Aby-a-Day – April 30: Bathing beauty

You may recall a couple of years ago when provided photographic evidence that I can bathe Jacoby with one hand. Well, as easy as it was to bathe him in our old apartment…



…It’s about 100 times easier in our new apartment!



The secret is the sliding glass doors.


Which Jake cannot open.



So I don’t need to hold onto him at all, unlike when we only had a shower curtain.




This is so awesome. The only thing that would make bathing him even easier would be if we had a Shower Massage or some other kind of sprayer. Unfortunately, our building has some crazy Euro-fixtures and nothing we can buy will fit.



So I have to rinse him under the faucet, or with cups.



Having a door that shuts, though, makes a huge difference. I almost look forward to our pre-catshow bath, now.



Can’t exactly say the same for Jake, though.

Aby-a-Day – April 29: Wordless Wednesday (Impending Action)










Aby-a-Day – April 28: “Well, dog my cats!” (Cartoon Tuesday)

You’ll find in many, many books and websites about cats in general or specific to Abyssinians, that this breed is often described as being “dog-like.”


I mean, there’s even a YouTube video about it!

And while it is true that Abyssinians are one of the oldest breeds (going all the way back to 1860), and Abys have probably lived alongside humans for more of the breed’s history than other “natural” breeds (Abys are the first breed that was based on human’s desire to make a cat look a certain way rather than being based on a genetic trait like tailessness or thermo-restrictive partial albinism)…somehow, I don’t think they’d find being called “dog-like” exactly complimentary.

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

Aby-a-Day – April 27: Water, water everywhere (Miniature Monday)

We’ve had a Pioneer Raindrop stainless steel pet fountain for a few years now.



It’s been very popular with all the cats.


Recently, however, the pump’s been showing its age, so we upgraded to a new fountain – the Pioneer Big Max fountain! Despite being twice the size of the old fountain, it uses all the same replacement parts, which is an advantage since we buy the filters in bulk.


Jacoby’s mini-me couldn’t wait to check out the new fountain.


Although, he seems to have a little problem in actually reaching the water…

Aby-a-Day – April 26: A place in the sun

Usually, the leopard print bed in the window is Angel’s domain. But look who I found lounging in it the other day!


I guess he decided that if Angel was going to settle in the iMac, he’d have her bed.


It is a nice warm spot when the sun hits it just right.


And it has a nice, active, interesting view.


Of course, Jake’s not paying too much attention to the view when he’s trying to catch some Z’s…

Aby-a-Day – April 25: “Fix” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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


I’m still fixing up the iMac cat bed, but that doesn’t stop Angel from napping in it.


It may have been overkill, but I took the keyboard apart to clean it and then glued it back together. Now, I know the keyboard doesn’t really affect the comfort of the bed, but it does make it look cool.



I also found an I/O panel and a door to restore the iMac casing. I glued the panel in so there’s no longer a hole in the bottom of the bed. I haven’t gotten the door yet, but that will close the rest of the hole up and restore the iMac to it’s egglike shape. My goal is to have an empty iMac that, apart from being a cat bed and not a working computer, it as complete as possible.


I know Angel doesn’t care if it’s a perfectly restored iMac or not.


But she’s sleeping in it, so that makes it all worthwhile.

Aby-a-Day – April 24: Kylie’s 10th Birthday (Friday Flashback)

Today is a very special day – it’s Kylie’s 10th birthday!


Of course, we don’t know her exact birthday, but we got her on June 20, and she was about 7 or 8 weeks old. So, counting back, we decided that her birthday was April 24.


My husband wanted a tiny girl kitten. I found a Craigslist post for free kittens in Quincy, and when I emailed the man, he said he had mostly white kittens and one grey tabby. My husband kind of wanted a tabby, but by the time we got to the house, only the white kittens were left. We saw them running around, and then heard a tiny “mew” from a side table behind us. The tiny mew came from a tiny, white kitten with two grey stripes on her head. And that was that.


Kylie was tiny when we got her, too.


She was literally the same size as a Beanie Baby cat! We got to meet her mother, who was a very petite, slender all-white shorthair with odd-coloured eyes, one green and one blue. Her name was Mary Jane, and she was so pretty. To this day, I wish I’d taken a camera along and gotten a photo of her.


At the time, I had my two Siamese, Harri, aged 14, and Patrick, aged 11. We had just gotten Tessie a month before, and she was meant to be Kylie’s mother figure and playmate, since the boys were a little old to be much fun for an active, lively kitten. This is one of Kylie’s first encounters with Tessie…it got better.


Kylie was a very lively kitten.


She was the type who would play with anything.






A piece of plastic foil wrapping paper was an awesome toy. I think she played with this for days.


Despite being 14 years older than Kylie, Harri really loved her. He always loved other cats and kittens; even though he was an only cat until he was 3, Harri was the most welcoming, friendly cat I’ve ever known – he never minded having other cats around him.


Kylie looked up to Tessie as her role model.


“This is how you lie on a hot day, Kylie.” “Okay, Tessie, am I doing it right?”


Like I said…Kylie was tiny. Look at her compared to Tessie in this photo!


She was tough, though. She could hold her own against Tessie, despite the size difference.


Tessie was so patient with her. Of course, Tessie had one litter of kittens before I adopted her, so she knew how to handle Kylie.


Kylie and Tessie were almost always together. Even today they still sleep together.


Kylie was also fond of Patrick.


They would play together. At the time, Patrick was our largest cat; he was a bit chunky at 13-14lbs. It was comical to watch Kylie and Patrick play together because of their size difference.


Patrick was always the last cat to accept a newcomer. I guess Kylie won him over.



Trick even shared the cave at the top of the cat tree with her!


This photo of the four of them sleeping together on my bed in my old apartment was my Christmas card in 2005.


Kylie loved to play and cuddle with stuffed kittens. This was one of her most favourite “dollies.”


Harri died in August of 2006, and then that following December, Gun-Hee joined the family. Kylie was only a year older than Gun-Hee, so they were pretty close.


She took on the role that Tessie had taken with her.


You would find them together a lot.


They used to play together all the time.


They had projects, like trying to open the dishwasher. Gun-Hee was the brains and Kylie was the muscles of the operation.



They hung out together.


She helped him celebrate his first birthday. She was really sad when Gun-Hee died and she mourned him. She didn’t eat treats for a week.




She was quick to accept Jacoby, too. I think she was happy to have another Aby to play with.


Kylie and Jake have always gotten along.


She was one of the first to not hiss at him and let him play with her, actually.


They like to go out to the park together, too…although Kylie isn’t as brave around dogs as Jake is.


But since Kylie is four years older than Jake, their bond isn’t quite the same as the one she and Gun-Hee’ shared.


They share a love of high places.


This is also a common sight at our house: Jake cuddling with Tessie and Kylie.


Angel always seems to be the odd cat out. Of all the cats, Kylie and Angel probably interact the least. I think that’s more Angel’s doing than Kylie’s, though.


I had Kylie’s DNA tested at UC Davis. We think her father was a tabby Maine Coon. Since her mother was a white shorthair, those dominant traits covered up anything her father was carrying. I know that she does carry the genes for long hair, dilute, and tabby, and that her ancestors originated in England rather than the Middle East or Asia. Underneath her dominant white, she is probably a non-dilute tabby, and she may actually be a torbie (UCD doesn’t have a test for sex-linked red). While Kylie is small like her mother, she is built like a Maine Coon, with a long tail, lanky legs and a boxy muzzle. She’s just a miniature shorthaired version.


She also does a mean Hello Kitty impersonation!


It’s hard to believe she’s 10 years old. Happy birthday, Kylie!

Aby-a-Day – April 23: Because apparently we don’t have enough cat beds in our apartment

Lately, the closet door in the art room has been mysteriously opening.


Neither my husband nor I will have gone into that closet for days, yet the door would be open. Then, one day I couldn’t find Jacoby AND the closet door was once again open.


Finally, one mystery solved!



So, I kind of figured it was Jake opening the door. But I wasn’t expecting to find him sleeping in the closet!



And I never would have dreamed he’d pick the napping spot I found him in!



I have Jake’s show cage hanging in its bag in that closet, and at some point over the winter I’d left it unzipped when I put something in it.


Evidently, that makes a perfect secluded cat bed. Who knew?


All right, Jake, I’ll let you get back to sleep.

Aby-a-Day – April 22: Wordless Wednesday (Whattaya mean, there’s still snow on the ground!?)




Abys are Everywhere – Dr. Elsey’s Sneezing Kitten

How cute is this little guy? I found him at the top of the Catshows.US website when I went to enter the Seacoast Cat Show the other day.

I mean, how can you not follow that link to Dr. Elsey’s litter?

Aby-a-Day – April 21: Starclan summons Batcat (Cartoon Tuesday)

As I posted on April 9th, Sophie the Aby was unable to recover from her illness. One thing that Sophie was known for on the Facebook Abyssinian Cat Club was her Batman complex.


This is just my little tribute to a small young Aby who got the entire world to fall in love with her. Sleep well in Tuonela, Sophie.

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

Aby-a-Day – April 20: Someone is sleeping in my bed! (Miniature Monday)

Look who’s sleeping in the iMac bed!


Like most new cat beds, it’s been out a week, and no one has been seen sleeping in it yet…except for mini-Jacoby.


Oh, NOW someone else is interested in it!


Jacoby really didn’t seem to know what to do about his Mini-Me being in the bed.


Not that he really wanted to sleep in it.


He just didn’t want anyone else to be in there.


Even if it was (sort of) him!

(Also please note Jake’s rear foot in that last photo – if I was to draw a cat with a foot like that, it would look so wrong…and yet, there it is!)

Aby-a-Day – April 19: Bicycle built for two

Jacoby’s big birthday present this year was a DoggyRide Cocoon bike basket/carrier from DutchDog Design.


Not that I really have much call to take Jake places on my bike, but with this carrier, I can take him places on my bike. When I was in high school, I built a bike seat for my Siamese mix, Sgt. Pepper, which I named the “Pepper Shaker.” We went for a lot of bike rides back in Davis…but I haven’t tried to take a cat for a bike ride since.


We’ve come a long way since the 80’s when it comes to bike pet carrier technology, I’ll say that. Of course, DutchDog Design is based in Holland, where people ride bikes everywhere to do everything. I read a lot of reviews, and this particular carrier seems to be the best-rated and best-designed bicycle pet carrier. It also doubles as a regular bike shopping basket.



Jake was very interested in the box when he saw it.


Jake also also really likes my bike.




But does the fact that he likes the box and my bike mean he’ll like riding in the carrier?


Well, he seems to like it just fine.


I just put him in the basket, and he just sat there, enjoying the view.


He didn’t even try to jump out.


Even closed, there seems to be plenty of headroom in this carrier.


“Okay, mom, I’m ready! Let’s go!”


This basket seems really stable and secure. There’s a leash inside, of course, to prevent him from jumping out while we’re moving.


Although it’s primarily designed for small dogs, it’s a shape and size that seems to really appeal to feline sensibilities.


So I don’t know when, but someday we’ll go for a bike ride together using this carrier…


Always closed, of course!

Aby-a-Day – April 18: “Ball” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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



My husband brought home a HeliBall from Five Below the other day.


So of course I had to show it to the Abys.





It’s a pretty simple helicopter toy. It’s not even a remote control helicopter – you turn it on, it goes up and down until it crashes into something and then you turn it off and back on again and do it again. Still, Jacoby was pretty interested in it.



Especially when it crash-landed.




Angel wanted to get a closer look at it, so she quickly hopped up the wallclimbers.


From up there, she could get an eye-level view of the HeliBall.


Jake was quick to follow her up there.




The HeliBall is slightly controllable with your hands. It reacts to things beneath it and goes up when it senses a surface, like the floor or the palm of your hand. The Jake and Angel were fascinated by the flying ball.


However, before you run out and get one of these for yourself, I have to warn you, it’s not the safest toy on the planet. The box says “Ages 14+, so it’s not a kid’s toy. It also has no side-to-side control, just up and down. And if it hits you in the face…it hurts! Somehow, while I was taking photos of it, it managed to get between my camera and my face (I guess I thought the camera would protect me?), and the propellers hit me in the upper lip. It didn’t leave a mark or cut me, but damn, it stung. It also hit Jake in the side which startled him. And that was with two adults playing with it. If you do get one, just be careful with it. And wear glasses! Seriously, this thing could put an eye out.

Aby-a-Day – April 17: All Jake’s Birthdays (Friday Flashback)

Tuesday, of course, was Jacoby’s birthday. Here he is at all his birthdays:


Jake, along with his brother Dillin and his sister Scarlet. I think they’re about two days old in this photo, but it’s as close to his original birthday as I have.


Here he is on his first birthday, with his first birthday cake.


This is Jake’s second birthday. No fear of fire whatsoever, as you can see.


On Jake’s third birthday, he graduated to a number candle.


Jake never waits for his candle to be blown out before he starts eating his cake!


His fifth birthday was the first one in our new apartment.


And now he is six! And what an amazing six years it’s been. Happy birthday, Pellburn Jacoby Stealin’ Home!

Aby-a-Day – April 16: I think, therefore iMac

When the iMac first came out, with its pretty colours and its friendly round shape, I really wanted one. But when I needed a new computer in 1998, my dad offered to sell me his old Macbook (which, while not as pretty or colourful, was a better computer, and it was a laptop rather than a desktop and therefore more portable), so I ended up never getting one.

However, with people on Etsy making and selling cat beds made from gutted iMac cases, I finally had my chance to finally get an iMac. The finished cat beds were a bit pricey, especially with shipping, though, but hey: I have an art degree! I can make one all by myself. I just needed to find a dead iMac to cannibalise first.


I had been discussing iMac cat beds with my friend Barb (who lives with the lovely blue-cream torbie Aby Sky), and she happened to come across a 1998 Bondi Blue iMac G3 while at a thrift store. She snagged it for me and gave it to me last August at the NEMO cat show. Since then, it’s been sitting in a corner of the living room, waiting for me to get up the nerve to tackle dismantling it.


Okay, so now that I have the iMac, where to start? I had found some instructions online that explained the process, but apparently they were for a different iMac G3 than mine. The instructions told me to start by unscrewing two screws at the top…but I only had one screw at the bottom. Okay, so I had the wrong instructions as a guide, but I could figure this out…


I also pretty much ignored all the warnings about dissipating electricity from the CRT (I also didn’t have this link until just now). However, I knew that it hadn’t been plugged in for a very long time. Before Barb was able to get it to me, she’d had it about a year not plugged in, and the person she got it from also hadn’t turned it on for at least a year. Add the 8 months I’d had it, and it had been a non-electrified doorstop for almost three years. I figured it was pretty safe.


So I got to work. Instructions or no, once you get going it’s pretty much intuition. Interestingly, however, the information I found when I Googled “iMac G3 Cat Bed” was much more helpful than than I’d found when searching for “iMac G3 How To Take Apart!”


The pieces just naturally came apart in a specific order. The fact that the iMac is translucent helped the dismantling process a lot because you can actually see where the screws are. You just need to suss out how to get to them. This would have been a lot harder on an opaque machine.


It’s pretty amazing what you can two with only two screwdrivers, determination, and brute strength. Putting it back together was much easier – basically just the opposite of taking it apart.


On this particular model of iMac, the CD drive was a tray rather than just a slot, and it was attached to the metal guts rather than to the plastic casing (Evidently, this makes it a rarer model, since Apple only made iMacs with tray-loading CD drives from August 1998 to October 1999 – all the other iMacs had slot drives). Unless I wanted a hole in the front, I needed to figure out a way to stick the door back in. So I used silver-grey Sugru, a moldable glue that turns into rubber when cured. I basically filled in the space between the case and the door with Sugru. While I was at it, I also filled in the earphone and microphone jack holes with bits of Sugru too, just to make it look nice.


Without the guts to weigh down the case, the round shape was unsteady, and the built in folding kickstand thing wasn’t enough to keep it from rolling around. What I needed was some little legs to hold it up. I thought about it for a few minutes and then went and dug out these pretty plastic corks with plastic tops I’d saved because, dammit, someday they’d come in handy!


And look, someday they did! They make perfect legs for the iMac bed. I stuck them on with some black and white Sugru mixed together. I was hoping for a lighter grey…

(As a side note, that hole in the bottom side of the iMac is where all the USB and other ports were, and apparently, once upon a time, it had a little door to cover it. This seems to have been lost over the past 17 years, but I was able to find a replacement online, and I should have it tomorrow!)


Unfortunately, even when cured, the Sugru wasn’t strong enough to hold the legs on when the iMac was right side up. You can see the left leg already starting to give way. I’d need to reinforce the legs to make them stronger. Okay…back to the drawing board.


I cut away the Sugru holding the legs on, but left the base I’d built. Then I found two wood screws that would fit through the ventilation holes on the iMac.


The screws I found were longer than my corks, so I found another plastic wine cork (without a decorative knob) that had been saved as a cat toy and cut two slices from it to lengthen the legs to fit my screws.


I also couldn’t find any washers that would work. So I cut two circles out of thick black leather and made my own washers. Also, if you look in the back, there’s a knob of silver Sugru. The first screw had nothing to screw into once the guts were removed (it screwed into the metal), so I stuck it in at the top with some Sugru and then built a Sugru base for it on the inside. That should hold it.


Once I had my cork-knob legs and the cork extenders screwed in, I covered them with blue and yellow Sugru mixed together to make green. This started as a way to fill the gap between the two corks and help to anchor the base to the iMac…but it evolved into a way of making the legs a solid colour and making them look more like they were meant to be a part of the iMac bed.


While I was smoothing the Sugru, I got the idea to decorate the legs, so…


…I dug out these little cat-face stamps from CatHands on Etsy that I bought ages ago for making silver clay bracelets. The faces were small enough that I was able to fit all four on each leg. Stamping the faces on also hides the bits I wasn’t able to get perfectly smooth.


Here are the finished legs. They should hold even the heaviest kitty now! And they have cute little cat faces on them.


For now, I just put a random cat bed into the iMac, but I’m going to make a custom-fitted cushion using this fabric which will be stuffed with old shredded T-shirts to make it washable. But it’s done enough for now, so I showed the finished bed to Angel first.



She seemed a little trepidatious at first but quickly settled in.


See Angel? It’s pretty comfy, right?


Then I showed it to Jacoby. He wasted no time in stepping inside and making himself comfortable.


Jake approves of the new bed!


Please also note that I kept the original keyboard (which is attached to the iMac case by threading the cord through open holes in the back). Cats like sleeping on keyboards, so might as well keep it. I also need to find one of the original “hockey puck” iMac mice to complete the ensemble – this machine came with an Apple “Pro” Mouse which doesn’t match as nicely (plus, it still works)!


I wonder who is going to “own” this cat bed?

Aby-a-Day – April 15: Wordless Wednesday (Happy Birthday, Jakey!)













Aby-a-Day – April 14: Now We Are Six (Cartoon Tuesday)

Today is Jacoby’s sixth birthday.


From A. A. Milne: “But now I am Six,
I’m as clever as clever,
So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.”

I wish Jake could stay six for ever and ever…

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

Aby-a-Day – April 13: Non-hostile takeover redux (Hipstamatic Monday)

Angel is not the only Aby in the house who likes to sleep on the cable box in the art room.


And as such, she is not Tessie’s only victim when it comes to her patented non-hostile takeovers.


Jacoby is currently in possession of the cable box.


Tessie wants it.


So what does she do?


She simply takes it when he’s not looking. Now Tessie is on the nice warm cable box…and Jake is sitting next to it on the cold shelf. And he’s not even sure how this happened!

Aby-a-Day – April 12: The Cat in the Mirror

We were changing the bedding and putting away laundry this weekend and I looked over and saw this:


Jacoby was just sitting on this short cat tree, looking at himself in the closet full-length mirror.


Jake isn’t the type of cat to get stuck in the mirror, so it was funny to see him just sitting there, looking at himself.


I wonder what he thinks when he looks in the mirror?


Are his thoughts more “damn, I need to lose a few ounces,” or are they more “Yeah, I’m still totally hot”?