Aby-a-Day – 3 Juli 2020: I miss cat shows (Friday Flashback)

These are photos from when Lorelai got a NOM at the very first show she was entered in.

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We had Izaak at this point, but he hadn’t gotten his SVERAK registration yet, so he couldn’t be entered. This was the only show she went to alone.

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The photos of Rory trying to nom her NOM ribbon are among my favourite photos of her.

We haven’t been able to go to a cat show since last November (thank you, global pandemic), and I really miss it. I think the cats do, too.

Aby-a-Day – 10 Maj 2020: Remember when we used to go to cat shows..? (Cat Show Cinema Singapura Sunday)

A friend on Facebook posted a photo of her cats today with the caption: “Is this really all we do now? We can’t leave?! When is the next cat show?! We’re tired of sitting home!!!!”

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Dude…I so know that feel.

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Because we weren’t able to go to our favourite show in Örebro this year, we haven’t been to a show since November, when we went with Lorelai and Izaak to Turku. It’s the one thing I really miss since the pandemic started.

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So, I went back in my backlog of photos and found this set of Zak at the Turku show, after our collection of show wand toys fell over.

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He was so cute, playing with the toys. We mainly only ever play with wand toys at shows, so this was a treat.

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I even made a short video of it (click on the image to view it on another tab in Flickr).

Aby-a-Day – 30 April 2020: A memory came up today…(Thursday Things)

This memory came up today on Facebook: Jacoby’s and my last Seacoast Cat Show in New Hampshire. It was a great show; Jake got 136 points at that show.

That show, and the one CFA show we went to in Sweden where he made every final, was enough to make him 10th Best Abyssinian in Premiership for the 2016-17 show season, on top of his 8th Best placement the season before.

I know I have some awesome cats now…but I still miss my Jakey.

Aby-a-Day – 14 Mars 2020: Scandinavian Winners Show…Cancelled

Yesterday, I posted about the Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade being cancelled. That’s not the only thing cancelled. The Scandinavian Winners Show, which was to be 25-26 April, was declared cancelled on Wednesday.

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When I went to the Winners Show in 2018 with Logan, I didn’t fully appreciate what a truly big deal it was. I mean, I knew it was special, and you had to qualify to enter, but I didn’t really get how important it is. Cats who win BIS in the Winners Show get to add the letters SW to their titles. It matters. CFA has nothing like that, where you can earn a title in a single show.

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It started to sink in on the second day. There was no judging, just awarding. People dresssed up in their national colours and it felt like a party.

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But one of the best things was that our friend Stellan’s Singapura, Chi, won! Now he is SW S*Kustens Chi Sarà Con Te.

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He’s also a little doll.

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The timing wasn’t right to go to the Winners Show last year when it was held in Turku, but we were excited to go to this year’s show in Norway. Timing was good, the location was good…and it would have been my first time travelling to Norway! But there is a teeny-tiny silver lining…Next year’s Winners Show will be in ÖREBRO! Our favourite showhall and everything! Hopefully this virus will be managed by then.

That’s not all. CFA’s President has announced that, after the Crab and Mallet show in Baltimore this weekend, the CFA show season is over. It usually ends on April 30th.

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You may recall I got to visit this show once as a spectator; it’s a wonderful show in a great location. And I got to meet the Mooners! This year, however, spectators are not allowed. Only exhibitors and judges will be allowed in the show hall.

Aby-a-Day: 20 Augusti: Jackpot! (Cartoon Tuesday)

This upcoming weekend is NEMO’s seventh annual show! You may remember that I did a drawing of Marlin playing craps, because the theme of the show this year is “Lucky 7’s” with a Vegas theme.

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I also made this spoof of the infamous Vegas sign for the club to use as incidental art. I don’t know if they used it, but it was fun to make.

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For the cover of the program, Iris and I brainstormed other Vegas gambling motifs, and I came up with Marlin winning cat food from a slot machine. And, even better, I was able to incorporate my Vegas NEMO sign. I’m pretty proud of how it turned out; Iris said she thought it was one of my best! I wonder what the theme will be next year?

Aby-a-Day – 4 Augusti: “So much winning…” (Cat Show Sunday)

On a whim, we brought the Pets Hate Toys “Donald” cat toy. Izaak actually liked having it in the cage. I think it’s the hair. It did get a lot of laughs.

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Just like yesterday, Lorelai was judged first today.

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It was funny at this show…we had the same judges as yesterday, but Rory saw Eric and Izaak saw Glenn today.

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He was as charmed by her as he was by Zak.

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I really like Eric. He’s a good judge, and fun to watch. Plus, since he’s not Swedish, he does everything in English!

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Today, there were only three blue Abys. One of the kittens was only entered on Sunday.

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But the competition was still tough. Of course, it’s not easy to choose between a mature adult, a young adult, and a kitten, but in the end…

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…Rory was, once again, Best In Variety! My friend Anna told me that if Rory keeps this up, she could be the best blue Aby in Sweden! She was also up for Nomination, but like yesterday, she wasn’t chosen for the panel.

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Then it was Izaak’s turn to be judged.

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Glenn really liked Zak, too.

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Ultimately, he decided to put Zak up for nomination today.

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Then it was time for the panel. Zak was up against TWO Bengals.

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Thea Friškovec was one of the voting judges on the Category 3 panel today (she wasn’t yesterday). Thea was the judge who NOMed Zak at the last show, where he ended up winning his first BIS. She actually sought us out yesterday to say hello to Zak (she breeds Singapuras herself).

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She’s clearly very fond of little Zak.

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And in the end…

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…Izaak got two votes and was Category 3’s Best In Show entire male!

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One thing about FIFe shows is…when you win best in show, you actually WIN stuff. You get rosettes, trophies, and medals, sure…but you also get swag. This is the line-up of prize bags for all the categories and all the classes.

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This is all the stuff that was in Zak’s swag bag.

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The “decoration light” is actually Zak’s BIS trophy. It’s pretty cool, and it’s on the window with the other cool trophies Jacoby, Rory and Zak have won.

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After the panel was over, we packed up and went home.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Augusti: There’s winning and then there’s doing pretty good (Cat Show Saturday)

We’re at a cat show in Södertälje this weekend. At the last show, I bought a little shelf for the show cage which also has a curtain to hide the litter box.

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This is the first time we’ve actually used it, and as you can see, it’s quite the hit with the ticked crowd.

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The show was in a good location (near an amazing Greek restaurant, too), and it was well-organised and set up…that’s always a plus! Lorelai was the first to be judged in the morning.

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The judge, Glenn Sjöbom, was fast, but thorough.

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I am always surprised by how calm Rory is on the table with the judge. She’s always so squirmy and active, but put her on the judge’s table, and she’s a perfect angel.

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There are four blue Aby girls in the show today. The other two are IC Abychat Whos-That-Girl and her two daughters, S*Cat Claw’s Purr-fect Pleasure and S*Cat Claw’s Purr-fect Paradise.

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Here is Whos-That-Girl with our friend Susanna.

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Because there were more than three blue Abys, we could have a Best In Variety, so we had to wait around whilst all the girls were finished judging.

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Meanwhile, in the ring next to ours, the ruddy Abyssinians were being judged by Thea Friškovec.

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I had to laugh when I saw this guy (GIC S*Aucuparia’s Mimar Sinan JW) because he reminded me so much of Jacoby sitting in the judging cage like that.

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Then it was time for the blue Aby BIV. Poor Glenn had to choose between four girls.

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First he eliminated one of the kitten sisters.

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He checked Rory’s ticking and undercoat tone.

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I had the presence of mind to switch to video for the final decision…I’m glad I did! Click on the image to see the video in another window.

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Rory seemed pretty proud of her achievement.

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And perhaps a little stunned, too. She was also up for Nomination, but lost out to a Cornish Rex.

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Next, it was Izaak’s turn to be judged.

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His judge, Eric Reijers, was quite charmed by our little Zak.

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I’m not sure who was having more fun playing, Zak or Eric.

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He tried out every toy with Zak to see which he liked best.

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(Spoiler alert: He liked ALL of them!)

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Our friends Jenny and Skilla (S*Kustens Follia d’Amore) were at the show, too! It was good to see them again.

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Skilla was having a bad day. She was cranky and hissing. Again, I was reminded of Jake.

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Zak was up against three British Shorthairs; a blue with amazing golden eyes, a brown mackerel tabby, and a young red tabby. Unfortunately, Björn was busy with Rory, and I was holding Zak, so I don’t have any photos. I was shocked when Zak got the Nomination! We almost always lose to the BSHs.

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Finally it was time for the panel. Zak didn’t like the grooming I gave him, so he did it himself.

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I really like that stewards hold the cats up during the panel. That means the owners and breeders can relax and watch.

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The competition amongst the the male cats was stiff! A Bengal, a Lilac BSH, and little Zak. The way it works is, the three judges who judged the class (in this case, Vladimir Isakov, Sirpa Lindelöf, and Eric) look at the cats who were NOMed, and vote on which they think is the best example of their breed.

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In the end, the Bengal got two votes. But Izaak got one as well! Considering the competition, that’s awesome!

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But remember the ruddy boy who reminded me of Jake? He won Best in Show in his class! Here he is with our friend Jan, his human. They both look pretty happy. I wonder what will happen tomorrow?

Aby-a-Day – 15 Juni: Parallel Judging (Cat Show Saturday)

Amongst all the other things that happened at last weekend’s cat show, I mentioned that there was a trainee judge watching the Abyssinian judging, shadowing a Group 4 judge. But later, after the Singapuras and the Selkirk Rex had been judged, Stellan called me to bring Izaak over to the Group 3 “Parallel judging.”

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I’d never heard of that before, much less seen it. Stellan said it’s fairly rare. But it’s actually pretty cool, and I don’t think either CFA or TICA have a thing like this.

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Basically, you’re all called up to a mock ring. Stewards take the cats up to the student judge, who judges each cat and writes down notes on every one, the same as the real judge does. She also chooses her Bests in Variety and the cats she would Nominate if she were the judge.

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Later on, they compare her notes and decisions to the actual judge’s notes and see how she did in comparison. We exhibitors don’t get to see the notes, nor do we ever know how our cats placed…but it was interesting to watch.

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Zak thought it was a lot of fun! Maybe even more fun than the actual judging, because he got to do it and Lorelai didn’t!

Aby-a-Day – 13 Juni: Cats love hotels (Thursday Things)

I don’t know what it is, but every cat I’ve ever known has loved staying in hotel rooms.

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They always say that cats like stability, familiarity, routine…so why they love strange new hotel rooms, foreign beds, and different window views? Perhaps cats are more adventurous than we give them credit for. All I know is, going back to my Siamese, Harri, who was born in 1991, every cat I’ve ever taken to a hotel has loved it. And I hear that from almost every other cat person I’ve talked to at shows.

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Izaak and Lorelai are no exception. The minute we walk in the room, they’re off excitedly checking out every corner. Jacoby would actually be cranky at cat shows during the day because he’d stayed up all night whooping it up in the hotel room.

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The first batch of photos were taken Friday night. On Saturday night, Zak decided to play with the decorative blankets on both beds.

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He didn’t just pull them off onto the floor, though; he also bit them, bunny-kicked them and dragged them around the room. Unfortunately, none of those photos turned out.

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I don’t know if Zak thought those blankets worked better as rugs or what…

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…but he is just so damn cute when he’s being naughty.

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Meanwhile, Rory was exhausted after her big show day and just wanted to nap.

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And yes, she dug this comforter cave all by herself. She does that at home, too. She is the queen of quilt forts.

Aby-a-Day – 17 Maj: NOM nom nom…(Friday Flashback)

I make a photo family calendar for my mom every year – that’s the only gift she really wants. May’s page is a collage of various cat show photos of Izaak and Lorelai.

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Since I am reminded every day this month of the time Rory tried to nom her NOM rosette…I thought you should, too.

Aby-a-Day – 2 Maj: Thanks, Facebook…(Travel Thursday)

Love it or hate it, Facebook is a reality. It’s annoying as hell, but it’s also a great way to stay in touch with friends and family (like friends from second grade and several of my cousins in Canada). And then there’s the “Memories” it likes to show you.

This photo was today’s memory, four years ago. Jacoby and I were on our way to the Seacoast show in New Hampshire, one of our favourites. We’re riding the T on our way to meet the friend I was staying with. Interestingly enough, I never included this photo in a blog post about the show (and I made several posts about it, too)!

So bittersweet…a happy memory, to be sure, but I miss that way he gazed at me.

Aby-a-Day – 25 Februari: In memory of Walter Hutzler (Hipstamatic Monday)

Sad news…CFA judge Walter Hutzler has passed away. He was a great cat judge and person. I didn’t know him well, but he lived in Region 1 and I was lucky to have seen him judge and have Jacoby judged by him a few times.

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The thing I remember about Walter is his flamboyant style of dressing. He also often wore scarves, which I thought was cool, and a nice change from the usual ties CFA judges wear.

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He was even featured in the 2006 PBS documentary Standard of Perfection: Show Cats. It’s always fun to see judges you know on TV shows.

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Walter was a really fun judge to watch.

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He really interacted with the cats as he judged them.

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Since it was Monday, I remembered I had taken some Hipstamatic photos of Walter judging Jake at a show in Groton, CT in October 2011 (the same weekend I met Molly and Mosey and Jake Gbecame a Grand).

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My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend has stopped running today. Sleep well in Tuonela, Walter.

Aby-a-Day: 7 October: “Hairdressers are a wonderful breed” (Cat Show Sunday)

Today at the show was…hopeful, but ultimately uneventful. Lorelai was up for the NOM against the Russian Blue…so she didn’t get it. Oh, well. Izaak’s judge, Daria Lukasik, was from Poland, too…but she didn’t know that he was Polish until after the nominations. She was so in love with him…she threatened to put him in her bag and take him home with her. But ultimately – and it was close – he lost the NOM to a Bengal.

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The nice thing about FIFe – especially if you don’t get a NOM – you have a lot of nice, relaxing downtime.

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So, Zak decided to use the downtime to practise his newfound talent of…hairdressing.

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“Here…you’ll look much better if I do like this…”

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“There. Now you look…purrfect!”

Okay, we didn’t win this weekend…and Zak isn’t the next Vidal Sassoon…but we found a kickass Chinese Restaurant in Vårgårda

Aby-a-Day – 1 October: Happy Singapura Day!

On this day in 2014, the Singapura was officially accepted as a breed in FIFe.

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While the Singapura was accepted for registration by the TICA in 1979 for championship competition and accepted in CFA in 1982 as a provisional breed and was granted championship status in 1988, Singas took longer to be accepted in Europe.

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The GCCF (the British cat registry organisation) finally granted Singapuras championship status in June 2005.

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And then, at long last, the Singapuras were accepted by FIFe, Europe’s purebred cat registry.

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Because I have known about Singas – and seen them at CFA shows – since I was in high school (at least 35 years), it’s a bit odd to me that they are a “new” breed here in Europe. In Sweden, Singapuras were registered in Sverak (Sweden’s branch of FIFe) since the early 1980’s, but in all that time, only 355 Singapuras have been registered in Sweden. And, as of right now, Sverak’s newest Singapura is…our Izaak.

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Which makes our little Polish import a special little cat, indeed!

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“Well DUH…of COURSE I’m special! Just look at me!”

Aby-a-Day – 14 August: Pining for the fjords (Cartoon Tuesday)

Whilst working on a new project for the upcoming NEMO show, I came across an old drawing I did for Iris five years ago for the National Norwegian Forest Cat Breed Club’s show catalogue (the show was around Columbus Day, as I recall). I’d forgotten all about it, but considering where I live now, it was too funny not to share.

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Seeing it again also reminded me that I had always wanted to colour it. So, it being a rainy Tuesday, I figured, what the heck?

Aby-a-Day – 3 July: Paw & (dis)Order: Abyssinial Intent (Cartoon Tuesday)

In memory of cousin Taz, I am re-running his and Jacoby’s best cartoon appearance: Paw & (dis)Order: Abyssinial Intent.

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It started as a random comment at the Mansfield show in 2012 and grew into…well, this. Meg had brought a little girl called Tiger Lili, who had Jake and Taz all het up. So she became the star of the cartoon as well. Taz and Jake were wearing collars because Meg had gotten them both collars to wear; Taz’s had a sort of flower on it.

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Originally I was thinking they’d be Briscoe and <aCurtis, but they ended up being more like Goren and Eames (Taz being Eames, of course).

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Annnd…I couldn’t resist throwing in a David Caruso joke, because who doesn’t love crime procedural mash-ups?

Other People’s Abys – Kudos to Cousin Taz!

Remember Cousin Taz? Once upon a time, he had retired from the cat show circuit. But this year, he’s come back with a vengeance!

The CFA show season ended on 30 April, and it’s official! Taz is Best Abyssinian in Premiership in all of CFA, the 2nd Best Cat in Premiership in the North Atlantic Region 1, and the 15th Best Cat in Premiership in all of CFA.

Taz is a year younger than Jacoby, and to win these honours at the age of eight is incredible. You go, Taz!

Aby-a-Day – 10 May: Alfred’s father

When we went to the cat show in Stockholm to collect Lorelai, we got a bit of a surprise.

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One of the Abys entered in the show was none other than Alfred’s father, Snus!

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It was great to see him again.

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But also, wow. Freddy looks SO much like his dad. Especially around the eyes.

Aby-a-Day – 24 March: Cat-apulted into a new life (Swedish Saturday)

Björn has written another post for me, this time about our cat show career. He is such a great help to me at shows, and he’s better at talking to the spectators than I am! I am so glad he doesn’t hate going to shows with me.

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Dogs have masters. Cats have servants. And show cats have an entourage. Since Koshka moved to Sweden, I’ve become sort of her tour manager.

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We’ve been to shows both in Sweden and abroad (Finland and Estonia thus far) with both Logan and Jacoby, and I’m usually the one who books hotels, tickets for trains and ferries, and rent and drive a car if one is needed.

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Hauling all that luggage (one big bag for the cat, and one for us, plus a few smaller bags) is too much for one person, so that’s another task.

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Then, at the shows, it’s the usual setting up to do. That’s pretty much Koshka’s thing, as she has done it so many more times before. Once the show starts, I’m still bewildered by what and when things are supposed to happen, but I think I’m getting the hang of it.

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I take it that men are in minority in the world of cat shows. There are the judges and breeders, the spouses (enthusiastic or suffering), and the occasional single guy with his cat. As we go to a show on average once every two months, it doesn’t get boring. What is fun is to go to new places, meet new people, and to stay at a nice hotel and go to a good restaurant.

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Also, as I have come to know Jake and Logan, I have become more invested in their success. After all, no one goes to a show just to display your cat and chat with the neighbor!

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While I’ll never have the cat show circuit as a lifestyle, I’m not doing this to indulge my wife, but to do something that I’ve come to enjoy.

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After all, we do this at the pleasure of our feline overlords, right?

Aby-a-Day – 20 January: Report from the road (Cat Show Saturday)

Logan is entered in a cat show this weekend in Örebro, a town about 146 km northeast of Skövde. I will do more in-depth posts about the FIFe shows that Jacoby and Logan have gone to, but for now, here are a few snaps of Logan’s budding show career.

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Here is Logan at his very first show in Stockholm, back in August. He was just five months old, entered in the Kitten class (4-7 months old), of course. You can see how stressed out he was by the experience.

At his second show, in Västra Frölunda (near Göteborg), he got to see his sister Iris again!

That was a lot of fun.

Well…mostly.

Then in November, he went to his first and only show as a Junior (7-10 months old), and it was also his first international show. We took the ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki.

He also got his first Nomination! It’s kind of like going to the finals. It’s hard to explain.

At this show, though, we happened to meet a lovely Maine Coon…who was around the same age as Logan! Yes. These guys were both showing in the Junior class. This is what the largest breed of cat and the smallest breed of cat look like next to each other.

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This weekend’s show is Logan’s first as an Open, which means now he starts earning points towards his Championship, Grand Championship and beyond!

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Pretty exciting!

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At the end of the day, Logan was not named Best in Show by the panel of judges, losing to an International Champion black-spotted Bengal. To put that into perspective, Jake is an International Premier, the alter version of the same level; basically rookie Logan went up against a cat like Jake. But he beat two British Shorthairs to get there (one of which was a lilac International Grand Champion, so a level higher than Jake), so as a representative of the newest breed in FIFe, that is not at all bad.