Aby-a-Day – 5 May: “Life is short. Talk fast.”

Today’s post is going to be short and quick, because it’s been a very long day, spent mostly either on trains or walking. But today we added S*Backilandets Mercedes von Ekorntorp, better known as Lorelai (Rory for short). This is Lorelai and her sister, Maya. Annnnddd…yeah, I may or may not have picked the two of them up, kind of made them dance, and sang the the “Sisters” song from White Christmas.

I have a lot of photos of Rory’s trip home and first encounter with the boys, but for now, these will have to do.

angelroryC03808

Angel was unimpressed. Curious, but unimpressed.

freddyroryC03838

freddyroryC03842

Alfred was so interested in Rory. He loved her at first sight.

freddyroryC04020

freddyroryC03895

Freddy really misses his little buddy Logan. He is head over heels in love with his new little sister. He’s going to be a great big brother.

jakeroryC03947

Jacoby…well, he’ll warm to her. Eventually. I hope.

jakeroryC03959<

But they are actually related! On her father's grandmother's side, she and Jake are related through Instincts Klein Bonaire. And she and Freddy are related by at least Purrsynian's Jambe Finite, and probably closer…but I haven't had time to research it. And then if Angel's breeder and sister are who I think they are, Angel is related to everyone, distantly, too. We really are one big happy family.

Aby-a-Day – 24 March: Cat-apulted into a new life (Swedish Saturday)

Björn has written another post for me, this time about our cat show career. He is such a great help to me at shows, and he’s better at talking to the spectators than I am! I am so glad he doesn’t hate going to shows with me.

loganaftershowIMG_1987

logantrainIMG_0034

Dogs have masters. Cats have servants. And show cats have an entourage. Since Koshka moved to Sweden, I’ve become sort of her tour manager.

jaketaillinnC00252

jaketaillinnC00165

We’ve been to shows both in Sweden and abroad (Finland and Estonia thus far) with both Logan and Jacoby, and I’m usually the one who books hotels, tickets for trains and ferries, and rent and drive a car if one is needed.

jakebjorntaillinnbusC00344

Hauling all that luggage (one big bag for the cat, and one for us, plus a few smaller bags) is too much for one person, so that’s another task.

irisloganshowIMG_0055

Then, at the shows, it’s the usual setting up to do. That’s pretty much Koshka’s thing, as she has done it so many more times before. Once the show starts, I’m still bewildered by what and when things are supposed to happen, but I think I’m getting the hang of it.

singasshowC05760

singasshowC05735

I take it that men are in minority in the world of cat shows. There are the judges and breeders, the spouses (enthusiastic or suffering), and the occasional single guy with his cat. As we go to a show on average once every two months, it doesn’t get boring. What is fun is to go to new places, meet new people, and to stay at a nice hotel and go to a good restaurant.

irisloganshowC05650

Also, as I have come to know Jake and Logan, I have become more invested in their success. After all, no one goes to a show just to display your cat and chat with the neighbor!

jakecocowinURKC03123

jakeNOMC04562

While I’ll never have the cat show circuit as a lifestyle, I’m not doing this to indulge my wife, but to do something that I’ve come to enjoy.

loganbjornstationIMG_9994

loganbjornstationIMG_9997

After all, we do this at the pleasure of our feline overlords, right?

Aby-a-Day -18 March: “If you gaze long into an Abyssinian, the Abyssinian also gazes into you” (Swedish Sunday)

This is another post written by my husband, Björn. While Björn has had cats most of his life, he never lived with Abyssinians before…

pyretoliviagarden

Before Jake and Angel moved in, the most active cat I had lived with was Olivia (1999-2010), the small tortie shorthaired Norwegian Forest cat mix. She was pretty talkative and active, annoying and fun (usually at the same time). Still, she was nothing compared to cats like Jake, Angel, Alfred and Logan.

pyretoliviasofa

Other cats I had met, like those of friends, were pretty sedate, just like my own old cat, Pyret. Some hid under the sofa and refused to come out when I was visiting, others were just furry couch potatoes. I had met Jake and Angel in Boston in 2015, and had seen their antics during our FaceTime sessions before Koshka moved here. I thought I was prepared…

jakeangelpyretfoodC08994

18 June 2016. Two cats are let out of their travel cage and explore their new surroundings. Soon I’ll learn what it means to live with Abys. While Angel is more like a regular cat as long as there’s no meat involved, my old Pyret was the opposite to Jake.

jakepyretfoodC08985

Active, attention-seeking and affectionate (usually), the claim that Abys are the most dog-like of cat breeds is proven true.

jakebjornbegC09217 2

Did I say dog-like? Abys aren’t really like dogs, at least not at the dinner table. Dogs are usually well behaved and just sit there, with sad puppy eyes and whining, hoping for a scrap. Abys, on the other hand… Or paw.

jakebjornbegC093018 2

Living up to the epithet “grabby Aby”. Any plate within the reach of an Aby is fair game, and that reach is considerable. Turn your head for a couple of seconds, and that piece of chicken is gone. Don’t think that just because you’ve stuck your fork in the meat that it is safe.

angelbjornbegC02488

The Aby looks at it and says: “Is that meat you have on your fork? Mind if I insert my head between your hand and mouth and take it?”

mobsceneC08631

It was rubbing off on my old cat, too. OK, she always had a thing for shrimp off my pizza, but she began to join the other four-legged (or rather two-armed) pests when we had a meal.

angeljakecocobegC02463<

She wasn't as aggressive as the Abys, though. The young boys – at least Freddy – have adopted the bad habits of their elders, but that was just a matter of time…

breakfastC04165

Still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. Living with Abys and a Singapura is a whole new experience, and I would never consider one of those decorative but passive breeds that might score first prizes at shows, but which are about as fun as a plushie. With Jake, Angel, Freddy and Logan around, there’s almost always something happening.

jakebjornbegC09166 2

Contrary to what uneducated people think, cats have personalities, and with their intelligence and activity, I would say that Abys are among the most personable of all breeds. That helps now, when my Pyret passed away two weeks ago. To have the other cats around have made the loss a little bit less painful. A home without a cat isn’t a real home.

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.

jakelogantrainIMG_0807

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.

jakelogantrainIMG_0812

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

jakelogantrainIMG_0814

Until…what could the matter be!?

jakelogantrainIMG_0815

A dog! On the train!

jakelogantrainIMG_0816

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.

jakelogantrainIMG_0817

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

jakelogantrainIMG_0819

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.

jakelogantrainIMG_0820

Look at Logan’s tail!

jakelogantrainIMG_0821

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.

jakeDjMC03892

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

jakeDjMC03901

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

jakeDjMC03902

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

jakeDjMC03906

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

jakeDjMC03890

The staff all know Jake, of course.

jakeDjMC03916

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.

jakeangelcrateC07351

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

jakeangelcrateC07342

Although I think Angel wanted to get out.

carrierIMG_5056

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.

jakeangelcratepracticeC07887

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

jakeangelcratepracticeSBAHC07890

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.

jakeangelcarrierIMG_5055

jakeangelcarrierTI7130

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

carrierIMG_5196

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

carrierIMG_5197

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.

carrierKEFIMG_5238

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.

jakeangelarlandaIMG_5193

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.

linda-leon-Seacoast16a

linda-leon-Seacoast16b

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!

nainaC06467

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?

nainaC06453

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!

nainaC06452

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.

naina-pat-bjornC06468

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.

naina-pat-bjornC06482

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.

naina-pat-bjornC06476

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.

naina-arlanda 2

naina-arlanda

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

NainaHome1

NainaHome2

NainaHome3

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!