Aby-a-Day – 24 July: Showtime! (Cartoon Tuesday)

The other day, we were talking about Lorelai being “our little showgirl.” Next thing I knew, I couldn’t get the image of her as a classic Las Vegas showgirl out of my head. I recently discovered an awesome application for drawing on the iPad called Procreate. It’s meant to work with Pencil, and while it takes a little getting used to, it works incredibly well. Most importantly (to me, anyway), it uses layers. I need to have layers to draw the way I want to.

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First, I need to do a pencil sketch. I sketched this over the reference I found online.

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Then I hide the reference and ink over the sketch. When the sketch layer is hidden, the ink looks like this.

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Then, using various brushes, I colour Rory in underneath the ink layer. This is important to preserve the outline. The colouring was actually done on three layers and merged. As I colour, I go back to the ink layer and erase bits and redraw them as needed.

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Finally, I add a top layer with a little sparkle and flash…and whiskers. I always do my whiskers on a top layer. The finished Procreate drawing is at the top of this post.

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The only thing is, I have some amazing feather and fur brushes in Photoshop. So when the drawing was finished on the iPad, I exported it to my Mac. Now, what’s really cool about Procreate is, you can export drawings as .PSD files, which preserves all the layers. So I worked with my fur and feather brushes and touched up the colouring a bit…

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…and, then, just for fun, gave her a Vegas show stage as a background.

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Finally, because the red in her outfit blends in with the red curtains onstage, I modified the layer style, adding some glow and a little drop shadow, and this is the final result.

Aby-a-Day – 23 July: Just another manic Monday (Hipstamatic Monday)

Last month, I did my first Hipstamatic Monday post in two years. So I thought I would it again, this time youngest to oldest.

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It’s hard to remember that Lorelai is the youngest sometimes, because she is bigger and heavier than Izaak, but he was born 26 January and she was born on 10 February.

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Hi, Rory!

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Rory has two speeds: Full and Stop. This is Stop.

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Rory sleeps like she plays: hard.

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She’s a very entertaining sleeper, to say the least.

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Next we have Izaak.

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Funny thing about Zak. He is a Singapura, and he looks so much like Logan. But he is so different from Logan. Except…

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…Oddly, he does some things that only Logan did, like sleep on the cable box, scratch on the rubber litter mat, and sleep in this bed on a regular basis. It’s a bit surreal.

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He’s 98% different from Logan…and then he does things only Logan did. So you see what I mean.

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Next is our stalwart Alfred.

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Good old Freddy.

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What would we do without Freddy?

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These photos were taken whilst we were waiting for Jacoby’s vet appointment in Jönköping, so we had his smaller stroller upstairs in preparation.

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As long as that thing was upstairs, Jake was in it.

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It’s his flimsy travel stroller and not his yellow therapy stroller, but he loves it all the same.

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I think he spent most of his time napping in his stroller as long as we had it upstairs.

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Okay, Jake…go back to sleep.

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Last but not least, we have Angel.

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In her canoe.

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Exactly where she was the last time I did a Hipstamatic Monday post.

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Oh, well…at least she’s consistent.

Aby-a-Day – 22 July: “I have one speed, I have one gear: go!” (Cat Show Cinema Sunday)

In a couple of weeks, Lorelai and Izaak will be going to their first show together, held by the Järva Kattklubb in Stockholm. This was Logan’s first show last year.

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It was a fun show, and it was held as part of a larger animal fair called Djurens Helg, with dogs, horses, small mammals, birds, reptiles and even insects! There was a lot to do and see during the show downtimes. Sadly, though, this year Djurens Helg is the weekend before the cat show.

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But the best thing of all about this show was that they had cat agility set up! I hadn’t seen that since I was back n the States.

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Now, you may remember that Jacoby absolutely sucks at agility. But Gun-Hee was really good at it, and came in fourth place as a kitten at our first Seacoast show. So when I saw the agility set up, I had to give Logan a go.

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And, after getting himself oriented in the cage…

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…he did really, really well!

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But at the end of the day, he had come in third place! Unfortunately, there were only trophies for first and second places, but still, he ran the course in 4 seconds!

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It wasn’t a circle, like the one in New Hampshire; it was just a straight line, but he did it perfectly. We are hoping it will be back again this year, because we cannot wait to show it to Zak and Rory!

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Oddly, as with Gun-Hee, we didn’t manage to get a very good video of Logan running it. This is the best we could manage.

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So, here is a video of Logan playing in his benching cage. (Click on the images to see the videos on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – 21 July: Our “Extra” cat (Silly Saturday)

Alfred is our “extra” cat.

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He’s not a rescue, like Angel.

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He’s not a show cat; he’s too dark a black silver and he has barring on his forelegs.

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So, if he’s not the “special” rescue Aby, and he’s not the therapy cat-life-partner Aby, and he’s not the European showcat Aby (or Singapura)…

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…who, or what, is Freddy?

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That’s easy.

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Freddy is our pioneer.

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Our clown.

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Our explorer.

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Our good guy who’s always there to take care of a new kitten. Freddy may seem “extra,” but he’s as important as any other of the cats in our home.

Aby-a-Day – 20 July: “Having one eye makes you see the world in unusual ways” (Flashback Friday)

Yesterday’s post about that horrific situation in Rhode Island naturally reminded me of Angel’s situation. It was ten years ago this October that I collected her in California, but it was around mid-July that I was being approved to adopt her. This is her story, as I was told it by Purebreds Plus, her rescue:

“The story behind Angel’s eye and foster situation is sad; The breeder had a couple of tough years with her mother who was sick and dying and in the midst of this her pregnant females in December of 2006 – January 2007 were getting sick. Almost 75% of the kittens born were dead or died shortly after birth. She had never had this problem before and only when the pet food information came did she begin to put things together as she was feeding some of the recalled foods. When she bred her females (and a couple of the kittens born to them), health problems showed up in the lines – Herpes infections like none seen before with ulcerated eyes and very sick cats. Not being as careful as usual, her numbers increased and unhealthy cats increased.

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I met the breeder at a cat show in October 2007 and we talked about me taking some of her cats. I knew nothing about the situation. A week before Christmas she called me and we set January 1 as the day I would take 5 of her cats. The very next day she took 4 other cats to the Humane Society and asked that 3 be put down and the other (Angel) be put up for adoption. Two days later the Humane Society paid a visit and found a house with over 60 cats, spotlessly clean. She gave up the sickest cats and others, totaling 18 cats. The Humane Society called us, and on Friday December 20th, we spent 3 hours there bathing cats’/kittens’ eyes that were horribly stuck together and gave meds. They could only allow us to take the original 4 as there is a 72 hour rule in California. Sunday the 23rd we went back and took the other 16 (2 had died). Then at the breeder’s house we took 5 more cats – a total of 14 kittens and 11 others between 5 months and 14 months. We separated the kittens by illness levels and 9 of the healthiest kittens went to Southern California Aby Rescue. Unfortunately 5 of those died. Of the 5 that we kept, 2 died over the next 3 months, both of FIP. The other 3 were adopted. Of the other Abys 2 of the younger ones died and the others were adopted except Angel, who had many problems over the months finally with an eye ulcerating in April. She has been healthy since..

(Angel also had another medical problem: when they removed her ulcerated eye, the veterinarian – for a reason I can’t fathom – put a prosthetic eye into Angel’s eye socket. Her body rejected it. So she had to undergo another surgery to remove her fake eye!)

The problems:

· Upper Respiratory Infections that finally healed, then eyes ulcerated. Some eyes were saved and a couple had the eye removed. This was different than the normal herpes infections that we had seen in rescue where the conjunctiva was swollen and goopy. The eyes ulcerated seemingly overnight and it was a relentless treatment regime that could save then (if it did) (Angel is in this group, obviously).

· Bordatella – took 6 weeks of Doxycycline to go away

· Some of the cats were vaccinated (for FIP). Of the cats that died, they all had vaccines and 3-6 weeks after got sick and then died of FIP. The breeder begged us not to vaccinate because she had the same problem.

· Ringworm – Over the 7 months we have taken 35 cats and have about 10 more coming. The ones we have seen since April have not been as ill and that is what we expect of the remaining 10.”

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It’s been ten years…Finally, after moving to Sweden and being in a hierarchy where she is, at long last, the oldest female, Angel seems to be becoming “comfortable” in her home…or, at least, more comfortable. I don’t think she’ll ever be a “normal” Abyssinian…but at least with us, she can be herself. Whoever that is.

Aby-a-Day – 19 July – “Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing” (Thursday

Lorelai is the kind of cat we have always wanted.

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Oh! There she is now!

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Yes, Rory is that rarest of cats…

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…the kind of cat I have only had twice before…

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…Yes, Rory is…

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…a shoulder cat! And she will jump from a high surface down onto your shoulder, or she will climb up to your shoulder from the ground. Suddenly. And without warning. Especially on the day before claw-clipping day.

Abys in Need – 26 dead Abys in freezer, 18 more living in squalor…AGAIN!

This is ghastly. Rhode Island Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals discovered 26 dead Abys in a freezer and 18 more in “very poor condition” yesterday. According to the RISPCA investigator, the surviving cats were underweight and covered in feces, but none were in such bad health that they will need to be euthanised. Well, thank StarClan for that!

But what really pisses me off is…THIS ISN’T THE FIRST TIME this person has done this! Eight years ago I posted about this exact same idiot who had 48 Abys, along with a corn snake, one dog, a turtle and two other household cats confiscated by the RISPCA. Just as last time, the cats are at the Potter League for Animals, so if you’re interested in helping to rescue one or more of these Abys, please contact the Potter League for Animals (Newport, RI), 87 Oliphant Lane, Middletown RI 02842, Phone: 401-846-8276, Email: info@potterleague.org. But keep in mind it will probably take some time to get them healthy enough for adoption.

Additionally, my friend Meg has started a donation page on Facebook in Cousin Taz’s memory to raise funds to help the Potter League help these Abys.

And now I need to go hug Angel.