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.

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

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He was very interested in the goings-on.

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

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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.

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He was also the Best Abyssinian Premier this year.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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…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.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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)

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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!

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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.

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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.)