Aby-a-Day – January 31: “Cube” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

I got in on the Petcube Kickstarter back in September 2013, and it arrived just before the holidays. The original delivery date was supposed to have been May, but I liked getting it as a Christmas gift.

It’s a pretty nifty little toy. I can see the cats from anywhere, and I can talk to them and play the red dot game with them using a built-in laser pointer.

Jake may be too smart for it, though…he’s more interested in looking for me inside the Petcube than he is in playing with the laser.

I also tried it in the art room. You can see me in this shot, testing it out. This was the cube on the windowsill.

I moved it to the bookshelf, since that gave a better view of the room.

You can also capture any naughtiness happening while you’re away. Jake, stop biting my laptop cable!

Okay, now you’re too close! (You can see the laser pointer dot on his neck, though.)

This is one afternoon at work. Jake’s napping on the big cat bed.

Or was he just waiting for me to talk to him through the cube again?

Tessie is the only one who isn’t intrigued by the Petcube. I managed to capture Angel on it. She looked at the laser for about two seconds, and then jumped up to sit on the nce warm cable box, just out of camera range.

Kylie also thinks it’s very interesting.

Especially the laser pointer!

Aby-a-Day – January 30: First snow (Friday Flashback)

The blizzard we had this week reminded me of the first time Jacoby ever saw snow.


Jake’s first snow was a Nor’easter on 20 December 2009.


He was still a kitten then, just 8 months old.


So it was a pretty big deal.


Even though our view in the old apartment wasn’t that great, Jake was fascinated by all that white stuff.


He’d never seen anything like it!


He even tried to catch the falling flakes.

I even made a little video of him watching the snow. He was such a cute little guy!

Aby-a-Day – January 29: White out

So we’ve had a bit of snow here in New England…


Jacoby was very interested in watching the flakes fall on Tuesday.


One great thing about our apartment is that is has a lot of windows.








It was really odd to see our normally busy intersection completely empty save for the occasional snowplow or maintenance vehicle.


Oh, yes, and the poor dog owners, who had to take their dogs out in that blizzard so they could go to the bathroom.


Jake and I had a good chuckle at their expenses, I have to admit!

Aby-a-Day – January 28: Wordless Wednesday (Watching Juno)















Aby-a-Day – January 27: Sympathy Pains (Cartoon Tuesday)

Kind of a quickie this week, I’m afraid…On Friday, I woke up at 2am with fever and chills. Then I had some blood in my urine, and ended up in the ER on Saturday morning.


I was somewhat amused that I had the same thing that Jacoby gets. It’s like now, I really know how he feels when he gets a UTI flare-up. And for his part, he stuck by me the entire time I was home sick. It really seemed like he could tell what was wrong with me…and he empathised completely. And if he was the type to share his food, I’m sure he’d make this generous offer.


I actually got the idea for this week’s cartoon while I was waiting for my test results at the emergency room, and sketched it out on my iPad.

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

Aby-a-Day – January 26: I’ll be by your side (Hipstamatic Monday)

The last few days, I’ve been sick with a urinary tract infection.


Jacoby has been stuck to my side like glue since Thursday night, when I first started feeling ill.


Since I’ve been sick, it’s been him, my iPad, and CSI.


I don’t know if Jake knows why I’m sick…


…But I really do think that he knows I have the same thing he gets.


He really does seem to feel my pain.


He’s been my little buddy, stuck to my side…I think he can tell what’s causing my illness. And he knows it’s the same thing he gets.

Aby-a-Day – January 25: This shelf isn’t big enough for the two of us…

Angel is very fond of the wallclimbers we have installed.


She seems to feel very confident when she’s on one of them.


Well, that is, until…


Wham! A wild tortie appears!


Angel uses ignore.


It’s not very effective!


In fact, it seems to have the opposite effect.


It seems like the more Angel ignores Tessie, the pushier Tessie gets.


Luckily, this isn’t one of the higher shelves.


Otherwise, I’d have been worried that Angel would have been knocked off.


Tessie doesn’t seem to appreciate the fact that she has an audience. Wonder what she’d be doing to Angel if I hadn’t been there?


I don’t really know what Tessie wants. There are, after all, three other shelves she could go sit on.


This is what Tessie does, too…she just sort of looks at Angel…


…And Angel just cringes.


They have such an odd dynamic, these two.


Well, that escalated quickly.

Aby-a-Day – January 24: “Fan” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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


My husband is a Green Bay Packers fan.


Since Jacoby is the only boy in the house, and the only other person in the house who will watch football on a regular basis, he is also a Green Bay Packers fan.


You may remember when the Packers won the Super Bowl, and Jake dressed up in a Green Bay jersey and helmet.


Now he also has an official Cheesehead to wear.


Not that it did a lot of good last Sunday.


In case you didn’t hear, it will be Seattle and not Green Bay who will play the New England Patriots next week on Superbowl Sunday.


I would explain why Jacoby is not a New England fan (when he is all about everything else Boston)…but it’s a very long story. Let’s just say it’s because of his dad and leave it at that.


Hey, at least there’s always Kitten Bowl II and the Kitty Halftime Show to look forward to!

Aby-a-Day – January 23: Two heads are better than one (Photoshop Friday)

Yesterday’s post gave me an idea for a new Friday posting theme: Photoshop Friday. I’ll mix in with Friday Flashbacks and Fashion Fridays.


So here is another photo of Jacoby and Angel riding on the cart. A lot of people ask me how I always manage to get them to pose so nicely. Well, the answer is, I don’t always get them to pose nicely. I take a lot of photos (and always have…you should have seen how much I spent on film back in the day!) and then end up deleting about half of them.

But sometimes, you get a situation like I had with several of the photos of Jake and Angel on the wagon, where one cat looked great and the other one moved their head just as the shutter went off.

As you can see, in this photo Jake looks pretty good, but Angel moved and, in the low light of the elevator lobby, she’s blurry.

And then in this photo, Angel looks great…but now Jake’s the blurry one.

So there’s two half-crappy photos. Combined, they’d make one pretty good photo. Which is what I did. Basically, I just put Angel’s good photo over her bad one, blended out the background and flattened the image down.

First, I copied a section of the background (the one where Jake is good and Angel is blurry). Using the cloning stamp (aka the “rubber stamp” since that’s what it looks like), I covered Angel up with the background carpet pattern.

Then I selected the good Angel and part of her background from the other photo and pasted it onto a new layer.

I also made a copy of the elevator and hallway background from the original photo and saved it to a second layer.

Finally, I made an extra copy of Angel’s foot and shadow, and put those on a third layer.

Going back to the Angel layer, I used a soft brush eraser to erase some of the background. I actually do the erasing with the background layer visible, so that I can see what I’m doing, but I’ve hidden it here so you can see the working layer clearly.

Using the rubber stamp, I removed Angel’s head from the hallway background layer, so that it became a clean background with only the walls around the elevator.

I erased the edges of the paw-and-shadow layer so that they blended into the background.

Once I’d gotten the three layers looking the way I wanted them to, I put them together. This is the Angel layer.

Now, with the Jake background layer turned on and the Angel layer placed over top, you can’t really tell that this was two lousy photos anymore. Well, you probably could if you blew it up to 800% and analysed the pixels. I didn’t really spend a lot of time on this, maybe 20 minutes, so it’s not a perfect job by any means…but it’s good enough!

Aby-a-Day – January 22: Storage cart built for two

As I’ve mentioned many times, Jacoby loves riding the storage cart when I take it back down to the closet on the first floor.

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One evening, Angel was nosing around the cart, too, and my husband said, “Angel wants to go, too!” and he put her harness on her so she could go with Jake (this was before Jake got his new green harness in the latest box from our friends).

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So Jake and Angel went for a ride to the first floor. Jake’s leash has clasps at both ends, so I just used the one leash for both of them.

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Jake’s leash has clasps at both ends, so I just used the one leash for both of them.

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Angel wasn’t so sure about riding on the cart at first.

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She seemed to adjust fairly quickly, though.

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This is where Angel fascinates me. Despite her harsh kittenhood, and her experiences that we can only guess at, in some ways she is clearly an Abyssinian.

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Wearing a harness and leash doesn’t faze Angel one bit, and she’s fearless in the face of things that would freak regular cats out.

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The elevator wasn’t any big deal, either.

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Even after we’d parked the cart back in the first floor storage room, riding the elevator back upstairs was taken in stride. I thought it was funny that they each chose a door…Angel on one side…

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…and Jake on the other. Even funnier, with all the elevator-riding that Jake does, he picked the door that doesn’t open on our floor (the side he’s on opens only to the street)!

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I find it endlessly interesting that Angel hisses and growls at Jake whenever he comes near her when we’re inside the apartment…

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…but out in the hallway, she seems to tolerate him fairly well.

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Even after almost a year, their first instinct was to head towards where our old apartment was.

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Angel moreso than Jake.

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Of course, when you’re both clipped to each end of a leash, it’s hard to get lost.

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They found our door easily enough in the end.

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Hi honey, we’re home!

Aby-a-Day – January 21: Wordless Wednesday (21st Century Mouser)


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Other People’s Abys – Nigel the therapy cat

One of our friends, Nigel and his human Janet, were featured in a news story on Houston TV because of their work as a therapy team!

I simply love the fact that Nigel has the exact same stroller (in the exact same colour) that Jacoby has.

When she posted the link to the Abyssinian Cat Club on Facebook, Janet thanked me and Jake for being the inspiration for her and Nigel to start visiting nursing homes.

Janet is actually a veterinarian, too, so she has a medical background which helps when you’re doing therapy visits.

You can watch the entire segment here.

I love this photo so much…I can’t wait til March when Jake and I can try to get our certification renewed again. Thank you Janet, for sharing this!

Abys in Need – Rescued Aby needs new human in Roanoke, VA

Brace yourselves…you’re about to become incensed. This came through the NAR Aby Email list and somehow got netted in my spam weir; it was originally sent last Friday.

“We rescued an Aby from the kill shelter in Roanoke. The shelter had her on the kill list because she had not eaten since she was brought in and was losing weight. Since I have had her, she is eating like a little horse and is gaining her weight back.

Her owner (who lived in Roanoke) passed away and no one in her family wanted her. In fact, her owner’s son brought her into the shelter, slammed the carrier down on the counter, and said, “My mother paid a thousand dollars for this F****** cat!” He said she was 5 or 6 years old.

She is now up to date on her shots, spayed and I am looking for a good home for her. She is a ruddy, very friendly, outgoing, a little talkative.

Can you help me find a good home for her?”

Can you believe that? Poor woman dies, thinking her kids will take care of her beloved Aby…and this is what happens. Incredible. And she’s the same age as Jacoby! I wonder who the breeder is – I’m sure they don’t know about any of this.

If you’re interested in this poor girl (I don’t know her name or have a photo of her), please contact Sandy Scheurer in Beford, VA at 540-586-8735 or email her at sansiaby@aol.com.

Aby-a-Day – January 20: “Stupid American Cat…” (Cartoon Tuesday)

Look at Sketsi’s face! Every time I look at Jacoby enjoying the toys, treats, clothes and cat bed from Sanna-Leena and her kitties in Helsinki, I can’t help but think of Sketsi enjoying his things that we’ve sent from Boston!


I guess next time I’ll have to send him some boots?

Sketsi is actually fairly closely related to Gun-Hee (on Gun-Hee’s mother Amber’s side); one of Sketsi’s great-great grandfathers, Marica’s Mister Macon, was Gun-Hee’s grandfather! Jake and Sketsi are related, too…but more distantly. I don’t think Sketsi cares that Jake’s his cousin here, though…

Just for fun…this is the photo that inspired this cartoon, with a little added commentary.

And here’s the sketch I did of Jake to go with with it.

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

Aby-a-Day – January 19: More Finnish Fun (Hipstamatic Monday)

Over the past few posts, I’ve been sharing all the wonderful goodies our friends Sanna, Sketsi, Kossi and Kiipi sent Jacoby and me from Finland.


Of course, the box was a major attraction right off the bat.


Jake was quick to welcome the box into our home.


Jake got this awesome anttipaita…and a bed that was actually meant for the girls…



…and he got a really nice hoodie, too.


There were also a lot of cat toys in the box, including several handmade crocheted rings.


The rings, of course, were meant for throwing, catching, batting and carrying.


They were not intended to be worn as hats.



Of course, try telling Jake that.



He loves wearing hats!


Even if his “hat” isn’t, technically, a hat.


He’s not as keen on my trying to balance a ring on his nose, though.

Aby-a-Day – January 18: Suomalainen laatikon toimitus (Part Two)

As I explained on Thursday, Abyfriend Sanna-Leena sent us an incredible box from Finland, filled with goodies for both felines and humans.




Which we loved!


There was so much in the box that I had to break it into two posts. I’ve shown you the fabulous leather goods, including new harnesses for Tessie and Jacoby; now take a look at all the great kitty treats and toys that Sanna and Jake and Angel’s cousins Sketsi, Kossi and Kiipi sent!


Charming Chicken with Rabbit, Tropical Tuna, Chic and Classy Chicken…this looks good enough for me to eat!


I want to rig this collar (in Suomi blue) on Jake’s stroller somehow. Or perhaps in the Sturdi-Shelter he eats in…maybe a little mood lighting for his meals?


Naturally, there were plenty of toys for the cats. Hours of fun!



Jake liked the spider.


Well, he liked everything!


But when I pulled out this “Twig Nest” made by Varpu Takala…


…with it’s oh-so-cute pink-and-red kittens on it…




That was it, as far as he was concerned. He walked right over to it and made himself comfortable.


And he wouldn’t get out.


For any reason.



Not even when I put his new wool anttipaita sweater on him.




Not for anything. And, as a matter of fact, since it arrived, I have found Jake in that bed every single day.

Sanna thought it would be for Kylie and Tessie because of the colours and the cute print. Sorry, girls…Jake has decided that it is his. And he won’t share it, even though Sanna has proven that the bed will hold two cats.

This was last Sunday. Apparently, it’s even better than the cable box!


The Coucou treats were popular, as always – especially the Soft Salmon Fishies. In fact…look what I found about an hour after I’d put away the box to fix dinner. This packet is completely chewed through…and entirely empty! I thought I’d closed up the box, but they managed to wrest open the flaps and get to the treats. Some kitties did not have big appetites that evening…You know how foreign chocolate is so much better than American chocolate? I wonder if it’s the same with cat treats?


Speaking of which…I found this packaging ironically hilarious. These are basically large M&Ms made of good chocolate.



The kitties weren’t the only ones who got treats. I got some, too, including my favourite Ruis-Nachos!


I have two Moomin mugs that my friend Bjorn sent me from Sweden. Now I have the perfect thing to put in them, too!


Finally, look at this adorable hand-drawn card. I think it looks like the Abys on Sanna’s tattoo.


Thank you SO MUCH, Sanna, Sketsi, Kossi and Kiipi! I think this definitely needs to become a tradition!

Aby-a-Day – January 17: “Shelter” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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


Angel spent a few days in a shelter in California before the rescue was able to get her into a foster home. I don’t know the full story, but apparently her breeder contacted the rescue and then, before the rescue could help her with her cats, she took five of them and dropped them all off at a regular, county-run, old-style “pound.” And then when the rescue came to get her cats, she told them what she’d done. California has a 72-hour hold rule, so the rescue couldn’t get these five Abys out for three days. Angel was one of these cats. She was only about 6 months old at this time, too. I think this was before she lost her eye.


After this, Angel spent 10 months in her foster home. At first, it was fine, and she was living with a pack of other foster Abys and the resident cats. One of the resident Abys, though, a senior female (I think she was the oldest cat in the house), took a dislike to Angel, and she ended up living in an upstairs bedroom with another Aby friend. And then, when I brought her home…well, Tessie wasn’t the most welcoming.


All of this happened eight years ago, but the scars run deep. Angel is still very…different from most Abyssinians. She’s still definitely an Aby, but she’s been affected by her early experiences. Sometimes I wonder why they call them “shelters.” They don’t seem to be very sheltering.

Aby-a-Day – January 16: Suomi muoti (Fashion Friday)

Almost a year ago, I posted about Abyfriend Maija had a sweater made for her Aby Morse.

The sweater was a traditional jussipaita, and the burgundy matched Morse’s red/sorrel fur perfectly.


Well, as I mentioned yesterday, one of Jacoby’s gifts from Finland was an anttipaita. Jussipaidat (burgundy red) and Anttipaidat (navy blue) are traditional Finnish sweaters. Jake’s is made of wool (and cat hair, since Kossi sat on it).


I think you can see some of Kossi’s hair on the sweater in this photo!


It is said that these shirts symbolise stamina, diligence, honesty, integrity and even insanity and bravado. Well! I think that fits Jake well, don’t you?


Although, I’m not sure this crocheted ring cat toy makes an appropriate hat for such a noble sweater…


Sanna also sent Jake this really awesome hoodie fron Wouapy, which is actually a French company.


The hood actually snaps off, there’s a flap to cover the leash hole and keep the warmth in, it’s made of a really nice heavy fleece…and it has an awesome terrycloth heart applique on the back! Not only that…it’s waterproof! Between his Canadian sweaters, his French sweater and now his Finnish outfits, Jake is quite the global fashionista!

Aby-a-Day – January 15: Suomalainen laatikon toimitus (Part One)

Last year, my friend Sanna-Leena and I did a box exchange. I sent her some stuff for cats and for humans from the States, and she sent me some goodies from Finland.



Well, that was so much fun that we did another one. I sent Sanna-Leena a box last summer, and she sent us our second box just after Christmas.


It arrived last week, and it was HUGE! Light…but huge!


And so filled with goodies!



Of course Jacoby was right there to check it out.


You may remember this feather toy from yesterday’s post. The tall feathers are from a duck her brother-in-law shot and her sister plucked the feathers, which were only frozen to kill the bacteria. Her cats go wild with the smell, and she thought mine would, too. As you saw, Tessie loved it!


Jake was interested in it, too…


…But there were just so many things to see and smell that he couldn’t focus just on the feathers!


Like a new Arja’s Art harness! Jake got one last year, of course, but as it turned out, the metallic copper was a bit too pink, and ended up looking better on Kylie. So I asked if Sanna could get him a green one to match his leash.


Since Angel has a purple one already, and now Kylie has Jake’s copper one, Tessie needed a red one for her own.


I love these harnesses so much. Look at the reflective trim! If you’ve met me and Jake in person, I’ve probably made you feel how soft this leather is. It really does need to be felt to be appreciated.


And there were some leather goodies for me, too, like this little coin purse.



The green leather matches Jake’s harness exactly!


Sanna also sent me these amazing leather feather earrings (leather feather is fun to say)!


And oh, this bookmark! Look at those ears!


She also sent me some Finnish pop music. And oldies from 1963! There’s a Twist song on there that I just adore (I love me some Twist music).

There was so very many good things in the box that Sanna sent that I’ll have to show you the rest in some future posts…so check back tomorrow to see Jake’s new Finnish outfits.

Aby-a-Day – January 14: Wordless Wednesday (Höyhenet!)