Aby-a-Day – May 31: Go Bruins! (Fashion Friday)

The NHL Eastern Conference Finals are starting this weekend, and the Boston Bruins will be meeting the Pittsburgh Penguins to see who gets to go to the Stanley Cup.


Like any good Canadian, Jacoby is watching the playoffs.


He’s even tried to grow a playoff beard but it isn’t really working.


Go Bruins!

(In case you’re wondering, these fabulous cat trees are made by a husband and wife team here in New England using real tree stumps. They’re super sturdy and well-made, but wicked cheap. Unfortunately, they don’t have a website…but they’re awesome trees!)

Aby-a-Day – May 30: Into the sunset

On Monday, Jacoby, my husband, and I took a little walk to the Post Office and South Station.


This is one of Jake’s favourite places to walk. And who can blame him?





He gets to a point on the way home where he decides he wants to walk, and then he hops out.


He just trots along the seawall, happy as can be…

While we were walking, I made a little video; I know, I forgot to turn my iPhone sideways. Sorry about that. But you can see how he walks along until he gets tired and decides he wants to get back into his stroller!

What’s interesting is that Gun-Hee also loved to walk along this same stretch of the Harborwalk. This video is from 2007, and it’s November, not May, but you can see how similar they are.

Aby-a-Day – May 29: Wordless Wednesday (Cuddlebug)

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Aby-a-Day – May 28: Confident Owners and Wallflowers (Cartoon Tuesday)

During his talk at the Boston Public Library a couple of weekends ago, Jackson Galaxy described three feline personality types, or as he called it, “Cat Mojo.” The three types were the “Confident Owner,” the cat who owns the room and confidently greets and rubs up against all visitors; the “Over Owner,” the cat who is insecure and overcompensates by lashing out; and the “Wallflower,” the cat who just leaves the other types to their business and tries to blend into the background.


Jacoby and Angel very clearly fall into two of those three categories. Jackson described the Confident Owner as the feline equivalent of “a host who greets you with a trayful of mojitos,” and well…that was something that just needed to be illustrated. And Jake would totally do that, too. Angel, meanwhile…

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

Aby-a-Day – May 27: Making rounds (Hipstamatic Monday)

Jacoby really loves to go visit his friends in the hospital.


As soon as we get close to the hospital, he gets visibly excited.


And once we’re inside, he stands as tall as he can in his stroller, as if that will make it move faster (like when you stand up when riding a bike).


“C’mon. Mom! Let’s GOoooooo!”

Aby-a-Day – May 26: City cat

Jacoby has a great sense of direction and an excellent memory.


When we’re walking home from Tufts, we get to a point on the Broadway Bridge where he knows how to get home.


And when we get to that point, he decides he can get out of the stroller and walk.


I’ll let him, if we’re not in a hurry and the weather’s okay.



I am endlessly impressed with how unaffected by traffic Jake is.


He’s grown up in a transportation nexus: Trains, planes, trucks, buses…you name it, it probably rattles, roars or whooshes through or over our intersection.


Oh, yeah, and bicycles, too.


When you look at these photos, remember that it’s impossible to set up something like this. You can’t force a cat to pose next to a busy road if he doesn’t want to.


He also gets right back into his stroller when he’s decided he’s tired of walking.


He’s a smart little guy, our Jacoby.

Abys in Need: Abadura in Pennsylvania

Okay, people…we have another one…


This is Abadura,


He is 2 1/2 yrs, neutered, front declawed. Shy at first, but very friendly. He is ok with other cats. He is not afraid of dogs. His foster home has a cat-friendly Doberman and he went up to her and was rubbing against her. He was turned into a shelter because his owners’ child was allergic.


Abadura is in northeastern PA, in the Pocono Mountains, close to New Jersey near Blairstown and Phillipsburg N.J.


I suspect that Abadura is not a pedigreed Aby, but he may be an Aby mix.


If you are interested in Abadura, or know someone who is, email Judy Burkard at jburkard@verizon.net.

Aby-a-Day – May 25: “Copper” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

This week’s Photo Hunt subject is “Copper.”


Jacoby is copper-coloured.


There are so many words to describe the colour a Ruddy Abyssinian is: brown, russet, burnt siena…no one word is completely correct, though. But today, “copper” will work.

Aby-a-Day – May 24: More plush Abys (Fashion Friday)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted photos of my Jacoby plushie project, so here’s a little update.


This little guy is my very first attempt at sewing real mohair, like the classic Steiff animals are made from. I love this little kitty, even if he isn’t really a great Aby colour. I gave him to my mom for her birthday – which is today – since she gave me my first Steiff kitty over 40~mumble~years ago…


See? Here she is with me and my mom circa 1969. (I was a tomboy. I did not like pink, I did not like dresses, and I definitely did not like pink dresses. Can you tell I’m beseeching my dad to take the photo already so I could change and we could go do some science?)


Bernd Langer from Semerchets Abessinier saw my plushies on the Facebook Abyssinian Cat Club and wanted one. This not so mini green-eyed mini-me now lives in Germany!


And then there’s this little guy, who now lives with a friend of mine in China. Doesn’t he seem right at home?

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Jake has fans in China, too!


This is my most recent Aby plushie.


He’s the same pattern as the first one, but a different type of mohair.


It’s longer and softer. And, of course, it’s been discontinued, so when it’s gone that’s pretty much it.


His eyes are kind of small. I didn’t have yellow eyes in the right size. But they do glow in the dark!


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I made his hands and feet a little differently. Instead of making the whole pawpad leather (as I’ve done with my other teddy-type cats), I used black mohair and sewed leather pads on. I also made them one-piece because the individual toe pads were just too tiny.


His tail is also made with a black mohair tip, rather than being coloured with a black Copic marker.

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It also has a flexible plastic jointed tailbone, so it can swish!


I think Jake approves of his mini-me.


Don’t worry, Jake. You’ll never be replaced!

Purring or Not Purring? How well do you know your cat?

Sparkle posted this amazing quiz on her blog today inviting all readers to guess whether or not she’s purring in ten different photos. In it, she taunts, “Sounds easy, right? I bet none of you get 100%!”

Well. Guess who has two thumbs and got ’em all right? This girl!

Truth be told though, it was tricky. I guess I can just read ruddy faces. Jacoby often hisses and purrs AT THE SAME TIME at cat shows. He’ll be purring because I’m holding him, but hissing at another cat. I didn’t know cats could do that, to be honest, until I met Jake.


I don’t know how Sparkle made that quiz, but I’ll play, too. Here’s a mini pop quiz: is Jake purring in this photo?

Aby-a-Day – May 23: Taking care of business

Last Tuesday, Jacoby and I had another therapy visit at RISD.



We took the commuter rail there, as usual, and it was an uneventful ride.

However, on our way back, we missed the MBTA commuter rail train (which freely allows pets) by two minutes – and the next train to Boston wasn’t for another 2 hours and 20 minutes! Not only that, but everything at the Providence train station was closed by 8pm. we were looking at almost two and a half hours sitting in an almost deserted train station!


I noticed there was an Amtrak train to Boston due at 8:45. I know that, according to all the official rules, pets are not allowed on Amtrak at all. Still, the two hour wait was pretty daunting, so I asked if there was any way I could take Jake on the Acela. I was told that “Comfort Animals” (these are the words the Amtrak employee used) were allowed and as long as I had proof, the conductors couldn’t question it. I said, “Well, he’s a therapy cat, is that the same thing?” and she said, “He needs to be a Comfort Animal.” Ah, okay. Semantics it is, then.


Well, we were actually in Providence for a therapy event, and we were all decked out in our therapy “uniforms” with all our tags and credentials. $40 was a small price to pay to save over 2 hours waiting in an empty train station, so we got on the train, and it was a great – and fast – ride.



Of course we had Jake’s tank of a stroller, so there was nothing “stealthy” about our train ride. When I came on board pushing a big yellow pet stroller, the conductor started to say something, but once I showed him our ID badges, he was completely fine with us. He even waved us into Business Class! None of the passengers (mostly businessmen on their way home from meetings in NYC) seemed to mind, either.



When we first got on, there wasn’t a seat next to the open space I could park the stroller. I was going to leave Jake in his stroller, but he didn’t like me being across the aisle from him. I took him out and let him sit on the seat next to me and he was completely fine with that.


He settled in and rode quietly…



…except for when he got up to look out the window!



Later on, we moved to the single seat next to where we parked the stroller, and Jake had a little shelf all to himself.




He liked that a lot, because he could see better from there.



But I did find it interesting that the Amtrak ticket agent specifically said (and stressed) that “Comfort Animals” were allowed – she did not ever say “Service Animals.” The more you know…

Aby-a-Day – May 22: Wordless Wednesday (Crossing the finish line)




Show Brag: Abyssinian Winners at the Kentucky Colonels/Great Lakes Aby Devotees CFA Show

A little cat show news for you: The following Abyssinians were the winners in each division at the Kentucky Colonels/Great Lakes Abyssinian Devotees show held last Saturday, 18 May:

From left to right:

Best Abyssinian Kitten: Purssynian Phantom of 3Janes, a 6 month old blue Abyssinian male kitten; Bred by Darrell Newkirk; Owned by Elizabeth Koller, Teri Kennedy, Jane Onstott.

Best Abyssinian in Premiership: GP Hitails Rocco Mooner (Another blue Mooner!), a blue Abyssinian neuter; Bred by Lisa-Maria Padilla; Owned by Diane & Scott Weber

Best Abyssinian in Championship: CH Absolute Fleur de Lis of Abizaq, a red Abyssinian female; Bred by Cynthia Cash; Owned by Martha & Norman Auspitz

Congratulations to the winners! I also found some photos of Rocco Mooner in Japan…along with Roger Vivier and some DeVande Abys! It’s actually a pretty nice account of a cat show in Japan. Talk about a cat show road trip!

Aby-a-Day – May 21: Sunday in Boston (Cartoon Tuesday)

I really do think that Jacoby would have enjoyed it. And I’m not bitter…I just thought it would be fun to draw.


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

Aby-a-Day – May 20: All aboard Amtrak (Hipstamatic Monday)

I’ll tell the whole story later this week, but last week Jacoby and I actually took the Amtrak Acela from Providence to Boston.



It seems that Jake was born to ride in Business Class.



It’s official now: Jake is a consummate train rider!


Maybe now I should get him a little engineer’s outfit?

Abys in Need: Spunky in Manhattan, Kansas

Oh, boy…here we go again.


This came through on the Aby Rescue email list.


Spunky is an 8 year old ruddy spay from Manhattan, Kansas. She must be re-homed to a one-pet indoor family. Michelle, the owner who is conscientious about screening prospects,can be reached at 520-444-1297


Spunky is also listed on Craigslist: Abyssinian Pedigreed Cat (Manhattan,KS)
We are looking for a nice loving person or family for our cat. We are finding a new home for our cat due to the fact that I just had a baby and no longer can fully give the cat enough attention or spend the proper time taking care of him. We have had him for the past 8 years and are the only owners he has had besides the pure-breeding owners who bred him for us. He is a pure-bred Abyssinian Cat that is Pedigreed and we have all documentation and his registration papers. Abyssinian cats normally live till they are about 20 years old. His name is Spunky and his name has a lot to do with his personality. He is a very active and playful cat. He loves attention and loves to play. He has a personality just like a person does. He would be a great addition for someone who is looking for some companionship or another addition to a family. However he does not mix well with any other pets so he would need to go to someone who does not have any other pets living with them.
if interested please call Michelle at 520-444-1297. Thanks!


I’m honestly not sure if Spunky is a boycat or a girlcat, but whichever he or she is, someone will have an awesome kitty if they’re in Kansas!

Aby-a-Day – May 19: “It may not be the Abyssinian swinging from the chandelier…”

Today was a rare and unusual day: Jackson Galaxy was in Boston!


He was speaking at the Boston Public Library today. I tried to bring Jacoby along to meet Jackson, but – even though I did contact the library and brought along our therapy credentials (just in case), we were stopped at the door by the security guard.

I’m a bad Twitter person, but I felt motivated in this case…


Luckily, I was meeting a friend and we planned to get there early. I had time to run Jake back home. I really think he was disappointed, though: he’s not used to going out and then just turning right back around again! I was lucky with the trains and a cab and I made it back just in time to hear Jackson speak.


It was a really fun talk. It wasn’t quite like his show, and it wasn’t entirely about his book…it was sort of Jackson just talking about both of them.


He talked about “cat mojo” and said one interesting thing about cats needing to “own” their territory. I wonder about how that applies to cats like Jake, and also Jafari, Seamus, Rosie and Louis, who love to go out with their humans and basically seem to see their “territory” as “anywhere my human is.” Of course, Jake is also very attached to his stroller, and when he feels overwhelmed he doesn’t hesitate to jump back into it; maybe that’s his “territory away from territory.”



Jackson also pulled a guy up out of the audience, Mike (he chose a man, he said, so that he’d “feel less alone up here”), who had a cat named Chester. He used Mike to demonstrate the three types of cat mojo: the Confident Owner, the Over-Owner, and the Wallflower. It was pretty funny…but I could see that we have three Confident Owners and one Wallflower in our cat family (guess who’s who).


At one point, he talked about older cats playing. He has a 21-year-old, Veloura, and a 19-year-old, Chips, at home and, while they’re not as active as they were when they were four, they do still play in their own way: “It may not be the Abyssinian swinging from the chandelier…but they still play.” Shout out to the Aby people in the house!


At the end, he took questions from the audience, and then he signed copies of his book, Cat Daddy and chatted with his Boston fans.


And I got to meet Jackson, too, and he signed my copy of his book. He commented that he’d never seen the “Real Men Love Cats” T-shirt on a woman before. Then I told him that I’d tried to bring “Strollercat” to meet him, and he said, “I know…’Amtrak Yes, Boston Public Library No.'” I have to admit I had a bit of a fangirly squee moment: OMG he read my tweet! He must have read my expression because he added, “Oh, yes…I read!”



Aby-a-Day – May 18: “Glass” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

This week’s Photo Hunt subject is “Glass.”


Glass is a vital component in kitty sunbathing.


Without glass, there would be no sun puddles!

Aby-a-Day – May 17: “Therapy is incredibly therapeutic” (Friday Flashback)

While today Jacoby is a veteran therapy cat, that wasn’t always the case.


Everyone has to start somewhere. Jake and I started in 2010.


First I took a class to teach me to be a therapy human.


Then Jake and I went out in public to practice. We did the things we do now, really: went shopping, hung out at Art Beat, the usual.


Finally, we had to pass a test that involved real-life scenarios we might encounter while on a visit.


Our first assignment was at a nursing home in Dedham.


It was a great facility, but it was complicated to get to without a car.


The program director also resigned a month or so after we started, so we started going to a different nursing home.


This one was easier to get to, but it was still a tricky commute on the T’s green line.


It also turns out that Jake’s therapy talents aren’t really geared towards nursing homes. He’s not so much a “sitting on the bed quietly” sort of cat as some other breeds are.


When we went to visit students in the residence hall during finals at RISD (the Rhode Island School of Design), it was clear that Jake had found his therapy niche!



And of course, now, with our regular visits to Tufts Medical Center…


…and special assignments, like our trip last month to visit first responders at the Boston Marathon finish line bombing, it’s clear that Jake is a consummate therapy cat!

Aby-a-Day – May 16: Bulletproof

People ask me how I trained Jacoby to wear a harness and go out on his leash. Truth is, I really didn’t. I just put a harness and leash on him when he was 3-1/2 months old and he did the rest.


It was just a matter of taking him out, doing things with him, and exposing him to all sorts of different things. The other night, walking home from the hospital, we walked across a bridge while a Commuter Rail train passed underneath. Jake didn’t so much as twitch an ear as it rumbled under his feet.


Sometimes I get spoiled by how bulletproof he is. This was Sunday at the cat show while I was packing up. Jake didn’t want to be in his carrier, and I’d taken down his cage already, so I just let him sit on the table. And he just sat there. I think he knew it was either stay put or be shut up in a bag!