Aby-a-Day – 16 Juni: The birds and the bees (Cinema Sunday)

When we were outside with the Kittens a while back, they found a bumblebee.

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Izaak seemed more interested in it than Lorelai was, at first.

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They were adorable, studying the little insect. Zak went so far as to pat it with his paw, but luckily neither cat got stung.

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When it didn’t move, Zak got a little bored, but Rory knew it had potential and studied it intently.

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Finally: the big payoff! The bee started to fly!

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Rory is incredibly agile and athletic when she is chasing a bug. She actually catches flies (and eats them) in the apartment without knocking over anything.

Here’s a video of Zak, Rory and the Bee.

Later that day, Rory went to the area behind our apartment…I could tell because the birds were going crazy with their “Cat!” warning cries. It was really loud…I took video, but I don’t know if you can hear them. I worry about the bigger birds dive-bombing her; when I was a kid we had outdoor cats (not my idea), and one got a massive abscess on his head from either a scrub jay or a mockingbird. Rory’s only 2½ kg, our smallest cat, and your average crow weighs around half a kilo…but they have force and gravity on their side. One peck from a crow or jackdaw’s bill could do some serious damage.

That being said…Rory really wants to catch a bird someday.

We’re trying to teach Alfred to go outside with us offleash…but in the meantime, sometimes he joins us via the balcony. Here he is complaining about being left out.

Aby-a-Day – 7 April: “Spring is here, A-suh-puh-ring is here! Life is skittles and life is beer” (Swedish Sunday)

Continuing from yesterday’s post…after the kittens run down the hill in front of our building, they run back up to the hill to the back of our apartment.

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Lorelai hurries to cat up to Izaak…

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…who is already under our balcony, with Alfred above on the ledge.

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I know, Freddy, but you can’t be trusted off leash, and we have an actual chore to get done.

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Oh! Look who it is! Angel’s come to join us!

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In the past few months, she’s actually been not only friendly with the younger cats, but she’s actually started to play chasing games with them!

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As you may recall, the kittens really love the sandy area around the swingset.

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Especially Rory.

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She loves to dig holes in it, roll in it, play with it…she just loves sand.

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Zak tries digging a hole…but he doesn’t really see the appeal in it that Rory does.

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Oops! Time for a bit of chase!

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Finally we get to our destination: the garbage bin.

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Or, well…we went to the garbage bin to take out the trash…the kittens just ran around the adjacent lawn like mad things.

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Rory, as always, especially. She really loves to run free outside.

Aby-a-Day – 12 Januari: A moment in the sun (Swedish Saturday)

These are photos from the backlog, from May 2017.

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Angel loves the balcony and always has. She loves to sit in the sunshine out there.

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And I know Angel doesn’t get as much attention on this blog as the more outgoing Jacoby, the sillier Alfred, the stout Izaak, and the wild free spirited Lorelai…but she’s the oldest member of our cat family, and whilst she may not seek out the spotlight the way the others do…she’s important.

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We love you, Angel!

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“Great. Now can I enjoy my sunshine in peace?”

Aby-a-Day – 21 October: Another outside adventure…with an audience (Swedish Cinema Sunday)

Last weekend we enjoyed gorgeous weather, so I took Izaak and Lorelai out for some “being offleash” practice.

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The main reason was, I wanted to check what that flash of red I could see out our window.

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Turns out, someone had dumped their windowbox geraniums out onto the hill, and they were managing to survive on the dirt they were planted in.

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They’re actually really pretty out there, and I hope they can survive, but I have a feeling that they won’t live past the first snow.

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Rory especially loves to explore the outside world…to the point that it’s really hard for us to get out of our front door.

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Rory also has to check out the rugbeater. Every. Single. Time. We go outside. She loves that thing.

After the rugbeater, we visited the sandbox/swings area that we visited before. But whilst we were there, we heard plaintive meowing.

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Turns out, it was Alfred. He wanted to be out there, too…but after the last time we tried to let Freddy out off-leash, that was pretty much a non-starter.

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Jacoby was just out there because he heard my voice.

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Rory and Zak knew Jake and Freddy were up there…but I don’t think they cared, because they were running around outside.

Aby-a-Day – 1 September: You’re why we can’t have nice things (Silly Saturday)

Alfred is an evil genius, an avid hunter…and a klutz. Not a good combination.

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This is Freddy in the laundry room. Once upon a time, we stored bags of dry cat food on the shelves of a tall shelf just out of frame, the top of which you can see Freddy speculatively eying.

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Now all the bags have been chewed through, re-bagged, and stuffed into sealed, plastic bins.

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Not that he never stops trying to get at them. “There was food there before, there will be again” is his motto.

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I mean, look at him sizing up the shelving! We have had to put a latch on the door because if it’s not shut properly he can shoulder it open.

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Meanwhile, throughout the rest of the house…

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…I think he’s chasing flying insects. I have no idea. All I know is things from the top of the bookcases and the liquor cabinet are ending up on the floor. Sometimes they’re repairable things. Sometimes…like the Hagen-Renaker 1950’s California ceramic Siamese cat “Seated Sookie” last night…not so much.

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But the most worrisome habit he’s recently picked up is…he has cracked the mystery of the catio netting! He has discovered a loose spot on one side of the netting that he can get through – no one else has discovered it, yet, thank goodness – but we are back to having to keep the balcony locked up the way it was before we had any netting at all until we can work out a way to fix the loophole.

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Sometimes, I wish Abys weren’t quite so smart.

(Edit: As I was writing this post, despite our best efforts, Freddy actually got out through the balcony AGAIN! Third time today!)

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 – 27 July: Evolution of a Catio (Fashion Friday)

When I first moved here in 2016, Björn’s balcony was a rather Spartan affair.

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There was only a wooden bench, a makeshift cat tree made from natural tree parts, a basket and…not much else.

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It was pretty barren. Once my things came from the States, we put my redwood burl table out there, and my floor-to-ceiling cat tree bumped Björn’s old cat tree out there as well. The balcony was open to the elements, so we couldn’t keep much else out there, but we put a tarp over the table, and it was fine out there. And so were the cats…until Jacoby taught himself to jump off the balcony. After that, we had to keep the balcony door closed until we could get it glassed in.

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Finally, May last year, we got the balcony glassed in. Jake was out there in a heartbeat.

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So was Pyret. The basket on the bench was her favourite spot…

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…which is one reason we kept her body there until we could get her cremated.

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For a while after it was glassed in, we used it as storage for the chairs until we could get it organised.

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Angel didn’t mind. She had sun and a cushy place to nap. She was good.

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Even now, you can usually find her in one of the chairs on the balcony.

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Either a chair, or the cubby in the cat tree.

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Alfred…well, he tries to fit in there sometimes, too.

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Logan also really loved the cubby.

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Logan loved the balcony.

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He spent a lot of time out there in the sun before he died.

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Jake and Freddy love being out there, too…but they’re usually trying to work out a way to escape.

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We got the basic layout of the balcony done last summer after the glass was installed, and we hung curtains and icicle and fairy lights, which actually give enough light to read by, but this year we have been focusing on really getting it set up to be a catio. I fell in love with this artificial pine tree at IKEA, and I found a reindeer hide for 125kr (around $14, about 1/10 what they should cost) which I love…but which sheds too much to live in the apartment. It looks great out on the balcony, though!

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One of the biggest things we did this year is lay down wooden tiles.

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Those tiles made a HUGE difference in the overall feel of the balcony. It feels warmer and more homey – more like a part of the house rather than “outside.” There was just one more thing we needed to do…and you’ll see what we did tomorrow!