Aby-a-Day – 19 Maj 2020: Kiipi and her kitten – Work in progress (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last week, my friend Sanna-Leena posted this awesome photo of Kiipi and her kitten on the Facebook group This IS an airport, please announce your departure: Aeroplane ear posting. I love Kiipi, and I have drawn her before. When I saw this photo, I wanted to draw it.

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I tilted the photo a little, so I could add in their tails. This is my preliminary sketch.

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I decided I wanted each cat on its own layer. This is my second sketch of Kiipi.

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And this is the second sketch of the kitten.

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And here they are together. The next step is ink, and then after that colour and texture. Stay tuned!

Aby-a-Day: 9 Februari 2020: Instead of Örebro, a tale of Finland (Cat Show Sunday) (Part 2)

Sunday greeted us with a chilly, frosty morning. We checked out from the hotel, went to the show hall, and got ready for the second day.

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Our judge for the day was Marina Vinkel from Estonia. She was very thorough in examining Jacoby on her table.

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Koshka and Jake waited for the Nomination…but alas, it was not to be. However, that ultimately worked to our advantage.

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Not having to be on alert for the panels gave us a chance to explore the show hall and the merchants. Koshka was especially excited to see Arja’s Art, the woman who makes the harnesses the cats wear.

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Koshka raves about these harnesses, and was thrilled to discover that Arja also makes passport covers for the EU Pet Passports.

Because we weren’t Nommed, we were able to get permission to leave the show a couple of hours before it ended, as we had to get back to Helsinki, return the car, and make our way to the port to catch our ferry. It was lucky that they let us leave when they did, as it took a bit more time than expected before we were ready to go to the ferry.

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Jake was such a seasoned traveller, he lead the way to our cabin. After setting up our quarters, which was a mirror-image of the cabin we had on the way to Finland, we pretty much repeated what we did on our first trip, with a couple of exceptions.

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This time, we took Jake to the aft sun deck for some pictures and a final look as we departed Helsinki.

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We also took some porthole portraits with Jake in one of the elevator lobbies.

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After our ship exploration, we settled Jake in the cabin with a snack while we hit the buffet for dinner and then visited the duty-free shop, where we bought liquor, cosmetics and candy well below mainland prices. The seas were calmer on the way back.

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We arrived to Stockholm on Monday morning. A bus took us back to the railway station, where we caught the train for Skövde.

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Finally, 6 o’clock in the evening, we were back home. Jake’s first trip abroad as a show cat was over.

Aby-a-Day: 8 Februari 2020: Instead of Örebro, a tale of Finland (Cat Show Saturday) (Part 1)

Note: today and tomorrow’s posts were written by Björn. We were supposed to go to our favourite show in Örebro, but for a constellation of reasons, we had to stay home. Since I had planned to do cat show posts this weekend, I thought I would share Björn’s account of Jacoby’s Big Finland Adventure.

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We left for Stockholm on Thursday, 29 September.

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It was our first time travelling with a cat EU passport!

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Jake made himself comfortable on the train – his first big trip since he moved to Sweden. The train ride took two hours.

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Once in Stockholm, we caught the bus to the ferry port on the eastern outskirts of the city.

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We checked in, and boarded the ferry.

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Jake, of course, made friends as we waited to board.

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While in the queue on the gangplank, we could see the cars waiting to board (it is a ferry, after all). Sweden is known for its fascination with vintage cars, and it’s always fun to see them. There may have been a car show in Helsinki that weekend.

There was a photographer at the gangway, snapping photos of Jake.

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After finding our cabin and setting up the litterbox, we left Jake to enjoy the comforts of the cabin while we explored the ferry.

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The Baltic Sea ferries vary in standard, but the best are like cruise ships, albeit on a smaller scale. There was a mall, several restaurants and bars, and the inevitable gaming areas. The photographer sold prints of the photos they took during boarding, and those with Jake were awesome.

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We stuffed ourselves at the buffet, and feeling content, we went looking for amusements. Of course, Koshka found a slot machine game with an Abyssinian.

Later in the night, high winds made the ship roll, making us walk like we were more intoxicated than we actually were. Jake was happy to see us return…but the rolling ship didn’t seem to faze him at all.

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The seas were calm next morning when we neared our destination, Helsinki, the capital of Finland. We left our cabin, Jake riding in his stroller, and went looking for a cab to take us from the port to the city center.

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As it was Koshka’s first time in Helsinki (and my first time in 15 years), we stored our luggage at the railway station, and did some sight-seeing and shopping. In every shop (more than half a dozen), we made sure that it was OK to bring Jake.

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Not one turned us down; on the contrary, the staff in every shop were charmed by our furry companion, almost forgetting the other customers.

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After a late lunch at a Finnish restaurant, we went to the rental car pickup place.

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As the driver, I quickly realized that getting out of an unfamiliar city at rush hour on a Friday was a challenge. I sent grateful thoughts to the inventor of the GPS navigator, as it made finding our way a thousand times easier. Jake began meowing straightaway, and kept up the song of his people for the 45 kilometers (28 miles) to Siuntio, a small town west of Helsinki which was the location of the show. We found the hotel, the Rantasipi Siuntion Kylpylä, and checked in.

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The sprawling hotel was pretty labyrinthine, but we found our room and installed ourselves. We had dinner in the hotel restaurant, and by the looks of the other guests, most of them were there for the cat show.

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Saturday, 1 October: Jake’s debut as a show cat in Europe. The vet check was pretty early, but we were there in time (again, thanks to the GPS).

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We found the show cage and set it up with curtains, bowls and litterbox.

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We were benched right next to Jake’s good friend Sketsi.

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As it was the 50th anniversary of the first litter of Abyssinians born in Finland, the Aby people had the goal of showing 50 Abys and Somalis, a goal that was surpassed.

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Our friend Anne Kontula was especially invaluable, helping us find our way in the strange world that is a FIFe show. Anne also shows in CFA, and she was just so great at helping Koshka navigating between the two systems. She and her friends and family treated us to snacks, and made us feel very welcome.

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Koshka said that she had no idea what she was doing, apart from going where her friends told her. That said, our first judge, Martti Peltonen, was very impressed with Jake, and said almost immediately that Jake looked like an Instincts cat! Nailed it!

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There were three ruddy neutered males, so Martti got to name a Best in Variety (BIV). Jake ended up being chosen!

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Martti also Nominated Jake for the final! Of course, we didn’t know what, exactly, a NOM was…but we knew it was good.

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Jake was awarded a rosette and a little charm on a purple ribbon as his award.

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Then it was time for the panel. Jake was up against some stiff competition. It was nice to have someone else handle the cats to display them rather than the owners, as it gave us a chance to just watch the proceedings.

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All the Category 4 judges examined each Nominee, including the judge who nominated the cat. Then they vote for their Best In Show. Jake only got one vote (from Martti), so we didn’t win BIS, but we were pretty happy with our first go.

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When the first day was over, we returned to the hotel. After dinner, there wasn’t much in the way of distractions. A bar, a slot machine…

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and the TV in the room…But we knew we had to get up early for the show’s second day, so we went to sleep fairly early.

Shout-out to Summer!

I sent a few gifts to our Somali friend Summer in California for a (belated) Christmas gift. I know Summer and her roommates Binga and Boodie LOVE the European cat treats. And I also remembered that Summer’s human admired the miniature cat skeleton toy I posted about on a Miniature Monday, and when I bought mine, I ordered a few extra for friends and family, so I sent one along to her, knowing it would be appreciated.

You can read all about what they all thought of their gifts on today’s post on Summer’s blog.

Happy Birthday, Molly!

One of my best friends in the Abyssinian world, Molly of Tigerflower Abyssinians, has a couple of major life events happening this month. At the end of the month, she is retiring…but today is her 80th birthday! Since Molly considers the CFA her extended family, I am trying to create a birthday greetings blitz with her friends. So…HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOLLY!

Molly has been breeding Abyssinians under the cattery name Tigerflower for over thirty years. Mainly working with dilutes, she’s raised countless litters of beautiful, title-winning Abys. Besides her Abyssinians, Molly followed a long New York fashion career – on staff at Mademoiselle and Glamour Magazines, freelance writing for Town & Country, wardrobe and speech writing for the Miss America pageants…she even once met Jack Benny!

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I met Molly at a show in Groton, CT back in 2011. It was a memorable show for many reasons: Jacoby achieved his Grand Premiership, I met Richard of Chanan for the first time, and Jake and I dressed up as ancient Egyptians because the second day of the show fell on Halloween. But among the most memorable things was meeting Molly and Red Ferne Moses2 of Tigerflower.

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He was quite the little firecracker, little Mosey!

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He did well at that show, too.

When I lived in Boston, Molly lived in Orlando, FL and then in New Jersey, so we didn’t get to see her very often…but she did come to a couple of NEMO shows. This is the group of my friends and I after the first day of the first NEMO show…Molly supplied the plastic wine sippy cups.

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She and her young red boy, Nik, were enchanted by this spectator at that show.

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Molly was one of the few people who came to Björn’s and my wedding…in fact, having guests at our wedding at all was Molly’s idea!

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If it hadn’t been for her, we would not have had a wedding party.

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She also gave us this incredible stained-glass Aby, which hangs in our front room window in our apartment where we can see it every day.

So…Molly…give your beloved Clawdius a hug from all of us here in Sweden…and have an absolutely marvelous birthday party! We wish we could be there to help you celebrate!

Abys are Everywhere and Singas are Super: Cat breed zodiac

Aby-friend Rachel posted this on Facebook, and I had to share it. Not only does it feature an Abyssinian for Aries…but my sign, Gemini, is a Singapura! I actually did laugh out loud when I saw it.

Other People’s Abys: Maisy Hunts with StarClan

I cannot believe I am writing this post. I cannot believe that this is happening.

Back in January, I reported the sad news that my friend Kelli lost her Aby Emmy. In March, she adopted a new Aby girl, Maisy.

Sadly, just this past weekend, Maisy was diagnosed with FIP and Kelli made the horrible, painful decision to put her to sleep. Losing two beloved Abys in less than six months…oh, Kelli.

It’s especially painful since Kelli and I met because we shared a loss of Abys to FIP, her Maggie and my Gun-Hee. It’s never easy to lose a cat…but it’s so much harder when they don’t even get a chance to grow up.

My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend has stopped running today. Sleep well in Tuonela, dear Maisy.

Aby-a-Day – 15 January: Sanna-Leena’s new tattoo (Fashion Friday)

Our friend Sanna-Leena has an fabulous tattoo featuring her two boy Abys Sketsi and Kossi.

This week, she got a new tattoo featuring her red/sorrel girl Aby Kiipi! I love her eyelashes! Check out the video on Sanna-Leena’s Instagram to see the rest of this amazing tattoo done by Ravi-Lassi in Oulu, Finland. Well, I know where I’m getting my next tattoo!

Other People’s Abys – Ailsa and Gus

The other day, my friend Ailsa, who own Greenman Pet Services in San Jose, CA, posted a selfie of herseld with one of her clients.

This is Gus the Abyssinian…isn’t he handsome?

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Aby-a-Day – June 1: Happy birthday to me!

So today is my 49th birthday. Very weird feeling, I must say. Next year is going to be…interesting. Because of this blog and the Abyssinian Cat Club on Facebook, however, I’ve gotten birthday greetings from, literally, all over the world. I love the fact that I have friends all over the world who think enough to say Happy Birthday – from Australia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, France, Russia, India, Pakistan, Canada (of course) and all over the States. It’s just so cool. Ain’t the internet a wonderful thing!?

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Jaocby, of course, helped me celebrate. My mom sent me an Edible Arrangementwith a balloon.

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Jake wasn’t so into the chocolate-dipped strawberries…

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…but balloons are always fun!

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Sherry sent me this “Abyssinian Ave.” sign along with a pewter cat pin.

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This sign will come in handy at cat shows.

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Kim sent me a couple of fun things, too.

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Like these super-cute kitty cat sneakers.

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And this adorable little sock mon…er, Aby.

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I love his ears and his smile!

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And the colour of the sock is so close to a ruddy Aby!

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Thanks, everyone, for the birthday wishes and the fun toys!

Aby-a-Day – February 9: Suomalainen vaihto

One thing I absolutely love is things from foreign countries. Since my mother’s family all lives in Canada, I’ve always known people outside of the States, and I’ve had good friends in Canada and Sweden for decades. I’ve always been fascinated by the everyday things that are just different from the things we have in the States. Sometimes better (like coloured money and tomato sauce in plastic tubes like toothpaste), sometimes worse (like public toilets that cost money) but just…different.

When I went to visit my friend Björn in Sweden, he asked me what I wanted to do, suggesting museums, castles, monuments…and I said I wanted to go to a grocery store. I love just shopping at ordinary places in other countries: pet shops, drug stores/pharmacies/chemists (not at all the same thing depending on where you go), supermarkets, places that tourists tend not to go. Some of my best experiences travelling have been the pet store in Tokyo, the supermarket in Seoul, the homegoods department in Amsterdam, and the Saturday Björn and I spent at the IKEA in Jönköping.

I’ve also been fascinated by Finland since I was in high school. My “internet name,” Talonväki” was originally my “household name” when I was active in the Society for Creative Anachronism; it was a bit of a joke since “talonväki” means “household” but looks and sounds so very exotic.

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So when my Abyfriend Sanna-Leena complained about the dearth of good cat toys in Finland and discovered my love for Finnish rockabilly music, we swiftly concocted an exchange. I sent her some great American cat toys, some Boston souvenirs (especially Boston Bruins stuff because Tuukka Rask is Big in Finland, but some Red Sox souvenirs found their way in there, too) and some other things that you just can’t get over there…and she sent me a wonderful box of similar goodies from Finland. We spent months collecting cool things we thought the other would like before sending our boxes to each other towards the end of December.

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I got my box from her this week, and it was so exciting!

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Of course I had help opening it…

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…although I’m not sure “help” is really the right word.

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Jacoby was actually more interested with the toys than with the treats, for a change.

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(Which doesn’t mean he was entirely oblivious to the crunchy treaty goodness that Sanna-Leena sent, of course.)

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Jake was fascinated by all the cat toys…

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…but was love at first sight when he found the “flat cat” (aka the “pelt”) toy, though.

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This was clearly his favourite thing in the box.

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My favourite thing? So hard to choose! There was Finnish candy, gum, rye nachos, CDs (I now will be requiring every annual copy of the Iskelmä Gaala CD, I’m afraid, and Anssi Kela is wonderful), a Moomins book, and a fabulous Aby/Somali calendar published by her cat club.

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Sanna-Leena took some of the photos and her two boys appear in the calendar, too!

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Sanna also included a little pedestrian reflector, something I fell in love with when I was in Sweden but which are virtually unheard of here in the States. Pedestrian reflectors were actually invented in Finland in the 1960’s, and the Scandinavian countries have the lowest per capita rate of traffic accidents involving pedestrians. Since I don’t drive and walk a lot, I love this.

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The fact that she included this packet of buttons amused me endlessly; I’ve only recently discovered that Angry Birds is a Finnish invention (and it makes so much more sense now)!

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One of the very best things Sanna-Leena sent was two leather cat harnesses by Arja’s Art. These things are works of art – gorgeous leather, great design (including reflective piping)…and they are so inexpensive! Only €17,50, which is around $25 in US or Canadian dollars.

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And the leather is sooooo soft. Like butter. Only softer.

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Jake’s is metallic copper, and he was only too happy to model it.

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Angel’s is peralised purple, and it’s just the perfect shade for her red fur.

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She was slightly less happy about modelling it, though.

Sanna-Leena has three Abys: Ruddy Kossi, Fawn Sketsi and Red Kiipa. You may remember Sanna-Leena from her marvelous Aby tattoo featuring her two boys. Jake’s actually distantly related to all three of them through some common ancestors, notably Tinbat’s Morgan’s Passing, whose daughter, Mellowmews Tia, went to Finland.

Since Finland gets a bit cool in the winter, one thing I sent was hats…

one for Sanna-Leena

and one for Sketsi. I think she liked her hat better than he did his!

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But thank you, kiitos, Sanna-Leena, Sketski, Kossi and Kiipi! We loved everything – and we should do this again sometime.

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Jake especially wants to thank you for the pelt…

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Sheesh! Get a room, you two!

Other People’s Abys: Happy Mother’s Day

It’s very apropos that Mother’s Day falls smack dab in the middle of kitten season. This week, there have been some amazing photos that I just have to share.

The first comes from Debbie Dixon of Crystalpaws Abyssinians via the Unusual Abys list:

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I thought I’d share this picture that I took earlier today of our “pile of kittens.” We have four litters at the moment ranging from nearly eleven weeks to six weeks old – more than we would usually have. The older litter of five were not planned – their mum, Tas (Crystalpaws Fawn Fantasy) was keeping Frodo (Crystalpaws Frodo Baggins) company for a couple of weeks over Christmas before being spayed, they showed no signs of mating but she suddenly became a little rounded in shape just before she was booked into the vet!

It’s all good fun!!

Next, this adorable little photo was posted by Lucia Neimann on the Facebook Abyssinian Cat Club.

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I love her caption: “It’s nice on my mom’s back. Adina’s boy 8 days.”

My friend Molly from Tigerflower Abyssinians sent me this amazing set of photos. They were sent to her by Laurel Healy of Healying Cats.

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Isn’t Aby parenthood wonderful?

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I’m afraid poor Bella has a sleeping disorder that makes her fall asleep immediately after eating. She had her front legs in the food and just didn’t have the energy to clean up AND move away from her plate.

This last one is also from Molly…and while it’s not really Mother’s Day related, it still makes me laugh every time I look at it.

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She sent it with a single word: “IMITATORS!” Ha!

Live Aby Kitten Cam!

I really don’t know why it took me so long to discover this! Jake’s cousin, Toki, is from Ataraxia cattery, and on their website they feature…

…wait for it…

a live Abyssinian kitten cam!


Video streaming by UstreamI wouldn’t recommend watching this unless you have absolutely no pressing plans for the rest of the day…

Other People’s Abys: Abysphere on Good Morning Kitten

I meant to post this ages ago, but I misfiled the link…anyway, just look at our friends from Aby Sphere, mugging it up on Good Morning Kitten (formerly the Daily Kitten)!

I’m really impressed that someone was able to get three Aby boys to sit still long enough to snap this shot!

Bon Anniversaire, Bibi-Chan!

Yesterday was La Pouponette’s Bibi-Chan’s first birthday. He’s grown from a cute little kitten to a very handsome young Ruddy man!

On his birthday post, there’s a wonderful photo retrospective of Ebisu’s first year, including a crushingly adorable photo of him as a newborn kit. Be sure to check it out and send along your birthday wishes.

Vote For Louis!

It’s Election Day here in the States, but this campaign involves Katscan’s lovely Canuck boy, who is in a Facebook photo contest. Louis is just starting his career as a show cat (as an alter, he’s neutered), so please may I present to you, in all his glory, Phoenixabys King Louis Cat Toes:

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This is the photo that is entered – The winner will receive a professional photo shoot! Here’s what you do:

1. Go to the Luv U Pets” site and “like” the page.

2. Go to the photo of Louis on Facebook and write “Vote” in the comments.

The candidate with the most votes received by Nov 15th wins! Only one vote per person allowed, so be sure to tell a friend. Louis thanks you!