Aby-a-Day – March 8: “Colours” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

I always give my cats a colour that is all their own. My sealpoint Siamese Harri and Gun-Hee were blue, my redpoint Siamese Sigrid was light blue, my tabbypoint Siamese Patrick was and Jacoby is green, Angel is purple, Kylie is pink and Tessie is red. In honour of the move, they all got brand-new collars from Sally at HiTide Creations. (That little teeny version of Jake’s collar is for a plushie.)

I first discovered Sally back in October 2009 (just after I got Jake) when I went looking for new collars for all the cats. I saw her braided kangaroo leather collars and just fell in love. And in the almost five years we’ve been friends, well…her collars and leashes were incredible then, and she has improved so much since! She’s developed these jazzy knots to use in place of, or with, beads which I love. These are their original collars…you can see that the colours are all pretty much the same, just a little plainer than they are now. Angel’s has changed the most; Sally’s gotten some metallic leathers and the reddish burgundy on her first collar has been turned to gold.


You can see how much tighter her braiding has gotten. Our old leash is on the left, and our new leash is on the right. I absolutely love it.


And she’s started making her own beads!


They’re polymer, not glass, so they should be able to stand up to whatever Jake and I can dish out.


Here is Angel’s new collar. It looks blue in this photo but it’s actually a deep royal purple, with a strand of gold woven though it. The knots are purple and burgundy.


This is closer to the real shade of purple on Angel’s collar.


Kylie’s collar is exactly the same combination of pale pink, bright pink, white and natural as her original collar was.


But the knots on Kylie’s collar add a little sparkle with silver metallic leather.


Tessie’s colour is red, but she’s named after a Red Sox song, and their colours include blue, white and grey on their away uniforms. So, with her signature red, her collar also has royal blue and pewter grey.


Her knots are red and white, like the socks on the team logo.


Last but not least, we have Jake with his new collar and leash.


Doesn’t he look pleased with himself?


Jake’s collar and leash are bright apple green and dark forest green.


But his knots have a little gold, too. He couldn’t be the only one without some metallic leather! I wanted copper, to match Jake’s fur and his awesome Finnish leather harness, but they don’t make copper kangaroo leather yet.


You may have noticed how wonderfully Sally’s collars match their Blanket ID tags. Not to brag, but I actually hooked her up with them because I loved her colourful collars go with their colourful tags…and they’re both based in British Columbia! I mentioned each one to the other and now they’re collaborating! I love the way the internet works sometimes.

Aby-a-Day – September 13: Ring around the collar (Fashion Friday)

I just wanted to give a little shoutout to my friend Sally at Hi Tide Creations.


Sally makes the wonderful leather collars that all our cats wear that you see in all the photos I post.


What I love about these collars is that they are so narrow and light; they don’t really interfere with the cat’s looks or give them “collar fur” dents. They don’t have buckles, just a solid ring, and they slip on and off over the cat’s head. They aren’t breakaway collars, but if a cat gets their collar caught on something (which I’ve only had happen twice in all my years of cat owning) they can get out of it easily.


Each collar is hand-braided from kangaroo leather (Kangaroo leather is lighter and stronger than cow or goat leather. It has 10 times the tensile strength of cowhide and is 50% stronger than goatskin, which means it’s lightweight but very strong) in any combination of four colours you wish. Angel’s is various purples and burgundies.


Tessie’s is red and blue.


And Kylie’s is pink, natural and white.


Jake actually has two sets of collars with their own colour schemes. His everyday collar is a blend of light and dark green…


…while his therapy collar, his leash and his harnesses are the two greens plus turquoise. I think we thought that would be a bit more “medical.”


I really love his therapy leash. It’s long with a swivel in the middle as well as clips at both ends and two extra O-rings. This makes it adjustable; on visits I clip it around my waist so I don’t ever have to worry about dropping his leash. It’s also 100lb tested, so it won’t break. The collars are 100lb test, too.


He also has a little short leash she made, which is basically a handle that attaches to his collar. We use it in the hallway sometimes.

8harness2 8harness1


Sally’s also made Jake a couple of harnesses, too, which I helped design: A figure-8 style harness with a criss-cross back, and



a step-in style harness.


I don’t use the harnesses most of the time because Jake has actually managed to get out of them a few times, but I love the way they look in photos because they’re so minimal the cat looks more “natural” – almost like no harness at all!


Coming home from a therapy visit one evening, it occurred to me how many things I have that Sally made.


Let’s see…grooming noose (being used as a bottle leash here), camera straps (long and short), my ID badge lanyard, Jake’s leash, Jake’s harness, and even my keychain!


Yeah, we love our HiTide Creations around here!


One thing I have always loved about the collars is the way they match their BlanketID tags…which leads me to a bit of very cool news.


Sally is based in Victoria, BC, and Blanket is based in Vancouver…and they are going to start working together on a collar-and-tag combination! All because of a bunch of kitty fashionistas who live 3.000 miles away!

Aby-a-Day – August 17: “Swanky” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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


I got Jacoby this swanky sequined collar at one of the cat shows we went to.


He’s quite proud of it, as you can see.


No, really! He loves it!


Not that Jake needs help posing…


…we also have this swanky cat toy to catch his attention and show off his swanky collar.




Okay, maybe Jake really doesn’t need help posing.


Angel also has a swanky collar like Jake’s, but in her signature purple.


Angel’s not quite as accomplished a poser as Jake is.


Let’s see if the swanky cat toy will help get a nice pose from Angel…





And…there we go! I’d say it works on some Abys!

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.


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).


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


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…

Best, Worst, and “Wish List” Cat Products

In one of the (many) cat-related online communities I follow, someone asked us to answer these three questions:

1. My absolute favourite thing I’ve gotten so far for my cat/s is ____________. (Please include pic and/or link!)

2. One thing I bought for my cat and now wish I hadn’t is ____________.

3. If I could splurge on any pet product, it would be ________________.

What a great question! I thought you might be interested in my answers…

The best thing is my cats’ braided kangaroo leather tag collars, their Blanket ID tags, and their gemstone and silver name/address tags. I like having a collar on my cats; these are light and slip on and off should they get caught on something. The two tags are small, pretty…and useful.


The thing I bought that I wish I hadn’t was the Klaw Kontrol bag. Not only did it not really work on the one cat I needed it for, but she was too strong for it! She actually ripped out the zipper seams! Oh, well, lesson learned.

If I could splurge on anything for our cats, it would be a complete wall-mounted cat shelf and walkway system. I’d settle for a place with a structural interior pillar that I could wrap in sisal rope, but someday I want a catwalk system like the “cat houses” in Japan.

So, how about you?

Aby-a-Day – Day 133 of 365

In my product recommendations yesterday, I forgot to mention the cats’ tag collars I got from HiTideCreations’ Etsy Store.

I also have one of her tab leashes for Jacoby, and it really comes in handy. I like to use it when we’re in the hallway, just hooked onto his collar, as a sort of an extra “handle” to grab if I need to catch him in a hurry. Here’s how it looks attached to his harness:


And here Angel models her tag collar (and her tags and gemstone, also from Etsy sellers):


Aby-a-Day – Day 53 of 365

I have a confession to make: I’m utterly addicted to Etsy. It’s just incredible; any handmade thing you can imagine, from anywhere in the world, all in one place.

So one of my projects has been to build the cats perfect collars and tags. It started with custom kangaroo leather braided tag collars by HitideCreations in British Columbia. These are great for cats because they’re light, thin and they slip on and off over their heads (no buckles). Then, the perfect tags, by two artists: MakeYourDogSmile and PatsDesign. These are 4 different metals, aluminum, brass, copper and silver. The small silver tag is a symbol for each cat; the other three have our phone numbers, their names, and our apartment number in case they get out into the hallway.

Then, a little gemstone from AddADangle, and a bronze hook to hang them all from UnkamenSupplies.

Here’s how they look on the Abys:

Angel has a collar braided from four different purples and an Amethyst dangle. Purple goes so well with her cinnamon fur. Her silver tag is a pair of angel wings.

And here’s Jacoby’s. His collar is green and his stone is a Peridot. His silver tag is a shamrock since he lives in Southie.

Tessie has a red and blue collar with a (real!) Ruby gem and a butterfly on her silver tag (her registered name is Bes Butterfly), and Kylie has a collar in pinks and white with a gorgeous Pink Opal and hearts on her tiny silver tag, in case you were curious 🙂

Gun-Hee’s ongoing collar issues

One of Gun-Hee’s Christmas presents was a new collar. He’d outgrown his old one. Two days ago I had to replace his new collar because he’d bitten it. I put in some extra rivets go decrease its bitability, to no avail.

Note that he has only been wearing this new collar since Christmas…so it hasn’t even lasted one month.

The problem is, as usual with Abyssinians, he’s too smart. All of the cats wear identical collars (Tessie’s is red, Kylie’s pink, and Patrick’s is black) and they all wear three tags (rabies, name & phone number, and decorative). Kylie also has a bell. No other cat has ever thought to try biting their collars. None of them has ever had a problem with their tags, either.

But Gun-Hee has figured it out. The tags make noise. Noise which we and the other cats can hear. Noise which, when we hear it on a countertop, in a closet, or stalking behind us, we know is being made by Gun-Hee. Noise which busts him when he’s trying to do something he shouldn’t.

He knows he can’t bite the tags off. But he can bite the leather. So what he’s trying to do is get his collar off so he can move freely in stealth mode.

It’s partly our fault, too…he’s had collar-free time because, about a month before each cat show, I take it off him so he doesn’t have “collar hair” on his neck. During this time, he’s experienced the benefits of silent running.

I was lucky enough to find his collar on sale for half price at Petco online. So I stocked up on them. Because I think that’s the only way I’m going to be able to keep him in collars.

This is the collar he got in his Christmas stocking:

This was taken on Wednesday. I’d put the rivets in about a week earlier to keep him
from biting it more than he already had. You can see how well they worked.

The inside of the old collar.

This is the new collar. I added six more diamond-shaped rivets,
which increased the metal coverage on the leather 66.6%.

I also riveted the end of the collar so that it wouldn’t stick out and be quite as bitable.
That was Wednesday night. Now, it’s Saturday afternoon. And he’s already managed to bite the new one a few times, despite all the rivets.


Gun-Hee and his Collar

So, before he was born, when we were in Japan, I bought Gun-Hee a collar at Pet City in Tokyo. We bought one for all the cats including my future boy kitten. Of course, he was too small to wear it at first. But after we got home from the last cat show, I put it on him.

That was May 6th. On May 16th (his 8 month birthday) I noticed it was starting to get chewed up. I mean, really chewed up.

That’s after only ten days of wearing it! Ten days!

I have no idea why he decided his new collar needed to be chewed. None of the other cats saw a need to chew on their collars (well, okay, the girls didn’t, and Patrick couldn’t given his whole lack of teeth situation)…But I mean, Japan. Kimono fabric. Not like I can just go down to the shops and get him a new one, you know?

And I figured out why he was chewing it, too. He was trying to chew it off. Because for a few weeks before the cat show, I took his collar off so that his neck wouldn’t have collar-hair. He wears tags on his collar – all the cats do – partially in case they get out, but also because it helps us to keep track of where they are by the sound of their tags. So guess who’s decided he doesn’t like making noise? Without his collar, he can sneak up on the other cats, and he can get into more trouble before we catch him at it.

I know that’s what he’s doing too, because when he gets tired of wearing his harness, he chews at the buckle. Not the other side, only the side where the buckle is, because he knows that’s how we put it on and take it off.

So I got him a new collar on Wednesday. Leather with little diamond studs. I think he looks really cute in it.

But now, here’s the thing: I noticed yesterday that he has already started chewing the new collar!

Sigh. So I took it to my house, got out my tool box, and put some rivets in the collar where he’d been chewing it.

I also trimmed the end…because he’d been chewing that as well.

As a friend said when I told her the story, “You weren’t kidding when you called him the Kitten of Mass Destruction!”