Aby-a-Day – 20 July: “Having one eye makes you see the world in unusual ways” (Flashback Friday)

Yesterday’s post about that horrific situation in Rhode Island naturally reminded me of Angel’s situation. It was ten years ago this October that I collected her in California, but it was around mid-July that I was being approved to adopt her. This is her story, as I was told it by Purebreds Plus, her rescue:

“The story behind Angel’s eye and foster situation is sad; The breeder had a couple of tough years with her mother who was sick and dying and in the midst of this her pregnant females in December of 2006 – January 2007 were getting sick. Almost 75% of the kittens born were dead or died shortly after birth. She had never had this problem before and only when the pet food information came did she begin to put things together as she was feeding some of the recalled foods. When she bred her females (and a couple of the kittens born to them), health problems showed up in the lines – Herpes infections like none seen before with ulcerated eyes and very sick cats. Not being as careful as usual, her numbers increased and unhealthy cats increased.

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I met the breeder at a cat show in October 2007 and we talked about me taking some of her cats. I knew nothing about the situation. A week before Christmas she called me and we set January 1 as the day I would take 5 of her cats. The very next day she took 4 other cats to the Humane Society and asked that 3 be put down and the other (Angel) be put up for adoption. Two days later the Humane Society paid a visit and found a house with over 60 cats, spotlessly clean. She gave up the sickest cats and others, totaling 18 cats. The Humane Society called us, and on Friday December 20th, we spent 3 hours there bathing cats’/kittens’ eyes that were horribly stuck together and gave meds. They could only allow us to take the original 4 as there is a 72 hour rule in California. Sunday the 23rd we went back and took the other 16 (2 had died). Then at the breeder’s house we took 5 more cats – a total of 14 kittens and 11 others between 5 months and 14 months. We separated the kittens by illness levels and 9 of the healthiest kittens went to Southern California Aby Rescue. Unfortunately 5 of those died. Of the 5 that we kept, 2 died over the next 3 months, both of FIP. The other 3 were adopted. Of the other Abys 2 of the younger ones died and the others were adopted except Angel, who had many problems over the months finally with an eye ulcerating in April. She has been healthy since..

(Angel also had another medical problem: when they removed her ulcerated eye, the veterinarian – for a reason I can’t fathom – put a prosthetic eye into Angel’s eye socket. Her body rejected it. So she had to undergo another surgery to remove her fake eye!)

The problems:

· Upper Respiratory Infections that finally healed, then eyes ulcerated. Some eyes were saved and a couple had the eye removed. This was different than the normal herpes infections that we had seen in rescue where the conjunctiva was swollen and goopy. The eyes ulcerated seemingly overnight and it was a relentless treatment regime that could save then (if it did) (Angel is in this group, obviously).

· Bordatella – took 6 weeks of Doxycycline to go away

· Some of the cats were vaccinated (for FIP). Of the cats that died, they all had vaccines and 3-6 weeks after got sick and then died of FIP. The breeder begged us not to vaccinate because she had the same problem.

· Ringworm – Over the 7 months we have taken 35 cats and have about 10 more coming. The ones we have seen since April have not been as ill and that is what we expect of the remaining 10.”

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It’s been ten years…Finally, after moving to Sweden and being in a hierarchy where she is, at long last, the oldest female, Angel seems to be becoming “comfortable” in her home…or, at least, more comfortable. I don’t think she’ll ever be a “normal” Abyssinian…but at least with us, she can be herself. Whoever that is.

Aby-a-Day – 13 July: Life imitates art (Fashion Friday Flashback)

An unsung hero of cat art history is Girard “Gig” Goodenow. I can’t even find a biography of him online, but a Google search of his name will give you plenty images of his art. I had a set of four of his “Pity Kitties” with huge, sad eyes in my bedroom when I was four years old. But a few years ago I found a print of one of the series of cat prints he did for Women’s Day…the Abyssinian, of course.

Well, I finally got around to finding a frame for it, and, after I unrolled it to look at it after years of it being packed away, both Björn and I were struck by how much it looked like a portrait of…Alfred. Eerily so, considering the print is 53 years old.

So we got Freddy to pose next to his two-dimensional doppleganger.

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Or, rather, I should say we tried to get him to pose. It didn’t start off well…

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This is one of the best photos of them together!

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At last Freddy took a good look at the portrait.

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“Wow! That really kinda does look like me!”

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“This is amazing..! It’s like looking in a mirror!”

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I think Freddy has a new-found appreciation for vintage cat art. I wonder if this Abyssinian was based on one of Freddy’s ancestors?

Aby-a-Day – 11 May: Remembering Gun-Hee (Friday Flashback)

Lorelai has been with us for a week now, and it’s like she’s always been here. She’s feisty, trusting, playful, curious and just…perfect. Jacoby growls at her, she doesn’t care. She pushes Angel and Jake away from their leftovers if she’s still hungry. She holds her own with Alfred even though he’s nearly 10 times her size. She’s had no litter box issues, no eating problems…nothing. She just integrated herself right into the cat family.

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Kind of like another Aby kitten I know. Gun-Hee was a lot like Rory. Jake, Freddy and Logan were somehow not as easy. They all had giardia as kittens, and, I don’t know. It just felt like it took a lot more work managing those three as kittens compared to Rory and Gun-Hee.

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We got Gun-Hee on 15 December 2006, the day before he turned three months old.

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We tried to keep him separated from Tessie, Kylie and Patrick when we first brought him home. That lasted about five minutes. He would have none of it. The older cats were…not the most welcoming at first.

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Gun-hee didn’t care.

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He just stood his ground.

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For some reason, Patrick was his particular favourite. Patrick was still missing Harri, who had died four months earlier.

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Gun-Hee eventually wore him down.

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He loved Patrick.

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Kylie was the closest to him in age (she was only 17 months older than him), so they also became friends rather quickly.

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Tessie was a little slower to thaw.

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But Gun-Hee eventually melted her, too.

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He also loved the floor-to-ceiling cat tree in my old apartment.

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He loved being on the top, epsecially.

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Rory takes on that same floor-to-ceiling cat tree and, if she falls off, she just climbs back up. As I am typing this, she’s at the very top of it, trying to touch the ceiling. Gun-Hee was like that, too.

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Another thing they have in common is shoulder-riding. Neither Jake, Angel, Freddy or even Logan have ever been able to stay on a shoulder. Jake is particularly bad at it; I say it’s like he has magnets on his feet that are the opposite of the ones on people’s shoulders and he just can’t stay on. It’s nice to have a shoulder-riding kitten again.

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And Gun-Hee could be cuddly, too. Just like Rory. It’s a little eerie how much she reminds me of him.

Aby-a-Day – 13 April: Baby Logan (Friday Flashback)

We just spent a couple of weeks talking about Freddy before he came to live with us…so now it’s Logan’s turn. Logan was an adorable kitten. Aby kittens always look like miniature adults…Singa kittens just look…like this:

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Cute…but different. And even at seven weeks, the Singapura Stink-Eye™

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He was such a cute kitten.

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Logan and his sister Iris at 11 weeks old.

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Logan playing with his mother Naina’s tail.

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You can see why Lisa named him Vide…Pussywillow in Swedish. My little pussywillow…

Aby-a-Day – 30 March: Alfred and his mother (part three)(Friday Flashback)

This is the third installment of posts about Alfred’s family. I was lucky enough to get to meet both of his parents, all of his littermates, and some other relations as well. Today we’ll see a little bit of Freddy’s relationship with his mother. Last week’s post is here.

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While we were visiting Alfred and his littermates, Artemis, their mother, decided that Freddy needed to go upstairs to bed.

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Although she’s had several litters, Artemis seems a little unclear on the whole “carrying kittens by their scruffs” concept.

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She sort of carried him by his front neck.

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Of course, it didn’t help that Freddy wasn’t sleepy and didn’t want to go to bed upstairs.

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Okay, upstairs we go, little man.

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…A slight readjustment of grip…and we’re carrying, we’re carrying…

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Come on, you little brat…cooperate. Mommy needs…I mean, YOU need a nap!

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Mother knows best, after all.

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…And up the stairs she whisks him.

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Say goodnight, Freddy.

But what’s funny is, when Freddy wants to grab Logan by the scruff…he usually grabs him by the throat, just like his mother did to him. The only difference is, Logan doesn’t put up with it.

Aby-a-Day – 23 March: Freddy’s family (part two)(Friday Flashback)

This is the second installment of posts about Alfred’s family. I was lucky enough to get to meet both of his parents, all of his littermates, and some other relations as well. Today we’ll meet Freddy’s mom and littermates. Last week’s post is here.

Alfred’s mother, Artemis, is devoted to her kittens. She went from having a singleton, Beaver, to a very active litter of five. Five is a large litter by Abyssinian standards!

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Monitoring five kittens is a lot of work!

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Especially these kittens! At times, they seemed to fly around the living room!

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She took time to spend a little one-on-one time with each kitten. Here she feeds Freddy’s brother, Bertil…

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…until she decided he was finished.

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She also spent a little quality time with both her sons. Freddy and Bertil have a little cuddle, wash and snack with mum.

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His sisters were busy, too. Märta and Greta were very interested in me, my camera, and my phone.

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Meanwhile, Kerstin played on the climbing board.

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I wonder if fighting his siblings for a place at the milk bar is what made him so food-obsessed?

Aby-a-Day – 4 June: “Snazzy” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

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I have this very snazzy, super deluxe, floor-to-ceiling cat tree from Drs. Foster and Smith. I had it in the kitchen of my old apartment in Somerville, and Harri, Patrick, Tessie, Kylie and Gun-Hee all loved it.

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Patrick especially loved it.

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I mean, he really loved it.

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I got it in 2005 as a replacement for the older, blue one I’d brought with me from Atlanta, which was getting a little ragged. Patrick couldn’t wait for us to unpack it.

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He even helped to assemble it.

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He could not even wait for it to be put together before he was climbing on it!

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Sadly, it wasn’t tall enough for the very high ceilings in the old condo, so when I moved out of my apartment in March 2009, the awesome tree went into storage.

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When I got Angel in 2008, I wasn’t spending much time at my old apartment although I still kept it for a few months after I married. I’m not sure if she has ever seen this cat tree (but she really loved the floor-to-ceiling cat tree my mom has at her house, and wasted no time climbing it). I know Jacoby never has, since it was put into storage before he was even born!

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But on Monday, it was packed up to go to Sweden.

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It was pretty amazing to watch the mover pack it up in paper.

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We decided not to take it apart, except for the very top, spring-loaded part.

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He was so fast! I couldn’t imagine wrapping up a cat tree in moving paper…but then, he’s a professional.

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So, here’s my snazzy cat tree, all packed up and ready to go. Next stop, Sweden!