Aby-a-Day – 28 Januari: Izaak’s birthday present (Thursday Things)

Izaak turned three years old on Tuesday, and I got him a little black chirpy bird made by the same company that made the favourite, beloved chirpy mouse he got for his first birthday.

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He knew what it was immediately and wanted to play with it immediately, even before we pulled out the little plastic battery thingy.

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And once it started making noises…look out!

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Usually, Zak prefers light-coloured toys, but he really liked this little black woodpecker.

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It picked it up and carried it off. He loves to carry his mousies and birdies.

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Happy third birthday, little man!

Aby-a-Day – 27 December 2020: Welcome to the rat race (Cinema Sunday)

We got the cats a remote-controlled rat toy for Christmas. We thought it would be a lot of fun for them.

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It…didn’t go quite as planned.

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I’m not sure if it was the motor noises or the crazy, self-righting wheels, but they seemed a little intimidated by the thing.

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So, Björn got the idea of putting a bit of ham on the back of the rat. Well, that got Alfred’s attention.

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And then the ham fell off.

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And…then Freddy ate the ham. So much for that idea.

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So we stopped the rat to see what they would do when it wasn’t moving.

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Dashiell grabbed it and started dragging it off.

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He was growling as he pulled it along!

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I don’t think any of us saw that coming.

Here’s the video of the whole encounter. I sped it up a little bit, so you may not be able to hear Dash growling.

Aby-a-Day – 26 December 2020: Self-amusing cat toy (Silly Saturday)

My friend (and Dashiell’s breeder) sent us some Christmas gifts. Among them was a simple wand toy with holographic tinsel.

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I put it in a pencil cup. Lorelai really liked it.

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Errr…maybe she liked it a little too much. But she’s proof that wand toys don’t need to have a human on the other end to be fun to play with.

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As for the question on everyone’s mind…I still can’t tell if Rory is pregnant. Her nipples seem to say yes, but he isn’t showing anything yet. I am going to weigh her this weekend, so maybe that will give us a clue.

Aby-a-Day – 15 Oktober 2020: Airing Izaak’s dirty laundry (Thursday Things)

As I have posted before, Izaak loves IKEA mousies.

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We went to a cat show with Lorelai nine days after we got him, and he already displayed his love for mousies by packing one for me in our suitcase.

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But what happens when the mousies, especially the white ones, get dirty?

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Well…I wash them, and then I put them in the dryer. Here you have some of Zak’s freshly laundered mousies.

Aby-a-Day – 9 April 2020: Good day, sunshine (Thursday Things)

Europe changed to Summer Time last Sunday, and that combined with a few really sunny days has given the cats some great sun puddles.

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The other day, Lorelai was luxuriating in a sunbeam on the living room rug.

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Look at that face..!

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I swear she’s smiling.

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And then, suddenly…she started playing with a goat hair catnip toy.

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This was interesting because Rory doesn’t really play with toys. This is one of Alfred’s favourites. I got it at a cat show and it was called “Stinky Goat.” I think they steeped it in valerian root, because it is really stinky.

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In a good way.

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I swear though, if I hadn’t seen her and just saw the photos, I would have thought this was Izaak!

Aby-a-Day – 21 Juli: Singapura Stubborn (Singapura Cinema Sunday)

The other day, Izaak found a stick toy in Kalle’s room. It was a fuzzy green ball with a bell and a leather “tail” attached to an elastic cord, with the stick stuck in a crate.

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He really wanted to play with that toy, but I was in the middle of doing laundry, so I didn’t move the stick for him. But that wasn’t really what he wanted; he just wanted to play with the soft toy on its own, not as a stick toy.

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Singapuras are very…focused little cats. When they want something, they don’t give up easily.

You can watch Zak’s determination in this video…it went on a lot longer than just this, though. There’s stubborn…and then there’s Singapura stubborn!

Aby-a-Day – 13 Juli: Getting grabbed by a pussy (Silly Singapura Saturday)

Yesterday, I showed you the cat toys I found in London to bring back for the cats.

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But what did the cats think of them?

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I got our resident soft toy expert, Izaak, to examine them. First I gave him the Donald.

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Zak really liked “killing” this toy…even before I had a chance to take it off the cardboard!

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So what did he think of Donald when I took him off the card?

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Yep, still good.

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Putin was also a hit. Not as much as Donald, but still worthy of a solid kicking.

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The Catmium credit card and the Catberry were…okay. Zak liked the card’s rattle.

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But which was the “best” toy?

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ALL of them, apparently! Although I think Zak’s favourite is Donald. The hair probably reminds him of his mousies.

Aby-a-Day – 12 Juli: Cat toys trump all (Fashion Friday)

In Kensington High Street, I discovered a brilliant card shop called Scribbler. But not only did they have cards (of which I purchased many), but they also had cat toys. I was not expecting that.

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And these weren’t just any cat toys…these were none other than the leader of the flea world, Donald Trump cat toys.

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Well of course I had to. In case you were wondering, the UK really dislikes Trump – the rumours are true. He’s the only non-UK political figure to be made into a cat toy. That’s saying something.

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It was our last full day in London, and it occurred to me that we hadn’t gotten any souvenirs for the cats. So, I Googled “best cat shop London” and found Pet London. It’s not a big, fancy store, but it is awesome and a definite must-see on a trip to London if you need souvenirs for the kitties, especially since most of the shops I found catered more to the canine crowd.

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It’s definitely a hidden gem of a shop. It’s on the top floor of a rather ordinary office building in Marleybone. We almost didn’t see it.

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You ring the buzzer to be let in. There’s a tiny elevator (Björn and I were very cozy) and, of course, stairs.

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But it is so worth it! They had an amazing collection of cat items – including kitty clothing!

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A lot of their items were their own designs, too. They even have a plushie of their feline mascot (I told them that if they ever mass-produced them to save me one).

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That’s not all they had…they had a different Trump toy, this time for dogs.

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And they also had a catnip Vlad Putin to go with that catnip Trump I bought earlier!

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Shirtless, of course…complete with cowboy boots. Of course I had to buy it. Oh, yeah.

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And nifty story, the catnip Putin and Trumpy chew toy are from a company based in Vermont.

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I also got this Catnium credit card…

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…and a Catberry, both with their signature kitty on them.

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Both of them have catnip inside of them. The credit card rattles, and the Catberry has feathers on its antenna.

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But, as we’ve seen before, cat toys that appeal to humans don’t always appeal to their target audience. So, did the cats enjoy their British gifts? To be continued…

Aby-a-Day – 23 Juni: “Have you ever held a snake? They are so strong. You can see why there are so many myths about them: they are unlike any other creature” (Silly Singapura Cinema Sunday)

You may recall a few months ago, I had bought some catnip snakes on Etsy. I gave one to “everybody,” which Izaak promptly claimed, and then put one away for Jacoby’s birthday…which never happened.

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The other day, whilst tidying up my clothes cupboard, I happened to find Jake’s green birthday snake. I had forgotten about it.

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So, I called Zak to come and play with it.

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He was all over that action.

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Lorelai wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

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Zak was not about to share his new toy.

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One of Zak’s little quirks is, he loves to roll around on the entryway rugs. I have no idea why, but he does it almost every day…I just haven’t captured it on camera yet.

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Apparently, rolling about on the rug is much improved with a catnip snake.

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He really likes this snake!

When I posted about the first snake, I lamented not catching it on video. So this time, I made sure to sort that. Here’s Zak in action with Jake’s snake.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Maj: Tacoby Friday (Friday Fashion Flashback)

In the States, Taco Tuesday is a thing. But here in Sweden, it’s Taco Friday.

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Because of Jacoby’s namesake, tacos always remind me of Jake.

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When he was a kitten, I had to get him some catnip taco toys.

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He loved those things! I wish I knew whatever happened to them. These photos were taken just a couple weeks after he joined our family.

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He even had a little taco charm that he used to wear on his collar with his tag. You can see it in this photo.

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A few years later, I found Jake a taco costume.

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Which he wore with his usual aplomb. Look at him! It might as well be a silk tuxedo the way he’s modelling it!

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Jake was always so chill when it came to wearing his outfits. People always used to ask me how I got him to wear his costumes. I would always kind of shrug and say, “I just ask him to, and he does it, because we’re partners.”

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Damn. Now I really miss Jake…and I am dying for some tacos!

Aby-a-Day – 18 Mars: Finally, a fun gym! (Movie Monday)

You may have noticed, in the background of yesterday’s post, a pretty cool looking kitty gym. We won it in a raffle at a cat show last summer, but we had other cat toys set up in the living room, so I’ve only just set it up.

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Even though it seems more like a toy for kittens, everyone but Jacoby has played with it. I actually caught Angel examining the tunnel this morning (sadly, I couldn’t grab a camera without her fleeing)!

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The gym came as a set, with the actual gym and a smaller-than-usual crinkly tunnel. Here is Izaak adorably posing inside the tunnel.

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The tunnel is fun…

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…but the kitty gym is funner!

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Zak was having so much fun with the gym…

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…he didn’t even notice that Lorelai was watching him.

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At first, she seemed a little perplexed at Zak’s fascination with the gym.

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But eventually Rory became almost mesmerised waatching Zak playing with the kitty gym.

Here is a short movie so you can see what fascinated her so much.

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 – 17 Februari: “A cat bitten once by a snake dreads even rope” (Silly Singapura Sunday)

About a month ago, Kate over at Hauspanther made a post about Patti Haskins’ amazing catnip snakes.

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Well, they did look pretty awesome, and since both Jacoby and Alfred like to lick and roll on catnip toys, so, even though they were a bit expensive (especially considering the postage)…but they truly did look awesome, so I got one for Freddy and one for Jake. The snakes arrived after Freddy’s birthday, so I gave one snake to everybody whilst holding one back for Jake’s birthday in April.

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I took the one out and gave it – I thought – to Jake and Freddy to go nuts on.

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I was…surprised, to say the least.

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Contrary to any of my expectations, Izaak was the one to attack and dominate the catnip snake.

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Zak has never (before) shown any interest in catnip the way Jake and Freddy do.

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I was amazed at how fiercely Zak attacked the catnip snake.

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In retrospect, I guess I should have made a video of Zak and the snake. But what’s even stranger is, since that first day, he has entirely ignored the snake in favour of his mousies. What a funny little cat!

Aby-a-Day – 9 February: Playing with Izaak (Singapura Saturday)

Whilst Emma was busy playing with Lorelai, Björn and Izaak played together with the Ferocious Friends mousie on a stick. It’s very well made and sturdy enough to play with outside.

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Zak just loves mousies of any sort, as you know.

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This mousie is no exception.

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I often wonder what Zak would do if he ever saw a real mouse.

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Look how intent he is on his prey!

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…uh, Zak..?

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…Where are you going…? The mousie is back there…

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Oh. Leaves.

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Okay, well, I guess those are fun, too.

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I think Zak had almost as much fun playing with the leaves as he did with the mousie on a stick!

Aby-a-Day – 7 Februari: The possible inspiration of Emma’s drawing (Thursday Things)

Emma’s birthday is at the end of July, and she came to celebrate with us and the cats. As you saw yesterday, she also fell in love with Lorelai (and The Lego Movie).

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Björn always makes her a cake when she comes for her birthday, but this year she wanted to decorate it herself. She was pretty proud of her handiwork.

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Björn loves it when Emma comes to visit.

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You don’t need a DNA test to tell that she is his daughter!

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Emma loves coming to see her dad, and Kalle, and me…but we come in second to her excitement at getting to see the cats! She loves Jacoby, and Angel and Alfred…but I think she really fell in love with Rory. It’s no wonder, really…they have a lot in common, personality-wise.

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Emma and Rory had a lot of fun with the stick toy.

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She also played with both Izaak and Rory on the rug beating rack.

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Of course, Emma loved Zak, too…little girls especially seem to love that little guy.

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He seemed to like her, too. He followed her around outside the same way he follows me. It was so cute.

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Like I said on Tuesday when I posted Emma’s cartoon, the cat she drew could be either Rory or Zak, right down to the curly tail.

Aby-a-Day – 23 October: “I’m done packing!” (Cartoon Tuesday)

Remember when I posted this sketch? Well, my friend Teresa aksed me for a drawing for an upcoming issue of Cat Talk: “The theme for October is “Homecoming”…as in how to place cats, rehoming cats & those issues, etc…What I’m thinking is something with a cat moving to a new home.”

I remembered the unfinished sketch and sent it to her, asking if it would fit. She did, and so I finished it. I did the outlines in Procreate, and then the colouring and other details in Photoshop. I wish I could remember the original dialogue that I had in mind…but this works.

Aby-a-Day – 15 July: Playtime for kitties! (Cinema Sunday)

It has been crazy hot here in Sweden this summer – like, Boston summer hot. We just aren’t used to this here; in Sweden, not only do most places not have air conditioning, but they don’t even have an air circulation system. It’s hotter indoors than outdoors during the heat of the day. So, we took Jacoby, Alfred, Lorelai and Izaak outside the first weekend Zak was with us. We took our Ferocious Friends cat toy with us (we met them at the Somerville CopyCat Festival five years ago). It’s really a great toy to take outside . it’s very sturdy and durable…and the cats love it!

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As you can see by Rory’s stalk-and-pounce.

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Freddy, too, was unable to resist its siren’s call.

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At one point, almost all the cats were playing with the toy…everyone except Jake.

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But really, it was mainly Zak and Rory…take a look at the video to watch them play with it.

Aby-a-Day – 17 January: Wordless Wednesday (Jake and his cat toy)

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Aby-a-Day – November 5: Ellie and her Feather

At the NEMO show, Jacoby and I had the delightful luck to be benched next to Betty Bridges and her two lovely ruddy Premiership girls.

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This little girl is Premier Partomor Ellie of Santgria.

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She’s actually five years old, showing how Abys remain playful and kittenlike well into adulthood.

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And what is Ellie so interested in?

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Why, this enormous macaw feather!

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It’s probably longer than she is, but she attacks it fearlessly.

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And endlessly!

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Finally, it dawned on me to stop taking stills and shoot some video of her. Isn’t she adorable?

Aby-a-Day – October 22: Nip Kicker

At the NEMO show, my friend Donna was actually vending. She makes and sells all sorts of awesome stuff: jewelry, scarves, jackets…and cat toys.

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She brought Jacoby a handmade kicker stick stuffed with homegrown catnip.

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And our Jakey loooooves catnip!

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He was instantly intrigued.

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He started licking it. That’s when you know he really likes it.

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It started to try to escape, so Jake had to show it who was boss and hold it down with his paw.

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Oh, yeah…that’s good nip, all right!