooner greeting everyone as they came in. You can also see me in one of the photos…well, my arm and one eye, anyway…

Aby-a-Day – June 27 – Wordless Wednesday (I must go, my people need me)


Other People’s Abys – The Birthday from Outer Space

Everytime I find something super awesome and Aby-related, I wonder how the heck I didn’t know about it before. This is one of those things. And, wow…Just check this out!


This woman’s son is obsessed with The Cat From Outer Space, which in itself is a little slice of awesome, since the boy is almost 8, now, and that movie came out in 1978. This was two years ago, and his mom and dad threw him a “Cat From Outer Space” 6th birthday party. Honestly? I’m jealous. I want a party like this!

She says, Parker, being a big fan of felines, loved it [the movie]. By the time it was over, he already had decided we would “play” the movie, with each of us taking on different roles. He is now “Jake” (the cat), my husband is “Frank” (the scientist who helps him) and I’m “the lady.”

So, he made him a stuffed Jake, complete with space collar, and her husband made him Jake’s spaceship, and they did a whole cat-space-themed party. So brilliant I can’t stand it.

She used the same stuffed Ragdoll pattern that I used to make Angel’s Mini-Me! I love how it turned out, too. I should try stretching it the way she did.

And how did I discover this amazing thing? Someone said they thought that Jacoby was “a very small alien hiding inside a cat suit,” and I, referencing the movie, responded that it wasn’t completely beyond the realm of possibility. And that lead to me to the bright (you should pardon the expression) idea of trying to find an illuminated collar for Jacoby to wear for Halloween. When I Googled “Cat From Outer Space Collar,” I discovered the stuffed Jake.

Her idea for the collar is pretty clever, too. It looks fantastic! It doesn’t light up, but it’s still very realistic.

Still, is it wrong to really want the same party a six-year-old had two years ago?

Aby-a-Day – June 26: The other person’s rice cake always looks bigger (Cartoon Tuesday)

We recently discovered that Angel is gaining weight. And then we realised why she’s gaining weight: she’s been eating everyone else’s food! She would go around and check everyone else’s bowls and eat whatever was left over. Whether or not they were actually done eating.


Of course, her own food was, apparently, not as tasty as the other cats’ food…despite being exactly the same

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

Aby-a-Day – June 25: Lazy summer afternoon (Hipstamatic Monday)

It’s been really hot in Boston the past few days.


Even though we have air-conditioning, the hot weather still makes for sleepy afternoons.


Jacoby was napping in the “big bed” this weekend and I crept up to catch him in the act…


…I woke him up.


But that didn’t last long.


As soon as he realised that I was just taking photos of him again, he quickly lost interest.


“Okay, mom…I don’t need to be awake for this.”

The internet is a series of tubes, and those tubes are filled with Abyssinians

What would we do without the internet?

Cat World is a great UK cat magazine, but it’s really expensive to get here in North America. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t read its articles! Not sure how long this is valid, but right now you can download an Aby feature article Cat World online for £1.99. You get a printable, savable PDF file, and it’s a pretty good article, with a focus on all the silver colours as well as the Big Four. It’s also got a bit of UK breeding history about the first half of the 20th Century.

This was also published on I Can Has Cheezburger’s CoMixed site:

I believe it!

CFA Yearbooks – History Preserved

I’ve been collecting up old CFA yearbooks for the past couple of years; specifically, I’ve found as many of the issues with Abyssinian or Somali articles. It amazes me that this isn’t collected coherently online anyplace!

However, I did find a couple of articles on a Russian Blue cattery site. Of course, the articles they have are mainly about Russian Blues, but I did find an interesting article about general cat colour genetics that was published in the 1995 edition entitled “How to Paint a Cat.”


And look at who they have illustrating a Ruddy Abyssinian! It’s GC Tinbats Searching for Caleb…who just happens to be Jacoby’s maternal great-great grandmother’s paternal great-grandfather. Or, to explain it another way:

Tinbats Searching for Caleb (born 1992) -> Tinbats Morgan’s Passing -> Mellowmews JP Morgan -> Zehnder’s Best Bette of Davende -> Zehnder’s Cuba of Instincts -> Instinct’s Raspberry of Abysills -> Jake’s mother, Instinct’s Santa Catalina of Pellburn!

Pretty nifty, eh?

Aby-a-Day – June 24: Do you canoe?

When Jacoby and I were enjoying the sun on the Fort Point Pier, a man came to use it for its actual intended purpose.


He came onto the dock with a large bag and a pump, and proceeded to inflate a one-man kayak.


It was pretty interesting. Those things take a long time to blow up!



Eventually, his kayak was inflated, he put on his lifejacket and paddled off.




I wonder if Jake would like to go on a boat ride?

Today is Cat World Domination Day (and also Sparkle’s birthday)


Happy Birthday, Sparkle!

Aby-a-Day – June 23: “It’s no use of talking unless people understand what you say”

Sanna-Leena Santapakka posted a fabulous picture of her fawn Aby, Sketski, to the The Abyssinian Cat Club on Facebook:

Isn’t it great? I love shots of Abys talking.


Bastet knows, I have plenty of photos of Jacoby with his mouth open.


He talks constantly; he actually talks more than any of the Siamese I’ve lived with. He actually talks to himself sometimes; I’ll hear him in the other room, all by himself, chatting away.


Jake wishes Hyvää juhannusta ja yötön yö to his friend Sketsi in Finland!

Abys in Need – Aerial up a tree in Attleboro

Another found Abyssinian…and this one really hits close to home!


I got this email this afternoon from the NAR List about an Abyssinian up a tree in Attleboro, MA:

I am hoping that your organization has a local chapter or contact here in Massachusetts. I rescued an adolescent Abyssinian about two weeks ago – from three stories up in a tree! I have posted notices and called all area shelters to alert them that I have this little girl and am looking for her family. I cannot believe that no one appears to be out frantically looking for this purebred Aby. She had a decorative collar but no microchip or other identification. I cannot keep her. I already have three cats of my own. I want to find her a loving forever home and am being very careful not to let her fall into the hands of anyone who would just sell her for a profit.

Neighborhood reports are sketchy, but she appears to have been on her own for at least a week before I took her in. She had become very, very skinny. As it turned out, she would be in the tree top for three days through wind and rain before I could find help to rescue her. I named her Aerial. Efforts to find her owner/family have been unsuccessful and we cannot keep her. Looking for a loving forever home for a little girl who deserves someone who will adore her for the special kitty she is. She’s had a tough start with a family who doesn’t seem to care about her disappearance, “rescue” teams who couldn’t be bothered to save her, and now a foster home that can’t keep her. Here’s hoping that these difficult early chapters of her life are about to end as a new, happy story begins for her future!

Wow, right? It’s like something you’d see on a Lifetime movie. Poor girl! It’s been fairly good weather around here, but it has been raining and windy.

My friend Meg is in that neck of the woods, too; I wonder if she knows anything about her?

If you can help, call Rose Marques at 401-580-9898 or email ladylandscape10@hotmail.com

Aby-a-Day – June 22: It’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood (Fashion Friday)

These are some more photos from the 2010 backlog…these were taken on a gorgeous Sunday in October, a week before Jacoby’s escalator accident. It was one of the first times the temperature was right for Jake to wear his new custom-made sweater, and we’d just taken a routine trip to CVS with his stroller.


It was one of the first times the temperature was right for Jake to wear his new custom-made sweater. Wewalked back along the Harborwalk, and on the way home we stopped off to visit the welder’s cats.



This little female (I call her Wendy, and I’ve known her since she was a kitten) and Jake are old friends.


I have to admit, I was expecting hissing to break out at some point, but surprisingly, cats on both sides of the fence were just curious about each other.



I wonder what she thinks of Jake’s sweater?



When we visit the welder’s cats, I always think of the Warriors books, and what these cats must think of the pampered kittypet in his wool sweater. Of course, the welder’s cats aren’t warriors; they’re more like Ravenpaw and Barley living in the barn. Wendy even looks a bit like Ravenpaw…



But then, Jacoby isn’t just a kittypet. He doesn’t know how to hunt, but he gets along with everyone. He’s kind of like Switzerland in that regard.


(Tell me this cat doesn’t know he’s being photographed!)


But I still always wonder what the welder’s cats think of Jake when he comes to visit.

Abys in Need: Sir Tut in Northern California (Pleasanton)

This came to me from my Aby Rescue list, but today’s Aby in Need is being fostered at the same home that Angel lived in!


Check out Purebreds Plus‘ newest Aby:

Sir Tut is a wonderful, wonderful Abyssinian boy. He isn’t the “all the way to the highest point in the room” type Abyssinian, but he is the nicest boy you will ever meet. He loves to give head butts, share his day with you with his quiet voice and wants to be with you, helping you with whatever he thinks you need help with. Tut has a beautiful ruddy coat and gorgeous green eyes. He weighs 8 1/2 pounds. And know that 9 year old Abyssinians are still very active cats. Someone will be very lucky to adopt this boy and have him in their life.

But the Sir Tut described above is a stark contrast to the boy who came into rescue 3 months ago. Tut came into rescue at 5 1/2 pounds. When you looked at him from behind, his fur stuck up on his spine. It was very sad. He was not only mad at having been in the shelter but also mourning the lost of his owner, who was older and could not live on his own anymore. Tut had been an only cat and in the same home for his whole life. But Tut was obviously a spoiled boy and those life experiences have left lasting peculiarities that his foster mom has dealt with and his future owners will need to be aware of and watchful over. First, Tut needs to be an only cat. He may do alright with a very gentle dog but a slow introduction will be necessary. But most importantly, Tut needs a not so normal cats diet. His foster mom has tried feeding him everything, but this what Tut will eat: Evo dry cat food (just a little but he eats it), roasted chicken bought at the store (also probably roast turkey), boiled chicken, raw ground meat once a week, chicken and turkey lunch meat, chicken baby food fingers, and chicken baby food with vitamins mixed in each day. Tut also is particular about where he drinks his water. He loves his own glass on the counter. His foster mom thinks he would do well with a water fountain as he loves to drink from the facet.

Sir Tut is healthy, neutered, FELV/FIV negative, current on FVRCP and Rabies shots and microchipped. He also had a blood test done and all values are normal. He is being fostered in Pleasanton.

If you would like more information about Sir Tut, call his foster mom, Karen at (770) 301-6425 or k.pahler@comcast.net

Aby-a-Day – June 21: Summertime and the living is easy

It’s finally getting warm and sunny in Boston.


The other weekend, Jacoby and I went for a little walk along the Harborwalk, and we had a little picnic lunch on Fort Point Pier.


It’s really nice to sit there; the dock moves with the water and the gentle rocking is so relaxing.


Jake, my little daredevil, insisted on perching on the bracket that holds the dock onto the piling. I held his leash very tightly when he did that, but I didn’t want to be a helicopter pet parent who never allows a cat to explore.


Still, I wasn’t really able to relax unless he was on the wood Part of the dock.


He didn’t let me relax for long!


I think he just wanted to be as close to the water as he could get.


I didn’t see any fish, but I know they’re in the channel. While we were on the dock, I saw a cormorant come up with one in its beak. Maybe Jake could see them in the water even though I couldn’t.

Jacoby featured on Pawcurious! Pride isn’t just for lions anymore

Over on Pawcurious, Dr. V is featuring photos depicting readers’ pets illustrating the Seven Deadly Sins.

Today’s featured sin is “Pride”…so of course I sent in the photo of Jacoby and his mistletoe hat!


You know what they say…”Pride goeth before a fall.” Better be careful up there on the top of the cat tree, Jake.

Aby-a-Day – June 20: Wordless Wednesday (Jake loves Kylie)


Aby-a-Day – June 19: Think Outside the Box (Cartoon Tuesday)

I’m sure this is what Jacoby’s thinking when he’s playing with a box.


I literally thought of this cartoon today while at lunch. It may be the fastest concept-to-blog cartoon yet.

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