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 – 13 July: Life imitates art (Fashion Friday Flashback)

An unsung hero of cat art history is Girard “Gig” Goodenow. I can’t even find a biography of him online, but a Google search of his name will give you plenty images of his art. I had a set of four of his “Pity Kitties” with huge, sad eyes in my bedroom when I was four years old. But a few years ago I found a print of one of the series of cat prints he did for Women’s Day…the Abyssinian, of course.

Well, I finally got around to finding a frame for it, and, after I unrolled it to look at it after years of it being packed away, both Björn and I were struck by how much it looked like a portrait of…Alfred. Eerily so, considering the print is 53 years old.

So we got Freddy to pose next to his two-dimensional doppleganger.

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Or, rather, I should say we tried to get him to pose. It didn’t start off well…

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This is one of the best photos of them together!

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At last Freddy took a good look at the portrait.

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“Wow! That really kinda does look like me!”

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“This is amazing..! It’s like looking in a mirror!”

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I think Freddy has a new-found appreciation for vintage cat art. I wonder if this Abyssinian was based on one of Freddy’s ancestors?

Aby-a-Day – 29 June: Mourning anniversary (Friday Flashback)

Yesterday, 28 June, was the 10th anniversary of Gun-Hee’s death. He succumbed to FIP at the age of 1 year, 9 months, 1 week and 5 days. He had such a short life, but he made a huge impact on my life, and he is the reason that this blog exists.

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Sherry took this photo of Gun-Hee and his littermates. It’s one of my favourite photos.

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This was the only litter that Pellburn Scarface Cat Pacino and Marica’s Bright Amber of Pellburn had together. Scar is, of course, Jacoby’s father as well. Amber was actually imported from Denmark and had Finnish, German, Norwegian and Australian cats in her pedigree. I made this image of them together in the style of those cheesy wedding photos set against fake backgrounds.

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It was love at first sight when I met him. He was named after the title character in the Korean serial “First Love of a Royal Prince” because we were adding him to a household with two female cats and he would be spoiled rotten, much like Choi Gun-Hee in the series. I loved that character, and the name Pellburn Prince Gun-Hee was such an awesome name…so that’s why I gave him a Korean name.

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He was there when I got engaged.

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But he still only had one birthday.

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In his short life, he did everything Jake did. If I had known about cat strollers back then, he would have been Strollercat.

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He was a part of my life for such a short time…but he has affected my life for over 12 years. And I still think of him every day.

Aby-a-Day – 8 June: “Come, Ferries, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind” (Fashion Friday Flashback)

We have gone to cat shows in Helsinki twice and Tallinn once since I moved to Sweden. To get to these cities, we travelled by ferry from Stockholm. It’s quite a fun way to travel; you get on the ferry in the early evening, do a bit of duty-free shopping (alcohol, perfume and watches are the main reason many people take the ferry as the selection and prices are so much better), have dinner at one of the restaurants or at the fabulous buffet, lose some loose change at the casino slot machines whilst having a cocktail, then go to bed. When you wake up, you’re in your destination city. It’s brilliant, really. But the best part is that, when you board, they take your photos, and later on in the evening, you can go round and check out the photos and choose to buy the ones you like.

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The ferries also carry cars, of course, and allow pets. So when you board with a cat, the photographers, who are likely quite bored of taking photos of arguing middle-aged couples and squalling children, light up and put extra effort in their snapshots.

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Sometimes they make the photos into false magazine covers. I really love how this one turned out. This was on our first trip to Helsinki in October 2016.

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And this photo was the only one we really liked from the return trip from Helsinki to Stockholm…but we both really loved it. Sadly, when we took the ferry to Tallinn, the photographers packed up early, both directions! We were quite disappointed, and actually complained about it. They missed out on making some money, too, we pointed out; we would have purchased at least one taken each way!

The next time we went to Helsinki, we took Logan, as Jacoby had decided he was finished showing for the time being.

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It was a bit chilly when we left Stockholm, so Logan had his parka on. He enjoyed the warmth the parka gave him…but he wasn’t thrilled about wearing it.

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The photos are a bit awkward, but I love them anyway.

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The problem with the cat photos is, they always look good in them, so you want to buy them all. It’s the ones of ourselves we never really like. This one was tolerable, mainly because Logan looked so happy to be boarding the ferry and have his photo taken on the way back!

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Either that, or because it was warmer, and he didn’t need to wear his parka. These are a bit blurry, but I love them because of how utterly happy he looks in them.

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This one turned out lovely as well. I can’t wait to see how Lorelai looks on her first ferry trip!

Aby-a-Day – 11 May: Remembering Gun-Hee (Friday Flashback)

Lorelai has been with us for a week now, and it’s like she’s always been here. She’s feisty, trusting, playful, curious and just…perfect. Jacoby growls at her, she doesn’t care. She pushes Angel and Jake away from their leftovers if she’s still hungry. She holds her own with Alfred even though he’s nearly 10 times her size. She’s had no litter box issues, no eating problems…nothing. She just integrated herself right into the cat family.

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Kind of like another Aby kitten I know. Gun-Hee was a lot like Rory. Jake, Freddy and Logan were somehow not as easy. They all had giardia as kittens, and, I don’t know. It just felt like it took a lot more work managing those three as kittens compared to Rory and Gun-Hee.

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We got Gun-Hee on 15 December 2006, the day before he turned three months old.

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We tried to keep him separated from Tessie, Kylie and Patrick when we first brought him home. That lasted about five minutes. He would have none of it. The older cats were…not the most welcoming at first.

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Gun-hee didn’t care.

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He just stood his ground.

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For some reason, Patrick was his particular favourite. Patrick was still missing Harri, who had died four months earlier.

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Gun-Hee eventually wore him down.

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He loved Patrick.

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Kylie was the closest to him in age (she was only 17 months older than him), so they also became friends rather quickly.

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Tessie was a little slower to thaw.

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But Gun-Hee eventually melted her, too.

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He also loved the floor-to-ceiling cat tree in my old apartment.

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He loved being on the top, epsecially.

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Rory takes on that same floor-to-ceiling cat tree and, if she falls off, she just climbs back up. As I am typing this, she’s at the very top of it, trying to touch the ceiling. Gun-Hee was like that, too.

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Another thing they have in common is shoulder-riding. Neither Jake, Angel, Freddy or even Logan have ever been able to stay on a shoulder. Jake is particularly bad at it; I say it’s like he has magnets on his feet that are the opposite of the ones on people’s shoulders and he just can’t stay on. It’s nice to have a shoulder-riding kitten again.

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And Gun-Hee could be cuddly, too. Just like Rory. It’s a little eerie how much she reminds me of him.

Aby-a-Day – 13 April: Baby Logan (Friday Flashback)

We just spent a couple of weeks talking about Freddy before he came to live with us…so now it’s Logan’s turn. Logan was an adorable kitten. Aby kittens always look like miniature adults…Singa kittens just look…like this:

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Cute…but different. And even at seven weeks, the Singapura Stink-Eye™

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He was such a cute kitten.

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Logan and his sister Iris at 11 weeks old.

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Logan playing with his mother Naina’s tail.

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You can see why Lisa named him Vide…Pussywillow in Swedish. My little pussywillow…

Aby-a-Day – 6 April: Alfred’s father (Friday flashback)

This is the fourth installment of posts about Alfred’s family. I was lucky enough to get to meet both of his parents, all of his littermates, and some other relations as well. Today we meet Alfred’s father and his cousins. Last week’s post is here.

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Freddy’s father is an absolutely stunning ruddy named SE*Maghreb’s Snusmumriken. Of course, his father’s awesome ruddiness is also part of the reason why Freddy is so dark for a black silver Aby.

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He is also a poser, like Jacoby. He knows how handsome he is!

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Snus is also super friendly, which has definitely rubbed off on our Freddy.

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He’s also brilliant with kittens. Which is lovely; not all tomcats are.

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Especially when the kittens aren’t theirs! These cute sorrel babies are actually Snus’ sister’s kits.

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It reminded me a bit of watching lion cubs play with the big male lion.

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Those cousins were pretty adorable, too. Either playing alone…

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(Hey! Be careful!)

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…or together.

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The cousins were also supremely adept at posing, just like their father.

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…Well. Mostly.

But it was so much fun and such a special opportunity to meet so many members of Freddy’s family! Not often you get the chance to do that.