Aby-a-Day – November 30: Muttluks (Fashion Friday)

A couple of years ago, during the off-season, I picked up a set of Muttluks for Jacoby.


Since they were on super-sale (something like 75% off, as I recall), I didn’t have a choice of colour; hence the blue booties.


Since last winter was so warm, and there was so little snow, we never had a reason to use them. I found them while digging out the cats’ Christmas stuff and figured we should give them a trial run before actually wearing them outside.




This turned out to be a good idea; evidently, they take a little getting used to.


The FAQs say that dogs (and cats) accept their Muttluks more readily when they have them on in the snow, but Jake was getting the hang of them before too long despite being inside.



Although, perhaps the hallway wasn’t the best place to test them out, given his fondness for rolling on the carpet out there.


The reflectors work well, though!


A little more practice with the boots, and I think Jake will be all ready for a Boston winter. Muttluks were invented and are made in Canada, where they know winter; they’re like Sorels for the four-legged set.


Now all we need is some snow…

Aby-a-Day – November 29: “You do not need to belong to the cat for a long time to realize the main thing that cats like to do is to wrap theirselves up in mystery, perhaps only except for a hobby of jumbling up everything that is in order”

Jacoby loves to help.


He especially loves to help me with Christmas. As soon as I unzipped the tree bag, he was inside it.


I mean, really inside it.


I don’t know what it is about the tree. He just adores it. He sleeps underneath it, patrols the presents…he’s just all about the Christmas.



I found his mistletoe hat while unpacking all the decorations and put it on him. It didn’t stop him from helping with the tree one bit.



It just made him look more festive.



Jake is very thorough when it comes to holiday decoration quality control.


As you saw yesterday, he also helped me set up the tree.


I think this was a lighting preview, because the tree wasn’t plugged in yet.


Jake was a very helpful boy!


Meanwhile, Angel…well, Angel’s a little less into the holiday spirit than Jake is…

Aby-a-Day – November 28: Wordless Wednesday (Mother’s little helper)






Aby-a-Day – November 27: Under the tree (Cartoon Tuesday)

We put the Christmas tree up last weekend. Jacoby loves the tree…


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

Aby-a-Day – November 26: Helpful little Christmas elf (Hipstamatic Monday)

Jacoby loves the Christmas tree. He loves it up and lit, and he loves to help me set it up.



The moment I unzip the tree bag, he’s right there, helping.


Yep, he’s right there, in the bag.




I said if he was going to be such a helpful little Christmas elf, he should be wearing his mistletoe hat.


He really didn’t mind that at all. He was too busy. Helping.

Aby-a-Day – November 25: Aftermath

You simply cannot turn your back on the turkey carcass in our house.




Not ever.


Get down, Jake!

Aby-a-Day – November 24: No bones about it

There’s a little ritual in my family, handed down to me by my mother, involving the turkey neck that comes inside the whole bird along with the giblets.


Basically, in my family, the neck is a little big dinner preview. We cook it, plain with just a little salt and pepper, and maybe a touch of garlic.



Once I eat the meat off the neck, I throw the bones to the lions.



They are, as you can see, very popular around our house.


The Abys, especially, love the turkey neckbones.



As you can imagine, it’s a bit difficult for Angel to get a shot at the bones without being interrupted.


*Sigh* Super-Jake strikes again.

Aby-a-Day – November 23: Ghosts of Thanksgivings Past (Friday Flashback)

Jacoby’s always been helpful in the kitchen while cook the turkey.


His first Thanksgiving with us, he helped me by managing the thermometer…


..,and, of course, helping to put away the leftovers!


His second Thanksgiving, Jake was more involved with the actual cooking process.


He was very interested in the big piece of meat in the oven.


So interested, in fact, that he made a very serious attempt at opening the oven door!


If he were bigger, or the oven door was lighter, I’m sure he’d have been able to open it.

Aby-a-Day – November 22: Turkey Day

Jacoby was oh-so-helpful today in the kitchen.



And he was so excited!


I opened the oven for a bit so he could see the turkey better.


It smelled really good to my human nose; I can only imagine what it must have smelled like to a cat!

Abys and Thanksgiving

Abyfriend Kim posted this LOLcat to the Facebook Abyssinian Cat Club:

Oh, yeah, that’s an Aby all right (the body type is actually a lot like Angel’s). And it reminded me of a story I posted several years ago about an Abyssinian named Bird and a Thanksgiving Turkey:

Recently I was contacted by Marian Callison, proud owner of Birdie, an Abyssinian cat who has recently reached her 30th birthday. Below is a story that appeared in the Nevada Appeal in 2004 about Birdie.

Twenty-seven years ago, Marian Callison started what could have been a new Thanksgiving tradition when she served her family “individual turkeys” in place of a giant bird.

Instead of being browned and steaming on a platter in the middle of the table, her turkey was alone, frozen, and abandoned on the porch outside. Callison had left for work, her turkey defrosting on the counter. Upon her return, she began to stuff the bird and was scratched as she placed her hand inside the bird’s cavity. She said she thought it was odd, but guessed the bird’s breast bone had been broken and was scratching her.

She peeked inside.

Two eyes peeked back. Her year-old kitten, Bird, an avid fan of turkey, had climbed inside. “It was scary to see those little beady eyes looking back at you,” she said Monday from her Carson City home. “I tried for over an hour to get her out of that turkey. I called the Butterball hotline. I filled it full of hot water and shook it. She was so slimy I couldn’t grab her, and she had her claws dug in. “I worked for a vet and called him, and he couldn’t get her out. “I gave up and put the turkey outside on the porch. It was beyond cold.”

Callison went to the grocery store, where she bought Cornish game hens to serve, instead of her 21-pound Butterball. “Bird was shivering on the porch when I got back,” Callison said. “My son gave her a bath, and ever since then she’s liked a bath. She’s more like a dog than a cat.” Callison defrosted the game hens for dinner. “Everyone thought I was starting a new tradition,” she said.

The tradition took on a life of its own when the hosts of television show “Crook and Chase” interviewed the Butterball lady a decade ago. “She talked about this woman whose cat was stuck in the turkey,” Callison said. “We heard it again on reruns yesterday.”

Twenty-seven years later, the kitten Callison once held in her palm now weighs 16-1/2 pounds, walks on a leash, and squeaks like a bird instead of meowing.

“She’s a coyote-colored Abyssinian,” she said. “Turkey’s still her favorite dish.”

Kelli Du Fresne is city editor for the Nevada Appeal.

I guess Jacoby is somewhat more civilised…he prefers his turkey cooked!


NaNoWriMo: Day 17

Suddenly, the two cats heard a rustling up ahead.”What is that?!” Jacoby asked, alarmed.

“Shhh!” Romeo was already crouching down, still except for his wildly twitching tail tip.

“What are you doing?”

“Shh!!” Romeo flicked his ears back sharply. “You’ll spook it!”

“Spook WHAT?” Jacoby yowled, sitting down with a thump. Just then, there was a high-pitched squeak and a small dark shape skittered across the tracks. “Hey! You have toys down here?”

Romeo sat down, too, glaring at Jacoby. “No…we don’t have TOYS down here. We have FOOD down here. That. Was. A. Mouse.”

Jacoby shook his head, confused. “But…but…mice ARE toys.” Then, noticing the look in Romeo’s eyes, he hastily added, “Aren’t they?”

“No, Jake, not out here. Here, mice are something we eat,” Romeo snarled. “When we’re lucky enough to catch one. Which I usually am…when there isn’t someone meowing like crazy announcing to the mice that hey, there are cats here who’d like to eat them, if they don’t mind.”

“Oh…I’m sorry.” Jacoby dipped his head and ears contritely. Then he brightened and said, “Well, you can just go find another one, right?”

Romeo rolled his eyes. “Not now, I can’t. It’ll have run back to its nest and told all the other mice we’re here. It’ll be a while before we’ll be seeing any mice running around here. They’re edible,” he added, “but they aren’t stupid.”

Jacoby stared at his paws. “I’m really sorry, Romeo. I didn’t know. My humans just give us food.”

“Well, so do mine,” Romeo replied. “But that stuff they give us is nothing compared to a nice, freshly killed mouse. Trust me on that.”

Aby-a-Day – November 21: Wordless Wednesday (Anticipation)







NaNoWriMo: Day 16

Romeo looked back into the yard to see where Ginger was. He didn’t want her to see Jacoby and get started on her rant again. “Maybe later…I’ve got a better idea. Let’s go into the tunnel. It’s warmer there because the humans have lights on, and it’s more private.”

Jacoby nodded. “All right, lead the way,” he urged. Romeo trotted towards the bridge where the pigeons nested which stood between Jacoby’s territory and Romeo’s. Adjacent to the bridge was an old tunnel that the trains, according to the stories told by Jacoby’s human and passed down by Romeo’s ancestors, once used to go from the station to the train yard. No one, cat or human, seemed to know how they got there now; Romeo said only the trains knew, which Jacoby knew was silly since trains were things, like moving rooms, and couldn’t think.

The tunnel entrance was protected by metal bars meant to keep humans from going inside, but it was useless against cats. Both of them walked right in without the bar so much as ruffling their whiskers. A string of lights hung from the ceiling, leading deep into the darkness of the tunnel as it went further underground. Jacoby suspected that, somehow, the tunnel led to the train station he knew so well from going places with this human, but he had never gone in this way.

“Okay, so…how did you get all the way here without your human? Don’t you have all kinds of doors and things that only humans can open? And don’t you have a lot of dogs in your territory?”

“Not in my territory, no. But there are a lot in the building. I know some of them.” Jacoby explained. Romeo just shook his head. Wasn’t a building and a territory the same thing? It was for him. As much as he liked Jake, Romeo thought, sometimes he was very, very hard to understand.

Aby-a-Day – November 20: Thankful (Cartoon Tuesday)

Every time I cook a turkey and then feed the cats cat food, I wonder about this…


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

NaNoWriMo: Day 15

Well, he wasn’t getting any warmer just standing there, Jacoby thought. He started trotting towards Romeo’s den. Now that he was outside, he might as well go hang out with his friend. Maybe together, they could figure out why Tessie and Angel didn’t approve of their being friends.

Moving was helping to warm him up, but Jacoby was still chilly. Fortunately, Romeo’s den was not far away. His pace quickened as he saw the familiar metal web. “Hey, Romeo! Romeo, are you there?” Jacoby yowled.

Romeo appeared and slithered underneath the fence. “Jake? What are you doing here? Where’s your human?”

“I kind of snuck out. I’m here alone. I just wanted to talk to you.”

“You did? Why? What’s going on?” Romeo asked.

“Can I come in, first?” Jacoby countered. “I’m kind of cold.”

Aby-a-Day – November 19: Riding the rails (Hipstamatic Monday)

One thing that Jacoby never gets tired of is looking out the window when we take the Red Line to Cambridge.


Charles/MGH the one spot on the northern part of the Red Line that goes above ground to cross the Charles River.


The station itself is on the Boston side of the river.


It’s like a little preview before taking the scenic hop across the Charles and then going back underground in Cambridge.


It’s funny; Gun-Hee used to love going through Charles/MGH and the river and looking out the window at Boston and boats and sun instead of dark, sooty tunnel walls, too.


And really, who can blame them?

NaNoWriMo: Day 13 & 14

We took a little mini-trip this weekend and I wasn’t able to post yesterday’s installment…that’s also the reason for Friday’s rather short addition.

Outside the water-room, Jacoby heard one of the humans open the front door to their apartment, probably taking something to the garbage room with the other elevator. That gave him an idea, but he’d have to move fast to avoid being seen. Jacoby carefully peered out the door to the water-room to make sure the coast was clear and then deftly hooked his paw under the metal door, which wasn’t fully closed since the humans weren’t going that far away or going to be away for that long, and slipped out into the hallway. Then, before his human came out of the garbage room, Jacoby dashed up the hallway past all the other apartments and to the clearing where the front elevators were.

Now came the tricky part: getting down the elevator without a human. He knew this involved the little round things on the wall; his human touched one, it lit up, and the door opened and then it moved, and reopened in a different place. Could he do it himself, without her, he wondered? Worth a shot, anyway.

Which one, though? There were two, one above the other. He never really paid much attention when his human touched them. He’d have to choose quickly, though, before someone noticed he was missing. He studied the circles again, and decided that, since outside was below where he was now, the circle below must lead to outside. Jacoby gathered himself up and leapt to hit the circle with his paw.

Nothing happened. The circle stayed dark. Taking a deep breath, he tried again. To his relief, it lit up and made a little sound. That was it! He paced the clearing between the two doors, not sure which one would open. Finally, one did, and he ran inside. As the doors slid closed, Jacoby remembered that there were circles inside the elevator, too.

In his haste to get out of the clearing and inside the elevator, he’d forgotten about the second set of circles. There were a lot more of them inside, too. Now what? Keeping to his theory that the bottom lead outside, he leapt up again and smacked the lowest two circles, one with each paw. One of those had to work.

The doors slid open. He hadn’t moved at all! He was still in the clearing near the territory! Then the doors slid shut again. Jacoby studied the circles again. Why hadn’t that worked? As he considered the circles, it occurred to him that the circles he hit the second time hadn’t lit up when he hit them. So, maybe not the lowest two circles. He’d have to try the next lowest. He was certain that the lower circles would work. They had to!

Jacoby took a deep breath, hunkered down and prepared for another mighty jump. This time, he smacked the circles as hard as he could with both paws – pow-pow! To his relief, this time they lit up and he heard the machinery start growling around him outside the little room. Success!

The elevator was moving quicky, though. Too quickly for Jacoby to plan his next move. He had to run out as soon as it opened, he knew that. But how was he going to get past the big, heavy, window-doors that lead outside without his human?

He was about to find out, he realised as the elevator stopped moving and the doors opened. He darted out the doors, happy that wooden floors in this clearing was a warm brown rather than the grey near the territory; his fur was almost the same colour as the floor, which would help camouflage him as he worked out how to get through the door. They didn’t, however, have as good traction, he remembered, as he tried to run around the corner to the hallway and skittered around in a huge arc, his feet frantically trying to go in the right direction and failing.

Bam! His flank slammed into the wall, which at least stopped his skid. Not having time to stop and regroup, Jacoby shook himself and kept running. At the end of the hallway, he saw the door, and with a thrill he saw a female human with a stroller and a small dog on a leash. If he timed it just right, he could slip out underneath the stroller between its wheels and get out without either of them noticing him.

Jacoby redoubled his speed and lowered his head. It was all or nothing time. He raced towards the stroller, flattened himself out, and used the floor to slide under the stroller and out the door. He immediately felt two things: the roughness of the floor outside, scraping his soft black pads, and a push of air as the door slammed closed behind him, narrowly missing catching his tail by a whisker’s length.

But he’d done it! He was outside! Cold air ruffled his fur and he shivered a little. He hadn’t remembered that he’d had his harness-coat on when he’d been out with his human before. Well, climbing up a tree was easier than getting down one, he reasoned, so he’d just have to toughen up and deal with it. He was outside without his human, without his coat, without any protection apart from the teeth and claws he’d been born with.

Aby-a-Day – November 18: Seeing ghosts

I grew up in Davis, California, which is known for three things: Its veterinary and medical schools and, of course, Leslie Lyons and the Feline Genetics Lab), the Allen Bakke case, and bicycles. Davis has been riding bicycles since before I was born and I grew up riding bicycles. Before I could pedal on my own, I rode on the back of my dad’s bike.

Bicycles have become extremely popular in Boston lately. There are bike lanes on the streets, and many paths dedicated to cyclists and pedestrians only (the Harborwalk is one of these). I even started biking again, thanks to The Hubway network of rental bikes; there’s a station across the street from the welders’ place!

At the end of September, a female cyclist was killed in the intersection of West Broadway and A Street in South Boston. This is only about two blocks from my Hubway station, and while I don’t typically ride up Broadway, it still caught my attention, as you might well imagine.


Talk about a news story hitting close to home! And I have to admit, I have thought about taking Jake on bike rides with me someday. When I was in high school, I built a cat-seat for my Siamese mix, Sgt. Pepper, on the back of my bike, and we took long rides around Davis. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been thinking about getting a bike seat for Jake a lot lately.


Jacoby and I had to go pick up milk at a store near where the accident happened, and we discovered that a Ghost Bike has been placed at the scene as a memorial to the fallen biker. It’s a really somber thing, to see that white bicycle chained at the sight where someone died.


I’ve seen them before, in Boston. Fortunately, I haven’t seen that many. This is my second.


A little shrine has also appeared next to the Ghost Bike with flowers, candles, photographs and an Irish flag.


It really makes you think about how fragile life is.


“Be careful out there! And wear a helmet!”

Jacoby’s Nephew the Superstar

Hinka Chapman posted some awesome news on Facebook the other day…

( Photo copyright Dick de Gier Photography)

Eszencia Dylan has achieved the title of Supreme Master Grand Premiere, the highest scoring achievement in the Canadian Cat Association!

Dylan is Jacoby’s littermate-brother Dillin (Pellburn Johnny Dillinger)’s son, and Jacoby’s nephew. It seems like all the boycats in their family are all destined for greatness.

Congratulation, Dylan!

Aby-a-Day – November 17: Cuddle bug

Sometimes, Jacoby is ridiculously cuddly.


I’ll be on the sofa or the bed, watching TV and working on my laptop, and he’ll just be all over me.


He’s an Aby, of course, and all the books say that they aren’t lap cats.


Unless, apparently, they want to be.


And when they want to be, you might as well just forget ever getting your lap back any time soon.


Your lap is going to be occupied for a while.


You got a problem with that?