Aby-a-Day – 7 Juli: My first visit to a cat cafe…in Paris! (Special Sunday(

As I mentioned yesterday, whilst we were in London, we took a daytrip last Tuesday to Paris.

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Our first stop was Le Café Des Chats, my first ever cat café!

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I know, I know…cat cafés are a thing…but this is the first one I’ve ever been to.

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They had laminated cards with photos and backstories of every cat. Those came in wicked handy.

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One cat, Simba, decided it was his job to manage the front desk.

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Simba was up there, managing, most of the time we were there.

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It was so adorable, how seriously he took his self-appointed job.

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Then there was Zan.

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Zan spent almost the entire time we were there (from the café’s opening at noon) up on his shelf on the wall.

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The café has an ingenious system of steps, bridges, and old furniture mounted to the wall to create a “cat superhighway” (™ Jackson Galaxy). Seems like it’s working.

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The resident cats clearly knew that they were in charge. The only rules were “don’t feed the cats” and “don’t wake a sleeping cat.”

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This is Salem, owning his chair.

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Here’s Alaska.

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According to his bio, he was born in the street to a neglected housecat. Not sure why he’s called Alaska…but it suits him.

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The table we sat at had books that patrons could read. This book, “Secrets of the Cat,” was one of them.

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It had a two-page spread dedicated to the “indefatigable players” – notably, the Abyssinian and the Singapura.

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Abys’ playfulness needs no explanation…

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…But the part about Singapuras is particularly adorable. It says, “The Singapura is an expert in clowneries.” Sounds about right.

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The café also has this brilliant poster featuring famous felines.

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And it really is complete. Look at #62: It’s Zunar J-9/5 aka Jake the Cat From Outer Space!

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Then there was this old print in the washroom. That “wild cat” looks a lot like an Aby, don’t you think?

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But the best part about the café was this lovely lady.

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Her name is Izmir.

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At first, she looks like a white longhair…but she isn’t. She’s a lilac Turkish Van; you can barely see it in photos, but her tail is lilac, not white. She also has one yellow eye and one blue one.

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Izmir was a very polite cat. She came up to me and sat on the table, waiting for permission before engaging.

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Then, a gentle headbutt.

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Then she decided to crawl onto my lap.

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She has the longest whiskers I have ever seen on a cat.

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She settled down and made herself comfortable. The leather couch was rather slidey, so I was half sitting, half lying on it when Izmir settled. It was a bit awkward.

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But how could I move? She was so comfy.

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And she was purring!

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She stayed on my lap, purring and kneading, for the longest time. I didn’t really get to interact with many of the other cats…but after almost a week of not having any kitties to cuddle, she really made my day.

Other People’s Abys – Calendar Cats

Here’s today’s Page-a-Day Calendar for today. Oh, look! It’s an Abyssinian!

“Eight-month-old Khulan is just the right size for her owner’s terra-cotta saucers, which serve as a marvelous nesting place for the ruddy Abyssinian. She was named after one of the wives of Ghengis Khan, who traveled with the conqueror and held a special place in his empire – and his heart. Khulan, the cat from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, has also won the heart of her person, Don Martinson.”

Aby-a-Day – July 22: Wordless Wednesday (Jake and the Cat from Outer Space)

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Other People’s Abys – Calendar Cats

I forgot to post this yesterday, but look who was featured on the Page-a-Day Calendar for August 19!

“Abyssinians have an almost otherworldly look, which may be why one was chosen to play “Jake” in The Cat from Outer Space, a role shared by two cats named Amber and Rumple. Playful and almost doglike in their devotion to their humans, the Abyssinian has become one of the most popular breeds in the United States, despite commanding high prices at pet stores and breeders. You could argue they earn their keep: Female Abys are remarkably skillful hunters, and often stay active well into their twenties.

Special Mention LINUS.—Alan Pressman and Melissa Palmer, Dix Hills, New York”

Again with the “doglike”..?

Interestingly, the question came up a while back on the Aby groups I’m on about which cattery bred Amber and Rumple. Carolyn Osier told this story:

“The cat originally chosen to screen test was a young ruddy male, GC Ruddy Raider of Wil-o-glen. At that time he was in the middle of a show season and doing very well, so when Disney told me they wanted to buy him and that would end his show career, I said no thank you. They wanted to own the cat so there would be no interference from anxious owners. It is my understanding that there were up to 7 cats who were used in the movie. I do not believe they came from well known catteries. I also heard rumors that several of them from one cattery died of FelV which was a problem at that time. I was very glad that I had not exposed Raider to that. Raider went on to produce wonderful offspring and I never regretted my choice, although I do enjoy the DVD of the movie from time to time and think about ‘what if’.

“FYI, a second cat also made the cut to screen test for the part, a champagne Burmese spay. I still have a copy of the Disney contract to send her for a month of screen testing. The original casting call brought about 30 different breeds. I always wondered why they didn’t choose one of the beautiful silver Persians. I will never forget the look on the face of the owner of a beautifully groomed red tabby Persian when the casting director suggested he might look very interesting if they twisted hunks of hair into spikes!”

Well, at least we know which cattery didn’t breed them!

Aby-a-Day – January 27: The Cat From Davis Square

It turns out there have been Abyssinians on the T a lot longer than anyone realised.

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In a few T stations, there are ceramic tiles made by local schoolkids. Broadway Station is one of them. and Davis Square Station in Somerville is another. I always enjoy looking at them, especially one little group of cat tiles (and one skunk) in the middle of the Davis Square collection.

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I was looking at them again the other day and it suddenly dawned on me what one was depicting…

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It’s meant to be Jake, the Cat From Outer Space! I’m not sure how I didn’t see it before! I mean, I’ve always thought it looked like an Aby because of the colour, but…

No! I’m serious! It really is supposed to be Jake! Check it out: The Davis Square Tiles Project took place during the 1978-79 school year, and the child who made this tile, Estelle Passamonte, was an 11-year-old girl. I was 13, and my sister was 8, and during the second half of 1978 we were obsessed with Abyssinians, Jake, and talking intergalactic felines in general…so it’s not too huge a leap to conclude that little Stella was a fan, too.

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(I also suspect this one is meant to be Zunar-J5/9-Doric-47, too, but since he’s got a sun and not a space helmet it’s not quite the logical slam-dunk that Estelle’s tile is. But look at those ears!)

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And this one…those eyes seem like Aby eyes. And again with the big pointy ears, too.

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I think that movie made quite an impact on girls aged 8-13…

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It’s something I think about every time I ride the train with Jacoby.

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There’s a long history of Abys and the red line! Who knew?

Aby-a-Day July 23: Zunar-J-5/9 Doric-4-7 (Hipstamatic Monday)

Considering that The Cat From Outer Space was released in 1978, taking photos of Jacoby in his glowing Jake collar with Hipstamatic seemed especially appropriate.

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Now all we need is Ken Berry and McLean Stevenson!

Aby-a-Day – July 20: The 70’s are back in style (Fashion Friday)

Ever since I found that blog post about the boy who wanted a Cat From Outer Space birthday party, complete with Jake the cat, I’ve wanted to find a white LED collar for Jacoby.

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As luck would have it, I found a very nice nylon LED cat collar on eBay for $3. I got three…just in case I wanted to make modifications. It’s pretty good as it is, but the black clip keeps wanting to slide around to the front, which ruins the look. I’m thinking I may take one collar apart and perhaps put the LED part into a plastic tube. I need to go to the hardware store for inspiration the next time I’m in Porter Square. I’m also thinking to just take the clips off and sew the white nylon together into a continuous loop that can just slip over his head. We’ll see. Either way, we’ll have another Halloween costume for him (in case he doesn’t want to be an ancient Egyptian, a doctor, a ballplayer, or a biker).

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Doesn’t Jake bear a striking resemblance in this photo to…well, to Jake?

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Part of me wishes they’d remake this…and part of me is afraid they will because they’ll use a Maine Coon instead of an Aby…