Abys are Everywhere – Player’s Cigarettes cat cards

My friend Marsha posted a photo of a reproduction cigarette card featuring an Abyssinian the other day on Facebook. I actually managed to find an image of it in the digital collection of the New York Public Library!

Cigarette cards were the precursor to collectible cards in bubble gum packets, and date back the 1890s, when cigarettes were wrapped in paper packets instead of boxes. Manufacturers began inserting pieces of card to protect the contents, quickly realising that these would be useful for advertising their products. Soon this evolved into sets of cards featuring various things of interest, in the hopes that smokers would want to “collect them all” and continue to buy that brand rather than another.

Usually, they were marketed to men, and so featured sports players, pretty actresses, trains and ships…but there were some animal-themed sets as well, including a 24-card set of different British breeds of cats printed in 1936 by Player’s Cigarettes.

The originals are not dated, but these were reproduced in both 1986 (with blue ink and the Imperial Tobacco Ltd. logo on the corners)…

…and in 1997 (this time with red ink). Therefore they are not hard at all to find, especially from UK sellers on eBay. I got this one for about 80kr (less than $10 USD) including shipping.

Aby-a-Day – April 3: Ready for Winter (Fashion Friday)

I thought Angel needed a more feminine coat, so I went looking on eBay and I found this purple and white puffy parka for only $9.99. The seller was in Rhode Island, too…it’s like it was meant to be!

It wasn’t completely perfect, though. The coat closed with a strip of velcro, and it was rather warn out. It wouldn’t stay all the way closed when Angel moved – and an open coat won’t keep anyone warm.


So, I decided to fix it up. My plan? Replace the velcro with a zipper. There was just one catch, though…I’ve never sewn a zipper in my life. I briefly considered taking it to my tailor and just letting them deal with it – they’re aces at zippers – but then my do-it-yourself nature came out and I said to myself, “I can do this.” So I looked up “how to sew a zipper” on Google.


I read the instructions carefully. And then I completely disregarded them because I couldn’t figure out which of the spare sewing machine feet I have was the zipper foot. I also got the wrong kind of zipper, because I couldn’t find the right kind in the right size and the right colour for the right price. You see, there are two kinds of zippers: open zippers, which are the kind that open up on the bottom, the kind you usually use on jackets; and then there are closed zippers, which you use on things like pants and skirts and bags. The only 7″ purple zipper I could find was the closed kind. But who’s really going to see it, right? It’s just a cat coat, and that part will be down by her belly anyway.


I pretty much made a hash of the sewing. I basically ignored all the zipper sewing-in rules and just sewed the damn thing on. Twice. And then reinforced it with zig-zag stitches. It works, though, and that’s what matters.


I found some white braid frog closures on Etsy. I really wanted little coat toggles, but I couldn’t find any that were the right size and colour. Their sole purpose is to cover up my crappy zipper sewing, but they also help keep the coat closed and they nicely balance out the white on the back of the coat. All in all, if you don’t look too closely, it looks really nice. (Don’t look too closely at this photo; you can totally see the end of the wrong type of zipper hanging out at the bottom.)


It’s warm, and it looks amazing on her. That’s what matters.


And she loves it! Look at her. She is fierce! Apparently Jacoby isn’t the only clotheshorse in the family.


Oh. Well. Speak of the devil…look who’s here!


Angel was less than thrilled at Jake’s photobombing.


Can you hear her exasperated sigh through your computer screen?


“Hey, Angel. Whatcha doin’? Nice coat!”


“Oh! Mom, are you taking pictures? Awesome! I’m ready!”


“How’s this? Is this good?”                                 (*sigh*)


“Or is this my better side?”                                (“Seriously?”)


“Whatever, I’m here now, so go ahead and shoot.”              (“Oy…”)


“Hate to break it to you, Jake…this is MY photoshoot. Not yours. Mine.”


“Really? Hmph. Just because you have a new coat? I have lots of coats.”


“What. Ever. Go ahead then. Don’t mind me…Obviously you aren’t, anyway…”


“My eye. I am rolling it.”

More Embroidered Abys (and other kitties, too)!

You may remember that last fall I posted about my friend Lee’s marvelous cat embroidery. Well, she’s just gotten some new Abyssinian patterns and has some wonderful new items in her inventory.

Like this wonderful memorial pillow! They come in many colours and they’re wonderful – I have a pair on our sofa already (and now I have three).

She’s also got a range of embroidered shirts, towels, pot holders and tote bags available in both her online store and eBay. Check them out – they are really wonderful.


Remember, I have her embroidery on my therapy shirts…now, we just have to get back to visiting…

Aby-a-Day – February 12: Lucky find

I have had this little pewter cat figurine since the 1980’s.


Somehow, despite moving several times (to several different cities in three states and one province), I’ve managed not to lose it.


I’ve always thought that it looked like an Abyssinian. I don’t know why I looked at it and thought “Aby” rather than any other sort of cat, but I always have. Maybe it’s the way the fur is so detailed; it does remind me of an Aby’s ticking.


You may remember seeing it before in this post from last October.


It has no markings on it at all. I just know I got it in the 80’s because that’s when I was first interested in Abys, and it’s also when I was collecting little pewter figurines. This is one of the only ones I can still find.


Last week I happened to be looking for something on eBay and I came across a listing for a pewter Abyssinian figurine.



This figure was on a base with “Abyssinian” stamped on it. There were also stampings on the base showing a manufacturer, a copyright, and a year – 1984.


The cat here is playing with a little ball of yarn – but the cat is very familiar!


Same pose, same ticking…


I was so psyched! After 30 years…I’m finally sure that my little pewter cat really is an Abyssinian!





You may have noticed that I had a little Abyssinian assistance while taking photos for this post.


Jacoby was almost as excited as I was about the little pewter Aby.


Although I suspect it was for an entirely different reason. He is such a helpful boy!

Abys are Everywhere – Hello Aby on eBay

Don’t ask me how, but I happened to find this little Japanese treasure on eBay: 2003 Hello Kitty Cat Collection Abyssinian plush doll!

Yes, you read that right. It’s Hello Kitty dressed up as an Abyssinian.

Seriously. Hello Kitty. Dressed as an Abyssinian.

She comes in several other breeds, too. With a little help from Google, it looks like there’s a Scottish Fold (スコティッシュフォールド), American Shorthair (アメリカンショートヘア), Russian Blue (purple?) (ロシアンブルー), Bengal (ベンガル), Bombay (ボンベイ), Siamese (シャム), and a Himalayan (ヒマラヤ) on there. I’m not sure what the tabby and white one is meant to be, but 日本 I think means Japan, so it may just be a “regular cat.” This does align with Japan’s favourite cat breeds, more or less.

And I’m not 100% certain, but I think this one (second from the left on the top) just might be a Somali…ソマリ is Somali according to Google Translate, and I think I see some of those characters there…anyone out there read Japanese?

And yes, this is indeed meant to be an Aby. It says “アビシニアン” on the box, and that’s the Katekana for Abyssinian. That one I know!

*Sigh* I would absolutely love to add this to my Aby collection…but at $80 USD (plus $35 for shipping), I’m going to have to content myself with the photos and the knowledge that it exists.

Other People’s Abys – Abys on eBay?

Okay, prepare to lose your temper…I know I kind of did when I saw this…

I know what you’re thinking: “How can such adorable Aby kittens be rage-worthy?” Well…let me show you the rest of the story:

These kittens are for sale on eBay Classifieds! And the ad says they’re “almost ready to go” but they’re only four weeks old according to the ad! Aby kittens generally shouldn’t leave their mothers til they’re around three months old.

On the one hand…cute Abys for sale in Staten Island, but on the other hand…eBay? Really? That just seems like such an inappropriate venue for selling kittens in general, let alone Abyssinian kittens!


Aby-a-Day – August 30: Abys from the past (Friday Flashback)

eBay can be a marvelous resource.

You can find some marvelous old photos of Abyssinians, like this collection of kittens from the late 1960s or early 1970s. I believe this came from a newspaper archive.

I love this next set. These are from a newspaper archive, and they’re from a story on a CFA cat show in 1968.

I showed them to Meg, and she recognised this judge as Jane Martinke. For some reason, you don’t seem to see a lot of photos of Abys being judged.

And then I managed to score this wonderful collection of 20 photos from one seller.

mayday5 mayday7
mayday8 mayday6

They seem to start in 1974, when, according to the backs of the photos, this ruddy girl was 4 months old. The most recent photos are dated 1980.


She was a cute kitten.


Her name was Wohl-Rabe’s Mayday Khamsin. When I saw her cattery name, bells went off. Wohl-Rabe is one of those names that you see in Aby pedigrees! The Wohlrabes started breeding Abys in the late 1950’s and continued through the 1970’s. If you search for “Wohl-Rabe” and “Abyssinian,” you’ll find all sorts of names and photos of historical Abys.


Jacoby has a few Wohl-Rabe cats in his pedigree. I couldn’t find Miss Mayday on ERoS or AbyWorld (she was probably a spayed pet), so I don’t know if she and Jake are specifically related…but there’s a connection.


Some of the photos of Mayday are simply stunning.


It’s interesting the way the photos span her lifetime.


In just 20 random photographs, you watch Mayday grow from a kitten into a mature cat.




It’s interesting to see how the standard has changed since the 70’s.




You see it more in all the photos of Mayday in a way you don’t in just a couple of random old photos in a book or on the internet.



I think it’s because, looking at the collection, you kind of get to know her.


In some later shots, she’s on the same chair she was on when she was a kitten, which is a nice bit of continuity


Kind of makes you wonder, though, what kind of fame Mayday might have found if the internet had existed back then!


She was certainly a very photogenic little girl!