Aby-a-Day – 6 January: “The eyes are the windows of your face”

Those of you who remember the last time I posted on a Saturday may recall that I was a participant in the Saturday Photo Hunt. Each week bloggers would be given a word to portray with a photo. It was a fun little challenge, but, sadly, the last word was Saturday, 31 December…2016.

So. There goes my easy Saturday topic! I am working on a series of posts about our flight to Sweden, but it’s going to take me some time; that will start next Saturday.

So…let’s have Silly Saturday today, shall we? I saw the above meme posted on Facebook somewhere and I absolutely cracked up, for obvious reasons. So as soon as I could, I found me some googly eyes. Yellow, of course.


Unfortunately, even the largest ones I was able to find were still too small. And, well, there wasn’t a really good way to keep it on her face. I tried Scotch tape, and then duct tape, but neither one worked. I was barely able to keep it on long enough to snap this photo.


So I had to resort to my good old friend Photoshop. Much better.

Aby-a-Day – October 27: Behind the scenes of a cartoon (Cartoon Tuesday)

While I was looking for something else, I came across a couple of “idea sketches” I did for a pair of my holiday cartoons last year. I thought it was kind of interesting, so I figured I’d share them with you to show my process for cartooning.


I often quickly sketch out an idea while I’m at work. I simply grab a sheet of copy paper and a pencil and draw the idea out of my head. In this case, it was an idea about Jacoby wearing an ugly Christmas sweater. And, of course, a joke about Angel’s eye.


I happened to refine this sketch a bit on my iPad using an app called Paper. The wording for the joke itself was tweaked a bit from the original sketch.


And here’s the final version. The sweater was actually created by taking several of the worst sweaters I could find in a Google Image search and compositing them together in Photoshop. I was trying to make the worst Christmas sweater EVER.


This one changed a lot from the original sketch to the final cartoon. Originally, my idea of catnip eggnog had Jake a lot more goofy.


But in the final version, Angel wins the day. I’m not sure why I decided to add a slam on football…other than I absolutely loathe it and hate what it does to Sundays (and Mondays, and Thursdays) for a quarter of the year in the United States.

Aby-a-Day – March 1: “Boogie” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

This week’s Photo Hunt subject is “Boogie.”


Angel gets a lot of eye boogies in her good eye (it’s a side effect of the eye infection she had as a kitten). I usually Photoshop them out of the photo, but sometimes I miss one.

Aby-a-Day – November 4: Dona Nobis Pacem (Hipstamatic Monday)

“If there were to be a universal sound depicting peace, I would surely vote for the purr” ~ Barbara L. Diamond


Here’s how you can participate in the annual blog blast for peace.

Aby-a-Day – October 14: The Eye Has It

It occurred to me that I have a lot of new readers, and a lot of you don’t know the story behind Angel’s eye.


It’s always been missing, as long as I have known her. She lost it when she was about 4 months old, I think.


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.


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).

· Bordatella – took 6 weeks of Doxy 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.


Really horrific! I don’t know who the breeder was, or if she was CFA or TICA, but it’s easy for things to snowball out of control like this. Not an excuse, by any means, but sometimes things coalesce into a perfect storm, and I think this was one of those times. For all my dreams of being an Aby breeder someday, I know it’s not easy, and I know breeders have these sorts of meltdowns sometimes.

I think Angel’s breeder had one of those times.


We think Angel was born mid-June, 2007, which would make her a year and three months old when I adopted her. We decided to use June 11 as her birthday, as it is halfway between my birthday and my husband’s.

As I posted on Friday, for her first five months with us, Angel was afraid of our floor. She only felt comfortable on our sofa or our bed. Even now, she prefers these two places, although she’s added others, like the TV stand, the cat trees, the windowsills, and the bank of cat beds alongside the windows. But even today, four years later, it isn’t common to see her walking around in the middle of the floor.


Angel is an amazing cat. Her experiences have stolen some of her Abyness…but not all of it. There are some things she does that are very, very Abyssinian. Sherry, Jacoby and Gun-Hee’s breeder, once said that Angel needed to rediscover her “inner Abyssinian,” and I think that’s a great assessment.


Every day, Angel comes out of her shell just a little bit more. It’s fascinating to watch…and I love sharing it with all of you.

Good News for Angel and Other Cats with FHV-1!

Just in time for Angel’s birthday, look at this article that the Winn Foundation posted this morning: Treatment of feline ocular herpesvirus infection.

The Winn Foundation selects several feline research projects to fund, and this year the Feline Herpesvirus study was one of those selected.

According to the Winn Foundation’s post: Feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1) typically causes respiratory disease in cats. However, chronic infections can cause severe eye disease that may lead to blindness. Currently there is no effective treatment for these chronic cases. Previous Winn funding has helped the investigators design a therapeutic agent – small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) – which use the cell’s own machinery to inhibit viral replication through the targeting of essential herpesvirus genes. The investigators have developed a nanoparticle delivery vehicle composed of chitosan, a nontoxic substance, to package these siRNAs for delivery into cells. The goal of this study is to develop a hydrogel, similar to a soft contact lens, for delivery of the nanoparticles. The hydrogel can be placed directly into the cat’s eye, allowing for successful drug uptake. This method will also provide extended continuous delivery of the FHV-1 specific siRNAs into the cells of the cornea. This study will potentially lead to development of a product suitable for use in cats’ eyes for the treatment of FHV-1 infections.


This would be a tremendous breakthrough for cats like Angel. I give her L-Lysine treats and L-Lysine powder in her food everyday, but her remaining eye is still very runny and goopy; it’s been shown that ingesting L-Lysine with food isn’t the best way to get it into a cat’s system, but she won’t eat the gels or let me give her L-Lysine pills. However, it sounds like this is even better than L-Lysine, since it actually acts as an antagonist to the Feline Herpesvirus rather than just blocking it. And the fact that it goes directly into her eye, which is the source of the problem, makes it that much more attractive.

Let’s hope that this treatment works, and gets onto the market ASAP!

Aby-a-Day – February 23: The one-eyed cat is queen

Yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday photo was an accident; I didn’t mean to take that photo with the flash on. And, whenever I can, I touch the eye reflections up in Photoshop. But this photo shows the “scars” on Angel’s good eye so well, I left it the way it was.


I’m not sure if it’s because of the eye infection she had as a kitten, but most of the time when you look at Angel’s eye, it’s dilated and dark. Only in certain light does it look like a regular cat’s eye.


And I’m not even sure what the “perfect” conditions are for her pupil to turn into a typical cat-like slit. It’s not just bright sunlight. It seems to need to be the right kind of bright sunlight.


I find it interesting when her eye looks “normal.”


So when I see it, I tend to take a lot of photos of her.


And as long as I remember to turn off the flash, Angel’s totally fine with that :-)!