Aby-a-Day – 12 February: Bus ride to Skultorp (Medical Monday)

A week or so ago, Logan and I went to visit our vet in Skultorp. Nothing serious, just a quick check of his urine, and to get “a veterinary certificate confirming that both testicles are normal and are descended into the scrotal sac,” as per FIFe’s Breeding & Registration Rules

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Logan is an excellent traveller. We have a Hatch carrier from a Kickstarter we backed, and it’s been really great.

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Of course I went from living in the same building as my vet to a 36-minute (with one transfer) long bus ride to the furthest reaches of Skövde. That being said, it’s a pretty easy bus ride, and the stops are close to both our apartment and the vet’s office.

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When we got there, I let him out to explore the waiting room…and he stalked around like a person who just got bumped off his business flight to Milwaukee.

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Apparently, Logan does not like to wait.

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And he had to wait.

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and wait.

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“What is taking them so long!?”

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Finally, we were taken back to an exam room.

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“Okay…let’s get this over with.”

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“Wait…you wanna look at my WHAT, now?

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Okay that was…not fun. Can we go home now?

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To make it up to him, I let him walk a little outside on the way home. He doesn’t enjoy outside in the snow as much as Alfred does…

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…but it did cheer him up!

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Look at the happy tail!

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But he was even happier when we finally went inside and I unlocked our door.

Aby-a-Day – 14 January: Planes, Trains and Automobiles Part 2 (Swedish Sunday)

When we landed at Arlanda airport in Stockholm, it was 7:something am and I am never at my best at single-digit morning hours. Jacoby and Angel, however, were just fine.

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They were, in fact, eager to get out of that crate. (Click for video) Or, at least, Jake was.

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Apart from the cats, I had a lot of luggage. Since it was a one-way ticket, bought a first class ticket. It turned out to be a wise investment, since my extra bags were actually free.

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We had to wait a bit for our train to Skövde, but hey, we got to see this guy.

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We let Jake out on the train (Angel did NOT want to explore) and he was excited to see his new country.

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To Jake, it was just another train ride.

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The trip from Stockholm to Skövde is a bit over two hours, so Jake had plenty of time to bond with his new dad.

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He also found time to check in on Angel.

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When we got to Skövde, we needed a cab to bring us home to our apartment, because I had so much luggage, and also the cats’ crate. Luckily, we had a very friendly cab driver.

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Finally, it was time to go inside.

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Pyret was ready to greet us.

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What happened when we came inside? Stay tuned..!

Aby-a-Day – 13 January: Planes, Trains and Automobiles Part 1 (Swedish Saturday)

You know that I flew to Sweden with the two Abyssinians, Jacoby and Angel. But I’m willing to bet you are very curious as to HOW we came here. I flew IcelandAir, which, because Iceland is an island and because of rabies concerns, requires all animal passengers fly in a specially climate controlled pet cargo hold. I know many people have misgivings about airline cargo holds, with good reason. But I have had only good experiences with cargo travel (my two Siamese, Harri and Patrick, from San Francisco to Atlanta, and then Tessie from Portland, Oregon, to Boston). It’s actually easier than travelling with a cat in-cabin, especially when you are travelling with more than one!

I started acclimatising them to the crate very early, by leaving it out for them to nap in. Tessie didn’t really need to practice, but she did anyway.

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I also locked Jake and Angel in the crate for longer and longer periods to get them ready for an eight hour trip.

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Although I think Angel wanted to get out.

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Then, days before the big trip, we had a practical practice, I used the crate to take Jake and Angel to the vet for their pre-travel visit.

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It was a perfect opportunity to practice shlepping the crate somewhere.

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Ironically, my vet, South Boston Animal Hospital, changed location from a 10 minute bus ride away to…ACTUALLY IN THE BUILDING I LIVED IN on 1 June. I left for Sweden on 17 June. Sigh.

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They were their usual selves at the vet, and of course, they got a clean bill of health.

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Finally, the day arrived! We went to Logan Airport to start our new life.

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We all went into a back room at IcelandAir and the cats were checked out, to make sure that they were who I said they were, and to make sure that nothing was being smuggled in the carrier.

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The flight went without incident, apart from the souvenir shop being closed, dammit. But I was lucky enough to see Jake and Angel’s crate being loaded onto the next plane at Reykjavik.

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And then, at long last, we were all reunited at Arlanda airport in Stockholm. What happened next? Tune in tomorrow, same cat time, same cat channel!

Aby-a-Day – November 16: Travelling in style (Miniature Monday)

One wonderful thing that happened at the NEMO show was Meg gave me an old Sturdi carrier of hers because the one I’d brought Jacoby to the show in was…er…destroyed in action, shall we say.

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I’d been thinking of getting one of these, so it was a welcome gift. Thank you, Meg! Both Jake and mini-Jake really like it.

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And best of all…this carrier is completely machine-washable if necessary!

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Hey, guys…don’t look at me like that!

Aby-a-Day – November 2: Ready to hit the road (Miniature Monday)

It’s always fun to go to a cat show…but finally, on Sunday, it’s time to go home.

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Jacoby and mini-Jake waited in the carrier while I packed up all the cage accoutrements.

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I really wonder what Jake thinks of his Brazilian mini-me?

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Yeah, come on guys. Let’s go home.

Aby-a-Day – August 3: Leaving on a jet plane (Hipstamatic Monday)

Nowadays, flying with a pet is fairly common. Many airlines don’t even require a veterinarian’s health certificate – you just pop your cat, small dog, ferret, etc, into a carrier and slip them under the seat in front of you.

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But what happens when you’re travelling a very long distance?

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And what happens if you’re travelling with more than one cat?

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And what if the airline you’re flying doesn’t allow pets in the cabin, but only in a special pet cargo area, where two cats can share a crate?

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Well, then, obviously, you need to get a sturdy, old-school, airline travel crate big enough for two cats to ride comfortably.

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Now, I know a lot of people get concerned when cats have to fly in the cargo hold. But I’ve actually done it before, when I moved from San Francisco to Atlanta with my two Siamese, Harri and Patrick, in 1998. And that was on Delta, in a regular cargo hold…not in a special pet crate cargo area.

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I think Jacoby and Angel will be just fine in this crate for the nine hour flight. Harri and Patrick’s flight was about six hours, and they lived to be 15 and 16 years old, respectively. Come to think of it, they were about the same ages as Jake and Angel are now.

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I ordered this metal luggage tag from Shutterfly specifically for their travel crate.

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I think it sets the mood quite nicely, don’t you?

Aby-a-Day – July 18: “Cross” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

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When we went to the vet for everyone’s annual check-up, the Abys wandered about the exam room while Tessie and Kylie stayed in their rolling carrier.

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Kylie, especially, seemed to prefer it in there.

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As shy as Angel can be…in true Aby fashion, she’d still rather be exploring and not in a carrier!

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However, at one point, Jacoby came and sat down right on top of Kylie and Tessie’s carrier…which does not have a rigid or reinforced top. And as you saw on Thursday, Jake weighs a good 10lbs plus.

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I guess you could say Kylie and Tessie – especially Tessie – were a bit cross about him sitting on top of them!

Aby-a-Day – April 19: Bicycle built for two

Jacoby’s big birthday present this year was a DoggyRide Cocoon bike basket/carrier from DutchDog Design.

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Not that I really have much call to take Jake places on my bike, but with this carrier, I can take him places on my bike. When I was in high school, I built a bike seat for my Siamese mix, Sgt. Pepper, which I named the “Pepper Shaker.” We went for a lot of bike rides back in Davis…but I haven’t tried to take a cat for a bike ride since.

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We’ve come a long way since the 80’s when it comes to bike pet carrier technology, I’ll say that. Of course, DutchDog Design is based in Holland, where people ride bikes everywhere to do everything. I read a lot of reviews, and this particular carrier seems to be the best-rated and best-designed bicycle pet carrier. It also doubles as a regular bike shopping basket.

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Jake was very interested in the box when he saw it.

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Jake also also really likes my bike.

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See?

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But does the fact that he likes the box and my bike mean he’ll like riding in the carrier?

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Well, he seems to like it just fine.

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I just put him in the basket, and he just sat there, enjoying the view.

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He didn’t even try to jump out.

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Even closed, there seems to be plenty of headroom in this carrier.

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“Okay, mom, I’m ready! Let’s go!”

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This basket seems really stable and secure. There’s a leash inside, of course, to prevent him from jumping out while we’re moving.

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Although it’s primarily designed for small dogs, it’s a shape and size that seems to really appeal to feline sensibilities.

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So I don’t know when, but someday we’ll go for a bike ride together using this carrier…

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Always closed, of course!

Aby-a-Day – October 16: “The path flies by as you and I ride a bicycle built for two”

Last week I finally got a bike of my own!

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I’ve pretty much had bikes my whole life; my first was a little purple 1970 Schwinn HollyWood. Then I got my “big girl bike,” a 1974 Schwinn Breeze in “Opaque Blue.” My sister got that one (and she still has it!) and I got my mom’s Campus Green Breeze when my sister outgrew the HollyWood. The Breeze was a very heavy bike, so when I was college, I got my Bianchi. He was a men’s bike (and therefore a boy) and I named him “Nivalis” because he was white. Oh, I loved that bike…but I sold him in the mid-90’s. I’ve been bikeless since (except for a brief period in 2002)…until Hubway started up in Boston. That was convenient, for a while…until it became so popular it became hard to find bikes to ride and open spaces to park them.

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So I finally got my own bike. Another Schwinn, almost the same colour as my Breeze. Her name is Nähri (Finnish for jay).

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Of course, Jacoby was right there to check out the new arrival.

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(Oh, how I wish this photo had been in focus!)

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Little does Jake know that someday I want to get a carrier so that he can join me on bike rides around town…

Aby-a-Day – March 18: Second-class accomodations (Hipstamatic Monday)

I don’t always take Jacoby’s stroller when we go out.

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Sometimes, when we’re not going to be out long or we’re in a hurry, he’ll travel in his Sturdi Incognito carrier.

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It’s a comfortable carrier and he doesn’t mind it much as long as it isn’t closed up.

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The problem is, while it’s very well-made, it’s not all that stable.

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If Jake shifts his weight, he rolls the whole thing over onto its side.

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Apart from that, it’s a great bag. There’s a lot to be said for cat carriers with pockets that hold 8½x11″ paper.

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I have to be really careful about setting his carrier down on a table or other raised surface, because he could topple off onto the floor!

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And it will be awesome to take on a flight; when it’s all closed up it looks like a regular bag, not a pet carrier.

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If only it would just stay upright!

Aby-a-Day – February 22: The evolution of Strollercat (Friday Flashback)

All this Strollercat stuff started me thinking about how we ended up with Jacoby’s now-famous stroller.

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We actually started out with this Snoozer Roll-Around carrier that I’d pull around behind me.

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Jake was okay with it, but he didn’t really like being that low to the ground, and he didn’t like not being able to see. He likes to see where he’s going rather than where he’s been.

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So I did a little research and shopped around and decided to bit the bullet of ultimate crazy-cat-ladydom and bought an inexpensive stroller on eBay.

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He liked that a lot better! We still use the Roll-Around with the other cats, and it’s awesome, but Jake prefers his stroller.

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Jake adapted to his new conveyance almost instantly.

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We took his little green stroller on a few outings, like to the Apple store downtown

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…the bus…

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…the commuter rail…

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…and Gloucester!

But as it turns out, it’s not just the cat’s comfort that matters. As much as we loved that little stroller…it was just too little. I’m 5’8″, and it turns out that the height of a stroller is important if you’re the one pushing it. I was having to sort of stoop over and it was killing my back and shoulders on long walks. The little wheels were completely non-shock absorbing, too, and I felt every brick and bump resonating through my hands and arms – and there’s a lot of bricks in Boston! And if it was that jarring to me just pushing it, I can only imagine what it felt like for Jake.

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So I did a lot more research and read a bunch of reviews, and Jake and I upgraded to a taller jogging stroller with larger, smoother-riding wheels.

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It was love at first sight (for both of us)! And the rest is history.

Aby-a-Day – October 4: Let’s go riding in the car-car

Jacoby loves to travel to cat shows, as long as he doesn’t have to be confined to his carrier.

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I know it’s not the safest way to travel, but he is leashed in and unable to get into the front seat.

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Jake still comments on the scenery, but at least it’s not miserable, “let-me-out” yelling.

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As long as he can see out the window, he’s happy.

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It was raining on our way to the show in Groton. I don’t know if that made it more or less interesting for Jake.

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He did want to come up and sit on my lap, though. But for safety’s sake, I wouldn’t let him.

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Eventually, he settled down comfortably behind the driver’s seat and watched the world go by. I think we need to get Jake a carseat. As you can see in this video, having him leashed helps a lot, but it’s not entirely safe.

Once we find that carseat, though, I would love to take a road trip with Jake and take photos of all our adventures!

Aby-a-Day – April 6: Coordination is key (Fashion Friday)

I just wanted to show how nicely Jacoby’s Christmas Sturdi Incognito Carrier matches his new early birthday Hugadog Harness:

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If you’re going to go with a signature “look,” you have to be 100% committed to it! And if I can find myself some leopard print outfits, I suppose that wouldn’t hurt, either, would it?

Aby-a-Day – May 8: This is mine

For his birthday, Jacoby got a new rolling carrier for therapy visits.

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This one, by Pet Gear, is a lovely sage green, it’s very roomy, and it has two leash/seatbelts inside to secure him safely in place. It can be used as a rolling carrier, shoulder bag, regular carrier, backpack, or car seat.

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He took to it immediately.

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I’m not sure, though, if he was camping out in it because it was new and he loved it, or if he was camping out in it to prevent anyone else from getting their hairs and scent all over the inside.

Very Aby Holidays – Carriers for Jetsetting Kitties

Even if you never travel with your feline friend farther than the vet’s office, it’s nice to know that you could take them along on vacation if you wanted to. Having a comfortable carrier that both your cat and the airlines approve of is key.

People swear by the famous Sherpa Pet Bags, and they are nicely designed. To be honest, though, they are not my favourites. They tend not to keep their shape and sort of collapse in on the cat while he’s inside.

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I much prefer the Roxy bag by Petote. When I brought Angel back from California to Boston, this was the carrier I got for her. She loves it. When we’re at the vet’s office, she views it as her safe haven. It also doesn’t look like a pet carrier, so when you’re in the airport or out shopping, no one notices that you have a cat with you!

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One word of warning, though: if you have a clever, strong cat, this may not be the bag for you. It has a handy “peephole” so your cat can stick his head out, but the flap is held closed only by Velcro, and a strong, clever cat who really wants to get out (like Jacoby, for example) can force their way out fairly easily. It works with Angel because she doesn’t want to escape.

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The best carrier I’ve found in all my years of living and traveling with cats is the Snoozer Roll-Around. It’s roomy, well-reinforced, and versatile. It can be used four different ways: As a regular carrier, as a rolling carrier, as a backpack, and as a car seat. It also has two roomy exterior pockets for leashes and other accessories, which is key, because a lot of pet carrier makers think pet owners don’t have to bring anything with them but their pets when they’re out and about.

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Even though Jake has his stroller, there are times when it’s more efficient to use his carrier. When we went to the vet yesterday, the car-seat function came in very handy!

If you’re thinking of getting a carrier for your cat, be sure to shop around for a sale. Both of the bags I’ve mentioned are available from Petco; with a sale and free shipping, you can save quite a lot of money.

Aby-a-Day – Day 232 of 365

An unexpected side benefit of Jacoby’s new stroller is that it makes a surprisingly good car seat.

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He’s up high and has a great vantage to look out all the windows, which he likes. He hates when he can’t see what’s going on.

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He’s also quite the backseat driver! “Hey, Dad! Wasn’t that our turn back there?”

Snoozer Roll Around Carrier on Sale!

I get a lot of people asking me where I got Jake’s Snoozer Roll Around Pet Carrier. I got it from Petco online, and if you’re among those who wanted to get one for your cat (or dog), Petco is having a sale on them (25% off!) until Thursday. Jake’s is a medium (for pets up to 15lbs), and besides his khaki, they come in red and black.

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You know how much he loves his “wheely,” so I thought I’d share the love!

Gun-Hee to go

Today I received something I’d ordered a little while ago…a Outward Hound Pet-A-Roo Carrier.


(I got one like the red one…only in black.
I got the idea to get him something like this when we went to the park and my husband wanted to bring his carrier along. But his regular carrier is so big and bulky…I mean, it’s great for confining him on a drive or carrying him to the vet, but on a little trip on the T or a walk to the post office? It’s a bit much.

Of course, as soon as I got home, I put it on and tried it out with Gun-Hee. He loves it. I walked around the apartment with him snug in his carrier and he just purred the entire time.

Now if the weather would just warm up…I can’t wait to try it outside on a real adventure!