Aby-a-Day – August 15: “Kid” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

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Kids really love seeing Jacoby in his stroller…especially if they are also riding in their own stroller.

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Last month at ArtBeat, we had a little stroller party right in the middle of the street.

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It was actually pretty funny. And, I’m sure, really cute.

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This one little girl really loved Jake. She was actually really good at petting him, too.

Aby-a-Day – August 2: Occupy ArtBeat

At our last ArtBeat, Jacoby did a really funny thing.

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At one point, he decided to hop out of his stroller, and join the girls behind the T-Shirt and Dogtag sales table.

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They tried to play with him, using one of the dogtags as a cat toy, but Jake was having none of it.

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It seemed like he was seriously trying to help out behind the Somerville Arts Council’s volunteer sales table.

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All he wanted to do was sit on a chair behind the table.

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One girl very helpfully tried to get Jake to look at the camera for me.

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He was pretty intent on his work, but eventually I managed to get a good shot of him.

Aby-a-Day – July 31: Jake’s first ArtBeat (Friday Flashback)

Jacoby went to his first ArtBeat in 2010.

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He was amazing. He was just over a year old, but he hadn’t been with me a year yet.

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We didn’t have a stroller yet. We used his Snoozer Rollaround carrier. But it was partially because of ArtBeat that I decided to investigate getting a stroller for Jake.

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Jake took to ArtBeat like a natural.

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The best interaction was with a boy named Jason.

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Jason was developmentally challenged, and he was a sweetheart. He loved Jake and even gave me a big hug. It was the moment that I knew that Jake would be a good therapy cat, and that we’d be a good therapy team. I’ll really miss going to ArtBeat…it’s really a very special event.

Aby-a-Day – July 30: Art Beat Loops

As we do every July, Jacoby and I went to Somerville’s ArtBeat festival. This year’s theme was “Loops.”

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As always, we stopped to visit our friend Kim at Stella Marie Soap.

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She’s always so happy to see me and Jake.

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We also stopped to look at the M.U.S.C.R.A.T. bus.

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With its ears, it reminds me of the Cat Tank in the webcomic Stand Still Stay Silent.

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This year, there was a lot of sidewalk chalk art. Some that you were allowed to touch…

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…And some that you weren’t.

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All in all, we had a really gerat time, the two of us.

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It was a little bittersweet, though, since we probably won’t be able to go next year.

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And our unbroken string of ArtBeat dogcat tags (16 for me, 6 for Jake), will have to come to an end.

Aby-a-Day – July 29: Wordless Wednesday (“1.21 GIGAWATTS!!!”)

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Aby-a-Day – July 25: “Stop” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

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And here is the famous Strollercat at the Davis Square T stop.

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Just doing what Strollercat does…

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…waiting for a train…

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…so he can go for a ride!

Aby-a-Day – July 24: Portraiture (Fashion Friday)

At ArtBeat this year there was a young woman, Angela DeCarlis, doing pencil portraits.

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Of course, I wanted to get one done of Jacoby and me.

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She sketched me first, and while we waited Jake had a lot of attention from passersby.

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Once she had me down, she had me pose with Jake.

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While we were posing together, Rachel from the Somerville Arts Council passed by – she was one of the people in charge of the Copy Cat Festival we were part of a couple of years ago!

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She took these photos of me and Jake while we were sitting. I’m showing off our ArtBeat tags.

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If Jake looks a little grumpy on my lap, it’s because he just really wanted to back in his stroller. That’s his safe zone, his territory – and also the secret to how I’m able to go to places like ArtBeat with him. As long as he’s got his stroller, he’s happy.

And here’s how our portrait turned out! I kind of wish I was smiling…but other than that, it’s pretty dead-on. What do you think?

Aby-a-Day – July 20: Snapshots of ArtBeat (Hipstamatic Monday)

This past weekend was ArtBeat, Somerville’s infamous art festival.

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As always, Jacoby and I went out to participate. It’s been a while since we’ve been out together, since Jake’s not currently doing therapy work. He really seemed to miss his stroller!

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He also seemed to have missed riding the T.

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At least, he seemed to be happy to be out and about meeting people and getting admired.

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I have to admit, I’ve missed going places with him, too.

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Once we got to Davis Square, I got our tags. This is my 16th one!

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Jake got his tag, too, of course. This is his 6th ArtBeat – he’s been coming with me since 2010.

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We had our traditional lunch – Redbones BBQ!

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It was a bittersweet ArtBeat, though, since it’s probably the last one we’ll be able to go to.

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It was a long day, and tiring in a good way. When we got home, we just relaxed in the art room, me on my cushions and Jake on his S-curve.

Aby-a-Day – July 28: Masquarade (Hipstamatic Monday)

One of the biggest attractions at ArtBeat is the vast collection of arts and crafts booths selling all kinds of alluring items.

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I saw this wooden masquarade mask with distinctly Abyssinian-like markings in a woman’s hand at the Magpie booth and I dashed up and blurted out: “Do you have any more of those cat masks? I need one!”

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The shopkeeper looked at me like I was a bit nutty and, bemusedly, pulled out a second cat mask.

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Then she saw Jacoby in his stroller and it all made sense. This clever wooden mask on a stick is a “Silly Stick” made by Maple Landmark in Middlebury, VT. But as great as it is that the mask looks like an Abyssinian…

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…the backside is a scuba mask with a small clownfish!

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How perfect is this for the NEMO show next month?!

Aby-a-Day – July 25: Future’s so bright, he’s gotta wear shades (Fashion Friday)

At ArtBeat, the Magpie booth was selling Babiators, sturdy plastic sunglasses for babies.

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You know I had to try a pair on Jacoby.

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Oh, yeah…

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Sigh…if only I could justify spending $20 on these…

Aby-a-Day – July 21: ArtBeat is hip! (Hipstamatic Monday)

While we were at ArtBeat yesterday, I remembered to take a few Hipstamatic shots as well. I don’t know why it never occurred to me before; Hipstamatic seems like the perfect platform for ArtBeat photographs!

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I just loved this tiger.

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And apparently I wasn’t the only one.

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This was just silly. I’d found a stray pipe cleaner that had been twisted into a circle and put it on Jacoby’s head.

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All hail Jake, the Pipe Cleaner Prince.

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We also stopped at the Batch Ice Cream truck for a treat. They’re a local ice cream company that makes awesome ice cream with minimal ingredients.

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I loved their little map of Massachusetts painted on the side of their chalkboard truck. And their ice cream is truly amazing.

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Jake would have preferred we’d go to Redbones BBQ instead.

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I love these guys in the background. I’m sure they were laughing at me…but so what?

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There is just so much to see at ArtBeat!

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The first time we went to ArtBeat, Jake rode in the little rolly-cart. He didn’t like that because he was dragging along behind me and couldn’t see where we were going.

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He much prefers the stroller, where he can see everything.

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I love that Jake loves to do things like this with me.

Aby-a-Day – July 20: Hatching some fun at Art Beat

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that Someville’s annual ArtBeat festival is something that Jacoby and I look forward to every summer. In fact, it’s a reason that we haven’t ever gone to the famous Garden State Cat Show – they always seem to fall on the exact same weekend!

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I used to live a few blocks away from Davis Square, and I’ve been to every ArtBeat since I moved to Boston in 2000. I’ve only missed two, 1998 and 1999, and those I missed only because I didn’t live here yet. This year’s theme was “Hatch”…it wasn’t one of the more interactive themes they’ve ever had. Some years’ themes are more “done” than others; a couple of years ago the theme was “Red,” which inspired a lot of people to dress up. This year ArtBeat was a little less crazy than it has been in the past…but that didn’t make this year’s festival any less fun.

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As always, our very first stop of the day was our friend Kim’s Stella Marie Soap booth so I could stock up on my ultimate all-time favourite Marshmallow Chocolate sugar body scrub. I stock up on this stuff every July and my supply lasts me the rest of the year.

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Jake is not so impressed with the gloriously scented, handmade natural soaps…but he does enjoy collecting his pettings from Kim.

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One of the more interesting things in the Square this year was the new M.U.S.C.R.A.T. Bus.

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M.U.S.C.R.A.T. is short for “Multi-Use Somerville Community Roving Transport” and is intended to be a movable art space used to conduct roaming art classes, performance art or dance, and anything else the Somerville Arts Council can think of.

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The bus has been tricked out with a pretty epic representation of a muskrat in autumn done by local artist Jeff McCreight. Jake was impressed with the giant rodent…impressed, or terrified. It’s a fine line…

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The absolute coolest thing we saw was this lifesized papier-maché tiger.

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I’m not sure why he was there (apart from his plea to “reforest his habitat”), or what he had to do with “Hatching”…but he was incredible. A lot of work went into making him.

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He was extremely well done made by someone familiar with Asian art. The tiger’s eyes are straight out of a classic Chinese scroll painting.

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Jake made friends with a little boy named Ben. Ben was really enjoying the tiger (his dad told me he really likes cats), and literally squealed with joy when he saw a real live kitty.

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He was great with Jake, and Jake was great with him. It never ceases to amaze me how great Jake is around kids, because he doesn’t see children all that often. There are a couple of families on our floor now, but our therapy visits have almost exclusively been with adults. It’s one of the reasons I love going to ArtBeat with Jake: we get to interact with little kids.

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It’s a lot of fun to watch kids pet Jake, too. For some reason, they really seem to like his ears.

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My little tiger…we’ve been to five ArtBeats together, and then I went to another one with Gun-Hee. I can’t really remember what it’s like to go without an Abyssinian!

Aby-a-Day – August 12: Blase commuter cat (Hipstamatic Monday)

The thing that cracks me up most about taking Jacoby on the T is how much he takes it in stride.

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He’s just all, “Lalala, here I am, riding the subway…no big deal…”

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He’s such a seasoned commuter.

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And he knows the names of the stops, too. When we get to the stop before our home station, he starts getting antsy, because he knows we’re getting off soon.

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He’s such a seasoned commuter, it’s almost ordinary.

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So I’ll throw this in to make today’s post more interesting.

Life in Davis Square

I love when I find random photos of Jacoby on the internet.

Check out Richard Chase’s Life in Davis Square photos from ArtBeat.

See anyone you recognise?

Aby-a-Day – July 25: Riding the Red Line

Riding the red line to Somerville is always more fun with Jacoby.

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Whether it’s waiting on the platform for the Alewife train to arrive…

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…riding the train itself…

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…crossing the Charles from Boston to Cambridge and Somerville…

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…or waiting for the inbound train back home, it’s always a better commute when there’s a Jake involved!

Aby-a-Day – July 24: Wordless Wednesday (Behind the scenes)

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Aby-a-Day – July 22: Just a couple of hipsters (Hipstamatic Monday)

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Just a few Incredibooth shots of Jacoby and I on the way to ArtBeat on Saturday.

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(Incredibooth is an app by the makers of Hipstamatic.)

Aby-a-Day – July 21: It’s ArtBeat time again!

Yesterday was Somerville’s greatest summer festival: ArtBeat!

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It was my 14th year and Jacoby’s 4th. We have the tags to prove it!

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Every year has a theme, and this year’s was “Micro.” One of the events was a “Micro Mini-Me Parade” wherein people were encouraged to “Bring your adorable double (pet, child, puppet…), wear matching outfits and join us in the ringing in this year’s ArtBeat!” So of course Jake and I were all over that action.

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I wore leopard print and green to match his harness and added my cat ears. But instead of him being my Mini-Me, I was his Macro-Me!

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I also brought along the latest Strollercat action figure.

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It’s still not perfect, but it’s the best little toy stroller I’ve found yet.

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Our first stop was to our friend Kim and her Stella Marie Soap booth.

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Jake attracts fans no matter where he goes.

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You think these two boys were here for the soap?

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Sadly, our friend Mike Ritter of Ritterbin Photography did not have his booth set up this year. We missed him – he always takes such awesome photos of us! But my friend Dora got a nice portrait of Jake and me with my friend Barb.

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Then there was Strollerdog.

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Of course, you know Jake and Strollerdog just had to meet!

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It was super hot…90! Luckily, Jake has his fan, and also a fancy mister to help keep him cool.

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He’s a little less fond of the mister than he is of his fan.

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There are a couple of things Jake and I always do at ArtBeat. We checked out the puppet booth.

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This time we found a little kitty hand puppet that Jake took a liking to.

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We had our traditional Redbones BBQ for lunch.

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And we listened to some music.

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The first band we stopped to watch was called Porch-i-oke and they did sing-a-long songs.

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There are a couple of different stages for bands at ArtBeat. We saw a few bands play on the big stage behind the T station because it was on the grass and was a nice, cool place to sit.

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Well, cooler than being on the pavement, anyway.

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The last band we saw was called Muck and the Mires.

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They were described as “a cross between 1964 Beatles and The Ramones,” and they were awesome.

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On our way back to the Red Line, I got Jake this little button for his stroller. He needed it.

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I look forward to ArtBeat all year long.

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I think Jake does, too.

Aby-a-Day – February 17: Strollercat makes a splash at the Somerville CopyCat Festival

Well…today was the Big Day! The Somerville Copy Cat Festival pulled off two shows with nary a hitch.

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Well…except for the weather. It was snowing pretty good this morning.

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Actually, it was snowing really good this morning.

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Jacoby, however, was awesome! I am so proud of him. It was a really long day – we were there from noon til almost 8pm! But it was a lot of fun.

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To start things off, Jef Czekaj read his book “Cat Secrets.”

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Jake watched over his book sales table while he was up on stage.

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We got to meet another famous local cat, too – Famous Seamus!

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Seamus is a huge cat. He has extra toes on all his feet, too.

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I was amazed at how well he and Jake got along. Granted, we didn’t let them get too close to each other, but still.

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The main part of the festival, of course, was the cat videos. They were shown in two parts, local videos and then international ones (including Henri le Chat Noir and Maru).

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Jake actually watched the videos quite intently.

(This is the video he’s watching in the photo…)

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It was super cute.

There was also a slideshow of local cats…and I was amazed to see a photo of Sierra Stinkface! The cat world is small, indeed. It was a really great day. I met some awesome people (including Case and Emily from Ferocious Friends, some of the most awesome wand toys I’ve seen in a while) and had some amazing conversations today.

Interestingly enough, there was also another cat festival today – the Gato Fest in Mexico City! I guess February 17 is a good day to be a cat!

Aby-a-Day – February 15: Cat about town (Famous Friday)

The Somerville Copy Cat Festival is the day after tomorrow (!), and Jacoby is fast becoming Boston’s most famous feline citizen.

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He’s featured on Page 11 of this week’s Boston Phoenix and on Page 55 of this week’s Improper Bostonian! He’s also featured on the local NPR station, WBUR’s, website, all in connection with the festival this Sunday!

Boston may be a big city…but in many ways, it’s a small town.

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Jake’s also making a bit of a splash in the CFA; the show season runs from May 1 to April 30, and somehow Jake’s managed to squeak his way into the top 10 Abyssinians in Premiership…

Check it out:

ABYSSINIANS IN PREMIERSHIP (Region) – [Points] – (Rings)
1. Zehnder’s Roger Vivier of NuDawnz – Blue Male – (4) – [4844.85] – (100)
2. Anubis Taz Mania – Red Male – (1) – [1743.80] – (83)
3. Gil-Aby’s Trooper – Blue Male – (7) – [1331.55] – (88)
4. Lalima’s Mikhail Baryshnikov – Ruddy Male – (9) – [1095.55] – (97)
5. Anqet Binkhaaphajaosuduangjun – Ruddy Male – (5) – [781.95] – (32)
6. 3Janes Bama Tidal Wave – Ruddy Male – (7)[761.30] – (59)
7. Masmera D’Arte Meranti – Red Male – (A) -[263.40] – (16)
8. 3Janes Midnight Rambler – Ruddy Male – (5) – [235.50] – (36)
9. Astech’s Amelia Earheart – Ruddy Female – (3)- [155.10] – (6)
10. Pellburn Jacoby Stealin’ Home – Ruddy Male – (1) – [150.25] – (17)

Isn’t that exciting! He’s also one of the top 40 cats in Premiership in the North-Atlantic Region…we haven’t been to that many shows this season, but apparently he’s done better that I thought! I’m just happy to make one final in every show we enter.

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But my favourite thing about Jake’s fame is this little catnip candy box made by our friend Mycrobe. The Abyssinian candy was inspired by Jake!

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(No, really! It was inspired by Jake – she told me so!)

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I think it’s Jake’s favourite thing about being famous, too.