Aby-a-Day – 19 Maj 2020: Kiipi and her kitten – Work in progress (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last week, my friend Sanna-Leena posted this awesome photo of Kiipi and her kitten on the Facebook group This IS an airport, please announce your departure: Aeroplane ear posting. I love Kiipi, and I have drawn her before. When I saw this photo, I wanted to draw it.

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I tilted the photo a little, so I could add in their tails. This is my preliminary sketch.

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I decided I wanted each cat on its own layer. This is my second sketch of Kiipi.

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And this is the second sketch of the kitten.

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And here they are together. The next step is ink, and then after that colour and texture. Stay tuned!

Aby-a-Day – 13 Maj 2020: Wordless Wednesday (When you try to use the litterbox at a show and your little sister is being a brat)

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Aby-a-Day – 10 Maj 2020: Remember when we used to go to cat shows..? (Cat Show Cinema Singapura Sunday)

A friend on Facebook posted a photo of her cats today with the caption: “Is this really all we do now? We can’t leave?! When is the next cat show?! We’re tired of sitting home!!!!”

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Dude…I so know that feel.

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Because we weren’t able to go to our favourite show in Örebro this year, we haven’t been to a show since November, when we went with Lorelai and Izaak to Turku. It’s the one thing I really miss since the pandemic started.

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So, I went back in my backlog of photos and found this set of Zak at the Turku show, after our collection of show wand toys fell over.

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He was so cute, playing with the toys. We mainly only ever play with wand toys at shows, so this was a treat.

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I even made a short video of it (click on the image to view it on another tab in Flickr).

Aby-a-Day: 9 Februari 2020: Instead of Örebro, a tale of Finland (Cat Show Sunday) (Part 2)

Sunday greeted us with a chilly, frosty morning. We checked out from the hotel, went to the show hall, and got ready for the second day.

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Our judge for the day was Marina Vinkel from Estonia. She was very thorough in examining Jacoby on her table.

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Koshka and Jake waited for the Nomination…but alas, it was not to be. However, that ultimately worked to our advantage.

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Not having to be on alert for the panels gave us a chance to explore the show hall and the merchants. Koshka was especially excited to see Arja’s Art, the woman who makes the harnesses the cats wear.

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Koshka raves about these harnesses, and was thrilled to discover that Arja also makes passport covers for the EU Pet Passports.

Because we weren’t Nommed, we were able to get permission to leave the show a couple of hours before it ended, as we had to get back to Helsinki, return the car, and make our way to the port to catch our ferry. It was lucky that they let us leave when they did, as it took a bit more time than expected before we were ready to go to the ferry.

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Jake was such a seasoned traveller, he lead the way to our cabin. After setting up our quarters, which was a mirror-image of the cabin we had on the way to Finland, we pretty much repeated what we did on our first trip, with a couple of exceptions.

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This time, we took Jake to the aft sun deck for some pictures and a final look as we departed Helsinki.

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We also took some porthole portraits with Jake in one of the elevator lobbies.

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After our ship exploration, we settled Jake in the cabin with a snack while we hit the buffet for dinner and then visited the duty-free shop, where we bought liquor, cosmetics and candy well below mainland prices. The seas were calmer on the way back.

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We arrived to Stockholm on Monday morning. A bus took us back to the railway station, where we caught the train for Skövde.

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Finally, 6 o’clock in the evening, we were back home. Jake’s first trip abroad as a show cat was over.

Aby-a-Day: 8 Februari 2020: Instead of Örebro, a tale of Finland (Cat Show Saturday) (Part 1)

Note: today and tomorrow’s posts were written by Björn. We were supposed to go to our favourite show in Örebro, but for a constellation of reasons, we had to stay home. Since I had planned to do cat show posts this weekend, I thought I would share Björn’s account of Jacoby’s Big Finland Adventure.

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We left for Stockholm on Thursday, 29 September.

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It was our first time travelling with a cat EU passport!

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Jake made himself comfortable on the train – his first big trip since he moved to Sweden. The train ride took two hours.

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Once in Stockholm, we caught the bus to the ferry port on the eastern outskirts of the city.

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We checked in, and boarded the ferry.

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Jake, of course, made friends as we waited to board.

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While in the queue on the gangplank, we could see the cars waiting to board (it is a ferry, after all). Sweden is known for its fascination with vintage cars, and it’s always fun to see them. There may have been a car show in Helsinki that weekend.

There was a photographer at the gangway, snapping photos of Jake.

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After finding our cabin and setting up the litterbox, we left Jake to enjoy the comforts of the cabin while we explored the ferry.

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The Baltic Sea ferries vary in standard, but the best are like cruise ships, albeit on a smaller scale. There was a mall, several restaurants and bars, and the inevitable gaming areas. The photographer sold prints of the photos they took during boarding, and those with Jake were awesome.

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We stuffed ourselves at the buffet, and feeling content, we went looking for amusements. Of course, Koshka found a slot machine game with an Abyssinian.

Later in the night, high winds made the ship roll, making us walk like we were more intoxicated than we actually were. Jake was happy to see us return…but the rolling ship didn’t seem to faze him at all.

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The seas were calm next morning when we neared our destination, Helsinki, the capital of Finland. We left our cabin, Jake riding in his stroller, and went looking for a cab to take us from the port to the city center.

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As it was Koshka’s first time in Helsinki (and my first time in 15 years), we stored our luggage at the railway station, and did some sight-seeing and shopping. In every shop (more than half a dozen), we made sure that it was OK to bring Jake.

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Not one turned us down; on the contrary, the staff in every shop were charmed by our furry companion, almost forgetting the other customers.

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After a late lunch at a Finnish restaurant, we went to the rental car pickup place.

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As the driver, I quickly realized that getting out of an unfamiliar city at rush hour on a Friday was a challenge. I sent grateful thoughts to the inventor of the GPS navigator, as it made finding our way a thousand times easier. Jake began meowing straightaway, and kept up the song of his people for the 45 kilometers (28 miles) to Siuntio, a small town west of Helsinki which was the location of the show. We found the hotel, the Rantasipi Siuntion Kylpylä, and checked in.

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The sprawling hotel was pretty labyrinthine, but we found our room and installed ourselves. We had dinner in the hotel restaurant, and by the looks of the other guests, most of them were there for the cat show.

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Saturday, 1 October: Jake’s debut as a show cat in Europe. The vet check was pretty early, but we were there in time (again, thanks to the GPS).

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We found the show cage and set it up with curtains, bowls and litterbox.

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We were benched right next to Jake’s good friend Sketsi.

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As it was the 50th anniversary of the first litter of Abyssinians born in Finland, the Aby people had the goal of showing 50 Abys and Somalis, a goal that was surpassed.

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Our friend Anne Kontula was especially invaluable, helping us find our way in the strange world that is a FIFe show. Anne also shows in CFA, and she was just so great at helping Koshka navigating between the two systems. She and her friends and family treated us to snacks, and made us feel very welcome.

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Koshka said that she had no idea what she was doing, apart from going where her friends told her. That said, our first judge, Martti Peltonen, was very impressed with Jake, and said almost immediately that Jake looked like an Instincts cat! Nailed it!

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There were three ruddy neutered males, so Martti got to name a Best in Variety (BIV). Jake ended up being chosen!

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Martti also Nominated Jake for the final! Of course, we didn’t know what, exactly, a NOM was…but we knew it was good.

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Jake was awarded a rosette and a little charm on a purple ribbon as his award.

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Then it was time for the panel. Jake was up against some stiff competition. It was nice to have someone else handle the cats to display them rather than the owners, as it gave us a chance to just watch the proceedings.

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All the Category 4 judges examined each Nominee, including the judge who nominated the cat. Then they vote for their Best In Show. Jake only got one vote (from Martti), so we didn’t win BIS, but we were pretty happy with our first go.

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When the first day was over, we returned to the hotel. After dinner, there wasn’t much in the way of distractions. A bar, a slot machine…

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and the TV in the room…But we knew we had to get up early for the show’s second day, so we went to sleep fairly early.

Aby-a-Day – 12 Januari 2020: International Champion S*Backilandets Mercedes von Ekorntorp (Cat Show Sunday)

Unlike Izaak, Lorelai did not become an International Champion on Saturday at the show in Turku.

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That’s because she was in direct competition for the certificate.

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We saw Thea Friškovec, who loves Zak, and who has seen Rory before on her judging table.

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There was another blue Aby female in Category 7: Ch FI*Redcheetah’s Erin.

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When there are two or more cats in the same category, sex and colour, only one earns the certificate. The other gets an Ex2.

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I am sure it was hard to pick the best cat…they are almost the same age (Rory is four months older), same colour, same level of achievement…

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…It was pretty tense to watch.

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In the end, our friend Jonna and her cat Erin got the certificate. Congratulations!

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But Erin was only entered on Saturday. On Sunday, Rory was the only blue Aby in her category.

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We saw Martienn Tausen, a judge from Iceland.

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He didn’t Nominate her, but that wasn’t important.

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What was important is that she earned her non-Swedish certificate and achieved the title of International Champion. It’s a bit ironic; we started showing Rory earlier than Zak because we had to wait to get his pedigree entered into Sverak…but he earned his title before she did!

Aby-a-Day – 11 Januari 2020: International Champion Joy Minimali*PL (Cat Show Saturday)

We went to a cat show in Turku, Finland, back in November. The main reason we entered this show was so that Lorelai and Izaak could earn their International Champion titles. In order to achieve this, cats must earn three certificates from three different judges in two different countries. We had the three certificates from three different judges locked. We just needed to go to a different country. Turku is a convenient ferry ride, and a place we hadn’t visited yet.

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As is not uncommon, Zak was the only Singapura in the show, so we were pretty certain that he would become an IC.

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His judge for the day, Pia Nyman, loved him. She praised his perfect “reindeer” colouration.

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She also knew Singapuras, which, in FIFe, can be rather hit-or-miss when it comes to judges. But Pia was actually “babysitting” a litter of Singas at home for a Finnish Singa breeder friend.

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Singapuras are almost always the last breed in the ring in Category 3 (unless there are Selkirk Rexes, Sokokes or Snowshoes entered, and honestly, they’re almost rarer than Singas! But because we are last, we usually just hang around for the Nominations, because we’re almost always under consideration. The Champion males were stiff competition. We were up against a Korat, a British Shorthair, an Ocicat, and an Egyptian Mau.

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But you could tell she really liked Zak.

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It was super close and really tense. I am usually the one who’s taking the photos, not holding the cat during the Nomination.

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Pia took close second looks at the Brit and the Oci…

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…and she also revisited the Mau.

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But she kept coming back to Zak.

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Pia had good things to say about all of the cats.

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But, in the end…it was Zak who won the NOM!

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Then it was time for the panel (basically, the FIFe finals), and we had a great steward assigned to handle him.

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It was close…there was a white British Shorthair and a seal Burmese with Zak…Zak did get one vote, but in the end it went to the Burmese.

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That didn’t matter, though. We got what we came for.

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Zak earned his International Champion title.

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And he also earned a really nice NOM medallion. The prize you get for winning a Nomination can really vary between clubs. We have gotten trophies, plaques, banners, and simple rosettes…but medals are by far my favourite, and the Turok medals are seriously the best I have ever seen.

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It seems that they had them custom-made somewhere. They are really heavy and really nicely made (this coming from someone who did metalsmithing and jewellry making in college and coin-making in the SCA). It’s one of the best cat show trophies I’ve ever won.