Aby-a-Day – 24 February: Cats on a train (Swedish Saturday)

Since Jacoby has decided he doesn’t like FIFe’s way of showing and has declared himself retired, Logan is the only show cat in the house now. But, when Logan and I are going to a show in or near Stockholm, we take Jake along and he stays with Kalle at Kalle’s mother’s house just outside of Stockholm.

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Jake and Logan have become comfortable travel companions. They don’t always get along at home, but on the road they are the best of friends.

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Train rides are rather lulling. It’s easy to fall asleep to the rhythm of the clickety-clack.

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Until…what could the matter be!?

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A dog! On the train!

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Animals are allowed in only certain cars on Västtraffik and SJ trains, so it’s not unusual to have several cats and dogs in one car.

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I guess someone forgot to alert Logan that his train ride might include non-humans and non-felines.

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I love how upset, offended, even, that Logan is about the presence of a dog on his train. Meanwhile, Jake is like, meh, whatever. Dogs, man, what are you gonna do? They’re everywhere.

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Look at Logan’s tail!

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No, I mean it…Look at it! I’m pretty sure he’s seen dogs before. I guess he just hasn’t ever see a dog on a train.

Aby-a-Day – 10 February: Welcome to Big Market! (Swedish Saturday)

We are very lucky in that we live extremely close to a very good pet supplies store. Skövde’s DjurMagazinet is the equivalent of five Boston blocks from our apartment.

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And they carry almost everything we need. The rest we can order online.

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But they have our Bozita, our Vaisto raw, and everything else we need on a regular basis.

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And of course they welcome pet visitors. And you know how Jacoby loves to help me shop.

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He always makes sure we have gotten everything we need before we pay.

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The staff all know Jake, of course.

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With our purchases safely stowed in Jake’s light stroller, we’re homeward bound!

Aby-a-Day – 13 January: Planes, Trains and Automobiles Part 1 (Swedish Saturday)

You know that I flew to Sweden with the two Abyssinians, Jacoby and Angel. But I’m willing to bet you are very curious as to HOW we came here. I flew IcelandAir, which, because Iceland is an island and because of rabies concerns, requires all animal passengers fly in a specially climate controlled pet cargo hold. I know many people have misgivings about airline cargo holds, with good reason. But I have had only good experiences with cargo travel (my two Siamese, Harri and Patrick, from San Francisco to Atlanta, and then Tessie from Portland, Oregon, to Boston). It’s actually easier than travelling with a cat in-cabin, especially when you are travelling with more than one!

I started acclimatising them to the crate very early, by leaving it out for them to nap in. Tessie didn’t really need to practice, but she did anyway.

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I also locked Jake and Angel in the crate for longer and longer periods to get them ready for an eight hour trip.

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Although I think Angel wanted to get out.

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Then, days before the big trip, we had a practical practice, I used the crate to take Jake and Angel to the vet for their pre-travel visit.

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It was a perfect opportunity to practice shlepping the crate somewhere.

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Ironically, my vet, South Boston Animal Hospital, changed location from a 10 minute bus ride away to…ACTUALLY IN THE BUILDING I LIVED IN on 1 June. I left for Sweden on 17 June. Sigh.

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They were their usual selves at the vet, and of course, they got a clean bill of health.

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Finally, the day arrived! We went to Logan Airport to start our new life.

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We all went into a back room at IcelandAir and the cats were checked out, to make sure that they were who I said they were, and to make sure that nothing was being smuggled in the carrier.

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The flight went without incident, apart from the souvenir shop being closed, dammit. But I was lucky enough to see Jake and Angel’s crate being loaded onto the next plane at Reykjavik.

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And then, at long last, we were all reunited at Arlanda airport in Stockholm. What happened next? Tune in tomorrow, same cat time, same cat channel!

Aby-a-Day – 5 June: Travelling with a Singapura (Swedish Sunday)

When Björn was in Boston for our wedding in April, my friend Linda (who is also a member of NEMO) asked if we could help her out.

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Linda, along with her husband Chuck, breed Singapuras (their cattery name is Mystiquecats), and she wanted to know if Björn would be willing to help two other Singapura breeders. Pat, of (Sopan Singapuras had a 10 month old girl kitty who needed to fly to live with a breeder in Sweden. And, as luck would have it, Björn was returning home and flying into Stockholm at just the right time!

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Well, naturally we jumped at the chance, not only to help out friends, but because just two months later, I would be making the exact same journey – on Icelandair – with Jacoby and Angel, and what better way to try out the flight accommodations with a cat than to actually take a cat on the flight?

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So, Björn and I met Pat and Naina, the girlcat, at Logan. I know Singapuras are small cats, and Naina was only 10 months old…but she was TINY!

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Pat had sent cats abroad before, and gave me excellent advice on how to outfit the carrier for a long trans-Atlantic flight. From her I learned that a bag of dry food should be attached to the outside of the crate, and the water bowl should be filled with water and frozen the night before, so the bowl would be filled with non-spillable, slowly thawing ice that the cats can lick if they are thirsty.

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After checking in, we got to go behind the scenes with an Icelandair employee. We went into a back room and a TSA employee checked Naina and her carrier to make sure that nothing was being smuggled in with the cat. Then they took her to the plane. On Icelandair, pets travel in a special pet hold rather than in the cabin. This is because Iceland is an island, and has very strict animal import laws and impose a quarantine on imported mammals. Animals need to be monitored by official airline personnel at all times and cannot be on the ground more than three hours. When I booked my flight to Sweden later this month, I had toyed with the idea of having a seven-hour layover in Reykjavik and actually go into the city, but since I’ll be travelling with the Abys, I can’t do that. So, I’ll have just enough time to go through customs, grab a snack, and get on my next plane.

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However, in our case, the cats having to travel in the pet hold is actually an advantage. Two animals of the same species, weighing less than 40 kg (88 lbs), can share one crate, so Jake and Angel will be able to travel together in one carrier rather than me having to manage two separate bags with cats in them along with my laptop and carry-on bag.

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Naina flew like a champ. When Björn landed in Stockholm and picked her up, she was as cheery and relaxed as she had been in Boston. He was impressed that after eleven hours flying and changing of planes, she was just meowing a little, but mostly was just curious about her new surroundings.

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Björn met up with Lisa, of Melur Singapuras, at Arlanda and Naina was swiftly taken to her new home.

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As you can see from these photos Lisa posted on Facebook, Naina settled in almost immediately! She took to being in Sweden right away. Just like I hope that Jake and Angel will!