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 – 31 July: You’re never done learning (Cartoon Tuesday)

I am endlessly amazed at how popular the Warriors series is in Germany and Holland. I mean, it’s way more popular than it is in the UK or the States. If you search Amazon.de, you can find all sorts of Warriors merchandise.

Look at all this! Sticky notes, badges, notebooks, gloves…I have the laptop stickers and I love them. You can’t get any of this on the other Amazons (.com and .uk.co), trust me. I looked.

Because I order my (English) Warriors books from Amazon.de, they send me emails when new Warriors items are released. Usually, they’re translations of the series books in German, but a few weeks ago they sent me an email about an interesting book entitled Warrior Cats – Katzenzeichnen: Von den Grundformen bis zur Clankatze (Warrior Cats – Cat Drawing: From Basic to Clan Cat).

Now, I have been drawing cats for over 50 years, and apparently I’m pretty good at it, since people like the drawings I do. But this book is amazing, even for someone like me. Because you can always learn more drawing techniques. Look at the instruction on drawing paws (well, hands, if you’re doing Abys).

The book goes into great detail about all aspects of cat life, and it even has blank pages for you to practice on. Unfortunately for me, it’s in German, and it’s a translation of the original publication…in Dutch. So there is no English edition of this book yet. Considering that the original books were English, it’s a bit interesting that the Germans and Dutch have taken to the cats so much that they’re coming up with all kinds of original items and books that aren’t available in English!

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Using some of the book’s recommendations, I did this sketch of Izaak. What do you think?

Aby-a-Day – 29 March: “Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport” (Travel Thursday)

Back in 2015, I posted about the EU regulations about microchipping and importing domestic animals. So I thought my non-EU readers would like to see what the pet passports look like. The LunaTicks all have leather passport covers to protect them, made by the same woman who made their harnesses, Arja’s Art, and they are not only gorgeous, but they match each cat’s harness, and the icons on the cover match those on each cat’s silver nametag.

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Here is Alfred’s passport as an example. On the outside, the pet passports look a lot like a passport for humans, but they are slightly larger, and the cardboard is much thinner. There’s also no RIFD chip.

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All the rabies shots are recorded in the passport. Jake’s and Angel’s passports also have their vaccination records and rabies blood titres since they were imported from the States.

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The passports also have a space for an optional photograph of the named cat, so of course I had to make sure that everyone had a proper passport photo. We started with Jacoby. Björn held him up while I took the photos. We used the plain white background of our balcony wall.

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First he was very squirmy. If I wanted a photo of his toes, it would have been awesome.

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Okay, slouching is worse. You look like you have no neck!

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But finally Jake started to get his act together, and we were able to get a decent photo.

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Next it was Angel’s turn.

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Seriously, Angel? Seriously? You only have one eye as it is. Don’t close it!

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But eventually she, too, settled down and we got a decent shot.

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A year later, when Logan and Freddy joined our household and got their passports, it was passport photo time again.

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Even though he was just a kitten, Logan was as “good” at posing as the big Abys were.

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But finally, he too managed to give me a decent pose.

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Surprisingly, Freddy was a natural.

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I actually got a few usable shots, all without having to be held.

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Of course, while I was taking the kittens’ passport photos, Jake came and showed them how to pose properly…Not that he did that when we were actually taking his passport photo!

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These are the four photos we ended up using.

And here they are in the passports themselves.

All the entries are covered in clear self-adhesive plastic to prevent alterations. I put some over the photos and “signatures” as well.

I wasn’t sure about using kitten photos on the passport they’ll use for the rest of their lives…but I guess it will be okay.

I have rubber stamps for Angel’s and Jake’s pawprints, but Freddy and Logan haven’t gotten theirs yet…so these are their actual paws! I guess that makes up for using kitten photos.

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But at the end of the day, this is what matters. A cat and his passport, riding the rails on the way to Finland for his first international show.

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(And in case you’re wondering…yes, they really do check them when you cross a border!)

Aby-a-Day – 19 March: Angel at the vet (Medical Monday)

The first time we took Jacoby and Angel to the vet was in September 2016. We went to introduce ourselves (which turned out to be pointless since we ended up going to the other vet in in town), to get a refill of Angel’s Amitriptyline prescription, and to get both Jake and Angel their EU Passports (about which more in an upcoming post).

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Angel can be a little skittish and fearful at home, but she loves to explore when we’re at the vet.

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She’s so cute when she’s curious.

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Before the passport can be issued, the vet needs to scan her microchip to make certain she is really herself and not an imposter. Microchips are much more important in Europe than they are in the States. Besides being listed as the cat’s version of a social security number, they are also required for pet insurance, and every cat’s microchip is scanned when you check in at a cat show.

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Yep, Angel is Angel!

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Jake is happy to just chill on a chair while Angel explores.

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Angel watches as Björn takes Pyret out of her carrier.

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While the vet and Björn attempt to have Pyret examined, Angel checks out the floor again.

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Abys are so different from other cats at the vet.

Aby-a-Day – September 7: Wood you? (Miniature Monday)

Today’s miniature is a bit different from the ball-jointed dolls. I discovered a German woodcarver on Etsy, Eckart Henzler, who makes wonderful little hand-carved animals from different kinds of wood.

Among his creations, I found a beautiful cat carved from plum wood. The listing said that the cats were made to order, so I had to ask…“Could you carve one of these to possibly look a little like my Abyssinian, Jacoby? Here is a photo of him standing at a cat show…I love the colour of this wood!! It just matches Jake!”

Eckart wrote back, saying, “Yes, the color fits to your cat. Please tell me, what makes Jacoby so special, how does he differ from the cats I carve? Longer legs….?” and so I explained that Abyssinians, have longer legs and necks, a slightly longer tail, and bigger ears, adding that they’re often described as standing on tiptoe. I also sent a few photos of Jake and a link to my Flickr account. He said he’d give it a try, and the next thing I know…

He’s messaged me again with a photo of three wooden cats, along with this note: “I like your cat so much, I made three of them. Now you can choose, which one you prefer.”

I was so impressed! I chose the one in the middle – the tail looks so like Jake!

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And here he is! I keep him in my bathroom, on a hand-carved maple leaf dish I got at ArtBeat.

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The plumwood Jake is actually a decent size. It’s rather larger than you would think from looking at the photos on Etsy.

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It feels nice when you hold it in your hand.

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I have always loved wooden things. I think it comes from my dad taking me camping, and making me little “wood men” from sticks.

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Like this little “Ghost of the Woods” my dad made for me when I was about six.

Björn also likes wooden things, and both he and I like the plumwood Jake so much that we had Eckart make us a bear and a cat for our (eventual) wedding cake, since “Björn” means “Bear” and “Koshka” means “Cat.”

The bear is carved from oak, and the cat is carved from maple, because Björn likes oak trees while I’m partial to maples (it’s a Canadian thing). My engagement ring has oak leaves on it, and we’re thinking the cake should have fondant leaves on it as decoration. And perhaps some real ones as well.

Since we have no idea when my residency permit will be approved, it’s a nice diversion for us to work on the wedding plans to keep our minds off the uncertainty. But the most amazing thing is…Björn got the package just as I was working on this post. Talk about timing!

Abys are Everywhere -Swiss story about litter and cats at a show in Houston

Abys are everywhere! Today, on the Swiss news site 20 Minuten, an article about litter features an Aby cuddling with his human.

Also, Abyfriend Cynthia pointed me to this excellent slide show of “25 cats trying to figure out why they are at the cat show”.

It not only features her Aby, GC RW Absolute Crawdaddy, doing agility…

But it also features this somali, named Kondwani. I’m not sure if it’s just that thing where once you have something, you notice it everywhere, but doesn’t it seem like Abys are getting more facetime in articles and advertisements lately?

Aby-a-Day – January 13: Nous sommes tous Charlie (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last week, something terrible happened, which has affected cartoonists around the world.

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I consider myself a cartoonist. I’ve been drawing cartoons since I could draw. I actually even got in trouble in high school for controversial anti-Reagan editorial cartoons I did for the high school paper that were also published in the local paper on their “Under 20” page. Some people have said that the Charlie Hebdo cartoons were “asking for it.” Others have said that the cartoons were offensive/obscene/profane/bad, as if these had been painters or musicians or some other type of “real” artist who had been attacked, it would have been a bigger deal. But it’s not about WHAT you draw. It’s not about being offensive. It’s not even about liking the cartoons that Charlie Hebdo has been publishing since 1970. It’s about someone deciding that because they don’t like what you drew, you are worthy of killing.

And the way things are, someone could be offended by anything someone else drew.

5 guys who drew cartoons were killed because some other guys with guns didn’t like those cartoons. And that’s not right.

Nous sommes tous Charlie.

à la mémoire de:
Cabu (Jean Cabut)
Charb (Stéphane Charbonnier)
Georges Wolinski
Tignous (Bernard Verlhac)
Philippe Honoré (Honoré)
(ce sont les caricaturistes)
Bernard Maris (“Uncle Bernard”)
Elsa Cayat
Frédéric Boisseau
Michel Reynaud
Mustapha Ourad
Et les policiers:
Frannk Brinsolaro
Ahmed Merabet

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)