Aby-a-Day – 27 Juli: Izaak the brave (Singapura Saturday)

Izaak has two brave brothers and a daring neice, so he has bravery running through his veins.

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And Zak is brave! The other day when we were outside, our upstairs neighbours were unpacking their car…and Zak just hopped right into Bruno’s doggy pen in the back! If ate dry food, he probably would have eaten that, too.

Aby-a-Day – 16 September: Dogs on a train (Cat Show Sunday)

Still processing everything from the show. On Sunday, neither Lorelai nor Izaak were nominated, so it was a fairly peaceful show day. We just sat and talked to people. I got to talk to Göran, my one-time nurse, and found out an interesting fact that no one bothered to mention before: Not only could I have lost my finger or hand from the infection caused by the cat bite…I could have lost my life! So, everyone reading, please remember: If you are bitten in the hand or finger by a cat and it becomes at all swollen…go to an ER immediately. Don’t waste time at a local urgent care.

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Our train ride home was interesting, though. On Swedish trains, there are special pet compartments that are the only places animals are allowed. In this particular pet car, there were only nine seats…and we had two cats and four dogs! We boarded the train in Göteborg with a very well behaved rescue dog from Greece. He lived with cats and was not at all fazed by Zak and Rory. When a Border Collie got on a few stations later, though, the dog reacted. The Border Collie and his human sat in the doorway. Then in Falköping, we were joined by a Bedlington Terrier and a Chinese Crested!

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Their human was delighted to see a Singapura in person and had to have a photo. She said her friend, who had a Somali, would be so jealous that she had met a Singa.

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Rory in particular was fascinated by the Chinese Crested. She never puffed up, growled or hissed, and she actually got up the nerve to touch the dog’s ear with her nose!

Aby-a-Day – 12 April: The bravest Angel (Thursday Things)

Ever since we moved to Sweden, Angel has been blossoming. Always the low cat on the totem pole with Tessie and Kylie back in Boston, she was bullied and hid…a lot. She didn’t do herself any favours by, as Jackson Galaxy says, “acting like prey” when they went after her…which only made them bully her more. She is stronger than either of them; she could have easily kicked both their tails. But she never did.

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Cats tend to be matriarchal, with the oldest female being the dominant cat. Moving away from Kylie and Tessie made Angel the second oldest cat in the household. Pyret was the oldest…but Angel, with her history of being bullied, she wasn’t about to challenge the queen.

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And now that Pyret has left us, Angel is top cat. And she’s still getting used to that. So every time she walks through the middle of a roon, every time she plays in the sun, every time she acts like a normal, pushy Aby…it’s wonderful. Like the other day, when she owned this bed usually slept in by Pyret, or the boys. When the sun is just right, the light is wonderful.

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After the camera distracts her, she goes back to grooming…

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“Are you STILL taking my picture?

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Something flew by outside, catching her attention mid-tongue.

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She may only have one eye, but her vision is 20/.

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Visions of sugarbirds dancing in her head, no doubt.

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Every day she is just a little more…Abyssinian.

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That IKEA cat bed is very popular. Logan and Alfred are very politely waiting their turn (although if Freddy weren’t there, Logan would go and “share” the bed with Angel).

Aby-a-Day – March 27: Heavenly Angel

It didn’t take Angel long to investigate the wall-mounted cat tree.

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She may not have been the first to go to the top…

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…but she was no less intrepid than those who had gone before.

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She just waited for all the excitement to die down before she started her exploration.

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She went straight up to the top and surveyed her territory.

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The problem was that annoying little brother Jacoby had to come up, too, and see what she was doing.

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And so did big sister Tessie.

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This is the sort of situation Angel hates…being stuck between the two of them. She kept her eye on the pair of them, though.

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Of course, Jake just wanted to play…

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…and Angel doesn’t.

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It’s not every cat who can take a hissing in the face in his stride, but Jake knows when to back off (usually).

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“I wasn’t doing anything! Honest!”

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A truce is finally reached, and everyone enjoys their own shelf in relative peace.

Aby-a-Day – March 19: Wordless Wednesday (Movers gonna move)

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Aby-a-Day – January 6: The tunnel has a queen, too (Hipastamatic Monday)

Remember last week’s post, about an old bed in a new place becoming suddenly popular?

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Behold!

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What Aby in yonder tunnel rests?

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It is the red, and Angel is her name.

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Arise, one-eye, and annoy the jealous boy.

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Who is already mad with envious grief

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That you, the girl, is far higher up than he!

Aby-a-Day – December 21: “Mellow” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

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Now, these photos of Angel on the windowsill exploring our Christmas decorations may not seem to illustrate the concept of “mellow.”

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That’s because, for most cats, things like walking on the windowsill is just “normal.”

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Especially for an Abyssinian!

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But for Angel, who – even after five years of living with us – is still nervous and skittish, especially in open areas, this is a display of great confidence and calmness.

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So Angel had to be feeling pretty mellow to just nonchalantly wander over to the windowsill and sniff the lamp.

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Although by the time she was ready to get down, you can see by her posture and the expression on her face that it’s starting to wear off. And indeed, just after I took this last photo, she jumped down, and went back to one of her “safe places.”

Aby-a-Day – July 14: Look who’s running in the hallway! And with whom!

Lately, a certain one-eyed girl has decided that she would like to explore the hallway in our building, too.

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Angel’s been out in the hallway before, but she was always very nervous and skittish, and she’d run back into the apartment as quickly as she could.

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But not anymore!

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Now, she’s running all the way around the hallway!

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She’s even hopping up on the windowsills of her own accord.

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But wait…is that another blur running alongside Angel?

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Why yes, yes it is. It’s Tessie!

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And instead of Tessie bullying Angel, they’re playing chase-and-stalk games together!

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And Tessie’s not the only one doing all the stalking, either!

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Just look at their body language. It’s pretty amazing.

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Angel is completely happy to play with Tessie, and Tessie seems relaxed enough to show her belly to Angel.

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A little headbutt…

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Look at Angel’s happy tail!

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This could be the start of a beautiful friendship…

Aby-a-Day – May 26: City cat

Jacoby has a great sense of direction and an excellent memory.

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When we’re walking home from Tufts, we get to a point on the Broadway Bridge where he knows how to get home.

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And when we get to that point, he decides he can get out of the stroller and walk.

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I’ll let him, if we’re not in a hurry and the weather’s okay.

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I am endlessly impressed with how unaffected by traffic Jake is.

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He’s grown up in a transportation nexus: Trains, planes, trucks, buses…you name it, it probably rattles, roars or whooshes through or over our intersection.

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Oh, yeah, and bicycles, too.

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When you look at these photos, remember that it’s impossible to set up something like this. You can’t force a cat to pose next to a busy road if he doesn’t want to.

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He also gets right back into his stroller when he’s decided he’s tired of walking.

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He’s a smart little guy, our Jacoby.

Aby-a-Day – March 11: Angel’s aspiration (Hipstamatic Monday)

Jacoby’s stroller is stored in a bike room in our building, but sometimes I bring it into our apartment to get ready for an outing.

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The last time I did this, Angel seemed to be very interested in the stroller. She investigated it thoroughly…although she didn’t jump in to try out the cabin.

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I wonder if she wants to become a Strollercat, too? Somehow, I doubt it…I have a feeling that if I tried to push her in it she’d bolt out and go hide under the television stand.

Aby-a-Day – January 23: Wordless Wednesday (Angel is afraid of many things but the Roomba is NOT among them)

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Aby-a-Day – November 16: Little brothers are never first (Friday Flashback)

Jacoby’s great accomplishment of ascending to the top of our wardrobe, the highest possible point in our apartment, isn’t quite as marvelous as he thinks it is…

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…Mainly because he wasn’t the first to get up there.

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Angel climbed up there before the entire wardrobe was even built! The doors weren’t even attached yet.

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And she was fully prepared to go even higher.

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She shows no interest in going up there now, but maybe that’s just because she’s already done it, and she just doesn’t see the point in going up there any more.

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However, I will say that Angel’s getting up on the top of the wardrobe is a little more impressive than Jake doing it. Jake uses the dresser as a stepping-stone to get to the top, but as you can see, Angel didn’t use the dresser at all. She couldn’t! Without the rest of the wardrobe built, there was too much of a gap between the dresser and the wardrobe top. To this day, I’m not really sure how she managed it.

Aby-a-Day – February 11: Rockabye Angel

Even after living with us for three and a half years, Angel is still a little skittish, and she definitely has her “safe places.” One of these is the tops of the cat trees. I sincerely believe that Angel is one of those cats who could live her life quite happily if she never had to touch the floor.

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Now, to the untrained eye, it may look like Jacoby is the instigator in this little tableau.

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But trust me, Angel isn’t as innocent as she appears.

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She actually likes to camp out on the lower level of the cat tree and take swipes at any cat who passes close enough for her to reach!

Aby-a-Day – July 10: Bravery when it matters

One thing I absolutely love about taking Angel to the vet is how brave she becomes.

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She may be nervous around the house even after three years, but get her in the exam room and she just becomes…well, an Aby.

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Not even Tessie scares Angel at the vet.

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Even more strange, she was more outgoing than Jacoby on this trip. She kept swanning around the room while Jake kept to his carrier…

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…or Angel’s carrier, into which he was barely able to cram himself. I don’t know how comfortable that was for him. Of course, he was the only one who got a shot yesterday, so that may have dampened his adventurous spirit.

Aby-a-Day – June 23: One cat’s naughty is another cat’s courageous

Even after almost three years of living with us, Angel is still very skittish and nervous. So when she bravely ventures onto the kitchen counters, we don’t scold her.

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Quite the contrary!

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We encourage and applaud her!

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(Although not too loudly, so as not to startle her into losing her nerve, jumping down and scuttling away.)

Aby-a-Day – June 14: Of Trust, Confidence and Bellies

Bit by little, tiny bit, Angel is becoming more and more of an Aby. She’s still a nervous little cat, and she’s still easily intimidated by the big girls, especially Tessie, but every day she gets a little more confident.

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Even a year ago, seeing Angel lying down in the middle of the floor was unheard of!

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But now, she not only flops down with her vulnerable belly exposed, but she does it within striking distance of another cat!

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Look at that curly-toed stretch!

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It may be that since we started feeding Angel and Kylie together in the same room they’ve become friends. Or, it may just be that Angel knows that Kylie’s far too busy kneading the sheepskin rug to attach her!

Aby-a-Day – May 2: More Hallway Adventures (Hipstamatic Monday)

When I get home from work, I need to scoop the litter boxes and feed the cats their nightly can of wet food. In between these two chores, I have to take the bag of litter box scoopings out to the garbage room. Jacoby generally accompanies me and then we have a little free-range hallway time. I prefer to have this one-on-one time with him, but occasionally Tessie will come along. I don’t like to take out more than two at a time, because it becomes exponentially more difficult to keep track of them all.

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Basically, it’s like herding cats.

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Which I am actually fairly good at, but just because you have a knack for something doesn’t mean you really want to do it all the time.

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But lately, both Tessie and Angel have been insisting to be let out with Jake, and it’s hard to say no to them. It’s especially hard to not let shy, skittish Angel out when she asks, because it’s so rare.

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She doesn’t often feel secure enough inside our apartment to parade with her banner tail held high!

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Seeing it aloft in unfamiliar territory is just such a miracle!

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Especially in the presence of Tessie, with whom she still has the most strained relationship.

Aby-a-Day – April 4: Brave Angel (Hipstamatic Monday)

Of all the cats, Angel ventures into the hallway the least often.

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When she does, though, it’s beautiful.

Aby-a-Day – January 14: Cupboard bravery

Even after two and a half years, Angel is still more skittish and timid than she should be for any cat, let alone a purebred Abyssinian with 100 years of carefully documented ancestry who’s never had to fend for herself on the streets.

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There is one time when she’s almost normal. When there’s raw meat or cold shrimp involved. Then she’s as brave as a tiger.

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Its really awesome to see.