Aby-a-Day – January 27: The Cat From Davis Square

It turns out there have been Abyssinians on the T a lot longer than anyone realised.

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In a few T stations, there are ceramic tiles made by local schoolkids. Broadway Station is one of them. and Davis Square Station in Somerville is another. I always enjoy looking at them, especially one little group of cat tiles (and one skunk) in the middle of the Davis Square collection.

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I was looking at them again the other day and it suddenly dawned on me what one was depicting…

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It’s meant to be Jake, the Cat From Outer Space! I’m not sure how I didn’t see it before! I mean, I’ve always thought it looked like an Aby because of the colour, but…

No! I’m serious! It really is supposed to be Jake! Check it out: The Davis Square Tiles Project took place during the 1978-79 school year, and the child who made this tile, Estelle Passamonte, was an 11-year-old girl. I was 13, and my sister was 8, and during the second half of 1978 we were obsessed with Abyssinians, Jake, and talking intergalactic felines in general…so it’s not too huge a leap to conclude that little Stella was a fan, too.

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(I also suspect this one is meant to be Zunar-J5/9-Doric-47, too, but since he’s got a sun and not a space helmet it’s not quite the logical slam-dunk that Estelle’s tile is. But look at those ears!)

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And this one…those eyes seem like Aby eyes. And again with the big pointy ears, too.

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I think that movie made quite an impact on girls aged 8-13…

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It’s something I think about every time I ride the train with Jacoby.

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There’s a long history of Abys and the red line! Who knew?

8 thoughts on “Aby-a-Day – January 27: The Cat From Davis Square

    1. Oooh, you’re right! That’s in a different grouping so I never really noticed it before in that context. I’ll have to look for it the next time I’m there.

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    1. I think I was so busy looking at the cat (and I took photos of it LAST YEAR when I was down there) that I never noticed the space helmet and antennae. I looked at it Thursday, and then I was back on Saturday and it was like this beam of light came down from heaven or something. I finally saw it.

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  1. Hi, I just happened to stumble on your blog & I am in fact the creator of the above mentioned “Cat from Outer Space” tile. You are 100% correct, I was OBSESSED with that movie as a young girl (am 44 now), I distinctly remember that day when we went to the factory & I was one of the lucky few who got to actually imprint my tile. I was wearing a red & white jacket that my mother had just washed & after imprinting my tile the clay got all over the cuffs of the sleeves. Thankfully there was no backlash from my mother, I think she was just so happy that my tile was picked. Ever since that movie came out I have always wanted an Abyssinian cat (or 2, or 3). I can tell you that I am a life long lover of cats & am constantly called “the crazy cat lady” by family & friends. I currently have 4 cats at home & my 12 yr old son is also a lover of cats. I completely forgot about the movie until just now, I’m going to have to scout out websites for the movie so I can give him a copy. I’m glad you like my tile, I’m thankful that it’s still hanging up in Davis Sq. I live in Central NY now & I haven’t been back to Somerville in ages. Will have to take a trip someday soon & show my son. Thanks for taking me back to those days & I love your site, it makes me want to add another member to our family, although darling husband would probably not approve of another. : (

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    1. You know, I think I was younger than 11 when I made the tile, I was born in 1969 so that puts me at 9 at the time (in 1978-79) & my friend in those early years, Stacy Hersey, who was also picked to display her tile was 1 year behind me in school, so she was possibly 8/9 at that time. Her tile was a table with a vase of flowers on it. Not only did we live on the same street we also went to the same church. I’m not sure who moved away first, my family moved to North Reading in 1988, I’m not sure how long Stacy resided in the old neighborhood. OH, the memories are flooding back now!

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      1. Awww! My sister is a year younger than you and I’m 4 years older…so we were all about the right age to be in love with Jake LOL!
        My Jake is named mostly after Jacoby Ellsbury, but partly after Jake the Cat from Outer Space. I fell in love with Abys because of that movie, too, and vowed I’d get one…and I finally did! It’s never too late 🙂
        Hopefully you’ll get your Aby someday!

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    2. WOW. Wow. This may just be the coolest comment I’ve ever had on this blog. This is awesome! And I KNEW it had to be Jake the Cat from Outer Space! I’m so glad you found this post and commented on it! Thank you!

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