Aby-a-Day – 14 Juli: Wordless Wednesday (Beggers can’t be choosers)

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Aby-a-Day – 29 Mars: Cats are such brats sometimes (Hipstamatic Monday=

Björn bought some really nice bratwurst and had it for breakfast yesterday.

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A certain little girl was very interested in the brat on Björn’s fork.

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This was actually pretty unusual for Lorelai; she’s big on raw meat when we’re cutting it up for cooking, but she’s not usually so grabby when it comes to cooked food.

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It was so funny to watch her!

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It smelled good to me, but it must have smelled amazing to Rory for her to act this way.

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But Rory had competition for that brat, though. Someone else wanted it, too, and look at the daggers she’s staring at him.

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I know you probably thought it was going to Alfred…but it was Izaak!

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And for Zak to try to steal food is even more unusual that Rory doing it. He is strictly a raw meat kind of guy.

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And he wanted it even more than Rory, too.

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Björn said Zak was really pulling down on his hand. For a little dude, Zak is strong for his size!

Aby-a-Day – 26 November 2020: Sausage party (Thursday Things)

The other day, I went into the bedroom for something, and I discovered all the boys in a pile on the middle of the bed.

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I joked that there was a sausage party going on in our bedroom.

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Then Alfred started to…move.

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Freddy, I don’t need to see any sausages..!

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Completely non-plussed, Freddy carried on with his grooming. I love the expressions on the other two boys’ faces.

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Also, can we all just take a moment to admire Freddy’s grabby hands action?

Aby-a-Day – 25 November 2020: Wordless Wednesday (Catching the blue dot)

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Aby-a-Day- 28 September 2020: Snuggly Freddy (Hipstamatic Monday)

Alfred is the most cuddly cat I have ever known.

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He’s like a living, purring (and occasionally drooling) teddy bear.

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This is Freddy cuddling on the sofa with Björn the other night while we we watching television.

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It’s hard to tell, but he’s wedged between us, with his hands on my leg, soaking up all Björn’s pets.

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He may be our “extra” cat, but I love him and his purr.

Aby-a-Day – 22 Augusti 2020: There’s a Singa on my shoulder (Singapura Saturday)

I have had a rather crappy 24 hours. It’s finished now, but it just really drained me, emotionally.

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Therefore, today’s post is the blogging equivalent of just making pasta with whatever sauce because you have zero idea what to have for supper and can’t be arsed to make anything but you really need to eat.

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Recently, Izaak has decided he wants to try to be a shoulder cat. He’s started jumping on Björn the way Lorelai does.

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I love the little grabby hands.

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He’s pretty awkward, though.

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Not at all the graceful little squirrel that Rory is at all.

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He really has to work at keeping his balance!

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More gratuitous grabby hand action. Sorry this post is so listless, but I am just completely out of spoons.

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 – 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 September: Stealing? Or coerced sharing? (Thursday Things)

Yesterday’s post prompted a discussion of “Grabby Aby hands,” and I was reminded of this set of photos I took back in August 2016, just a couple of months after I moved to Sweden with Jacoby and Angel.

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Björn was eating something bread-based, and Jake wanted it.

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Look at how Jake inserted himself between Björn’s hand and his mouth!

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Jake wanted a taste of whatever Björn was eating.

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And he was pretty insistent.

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Jake was fighting for his share…but Björn was fighting for his share, too.

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It’s hard to tell who is fighting harder…Jake or Björn.

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It was a straight-up battle for the piece of bread, yo.

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(Notice the bit of bread on Björn’s arm…)

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Jake was persistent in his search for food…and he managed to get some scraps from Björn.

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And he managed to get some bread, too.

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Yummy, yummy bread…

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But yeah. If you can’t eat bread around an Abyssinian…how can you expect to eat actual meat around one?

Aby-a-Day – 5 September: Wordless Wednesday (“You gotta be quick! You gotta be quick with me!”)

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Aby-a-Day – 6 July: “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”

It’s common in Sweden for apartment complexes to have several rug-beating frames so that residents can beat their carpets.

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We have one right outside our apartment, and of course Lorelai had to jump up to the top of it.

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She was walking the galvanised steel tightrope walk pretty well there for a while…

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…but it just takes one misstep.

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…and then your paws don’t behave…

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…and after that, the rest of your paws second-guess themselves…

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…and once that happens…

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…yeah, you’re gonna fall.

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So the art is in falling gracefully. Or at least, non-embarrassingly…

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Nailed it!

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“Okay, so…that was fun. Now what?”

Aby-a-Day – 28 June: “No kernel of nourishing corn…” (Thursday Things)

I’ve already posted about how much Angel loves corn. Any time we have corn on the cob, she is there trying to eat it.

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That includes the kernels that fall onto the table accidentally.

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She begs for those, too. Or she tries to pick them up with her grabby Aby hands.

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Sometimes they can be a little slippery and hard to pick up, though.

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In the end, Angel will make certain that no kernel is wasted!

Aby-a-Day – 24 May: Graceful, agile, elegant Abys (Thursday Things)

When we went to our local DjurMagazinet, Alfred checked out the cat trees.

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They have a really good selection, but here in Europe they seem to cover cat trees with sisal and faux fur fabric rather than carpeting.

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Freddy was just happily playtesting the trees when…

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…This happened. Not gonna lie, I laughed. He totally reminded me of this cartoon I did 5 years ago!

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But I mean, look at his feet (and hand)! I had to highlight them…because, well…look at them!

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Meanwhile, Lorelai was having trouble managing her new harness and leash.

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Then she decided she wanted to be up in my lap.

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Ambition and ability are, sadly, two very different things.

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She wasn’t fazed, though.

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Quite the opposite, in fact. She was gathering herself up for another attempt.

Aby-a-Day – 21 May: Playmobil Purrfect Stay Cat Boarding (Miniature Monday)

I know Playmobil has kind of “Poor man’s Lego reputation, but they have got a lot more choices in the cat department. Playmobil Purrfect Stay Cat Boarding set.

Not gonna lie; overall, I prefer Legos. But Playmobil has some interesting pieces, and I have been known to mix Legos and Playmobil pieces in the quest for the perfect Strollercat action figure.

It kind of started when Björn bought me the Playmobil Woman with Cat Family set as a surprise. After that, I dragged out all my other cat pieces and scoured eBay for more.

Then we saw this ad for a contest in Kattliv where the prize was this set. Well, I needed that shiny device! So we found one in a toy store.

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Alfred was eager to help me build it.

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It’s actually a pretty cool set.

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Hauspanther would be proud of all the catification going on up in here. And the detail is fun, too. There are stickers to put on little cans of cat food as labels and a sticker for the litter box that looks like (clean, unused) litter!

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Only one problem: not enough kitties! So I added all the random Playmobil cats I had collected and added them in.

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Like this small cat tree (with carpet stickers for the shelves).

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And these two iterations of Strollercats. The little grey one is, of course, Lorelai.

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This one is my absolute favourite, though. Somewhere along the line I picked up a veterinary set which included this patient, complete with Cone of Shame.

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But the best part is, she even has stitches! I’m not sure which set this goes with; I must have gotten it as a random cat piece on eBay. I can find the cat with stitches as a part of this set, but she hasn’t got the cone or the bed.

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Here’s the house again with the extra cats added in. Much better.

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Oh, wait! Here, let’s add two more cats…

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Suddenly, the poor cat boarding house was attacked by Roryzilla!

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She’s already using her grabby Aby hands to pick things up, as you can see.

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Oh well. At least Freddy didn’t sit on it…

Aby-a-Day – 26 March: Re Ment Pose Skeleton Cat (Miniature Monday)

Personally, I think cat skeletons are kind of cool. You may remember
my roughly life-sized skeleton cat, Os-car I found at CVS one Halloween. So when Björn showed me a picture of Re-Ment’s Pose Skeleton Cat, I had to get one.

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It’s one of those typical cool Japanese toys with tons of special touches. The cat comes with a litter box (I think…it might be a bed), a typical Japanese wand cat toy, and a belled collar. I added a Schleich cat tower and some food and water bowls I had from another set, and it seems that the scale on all of them is roughly the same.

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The amount of detail on this little thing is incredible. The collar has stitching marks and a leather look, and the bell has a seam and the hole at the bottom to let the sound out.

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Of course, when he heard the camera, Jacoby had to come see what I was taking photos of…and why I wasn’t taking photos of him.

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Jake was very curious about the little cat skeleton and tried to pick it up.

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He only succeeded in knocking over the cat tree. Then he wandered off.

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Thanks a lot, Jake!

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It’s really a tiny figure (as you can see compared to Jake’s paw), but it has eight points of articulation (tail, both hips, mid-spine, both shoulders, neck and jaw)! I really adore this little thing.

Aby-a-Day -18 March: “If you gaze long into an Abyssinian, the Abyssinian also gazes into you” (Swedish Sunday)

This is another post written by my husband, Björn. While Björn has had cats most of his life, he never lived with Abyssinians before…

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Before Jake and Angel moved in, the most active cat I had lived with was Olivia (1999-2010), the small tortie shorthaired Norwegian Forest cat mix. She was pretty talkative and active, annoying and fun (usually at the same time). Still, she was nothing compared to cats like Jake, Angel, Alfred and Logan.

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Other cats I had met, like those of friends, were pretty sedate, just like my own old cat, Pyret. Some hid under the sofa and refused to come out when I was visiting, others were just furry couch potatoes. I had met Jake and Angel in Boston in 2015, and had seen their antics during our FaceTime sessions before Koshka moved here. I thought I was prepared…

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18 June 2016. Two cats are let out of their travel cage and explore their new surroundings. Soon I’ll learn what it means to live with Abys. While Angel is more like a regular cat as long as there’s no meat involved, my old Pyret was the opposite to Jake.

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Active, attention-seeking and affectionate (usually), the claim that Abys are the most dog-like of cat breeds is proven true.

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Did I say dog-like? Abys aren’t really like dogs, at least not at the dinner table. Dogs are usually well behaved and just sit there, with sad puppy eyes and whining, hoping for a scrap. Abys, on the other hand… Or paw.

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Living up to the epithet “grabby Aby”. Any plate within the reach of an Aby is fair game, and that reach is considerable. Turn your head for a couple of seconds, and that piece of chicken is gone. Don’t think that just because you’ve stuck your fork in the meat that it is safe.

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The Aby looks at it and says: “Is that meat you have on your fork? Mind if I insert my head between your hand and mouth and take it?”

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It was rubbing off on my old cat, too. OK, she always had a thing for shrimp off my pizza, but she began to join the other four-legged (or rather two-armed) pests when we had a meal.

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She wasn't as aggressive as the Abys, though. The young boys – at least Freddy – have adopted the bad habits of their elders, but that was just a matter of time…

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Still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. Living with Abys and a Singapura is a whole new experience, and I would never consider one of those decorative but passive breeds that might score first prizes at shows, but which are about as fun as a plushie. With Jake, Angel, Freddy and Logan around, there’s almost always something happening.

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Contrary to what uneducated people think, cats have personalities, and with their intelligence and activity, I would say that Abys are among the most personable of all breeds. That helps now, when my Pyret passed away two weeks ago. To have the other cats around have made the loss a little bit less painful. A home without a cat isn’t a real home.

Aby-a-Day – 11 March: Birthdays, party of three (Swedish Sunday)

The beginning of March is a big deal chez Hellqvist. Not only is it the anniversary of Björn writing the letter to me that started all this Swedish stuff, it is also Kalle’s, Logan’s and Björn’s birthdays.

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All in a row like that, too. Kalle’s is the 7th, Logan’s is the 9th, and Björn’s is the 10th. In fact, Logan’s birthday is one of the “signs” that lead us to getting him.

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Usually, Björn makes a fabulous cake, but then, we usually have a big party with all the family over for dinner. Since we had a quiet birthday weekend at home this year, Björn bought a ready-made prinsesstårta instead.

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After the candles were blown out, Logan wandered into the kitchen, so I snapped some photos of all the birthday boys.

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Logan was interested in the cake…but Singapuras aren’t as food-obsessed as Abys are.

Sidenote…Ha! I just noticed that prinsesstårtor are the same colour as our boiling kettle!

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When it was time to cut the cake…guess who came in to co-opt Logan’s share?
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And yes, you know Jacoby, the baked-goods-lover, actually ate some of the cake!

Aby-a-Day – 3 March: “Some are born Abys, some achieve Abyness, and some have Abyssinians thrust upon them”

Shortly after Pyret was born, her mother disappeared, and her litter would have died if not rescued and bottle-fed. While Pyret had her littermates for a short while, she never had an adult cat to serve as teacher, mentor, and example. It wasn’t until Olivia arrived that Pyret learned any semblance of how to cat.

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But then Olivia died in 2010, and Pyret was an only cat for six years before having her live invaded by two Abys.

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Another year after that, another Aby and a Singapura were added into her household.

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She hissed at them – a LOT – and she only cuddled or slept with Logan (because Logan never takes no for an answer), but I think part of her was happy to have other cats around. Maybe she would have preferred to have few cats sharing her home…

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…but she clearly decided that they weren’t all bad.

And Björn noticed that the LunaTicks had a definite effect on Pyret.

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Before she was invaded by the ticked horde, she never begged for food when Björn was eating or preparing a meal…unless he was eating a pizza with shrimp on it.

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But after the Abys and Logan arrived…

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…she started picking up their bad habits.

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Cats learn by observation and example, and Pyret was quick to adopt the ways of the LunaTicks.

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Who says you can’t teach an old cat new tricks?

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Whenever any cat hears us cutting something in the kitchen, they come running in the hopes it may be meat.

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We had a smoked lamb leg at New Year’s, and whenever we took it out to cut some meat off to eat we were swarmed by the LunaTicks…

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…and also Pyret.

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While she may not have been as proactive as the Abys and Logan in asking for bits of meat,

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she was definitely a participant in the Hunger Games.

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One fun thing we do with the cats is we play the “Hunt Crunchies” game. It’s simple to play: get some dry food and toss it, one piece at a time, and let the cats “catch” it.

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The competition can get quite stiff.

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The Abys, especially, are treacherous opponents, as they use their quick hands with impunity. That, and they are so food-oriented!

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But even against the hungriest Abys on earth (Alfred and Jacoby), Pyret held her own. These last photos were only taken six months ago, and she was right there in the middle with the boys, catching crunchies!

Aby-a-Day – 21 February: Wordless Wednesday (The birthdays you missed)

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Aby-a-Day – 15 February: No touchy fishie! (Thursday Things)

Last week, I found a lovely deal on herring (sill in Swedish) – 75kr a kilo! I wanted to use it to make something Thai with rice noodles, and I found a delicious recipe for khanom jeen nam ya/i>, a delicious fish curry designed to use a strong-flavoured, oily fish such as barracuda, mackerel, or herring.

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While we were eating it, we left the remainder in the wok, with what we thought was a heavy enough lid on it to protect the delicious fish curry inside.

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We. Were. Wrong.

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Alfred managed to get under the lid and used his grabby Aby hands to reach into the wok and eat my delicious fish curry.

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He clearly enjoyed it. Lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk, and all.

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And then he went in for more. Reach…

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…and eat.

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“Don’t you tell me ‘NO,’ mom…”

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Reach again…

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…and eat again.

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Rinse and repeat. Until we caught him, anyway.

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He is shameless. But it wasn’t all him. In the photos, you can see Jacoby in the background…well he had a slightly greasy head later on. I am pretty sure that he is the one who pushed the lid off!