Aby-a-Day – 21 Februari: A box from Meg…and a little backstory (Thursday Things)

Friendship is a funny thing. You meet people every day. Some are strangers, and strangers they remain. Others become friends.

When I was a cat-crazy kid, I couldn’t imagine being actual friends with a cat breeder, let alone a cat show judge. Yet here I am, 38 years after this magazine was published, with threinds who are both breeders and judges. In April 1981 I was two months shy of my sweet 16th, and I loved cats. Cats and the Beatles. No wonder that in August 1981, when I found a seal-point and white kitten, I named him Sgt. Pepper…

Usually, when you look at an old magazine, you don’t read the classifieds at the back. But this old issue with an Aby on the cover…I wanted to see something.

And, lo and behold. Meg is listed as an Abyssinian breeder in Massachusetts. I never knew I’d end up in Massachusetts, let alone be friends with a breeder who had ads in a magazine when I was 15 going on 16…

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But it’s true. I am actually friends with a woman who has been breeding Abyssinians almost (but not quite) as long as I’ve been alive. And to think that she and I are very good friends! But it happened so naturally…Meg knew Sherry, and Jacoby was related to Lew and Taz…and…we clicked. That’s how it is when you make a friend.

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So a couple of weeks ago, Meg sent me my belated Christmas present. To be fair, though, I didn’t send mine out until January.

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She sent me a lot of cool things for me: Socks, a candle holder, and some CFA things…but she also sent things for the cats. One of which was this catnip shrimp. Alfred was the first to investigate the shrimp, but…

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…Jake quickly took over. Jake loves firmly stuffed catnip toys.

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So yeah, this shrimp was almost tailor-made for Jake. Sorry, Freddy.

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Another toy she sent was a wonderful stick toy that we can use at cat shows. Izaak was all over it

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Whilst Zakkie loves his mousies, he also really likes stick toys.

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Not as much as Lorelai does, apparently. Because oh, look, here she is, moving faster than a camera can capture.

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Rory and Zak enjoyed that stick toy so much, I think it’s going to be a permanent fixture at our future cat shows!

Aby-a-Day – 13 May 2016: Ancestral Abyssinians (Friday Flashback)

This week, The CFA History Project published an article about Sedgemere Peaty, one of the very first Abyssinians.

There is also an article with a fanstastic wealth of photographs about a silver Abyssinian born in 1909 named Quizero Taitou (Or Ouizero…there’s some confusion over whether his name started with an O or a Q; Q makes more sense, though).

What is interesting about Quizero, though is that his father, Aluminium, also sired Ras Dashan, who sired Ras Djibute, whose granddaughter, Woodrooffe Aura was the mother of the famous (Djer-Mer’s) Woodroofe Ras Seyum, from whom Jacoby, along with many modern Abyssinans, are descended.

Ras Seyum was famously featured in the November 1938 issue of National Geographic. How fun to see Jake’s ancestors’ photos!

(Oh and also, while looking for these historical photos, I stumbled upon this article about cat domestication and was flattered to find one of my photos used – and credited! – as an example of a show cat! It was just published on 27 April, so there’s another nice surprise.

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And just for fun, here is a series of photos of Jake doing something he rarely does: Pole dancing! While many cats love to scratch the sisal post on the judge’s table, Jake usually prefers to post majestically. However, in his first ring at Seacoast with Gary Veach, he decided to have a little stretch. Although he does seem a bit bewildered, doesn’t he?

Aby-a-Day – June 26: Selene’s Firefly (Friday Flashback)

I was lucky enough to get this portrait of one of Jacoby’s ancestors, Selene’s Firefly, from Tessie’s breeder, Kim.

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She is moving, and wished to find homes for three older Abyssinian portraits. They’re all wonderful – and two were of Firefly – but the oval one in particular spoke to me.

I just think it’s so wonderful to own something that belongs to my Aby’s past.

At Christmas last year, I was also lucky enough to get some old CATS magazines from 1958 and 1959…and look at this listing of top show cats that was published in the August 1959 issue! Firefly was the 7th Best Cat in the East that show season!

Aby-a-Day – June 4: “Lackadaisy Homage” (Cartoon Thursday)

As I mentioned a couple of cartoons ago, I am absolutely head over heels in love with Lackadaisy, a webcomic by Tracy J. Butler. Imagine the 1920’s – bootleggers, gangsters, flappers…but with cats.

I love Tracy’s intricate and detailed style and I could never hope to compare, but I did find this pastel illustration from a 1927 J.L. Taylor men’s fashion catalog which I could mimic.

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And so, here you have Jacoby and Angel as they might appear in a contemporary illustration in the Lackadaisy universe.

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – April 28: “Well, dog my cats!” (Cartoon Tuesday)

You’ll find in many, many books and websites about cats in general or specific to Abyssinians, that this breed is often described as being “dog-like.”

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I mean, there’s even a YouTube video about it!

And while it is true that Abyssinians are one of the oldest breeds (going all the way back to 1860), and Abys have probably lived alongside humans for more of the breed’s history than other “natural” breeds (Abys are the first breed that was based on human’s desire to make a cat look a certain way rather than being based on a genetic trait like tailessness or thermo-restrictive partial albinism)…somehow, I don’t think they’d find being called “dog-like” exactly complimentary.

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – December 4: Meeting a Legend

One of the reasons I really wanted to go to the World Show and enter the Red Show was because Wain Harding was one of the judges. (The other was because it was near Philly and I could see my sister.)

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You’ll have to indulge me here with a little fangirling. Wain Harding was the name in Aby breeders when I was a cat-crazy little kid first going to cat shows. I grew up in Davis, CA and Wain was based in Berkeley, CA – only 64 miles away on I-80! – so I saw his Abys a lot when we went to shows in Sacramento and San Francisco. They were probably the Abys I saw most, now that I think about it.

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I’m sure I must have seen Wain at a cat show at Cal Expo or the SF County Fair Building/Hall of Flowers when I was a kid. I may have also seen him as an apprentice judge!

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Wain Harding is Bastis Abyssinians. Bastis is one of those cattery names that shows up in viturally every Aby’s pedigree at some point.

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Jacoby has a solid Bastis backgound, starting with the legendary GC Bastis Zackariah, DM. Zackariah has 83 offspring known to ERoS, and there are probably a lot of his kittens that weren’t recorded there. This one cat is probably the keystone of modern Abys. I wonder if anyone can find an Aby alive today without Zackariah’s name in his or her pedigree?

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Long story short, it was a pretty big deal to meet Wain Harding, no matter what Meg says 🙂

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It was pretty exciting when, as Wain took Jake from the judging cage to the table, I heard him exclaim, “Wow…what great colour!” To have that be the first thing he said when he examined Jake was pretty amazing.

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Needless to say, when I heard Jake’s number called for Wain Harding’s Shorthair Specialty Ring at the World Show on Saturday, I was thrilled.

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I was so busy being excited and taking pictures, I don’t remember what Wain said as he presented Jake with his rosette.

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When I first got Gun-Hee and wanted to start showing, I scoured the internet for information on showing Abys and discovered this article about the perfect show Abyssinian. Several Aby-centric judges were interviewed for this Q and A, including Wain Harding. This article made an impression on me, especially Wain’s comments.

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Jake was Wain’s 14th Best Shorthair Cat in Premiership. This was out of 40 shorthair premiers entered in the Red Show.

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I know a lot of people might think, “Only 14th place?” but this was a very stiff competition. All of the Premiers were in top form at this show, and in all honesty, I got really lucky that the other Abyssinian Premiers weren’t able to attend and Jake ended up being the only Aby in Premiership in the Red Show. All in all, Jake ended up in 40th place overall and he earned 39 points.*

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The one thing I really wanted to do was get a photo of Wain with Jake and I. We had planned on getting one, but even though we were benched right across from his ring all weekend, I never managed to get that photo. Well…perhaps there will be a next time.

*On a side note, take a look at some of the cats’ names in Premiership! There’s a Manx named Jack Benny and a Maine Coon called Maine-ard G Krebbs. Two of my favourite characters! I love names like that.

#5 with a bullet

The latest CFA CatTalk magazine included an article about the CFA’s Top Ten Breeds for 2012. There was some rearrangement in the rankings from 2011, interestingly. The 2011 Top Ten were:

1. Persian
2. Exotic (basically a Persian with short hair)
3. Maine Coon
4. Ragdoll
5. Sphynx
6. Siamese
7. Abyssinian
8. American Shorthair
9. Cornish
10. Birman

But THIS year, the Top Ten shifted considerably beneath the first four:

1. Persian
2. Exotic
3. Maine Coon
4. Ragdoll
5. Abyssinian (!!!)
6. Sphynx
7. American Shorthair
8. British Shorthair
9. Siamese
10. Devon Rex

After the first four breeds, there have been some major changes to this year’s list! It’s also interesting that the Top Ten traded Rexes and added the British Shorthair; apart from the Persian, Maine Coon and Ragdoll, the most popular breeds are predominantly shorthaired.

But the point here is, of course, the Abys gained two points! They’d dropped from #6 to #7, but now we’re in the Top 5 breeds!

Naturally, all these statistics come with a caveat: these are based on registration within CFA, not the actual number of cats born or owned. But still…We’re #5!

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Hey, Jake’s excited!