Aby-a-Day – 23 Juni 2020: A quick editorial sketch (Cartoon Tuesday)

Chatting with a group of friends yesterday evening, I had a sudden thought that I needed to draw immediately, because I knew it would amuse them. I drew this in almost exactly an hour; I asked for a breed suggestion at 19:33 and shared it with my friends at 20:31. I am not going to explain it here…if you get it, you get it. That’s the nature of editorial cartoons.

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I also exported the drawing stream, because they are so much fun to watch. Remember that this is all one hour, and you can see my idea evolving as I draw it (Click on the image to watch it in Flickr).

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 – 15 Augusti: A quick visit to the cat show

On Sunday, we spent some time at the cat show in Lempäälä (near Tampere) that Russell and Carol, along with my friend Pam, were judging. Because we had to catch the ferry back to Sweden at 16:45, and it was a long drive from the show hall to the ferry terminal, we couldn’t enter Dashiell in the show – it didn’t matter, pointwise, because he’s still a kitten, and exhibitors aren’t allowed to leave until the show’s posted closing hour. But that didn’t mean we couldn’t drop by for a visit.

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It was a very small show, held in a shopping mall (which was actually rather cool). One-day shows in CFA aren’t common, but they happen; however, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show with only three rings!

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My friend Anne set us up with a small pop-up tent and a litter box for Dash. While in Sweden, people mostly use the metal show cages and spectators view the cats on the same side of the cage as the exhibitors, in Finland, people use SturdiShelters and pop-up tents with a clear back, and the spectators view the cats from the back whilst the exhibitiors sit with their cats by the cages’ doors. It feels a bit strange, not really being able to interact with the people coming to see the cats except over the top of your cage.

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Dash has been to shows before, so he knew what to do.

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He was very interested in this one little boy who stopped to see him.

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Dash wanted to make friends with the kid, but it’s hard when you’re behind plastic.

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If it had been a metal cage, Dash would have reaching out to touch the boy.

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I think both kitten and child were equally fascinated with each other. It was adorable.

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We were only able to stay for about an hour and a half (the show, being so small, didn’t start until 11), but it was nice to hang out with Meg and Anne a little bit more. I also managed to get a photo of Anne’s stunning tattoo…isn’t it lovely?

Aby-a-Day – 9 Juni: Sunday at the Cat Show (Cat Show Cinema Sunday)

Today at the cat show was…well, not as exciting as yesterday.

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Lorelai was the first up again, and she had the same judge, Thea Friskovec, that Izaak had yesterday.

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Lorelai charmed her, but ultimately lost the Nomination to a friend’s Cornish Rex.

This is what her judging looked like…so different from CFA!

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Next up was Izaak.

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Like yesterday, since there were three Singapuras entered, he was up for Best in Variety, but today he lost out to IC S*Kustens Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (on the far right). That’s cat shows: one day, you’re top of the world, another day…not so much. You can’t win them all.

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After the BIV, Zak had to compete for the Nomination, against the Burmilla from yesterday and a snow Bengal.

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The competition was stiff…

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But today, Zak lost to the Burmilla. Ultimately, no Singapuras were Nominated to Panel, where yesterday we had two (who both won Best in Show). But that’s okay; with neither cat Nominated, we were able to leave the show early! That’s always a bonus.

Here is a video of Zak being judged. I think I like FIFe’s style better than CFA, to be honest; not only do you get an honest conversation about your cat’s strengths and weaknesses, but you also get a written copy to save in your cat’s show book. Only being judged by one person a day vs. the CFA method of a cat getting several judges’ opinions in a day is…different, and admittedly, a little hard to get used to. But the fact that you get the judges’ notes to keep for posterity is pretty awesome and makes the shift a little easier to handle. Plus, it’s nice having a written record of what a judge thought about your cat.

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 – 21 August – Remembering Taz in Cat Talk

My friend Teresa asked me to do an illustration for the CFA newsletter/magazine Cat Talk. Her exact request was, “I need something for the ‘Social Media Smarts’ column. What I’m thinking is someone coming home from the cat show…cat and rosette in hand. He/she is talking to someone else. I’ll provide the type, but what he’ll be saying is ‘he got 3 best allbreed champions, and 100 likes on Facebook.’ (subject matter is about using FB to bring in gate).”

I am not so confident about drawing humans, but I instantly thought of our recently departed Cousin Taz, and used him as the winner. For the rosette, I used a photo Meg took of her Toybob Tommy’s CFF rosette, which had the same wins Teresa had mentioned. I’m pretty proud of the final result…and Meg loves it.

Aby-a-Day – 8 July: “Judge not, lest ye be judged” (Cat Show Cinema Sunday)

Last Saturday, as I posted, Lorelai made her first show appearance.

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What was interesting, though, was that her half brother Lord was being judged at the same time on the judging table next to ours. The ruddies and the blues were judged separately on Saturday, and together on Sunday.

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It was fun to watch him be judged while Rory was being judged.

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Rory is a cat show natural! She was fearless, playful, and utterly charming.

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The judge, Marie Westerlund, actually breeds Abys (her cattery name is S*Rackarkattens) and she fell in love with Rory.

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In FIFe, the owner displays the cat to the judge, and the judge talks to the owner and explains what she’s looking for and how the cat meets the standard. It’s a bit different from CFA, where of course the judges know who the owners are, but there’s a sort of invisible wall of tacit anonymity. A show judge is not supposed to see or even know what cat is entered in the show. After the cat is judged, it’s okay to hang out with the judge. Also, in CFA, judges dress up. Men wear ties, and women wear nice suits and dresses. In FIFe, the judges seem to wear whatever they want. Men wearing jeans and a polo shirt is not uncommon.

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Marie seemed to examine Rory for ages

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Meanwhile, Rory’s half-brother was still on his judging table.

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Then something odd happened. Rory’s judge went over to talk to Lord’s judge! I hadn’t ever seen that happen before. Not sure what they were talking about, but it was cool to see them close together!

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As you can see, Rory is a natural star. And you can see how smitten Marie was by her.

I also shot a movie of her being judged. As I said, she was on the table a really long time!

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 – 18 January: Jacoby’s CFA big wins

You may recall that in 2016, Jacoby was the 21st Best Cat in Premiership in Region 1 and 8th Best Abyssinian in Premiership for that show season. I even made a silly sketch of his Regional win.

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For his 21st Best Premier in Region 1 (the Northeast), he got this lovely trophy.

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We keep it on the kitchen windowsill.

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He also had his photo printed in the program.

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And he received this certificate. Which…yeah. Besides my name being misspelled…who is Helena?

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I did get a corrected certificate, eventually.

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Back in 2013, I tried like hell to get Jake a breed win. He was 10th Best Abyssinian in Premiership in CFA for most of the spring, and we went to Stamford, CT to solidify his position. Sadly, in the last week, he was displaced and ended up being 11th.

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Three years later, he was 8th Best Abyssinian in Premiership. Eighth. Best. And it was a complete susprise! We weren’t trying, like we were in 2013…but three years later, it happened.

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Jake could not be prouder of his accomplishments. And, even better: Jake went to only two CFA shows last season (2016-2017)…and he was still 10th Best Abyssinian in Premiership! I am so proud of my boy.

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 – 12 May: Show Season Surprise!

Yesterday I got this email from Meg:

Which…OMG! Jacoby is a Top Ten Abyssinian in Premiership for the 2015-16 Show Season! Which means that, last year, along with being the 21st Best Cat in Premiership in the North Atlantic Region (Region 1) among all breeds, he’s also the 8th Best Abyssinian in Premiership throughout the CFA worldwide! It’s also ironic because, three years ago, Meg and I tried to get Jake to hold onto his 10th Best ranking, only to have him lose it the last weekend of the season. He was 11th Best Abyssinian in Premiership for 2012-13…but there’s no ribbon for that.

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Do you think Jake’s newfound fame will go to his head?

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Yeah, right.

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And…goodnight.

Aby-a-Day – 4 May: Wordless Wednesday (2 down, 2 to go…and an amusing ad CFA sent me)

Aby-a-Day – 3 May: Winner, winner, chicken dinner! (Cartoon Tuesday)

1 May is the “new year” for many organisations I’ve been involved with over the years. One is the Society for Creative Anachronism, which is currently celebrating its 50th year. Another is the CFA, which starts its new show season on 1 May.

As a part of CFA’s new year’s festivities, they announce their National and Regional award winners, which include the best of the breeds and the top 25 cats in the Kitten, Championship, Premier and HHP classes. And this year there was a huge surprise: Jacoby is one of the 21st Best Cat in Premiership in the North Atlantic Region!

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This was completely unexpected, as we didn’t even go to that many shows this past year…but the shows we did go to he did pretty well, apparently! And now, he will get to add some more letters to his name; he will now be GP, RW Pellburn Jacoby Stealin’ Home! And even funnier…last year our friend Linda’s Somali, Pippi was 21st Best Cat in Premiership in the North Atlantic Region last year…so they have that in common along with their costume prowess!

Aby-a-Day – November 8: Not a bad weekend at the show…

Just a quick post tonight, as Jacoby and I are exhausted, but…

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At the New Hampshire Feline Fanciers’ CFA show this weekend, Jake finalled in 6 out of 8 rings! This is the best he’s ever done at a show, finals-wise. I’m not sure if it’s his best show points-wise, but there were 35 Premiers entered, so it might have been his best show ever.

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Most of his finals were yesterday: 3rd (Kathy Calhoun), 5th (Don Williams), 8th (Karen Godwin) & 10th (John Collila) Best Allbreed and 9th (Doreann Naslin) Best Specialty. And today he was 3rd Best Specialty in Nancy Dodds’ ring. As you can see, he was beyond thrilled…

Aby-a-Day – June 30: Persians and PKD (Cartoon Tuesday)

A bit more filler, I’m afraid, before you are returned to your regularly scheduled cartoons.

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This was an illustration I did for the most reason issue of CFA’s Cat Talk magazine for an article about Polycystic Kidney Disease in Persians. I know it isn’t Abyssinians…but sometimes it’s interesting to draw a different breed!

Aby-a-Day – May 15: Jacoby and Russell (Friday Flashback)

Russell Webb is one of my favourite judges. Not only is he a lot of fun to watch – especially his finals – but he likes Jacoby.

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In fact, I think that Russell has never not used Jake in a final when he was judging – at least not yet (knock on wood). Even before Jake Granded, Russell named him 9th Best Cat in Premiership.

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Russell also likes Abys, and it’s not unusual for him to choose Jake and another Aby for a final, like he did in 2012 when he had Jake and his cousin Taz in his final at Seacoast. Judges do have some cats they just like, and when they see them, they tend to use them in their finals. Danny the Siamese is one of these cats that a lot of judges like.

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(Of course, him hugging the judge when they come to get him from his cage doesn’t hurt!)

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This was the Mansfield show in 2012.

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At the Seacoast show in 2013, Russell gave him a Best Allbreed Cat in Premiership rosette.

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I was thrilled! Russell has actually placed Jake 1st, 2nd and 3rd at Seacoast shows.

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Sometimes I wonder if Jake remembers Russell.

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I think he does.

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I know he remembers Iris Zinck, and he’s seen Russell so many times I’m sure he knows him.

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This was Boxborough, and Russell placed him Second in his ring (which I believe was an Allbreed ring).

At the first Nemo show, Russell again named Jake his Best Cat in Premiership, this time in a Specialty (shorthairs only) ring.

(These photos were taken by Bille Axell – I love them!)

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Then, last year at Seacoast, we ran into Russell again.

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And, once again, Jake did well in his ring.

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He was Second Best Allbreed Cat in Premiership! He was also Second Best Shorthair Cat in Premiership at the second Nemo show, but I seem not to have gotten any photos of that.

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It was a pretty busy show.

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Which brings us to the most recent Seacoast show. You can tell Jake and Russell are old pals by now.

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Notice Russell’s hands-off presentation.

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I just adore watching Russell describe Jake and Abyssinians. I actually love watching him describe all the breeds.

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I think they’re both superstars!

Aby-a-Day – May 13: Wordless Wednesday (Scenes from a Cat Show)

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Aby-a-Day – May 9: “Impressive” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

Jacoby started showing late in life compared to most show cats. He started showing when he was almost 2, and now he’s 6 years old. At the Seacoast show last weekend, he made four out of ten finals, placing 10th, 8th and 3rd best Allbreed and 5th best in a Specialty Shorthair ring.

Some would say this is impressive. Most show cats retire by the time they're 2 years old.

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However, Jake is nothing compared to a Siamese in the North Atlantic Region. GPD, NW, RW Minghou Native Dancer of Tayohme, a seal-point Siamese neuter, is almost 11 years old, and he is still a regular fixture at cat shows.

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Seen here with his owner, Sandra Hogan (in blue), and his breeder, Pat Muise, Danny has been at least a Regional winner, if not a National winner, in CFA every year he’s been shown. He is the first Siamese to earn the “Grand of Distinction” title.

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When a judge comes to take Danny out of his cage, Danny goes right for the shoulder and hugs the judge as he’s taken out. Here he is with Russell Webb.

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Even though he’s 11, he’s really clear and his body is really light for a Siamese. As Siamese age, they tend to get darker, and their body colour tends to blend with their points. Danny has managed to keep a pale body. He’s also managed to keep his boyish figure all these years.

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(Notice who’s in the background, waiting his turn!)

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At the show last weekend, Danny had a cake in his honour, because he was a national winner for the last CFA show season.

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Like any celebrity, Danny was asked to put his pawprint in the frosting of his cake.

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I think he really enjoyed that.

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It was really cute, too. I don’t know who got that piece of the cake – probably his owner.

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Both his owner and his breeder are really proud of him. And I think his breeder is really happy to be able to see him all the time.

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Danny is an impressive Siamese, and an impressive Grand Premier. Some people think Jake is too old to show…but if an 11 year old Siamese can keep showing – and making finals – why shouldn’t Jake? His colour has only gotten better as he’s aged…although I don’t take him to enough shows to earn a Regional or National CFA title, at the age of 6 he still holds his own in the show ring.

Aby-a-Day – May 8: Jacoby’s first rosettes (Friday Flashback)

At the Seacoast show this past weekend, Jacoby did quite well: He was 10th, 8th, and 3rd Best Allbreed Cat in Premierhip and then he was 5th Best Shorthair Cat in Premiership. Not bad at all, considering he’s 6 years old! I started showing Jacoby in cat shows later in life. His very first show was in February 2011, a couple of months before his second birthday.

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I think it is very cool that Roger Lawrence was the first judge to award a rosette to Jake in a cat show after he collected all his purple ribbons.

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Roger’s retired from judging now, but he was a legendary Aby breeder in his time. He founded Tailsend cattery which was one of Sherry’s inspirations when she started breeding.

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I remember watching Roger when he judged Jake. He greeted Jake with a “Hello, Mr. Aby,” and commented that, even though he has and has bred other cats, he’ll never be without an Aby in his life, and at that time he was living with four of them. He checked Jake over, explaining to the spectators that Abys should be colourful cats with two or three distinct bands of ticking on each hair – and four if possible! He commented on Jake’s clear coat when he looked at his neck, meaning he doesn’t have any bars or necklaces left over from long-ago tabby ancestors. As he put the permanent and the purple ribbon on Jake’s cage, he told him that he “reminded him of his Aby, Gomer.”

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He was a wonderful judge who explained what he was doing and what he was looking for in each breed. He also told us, “back in the day, Premiers were not as good as Champions. You neutered or spayed the subpar cats and showed them as Premiers. But things have changed, and today Premier cats aren’t second-class anymore. Any one of these Premiers today could compete as Champions.”

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He got another set of rosettes from Barbara Sumner later that same day.

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It ended up being one of his best shows, I think – definitely his best show before he Granded. He was best Allbreed Premier and best Shorthair Premier in two rings!

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While we’re talking history, I happened upon something fun: 1997’s Best Abys in Championship. #2 is Jake’s maternal great-great-great grandfather Byblos St. Lawrence of Instincts! In the photo, he looks like he’s outside on a harness and leash so obviously that kind of thing is in Jake’s blood.