Aby-a-Day – 10 July: The Girl with the Aby and Singa Tattoo (Cartoon Tuesday)

You might recall a few weeks ago I was about to go in and get a magpie tattoo on my arm and plan my next tattoo with Linus, my new tattoo artist here in Slövde. Linus is amazing, and tomorrow I am going to get it coloured in. I can’t wait! Since the 21st, I’ve had a half-done, just black lines and shading. It’s going to be amazing to finally have it finished.

In the meantime, I have worked up two better-coloured versions of my original sketch. The one above was coloured in on my iPad Pro using pencil and an incredible app called Art Set which works well…except it hasn’t got layers. So I did more colouring using Photoshop…and the result is above.

Then I thought my rough-sketched maple leaves, pussy willows and cherry blossoms were kind of…lazy. So I found some Photoshop brushes and line art and created a better background. At least I have something to show Linus tomorrow during my appointment.

Aby-a-Day – 29 June: Mourning anniversary (Friday Flashback)

Yesterday, 28 June, was the 10th anniversary of Gun-Hee’s death. He succumbed to FIP at the age of 1 year, 9 months, 1 week and 5 days. He had such a short life, but he made a huge impact on my life, and he is the reason that this blog exists.

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Sherry took this photo of Gun-Hee and his littermates. It’s one of my favourite photos.

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This was the only litter that Pellburn Scarface Cat Pacino and Marica’s Bright Amber of Pellburn had together. Scar is, of course, Jacoby’s father as well. Amber was actually imported from Denmark and had Finnish, German, Norwegian and Australian cats in her pedigree. I made this image of them together in the style of those cheesy wedding photos set against fake backgrounds.

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It was love at first sight when I met him. He was named after the title character in the Korean serial “First Love of a Royal Prince” because we were adding him to a household with two female cats and he would be spoiled rotten, much like Choi Gun-Hee in the series. I loved that character, and the name Pellburn Prince Gun-Hee was such an awesome name…so that’s why I gave him a Korean name.

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He was there when I got engaged.

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But he still only had one birthday.

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In his short life, he did everything Jake did. If I had known about cat strollers back then, he would have been Strollercat.

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He was a part of my life for such a short time…but he has affected my life for over 12 years. And I still think of him every day.

Aby-a-Day – 19 June: Tattoo you (Cartoon Tuesday)

I have wanted to get a tattoo to commemorate Gun-Hee for years, but I never came up with a design. And then I got Logan, and he also died because of FIP. So my tattoo idea changed. It needed to include both Gun-Hee and Logan. So I came up with the above sketch. I am actually getting a tattoo on Thursday by Linus at Magic Man Tattoo here in Skövde…not cats, but magpies. I have always loved magpies, and I had one on my SCA arms (sable, on a maple leaf argent, a magpie displayed gules, marked and breasted argent (or, in other words, a black shield with a white maple leaf with a red magpie on it).

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It looks like this…this is an enamel piece I made in university, sometime around 1988. But I digress. When I go in for my magpie tattoo, I want to talk to Linus about my next tattoo…the one I have wanted since Gun-Hee died.

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This is my first colourised version of the sketch; I want to make a second version before I see Linus, but I’m not sure if I’ll have time to do it before Thursday. I can’t decide about the banner; I want to have something about FIP, but I don’t know if I like the location of the banner no matter where I put it. I want to have it done on it on my right calf. I am really pleased with the way Logan’s profile turned out, and Gun-Hee looks like Jacoby…but still looks like himself (it’s hard to explain). I can’t wait to hear what Linus says about it!

Aby-a-Day – 4 May: “Oy with the poodles already”

You may remember my post last Thursday, I mentioned that, before we even knew Logan was sick, we had arranged to get another Aby kitten. What happened was, at the Scandinavian Winners show, I was across the aisle from an Aby breeder from Uppsala, and she had a very cute sign on top of her cage saying she had kittens available. So I took one of her little slips of paper, which said that not only did she have kittens…but they were blue kittens!

I showed the paper to Björn, and unlike most normal, sane husbands, he did NOT say, “Are you freaking kidding me? Another cat!? No more cats without a divorce!” but instead said, “Are they show quality? And…maybe a girl kitten? She could be a show friend for Logan, and I could show her while you show Logan…”

So yeah. That happened. And then we found out Logan was sick…but tomorrow we are collecting Lorelai (Rory for short).

Now, everybody say it with me, “FIP is NOT contagious“…but I still want to be as careful as possible. So I’ve been cleaning the house, cat beds, toys, everything with Virkon. If you aren’t familiar with this miracle potion, you should be. It has no smell. You can spray it, dip things into it, mist it over the population (for example, in chicken coops). You can put it in a steam floor cleaner. You can use it as a pre-wash in the laundry. You can even use it as a shampoo on animals and livestock! So I have gotten the place as clean as I can so at least I know I did everything I possibly could.

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I also scrubbed and sanitised all the litter boxes and Litter Lockers and put in all fresh litter (That’s them all piled up outside the bathroom, where I hosed them down in our tub using the shower massage). Since moving to Sweden, we’ve gone to Pee Wee pine pellet litter (and the special boxes that go with it) in five of our six boxes. The other box contains Majstor a clumping, corn-based litter. When we got rid of clay for once and for all, Pyret refused to use the pellets, so this was a compromise she accepted. After she died, at least one cat was still using it, so we kept it on, and now I guess we’ll just keep on using at least one box of it just in case.

Both of them are brilliant, though: light, inexpensive, virtually dust-free, and almost odourless!

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Here are all the shiny, clean boxes back in their places and waiting for fresh, unsullied litter.

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And here they are all filled up!

Another thing I like to do when adding a new family member is to bathe the newcomer, not only to reduce introduction of any germs unfamiliar to our household from the kitten’s home, but to make the newcomer smell less different.. But this time around, I thought not of bathing just Rory…but of bathing the resident cats here as well. Afterall, germs, and smells, can go both ways. Jacoby, Alfred and Logan all got baths shortly after they came home, and so shall Rory when she comes home tomorrow. Besides, Jake, Freddy and Angel haven’t had baths for a while, so they were due.

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So here.

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Enjoy some photos of wet pussies.

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(Not exactly sure what was going on here…)

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Of course, Abys never look wet for very long.

Aby-a-Day – 22 April: The Watch that Ends the Night

Alfred was so lonely after Logan went to the Djursjukhuset in Jönköping.

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I got a call from the vet in Jönköping on Friday the 13th, of all days, that Logan was going to die. He had a surgical biopsy of his mesenteric lymph nodes. In his belly, they found gelled fluid indicative of FIP. After Pyret, and the way all the cats paid their respects to her, I knew I couldn’t let Logan die without saying good-bye to his brother from another mother.

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So I bundled Freddy up and took him with me to Jönköping to say good-bye to our Logan.

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We had to wait in the cats-only waiting area first, where there were lots of certificates announcing how cat-friendly the hospital is.

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They also had this awesome poster showing Cats of the World. The Abys were much better than on the last poster I saw in a vet’s office…and there is a Singapura on it, too!

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Eventually, we were taken to a room. Not a hospital room, but an office-type room, with computers and a comfy leather sofa.

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The vet tech brought Logan in, and Freddy was right there to greet him.

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Then I cradled my baby and cried over him.

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Being on his back was uncomfortable for him, so I held him turned over. I wore my Porg T-shirt because Logan was my little Porg.

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Freddy didn’t care that Logan was wearing the Cone of Shame. He was just happy to see his brother from another mother.

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Logan struggling to get into the carrier with Freddy after the vet tech took off the Cone of Shame. I have no words to express how much I miss his love of Freddy. And his funny facea.

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We had to wait a while before it was out turn. We didn’t mind.

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Logan was so weak and tired. He had had surgery, blood tests and so much else done to him those last few days. But still he hung on.

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He was happy to be with Freddy.

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Finally, the vet tech came back with all the syringes. Because the doctor was tied up with an emergency, she was going to administer the drugs.

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She flushed out his port with saline before starting the euthanasia procedure. I didn’t take photos of that. I wouldn’t normally have taken as many photos of all this as I did, but Björn was away that weekend on his Hemvärnet exercises, and he couldn’t be there to see Logan that last time. So I took these for him, and also for Lisa, his breeder.

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All clear.

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He started receiving the sedatives first. While they started to work and make Logan drowsy, Freddy was right there with him.

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Brothers to the end.

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Finally the last needle was given, and Logan left us. They gave us a blue towel to wrap him in, and Freddy said his last goodbye.

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I hated to leave him alone in that empty room, so I left one of his favourite fishes with him. It’s been just a little over a week since he died, and Freddy and I are so lost. He was our little dude, and we miss him.

Aby-a-Day – 20 April: “Hold my hands; kiss my forehead, hug me and look in my eyes; maybe today is the last day you can do this.”

Logan did not want to leave us.

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He loved our apartment and everything in it.

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Logan was my little shadow. He would get up and follow me if I left the room, even if I wasn’t headed towards the kitchen. He always wanted to sleep on me, not next to me.

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Jacoby hissed at him, but Logan didn’t care. He loved Jake, too.

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He loved our balcony with it’s chairs and cat tree.

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I am glad the weather was getting warmer so he could enjoy it again.

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Logan loved being with Alfred on the balcony, of course.

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He also loved this chair.

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If I couldn’t find him anywhere else, I knew he’d be on his chair. Towards the end, I fed him out there, on his chair.

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But mostly, he just loved being where I was.

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I miss him being underfoot.

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And I keep looking back at his corner of the sofa, behind me, where he loved to sleep while I worked on my computer…working on photos of him and the others, writing blog posts…I miss my small but mighty boy.

Aby-a-Day – 19 April: Keeping his weight up

Logan’s weight went from 3.4 kg on 4 March to 2.9 kg on 8 April. At first, I didn’t think much of it, all the cats eat a little less and seem to lose wight when spring comes and there’s more daylight.

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But the last weekend, Logan wouldn’t eat anything. Not even freshly cooked chicken or lamb. He also wouldn’t drink – and he used to love to drink from the fountain.

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So I had to feed him and hydrate him. I fed him a gruel of Hill’s A/D and Royal Canin Convelescence, and gave him Oralade to hydrate him and give him electrolytes.

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When Gun-Hee was sick, we were told to give him Pedialyte…but they don’t seem to have that in Sweden (and I have no idea what one would do if they needed to give a baby electrolytes, either). But Oralade is actually better, since it’s balanced for cats and includes taurine. And it’s chicken flavoured!

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Logan really didn’t want to eat, and he hated having to eat from the syringes, but he tolerated it so well. The least he would do was push my hands away. But I think he knew I was trying to help him.

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I had a routine: One 10ml syringe of Oralade, then one 20ml syringe of the food mixture, and then another 10ml of Oralade.

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It could get a little messy. I know that bothered Logan, too, because he was such a fastidious little guy.

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Oh, I miss his expressions!

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You have to go slow while feeding like this. You have to give the cat time to swallow, and make sure he doesn’t accidentally inhale any of the food or liquid.

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We also took clean-up breaks.

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Come on, little Logey! Just a little bit more…

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…and, we’re done. Good job!

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Wipe the chin a little bit…there we go.

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Okay, now just one more little syringe of the Oralade…

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…there you go. Good!

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See how he’s holding onto my arm? I miss those little hands…

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…and that funny, funny face.

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The whole feeding process took about 20 minutes. I fed him every four to six hours starting on the first Friday night (6 April) until Wednesday when we went to the Djursjukhuset in Jönköping (11 April).

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This is how he looked on Sunday, 8 April, after eating. He really didn’t look like an FIP cat. And the best news is, I was able to hold his weight steady at 2.8-2.9 kg by our scale until we went to the animal hospital on Wednesday. I haven’t accomplished that much in my life, but this is one of my proudest achievements.