Aby-a-Day – 27 Januari 2020: A kitchen mystery (Mischievious Movie Monday Mystery)

So the other day I walked into the kitchen, and the cabinet above the refrigerator, where we store the dry food we give Angel as a treat, was open. And the bag was…somehow…on the kitchen counter. Pretty sure it was Alfred, but he tried to frame Dashiell for the crime. For some reason, most of the photos I took were “Live Photos,” so here they are as a short YouTube video:

Aby-a-Day – 22 Januari 2020: Wordless Wednesday (Dinner chez Hellqvist be like…)

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Aby-a-Day – 9 Januari 2020: “Chips. All day. Every day.” (Thursday Things)

Once in a while, Björn and I have chips whilst we watch TV. And…sometimes one gets dropped.

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Lorelai found it first, and of course she tried to eat it.

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Pretty sure that it was a salt-vinegar chip. Cats are not big fans of vinegar.

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Izaak, our famously picky, raw-meat-only eater, didn’t even try to eat it. He just played with it…until I picked it up before it got stepped on.

Aby-a-Day – 6 Januari 2020: Dashiell and Lorelai, partners in crime (Mischievous Monday)

We don’t feed dry cat food to our cats regularly anymore at all. When we do give them dry food, it is fed as a treat. The problem is, we have some leftover prescription diet foods that we gave to Jacoby and Pyret. And we also we win bags of dry food at cat shows, really good, high-protein brands, which is what we give them when we do give them dry.

We have a few more-or-less catsafe storage places in our apartment, and one of these is in our laundry room. All the cats know we keep food in there, and the opportunistic little jerks never pass up a chance to try to get a snack when I have the laundry room door open ( you may recall that we have to latch the door because Alfred has worked out how to open that door).

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So, the other day I left the door open for about a minute whilst putting laundry away. The cats, I thought, we all napping around the house, so I thought it was safe. Boy, was I wrong.

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In the time it took me to go from the laundry room, dump the clothes onto the bed, and go back to put the next load in our drying closet…Lorelai AND Dashiell were up on top of it, nomming happily away on some of Jake’s leftover Urinary prescription diet. Since it wasn’t in a bin, I am fairly certain it didn’t have a hole in it yet, either. Never underestimate cats when it comes to food!

I didn’t know Dash even knew how to get up there!

Aby-a-Day 27 Juni: Dining al fresco (Thursday Things)

I have often commented on this blog that cats go through fads. Suddenly they’ll start doing something they never did before, or haven’t done for ages, and carry on with it for weeks or months…and then, just as suddenly, stop.

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I showed you one such fad yesterday. Out of a clear blue sky, Angel started sleeping on our bed, nestled in the pillows and plushies. She hasn’t done that since we were in Boston.

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Izaak has, of late, decided he wants to eat his breakfast on the balcony.

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He eats his dinner in our bedroom, and his chicken neck in his Sturdi house…but he demands to have breakfast on the balcony.

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I don’t mind. As long as it’s a place I can close off (because he eats only raw, it’s for his own protection), and he’s eating (he’s a slow eater and tends to be a bit fussy), I’m happy.

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In typical stubborn Singapura fashion, he demanded his food out there. When I was preparing everyone else’s food, he wasn’t a part of the pack milling about my feet.

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He parked himself on one of the chairs and refused to budge when I called him.

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When I came looking for him, bowl in hand, he just looked at me without moving a muscle.

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The weather’s been quite lovely lately, and, compared to our dark bedroom (blackout curtains are de rigueur in Sweden), can you blame him for wanting to eat in the sunshine?

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Every morning for about a week now, he’s demanded this routine.

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Hey, if it makes him happy…why not?

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As the cat food commercial says, “Resistance is futile.”

Aby-a-Day – 14 Juni: All Angel’s birthdays (Flashback Friday)

As you saw from Wednesday’s post, Angel turned 12 this year. When we got her from Purebreds Plus Rescue, they didn’t know her birthday, so I chose 11 June as the day she could have been born on. Last year, I got confirmation that she was most likely actually born on 4 July 2007, but my dad’s birthday is the 4th of July, so I just keep celebrating on 11 June. She was a year and three (or two) months old when I adopted her, so we missed her first birthday…but here is a photo of me with her on her second birthday.

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Angel on her 3rd birthday…still not used to those candles.

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Here is Angel and me on Angel’s 4th birthday.

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Angel’s 5th birthday fell on a Monday, so we celebrated with Hipstamatic photos.

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Look how proud Angel looks to be 6 years old!

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Angel’s 7th birthday was her first in our new apartment, and she had her cake on the window seat.

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Angel couldn’t wait to eat her 8th birthday cake! I’m surprised she didn’t singe her whiskers!

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Her 9th birthday was our last in Boston. She seemed a little intimidated by all the candles.

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So, of course, Angel’s 10th birthday was her first in Sweden.

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Last year’s birthday…I can’t remember what was going on with the candles. Either her birthday took us by surprise, so we used whatever oddball candles we had…or I was just matching the colours. And now she is 12…that’s a pretty incredible accomplishment.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Maj: Tacoby Friday (Friday Fashion Flashback)

In the States, Taco Tuesday is a thing. But here in Sweden, it’s Taco Friday.

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Because of Jacoby’s namesake, tacos always remind me of Jake.

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When he was a kitten, I had to get him some catnip taco toys.

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He loved those things! I wish I knew whatever happened to them. These photos were taken just a couple weeks after he joined our family.

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He even had a little taco charm that he used to wear on his collar with his tag. You can see it in this photo.

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A few years later, I found Jake a taco costume.

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Which he wore with his usual aplomb. Look at him! It might as well be a silk tuxedo the way he’s modelling it!

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Jake was always so chill when it came to wearing his outfits. People always used to ask me how I got him to wear his costumes. I would always kind of shrug and say, “I just ask him to, and he does it, because we’re partners.”

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Damn. Now I really miss Jake…and I am dying for some tacos!

Aby-a-Day – 4 April: Another break-in has been reported (Thursday Things)

Despite using the doorstop fairly regularly, another break-in was reported in an apartment kitchen in northwestern Skövde.

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Interestingly enough, this time the thief tried to pin his crime on an unlikely suspect.

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Nice try…but next time maybe pick a larger, stronger cat who might actually be able to prise open the cabinet?

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Whilst the other cats were eating the stolen goods, our Alfred was on the bed, looking as innocent as he could…

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…which ultimately, wasn’t very innocent-looking at all.

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I had just bought someBrit Premium Sausages for them to try. They completely demolished one whole roll! I texed Björn this photo and said: “Well…guess they like the new food.”

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Even Izaak the sausage was interested in the sausage…and he only eats raw food! Seriously, though…We need to put a stop to this crime spree!

Aby-a-Day – 16 Mars: Bear necessities (Swedish Saturday)

In Sweden, we have a thing called REKO-Ring. REKO means “Real Consumption” (Konsumtion in Swedish) and is a way to shop for locally produced food, without intermediaries. Consumers and producers merge and start a REKO ring where locally produced products are sold directly from producer to consumer. In Skövde, our local REKO-Ring has a Facebook page where the producers post what they have available, and then people who want to buy something comment on the post saying what they want to get. Then, on alternate Wednesdays, we meet in a parking lot at a hockey arena two stops on the bus line from our house.

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Well, just as I despairing of finding a really great birthday present for Björn, I happened to check the REKO-Ring Skövde Facebook page. And I found a post from Lilla Spännefalla, and they had all kinds of game for sale. Including bear meat from Jämtland in the north of Sweden.

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I ordered a “Bear Box” and got steaks, ground bear meat, and chunks.
I have only had bear a couple of times, and it is delicious. The first time was in 2000, when I found it for sale in an Asian grocery store in Boston. I then had it again when we canned bear meat for sale in the duty-free on the ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki. Then I got to eat it again when we went to a medieval restaurant in Taillinn. But the thing is…The name Björn is the same as the Swedish word for bear. So when I found bear meat available for sale just before Björn’s birthday, I knew I had the perfect gift.

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Bear meat is delicious. You have to make sure all the fat is removed, because it can add a slightly rancid flavour to the meat. The basic rule of thumb is, “Season like beef, cook like pork.” This is because like pigs, bears and raccoons are omnivores, and their meat can cause Trichinosis if it is not cooked well.

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So, sorry guys…you don’t get to try it raw.

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Despite not getting to try it raw, the bear meat attracted quite a crowd.

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Lorelai, of course, had to get on Björn’s shoulder to supervise.

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Izaak made sure Björn cooked it thoroughly.

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And he did.

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Served with plain potato wedges and mushrooms, it was a delicious birthday dinner…

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…which some people in the house were eager to sample.

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Zak was the first to taste bear meat whilst the plates were still on the coffee table.

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Everyone else got their tastes in the kitchen. Rory LOVED it.

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Jacoby tried to steal her piece, but she managed to keep it for herself. But don’t worry, Jake got a couple of pieces of the bear meat.

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Alfred took his piece so quickly…

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…I couldn’t even capture it with my camera. Fast Freddy!

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Angel took her sample gingerly…

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…and ran away from all the other cats to eat it in peace.

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It took her a little longer to finish it, because of her three teeth, so she wanted to eat it someplace safe.

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I guess we can add bear meat to the things Abyssinians (and Singapuras) will eat.

Aby-a-Day – 24 Februari: “Some chicken, some neck!” (Cinema Sunday)

Izaak loves his chicken necks.

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I mean, he really loves them. He only gets one a day, though, because too many raw bones can cause constipation…but if he could have it his way, he’d eat five or six a day.

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I generally feed the cats at noon and midnight, and Zak gets his neck around 8pm. He knows this, so starting around 6pm, every time I get up, he tries to lead me into the kitchen. If I am in the kitchen, he leaps up to the counter next to the refrigerator and yells for his neck.

Of course, still photos cannot express how funny he is when he is doing this…so I made a video of a typical trip to the kitchen chez Hellqvist.

Aby-a-Day – 23 Februari: Eating is…problematic (Swedish Saturday)

Generally, we eat dinner in the living room in front of the TV (don’t judge), and the way our apartment is set up, we are able to close off the living room from the rest of the house by closing two doors. There are some days that we have to close those doors.

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This meal was one we probably should have closed the doors for.

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Okay, we have four Abyssinians and a Singapura. Mealtime was never going to be easy, granted. But the usually shy and retiring Angel becomes a demon when food is involved. To the point of her trying to intercept food on my fork on its way to my mouth.

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She’s extraordinarily aggressive when it comes to food. Annoying is another adjective that fits into that sentence.

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Not that she’s not loving and sweet…as long as there’s food to be had.

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With cats like these, who needs enemies?

Aby-a-Day – 4 Februari: Entering the Terrible Twos

Today is Alfred’s second birthday!

I made Freddy a cake just like last year, but this time nobody ATE the candle.

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Here is the uneaten candle being lit.

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Whilst Jacoby and Angel will eat their cakes with no concern for the fire on top…Freddy was not so sure.

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He actually seemed a bit intimidated by the flickering flame.

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I tried to coax him into trusting it. But he never did.

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In fact, he wouldn’t even eat his cake once the candle was blown out and removed.

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Since he didn’t want to eat his cake, I gave him his birthday present: a raw chicken neck.

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That was what he wanted! He took it under our extra chair, which, judging by the spare rib bone that was already there, is his place to drag his trophies.

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Well, happy second birthday regardless, Alfred!

Aby-a-Day – 26 Januari: Birthday of Champions (Cat Show Saturday)

Today is Izaak’s birthday! He turns one year old today.

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Not only that, but we are at a cat show in Örebro. So this is a very special birthday – the first one of any of our cats that we have celebrated away from home.

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Before he could have his little birthday cake, Zak had to go up and be judged.

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Today we had a judge we’d not seen before. He was from Romania.

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He really seemed to like Zak quite a lot.

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But in the end, he wasn’t Nominated. Neither he nor Lorelai were today.

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In a way, though, Zak got something even better: he earned his third CAC certificate today, which means he is now a Champion!

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So Zak celebrated two milestones today.

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He looked a little unimpressed by his candle and cake.

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Since Zak usually rejects anything that isn’t raw food, I wasn’t sure if he would even eat his cake.

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And, at first, it did seem that Rory was more interested in it than he was! Back off, Rory…you’ll get yours in two weeks.

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At first, Rory was the only one eating Zak’s cake.

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Zak watched her eat it for a while.

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Eventually, he took a bit more interest.

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Finally, he decided to give it a taste.

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At last, he tucked in alongside Rory. I was so happy that he actually seemed to be enjoying his cake.

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There’s a really good pet store near the show hall, and I found a squeaky mouse toy there that had been marked down because it had lost its tail. I didn’t think Zak would mind the missing tail…

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…and I was right!

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I couldn’t really capture him playing with it with my still camera.

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So I made a little video of him playing with it (Click on the image to watch the movie in another tab).

Aby-a-Day – 17 Januari: Repeat offender (Thursday Things)

As you saw in yesterday’s post, Alfred has figured out some kind of workaround to our cabinet solution. And before you suggest it…we don’t want to move the food. This is the most convenient place to keep it, and, honestly, moving the food won’t stop Freddy from opening the damn cabinet, and he’ll keep on stealing plastic packets whether or not they contain cat food.

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Kalle took the two photos yesterday, and Björn caught this action this morning.

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By the time Björn took the photos, Freddy was nowhere to be seen. As you can see, he was all too happy to frame his brothers for the crime.

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Not that they tried too terribly hard to look innocent…

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Interestingly enough, whilst I was working on this very post, I heard a crash in the kitchen. I went to look and…yeah, no surprise here.

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Oh, hi there…

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…What?

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Far from being contrite, Freddy grabbed a packet of Jake’s food and carried it underneath the dining room table to puncture and shred. I managed to rescue it before he could so Jake can have dinner tonight.

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You can tell he’s already plotting his next move…

Aby-a-Day – 6 Januari: Flying food from Flying Tiger (Cinema Sunday)

About a year and a half ago, Skövde got a Flying Tiger store. If you haven’t gotten one of these near you (there are something like 900 stores in the world and counting), you have missed a treat. Flying Tiger stores are filled with awesome things you never knew you needed. It doesn’t help that everything costs 10kr/$1/€1 – 40kr/$4/€4…

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So, of course, I had to buy one. I stashed it away and ended up putting it in Jacoby’s Christmas stocking. Today, I brought it out.

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It was a thing full of dry cat food. What’s not to like?

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Of course, it attracted an audience.

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Including Izaak, who doesn’t eat dry food and only eats raw.

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Jake cottoned onto the system pretty quickly. Instead of chasing the pellets being shot from the gun, he sent straight to the source.

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He basically went up to the crunchy gun, licked it, and tried to open it. That’s my boy.

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Lorelai especially loves to hunt and catch the dry pellets. We have played “chase the dry food” many times, but it’s way more fun to use the gun.

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At least we had a better response to it than this Sphynx blogger in Finland had with her cats.

Here’s a video of everyone chasing little bits of kibble all over our kitchen.

Aby-a-Day – 4 Januari: Cast iron cat bowl holder (Fashion Friday)

I really like using elevated cat bowl stands. I have a couple of different ones, a low silicon one with steel bowls from Granngården that’s perfect for Lorelai, and a Pet Lounge Bambu diner that Jacoby uses.

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But recently, I found this really cool, cast iron metal cat-shaped bowl holder on Tradera (kind of a Swedish local eBay). I love it and I’m fascinated by the workmanship. Believe me, I looked, but I couldn’t find any information on who manufactured it or when it was produced. According to various eBay and Etsy posts I found, it is apparently “vintage,” and you can find plenty of images of the bowl on Pinterest and Google Images searches.

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But know nothing of its age, origins or anything else. It is, however, awesome.

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It now lives out in the kitchen, where it is eaten from, twice daily, by Alfred and Angel.

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They were using Bambu feeder, but this one works better in the kitchen, because it’s heavier. These bowls don’t budge now.

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Angel and Freddy seem to appreciate their new dining partner, anyway.

Aby-a-Day – 2 Januari: Wordless Wednesday (Caught in the act!)

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Aby-a-Day – 31 December: Happy New Year’s! (Hipstamatic Monday)

For the past three years, Björn and I have hosted the New Year’s party for our friends. This year, due to a number of random circumstances (ours and our friends), we ended up being a party of seven – us and the cats.

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Of course, we didn’t know it was going to be just us when we were preparing everything in the run-up to Jul and New Year’s, so I managed to find the largest turkey I could to cook for the party.

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At 8.5kg (almost 19lbs!) it’s the largest turkey I have been able to find since I moved to Sweden.

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Oh, how I have missed the monster, American super-sized turkeys! Okay, so we’ll have lots of leftovers.

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I think we’re going to have lots of help finishing those leftovers, too.

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Combined, Alfred, Lorelai and Zak weigh 10.6kg…so the turkey weighs more than any two of them put together.

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The size difference didn’t stop them from investigating its edibility.

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Zak was especially interested in the big bird.

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Rory, without the boys flanking her, did seem a little more intimidated by it.

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She is our smallest cat. The last time I weighed them all, she clocked in at 2.6kg.

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I think she thought it wasn’t really dead!

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She tentatively approached the bird. I’m sure she’ll be a lot less tentative once it comes out of the oven!

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I love the randomness of Hipstamatic…

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Even though we ended up not having any guests, everyone got dressed up. The boys all wore their leather bow ties.

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Rory wore a festive red bow.

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Freddy can’t ever keep his tie on straight.

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Angel wore her sparkly sequin collar I got ages ago at a Seacoast show. Next year, I want to see if Arja can make the girls feminine festive collars, perhaps with flowers instead of bows.

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Regardless, when the turkey came out of the oven it. Was. AWESOME.

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Easily the best turkey I have ever cooked. And, ironically, I have been cooking them since 1999.

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But yeah, in 20 years of cooking turkeys, this was one of my best.

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Someone else thought so, too.

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Of course, his opinion is slightly biased…he's never had a whole cooked turkey before in his life.

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Izaak tried so hard to eat off that big turkey…but it was too hot.

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Since it was too hot to eat, Zak tried smacking it with his paw instead.

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It was still too hot…but it wasn’t too hot when I put it on a tray for everyone to share.

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Everyone seemed to enjoy their bits of turkey.

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As you could probably tell by the general swarming going on.

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Björn and I also did some Incredibooth selfies…enjoy!

Aby-a-Day – 30 December: The cat burglar (Serious Sunday)

As I have mentioned before, Alfred is an evil genius. He is also incredibly food-oriented.

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And by “incredibly,” I mean he has figured out how to open the cabinet where the cat food is kept…

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…to the point that we started finding this on an all-too-frequent basis.

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He has different methods for eating the food out of the wet packets…

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…and the dry ones.

The latch on the cabinet was a bit weak, but it had never been a problem before. Now, this is a problem, clearly…so we replaced it with a 4kg magnetic cabinet latch. You would think that would work.

And it did. For a while. Then we had to jam this rubber cat’s paw doorstop.

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Which helped. Until it didn’t.

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The problem is, he’s too stealthy for us to catch in the act. And he’s quiet. By the time we happen to go in the kitchen, he’s finished his share, and only the others are left eating.

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Of course, we know it isn’t Angel or Jacoby opening the cabinet. If it was, it wouldn’t have been a problem two years ago, not just within the past two months! Nice frame-job attempt, Freddy.

Aby-a-Day: 6 December: Not every box we open in the kitchen is cat food (Thursday Things)

As you might recall, since moving to Sweden we have been feeding the cats Bozita cat food. Instead of putting food products in cans, many things are packaged in Tetra-Pak boxes.

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This leads to a rather amusing side effect. These photos were taken back when we first moved here, in August 2016.

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According to the Jacoby, everything that comes in a Tetra-Pak box is food.

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“Are you sure this isn’t food? It sure looks like food.”

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“You’re not even going to give me a taste?” Of tomato sauce? Hardly.

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“Did somebody say something about food? Oh, a box!”

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Angel is so adorable when she’s hopeful.