Aby-a-Day – 23 September: Sand cats (Cinema Swedish Sunday)

Continuing yesterday’s post…After we hunted pigeons, we went to the swingset to play in the sand.

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Lorelai loved digging in the sand.

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Meanwhile, Izaak appreciated the camouflage properties of the sand.

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It was hilarious to watch them play in the sand.

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Watch Zak “hunt” Rory…

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…And…BOOM!

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Severe lack of follow-through, though.

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More clever stalking on Zak’s part…but no more spectacular ambushes.

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It was just so much fun watching them play in that sand! I made a movie of it, here:

You can see for yourself how much fun they had in that sand around the swingset.

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But the saddest part of the afternoon is, whilst we were playing around the swings, we kept hearing this plaintful meowing. It turned out to be Alfred, watching us from the kitchen. Poor Freddy! But there’s a reason Freddy doesn’t get to go out with us on leash-free training…

Aby-a-Day – 9 September: Into the woods (Part 2) (Swedish Sunday)

As you’ll remember from yesterday’s post, two years ago last August, Jacoby, Angel, Kalle and I went out for an adventure around the lake near our apartment. We found a nice place to park, and Jake couldn’t wait to get out into the forest.

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We unhooked him from the stroller, and he couldn’t wait to get out and explore. Angel, on the other hand, was perfectly content to sit in the stroller.

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The forest behind the lake was like a fairy tale, so lush and green, with moss-covered boulders and lots of ferns.

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It was so beautiful out there.

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And, naturally, the photographer in me was stunned by the way Jake’s gorgeous ruddy coat looked against the lush greenery.

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Could you ask for anything more picturesque?

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Jake was fascinated by the wilderness.

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He and Kalle walked all over, exploring.

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They made quite a pair.

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I think Jake was a little frustrated by the length of his leash, however.

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Who knows how far into the woods he would have gone had it not been for that cord of braided leather?

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Finally, it was time to get moving again.

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Jake was a little cranky at having to get back into the stroller after getting to feel like a warrior for once.

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So I appeased him by letting him peruse the bird menu.

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After that, we got drenched in a random thunderstorm. I managed to keep the cats relatively dry, but Kalle and I were pretty soaked. On the way back, Kalle went to investigate a pond.

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Jake and Angel watched him with interest.

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It was a pretty impressive pond, though.

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Even though we’re living in the 20th largest city in Sweden, we still get views like we’re in the middle of nowhere.

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You can see the rainfall on the pavement as we head home.

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When we got close to home, Jake and Angel recognised where we were and hopped out of the stroller.

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Oh, now Angel wants to explore!

Aby-a-Day – 29 July: There’s cat proof…and then there’s Abyssinian proof (Swedish Sunday)

I have been regaling you with tales of our balcony/catio. It took a while to make sure it was cat-proof…wait, I mean, Aby-proof. Because protecting something from Abyssinians is a huge step up from protecting a thing from a regular cat. Trust me on this. You would think that a pot of plain pasta left on the stove is of no interest to cats, right? And you would be correct. It is of no interest to a cat. But leave that pot of plain pasta on the stove with Abys around? Yeah…have fun cleaning that pasta up off the floor. Oh, and enjoy your broken pot.

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So testing the cat-netting from the inside was only a starting point. The real test came a few days later.

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We were outside with Lorelai and Izaak. We’re trying to teach them to stick to us outside off leash, so we go out, they run around, but when we call them, they come right to us. It’s the sort of thing I couldn’t teach Jacoby, living in Boston.

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But when Jake heard our voices outside, he ran to join us.

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And he really tried to join us. But thankfully, the netting and chicken wire held.

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Then Angel came to help.

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So now we had two adult Abys actively trying to breach the netting.

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Oh, sure, they pretend to not get along. But they are totally in cahoots. Don’t let them fool you.

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Angel seemed content to simply be near us…Jake, not so much.

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He was still testing the netting, searching for a weak spot.

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And he was trying really hard to find that weakness.

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Angel and Jake tried each end of the cat-netting to see if they could escape.

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Seeing Zak just below only made Jake and Angel try to break through the screen even harder.

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And then, Alfred decided to join the party.

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“Hey, what’re you guys doing?”

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“Oh, breaking through the netting? Did you try gnawing on it?

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Here’s a side view of the big cats on the balcony. That netting is really doing its job!

Aby-a-Day – 10 June: Bus stops, bus goes (Swedish Sunday)

Alfred arrived at our home and was almost immediately whisked off to the vet for his first visit.

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I mean, it was three days after we brought him home. We had to take the big cats in for their annuals, and we brought him along for an introduction and quick once-over.

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It was also Freddy’s first experience with a bus stop.

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“How long is it gonna taaaaaaakke? We’ve been waiting aaaaaages!”

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OMG YAY! It’s finally coming!

Aby-a-Day – 27 May: Typical Swedish breakfast (Swedish Sunday)

Swedes love kaviar in a tube. A paste of salted cod roe (Gadus morhua), sugar, canola oil and spices, the most famous brand is Kalle’s Kaviar, but Björn just buys the ICA brand kaviar; it tastes the same and costs less. It’s the standard condiment for hard boiled eggs.

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On her first morning with us, Lorelai investigated this fishy delight. She just needs to learn which end it comes out from.

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There you go, Rory! You’re getting warmer!

Aby-a-Day – 20 May: Jakedaw (Swedish Sunday)

Well, this was not the weekend we were expecting to have, and these are not the posts I was expecting to write, but we managed to turn things around pretty well. We went down and had a beer in the lobby and fell asleep later than we would have done last night, because there wasn’t any reason to get up early in the morning. We had breakfast, packed leisurely, and left Alsingsås around noon. We took the scenic route home and stopped at a couple of rummage sales in the countryside. Jacoby seemed to enjoy his weekend away from the kittens. When we got home, I let Jake out on his leash while we unloaded the car and schlepped things back up to the apartment.

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While I was inside, Björn managed to snap these two shots of Jake and a jackdaw eyeing each other. Jackdaws are corvids between a crow and a magpie in size, and they are everywhere.

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Jackdaws love to hang around outside cafés and eating areas in summer and they are fearless in the face of food. This one came to sit at one of the chairs at our table.

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He certainly wasn’t afraid of humans!

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Jackdays are known for stealing food off tables and bussing stations and I have even seen them go inside garbage cans to grab a tasty snack. Is it any surprise that Björn and I call them JAKEdaws?

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…

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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.

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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…

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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?”

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.