Aby-a-Day – 6 Juni: Americans in Sweden (Swedish Sunday)

When we go outside with the cats, I do try to get Angel to come outside, too. But the last time we went out, Angel was happily ensconced on one of the chairs on the balcony. So, I let her be.

angelbalconyC03266

That didn’t stop her from joining us in her own way.

dashfreddyangelbalconyC03271

What was really adorable, though, was that Dashiell noticed her sitting on the railing watching us.

dashangelbalconyC03274

He was like, “Hey! Angel!”

dashangelbalconyC03276

dashangelbalconyC03281

Not sure if Angel is Juliet, Rapunzel, or Roxanne in this scenario.

freddydashbalconyC03295

Dash was the only cat who really noticed her. Alfred only saw her because he wanted to know what Dash was so interested in.

freddydashangelbalconyC03297

freddydashangelbalconyC03312

“Wait! No! Angel, come back!”

Aby-a-Day – 12 December 2020: Izaak meets Bruce the Spruce (Silly Saturday)

Seven years ago this Christmas, I found Bruce the Spruce, the plush Christmas tree who dances and sings Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. We didn’t put up all our decorations last year, but we bought a new tree this year, and we brought up about half our decorations from the basement.

rorybruce_5509

Bruce was one of the decorations. I don’t think Lorelai had seen him before.

zakbruce_5513

I don’t think Izaak had seen him before, either.

zakbruce_5514

Given his plushie obsession, Zak was fairly fascinated.

zakbruce_5511

Or frightened. Could be either.

zakbruce_5517

Nah…I’m going with fascinated.

zakbruce_5505

Don’t stick your tongue out at Bruce, Izaak!

Aby-a-Day – 24 Oktober 2020: Making the World Sweeter (Cat Show Saturday)

Last December, we went to a “mini-show” at our nearby pet store, DjurMagazinet, similar to the one we went to in 2018.

djurMzak_0003

One fun thing about these “pet store” shows is, there is no judging, and a lot more downtime. So we get to explore the store.

djurMzak_0005

Including the cat trees.

djurMtootsie_9999

But Izaak wasn’t the only one exploring the cat trees. If you recall, we met a lovely sorrel Somali named Tootsie at the last show we went to at DjurMagazinet.

djurMzaktootsie_0007

Both Tootsie and Zak were (literally) all over the cat trees at the show.

djurMzaktootsie_0009

It was fun to watch Tootsie and Zak interact.

djurMtootsie_0016

They both live with other cats and (used to, anyway) go to cat shows often, so they were quite civil with each other.

djurMtootsie_0020

They mostly explored the trees individually, but near each other.

djurMzak_0021

Zak really liked how high he could get.

djurMzak_0044

djurMzaktootsie_0027

He also really liked the hanging puffball toys, while Tootsie explored the cubbyhole.

djurMzaktootsie_0031

Zak then moved to one of the hammocks, and from there seemed to notice Tootsie.

djurMzaktootsie_0036

He came down to say hello.

djurMzaktootsie_0041

I think they could be friends!

Aby-a-Day – 25 September 2020: Licking leads to biting (Friday Flashback)

Facebook has been reminding me a lot about Alfred and Logan lately. This one came up today.

logannap_0188

Look at little Logan, sleeping peacefully on the IKEA cat bed.

loganfreddy_0191

Suddenly, a wild Freddy appears!

loganfreddy_0194

Freddy uses licking.

loganfreddy_0195

It’s super effective!

loganfreddy_0196

Although, to his credit, Logan did get a pretty good chomp in on Freddy’s ear.

loganfreddy_0198

I also made a little video of the encounter; click on the image to watch it on Flickr.

Aby-a-Day – 18 & 19 Juli 2020: Bringing Lorelai back home (Special Swedish Saturday and Cinema Sunday)

Yesterday, we drove back to Överum to collect Lorelai from her sleepover with Io. When we got there, everyone was outside; Rory in her car cage and Io on his leash.

roryio_3888

roryio_3891

Look at how handome Io is in the sunshine!

roryio_3894

We aren’t sure if they actually mated during the past week

roryio_3897

roryio_3900

As soon as we got there, we put her harness and leash on so she could say farewell to her beau.

roryio_3902

They weren’t unfriendly towards each other…

roryio_3904

…But Rory wasn’t all googly-eyes over Io, either.

roryio_3909

Rory was super happy to see us again. I wonder if she thought we’d left her and gone forever?

roryio_3910

Rory was VERY happy to go for a little walk around Karin’s yard.

roryio_3917

roryio_3919

Rory said her goodbyes to Io and we were back on the road. If Rory hasn’t gotten pregnant from this visit, we’ll make the trip again in a few weeks. I hope she is knocked up, though; we didn’t get home til after 10pm, which is why this is another two-day post!

rorybjorn_3924

On the way back, we stopped at Björn’s brother Örjan’s house.

rorybjorn_3927

Looks like someone really missed her daddy!

roryzakfreddyhome_3933

When we got home, we brought Rory into the apartment still in her car carrier. Izaak and Alfred were the first to greet her. I think Zak missed her!

roryneck_3936

After her evening chicken neck, Rory was acting like she hadn’t been away for a week. We just need to wait and see if anything developed between her and Io.

I guess the LivePhoto function on my iPhone got switched on again, because all the photos I took of Rory’s journey were also saved as LivePhotos. I compiled them into one video, so take a look at what just might be the origin story of Rory’s kittens.

Aby-a-Day – 16 Juli 2020: Another encounter with Markis (Thursday Things)

The other day when we were outside, we ran into our friend Markis.

zakrorymarkisoutside_3529

Izaak and Lorelai came trotting up to say hello.

zakmarkisoutside_3530

Rory got bored and ran off, but Zak…Zak took an interest in Markis.

zakmarkisoutside_3531

zakmarkisoutside_3532

And, unusually for him, Markis was actually interested in Zak, too.

zakmarkisoutside_3533

Usually Markis just nopes out when he runs into the LunaTicks.

rorymarkisoutside_3534

Or…maybe it’s just Zak Markis likes. Rory came back…and Markis decided he’d had enough.

markisoutside_3535

“See ya!”

zakmarkisoutside_3536

“But…but…Markis? I thought we were friends?”

Aby-a-Day – 7 Juni 2020: Another encounter with Markis (Swedish Sunday)

The other day when we went outside, we happened to run into our friend and upstairs neighbour, Markis.

rorymarkisoutside_3005

Lorelai ran up to meet him first.

rorymarkisoutside_3006

Markis was not impressed.

roryzakmarkisoutside_3009

He insisted on social distancing himself and backed away.

roryzakmarkisoutside_3010

So of course Izaak felt the need to come barrelling up behind her…

roryzakmarkisoutside_3011

…and straight past her, right up into Markis’ face.

zakmarkisoutside_3015

Zak may have come up on Markis a little too quickly; there was a tiny little scuffle.

zakmarkisoutside_3013

“SOCIAL DISTANCING! DUDE!”

roryzakmarkisoutside_3018

Rory came to back Zak up, just in case.

roryzakmarkisoutside_3024

It wasn’t necessary.

rorymarkisoutside_3028

Markis decided to turn and run into the tall grass to get away from them. Rory could. Not. Resist. “Ooooh, big fluffy cat is running into the grass! Cool!!”

rorymarkisoutside_3034

She lost sight of him momentarily…

rorymarkisoutside_3038

…but then Markis made the mistake of raising his tail.

rorymarkisoutside_3039

And Rory literally flew after him.

rorymarkisoutside_3042

That’s the only word for it: flew.

Aby-a-Day – 24 Maj 2020: Walking home after taking out the recyclables (Cinema Sunday)

We’ve trained Alfred, Lorelai and Izaak to come along with us when we take out the garbage and recyclables.

roryfreddyoutside2

And they know, when we let them out when we’re carrying bags, that we’re not just “going outside,” but we’re going out to the bins. These three all know how to walk home from the bus stop from vet visits, and the bins are just next to the bus stop.

zakroryfreddyoutside3

They love it…and they do know the difference. Dashiell hasn’t had enough practice outside to do this…and Angel is happier at home.

roryoutside4

Rory so loves to run free outside. I say she is the very embodiment of joy when she runs.

roryoutside5

Sometimes, she even climbs trees!

Here’s the video I made on the way back (note the Swedish social distancing).

Aby-a-Day – 29 Mars 2020: Izaak and Angel outside (Cinema Sunday)

It seems like an odd pairing, but when we go outside, Izaak and Angel pair up together.

angelzakoutside_1533

It’s actually pretty adorable, because they generally weigh almost exactly the same, around 3.4kg (7.5lbs), which makes them roughly the same size. Alfred and Dashiell are the big boys, and Lorelai is our tiny little girl.

zakdashangeloutside_164526

You can see how much bigger Dash is compared to the two of them.

zakdashangeloutside_164525

But look how cute this is! They’re almost holding tails!

Here’s a video of the two of them. It’s accidentally slow motion, but you can see how they make a sweet, if strange, couple.

Aby-a-Day – 18 Maj: “I think I’ll go for a walk outside now, the summer sun’s callin’ my name…” (Swedish Saturday)

In both New England and Sweden, a pleasant sunny day is like a special gift, not to be squandered. One must go out and enjoy the good weather while it lasts…because, in both places, wait five minutes and it’ll change.

zakroryoutsideC07045

Take today, for example. It was raining so hard that it woke me up. Anyone who knows me, knows what a difficult thing that is to do.

zakroryoutsideC07046

But a couple of weeks ago? It was gorgeous outside, and we absolutely needed to get outside and enjoy it.

zakroryoutsideC06682

And oh, how Lorelai and Izaak enjoyed it.

zakroryoutsideC06683

The way they interact outside is so different from the way they interact inside. They are best buds, the two who grew up together, the cat show team, the “kittens.”

zakroryoutsideC06684

They play chase games in the house, but it’s taken to a whole other level when they’re outside. They are pretty evenly matched: Zak is older and heavier, but Rory is faster and sneakier.

zakroryoutsideC06685

zakroryoutsideC06686

zakroryoutsideC06687

I know we don’t have a subway to ride, or a city to explore, but we can run around free outside…and that’s a fun option to have.

Aby-a-Day – 13 Maj: The fine line between peace and war (Hipstamatic Monday)

This afternoon, the cutest little scene unfolded on the sofa next to me.

hipstaroryzak8934

Izaak came to join Lorelai on the Ikea cat bed where she was alternating between napping and birdwatching.

hipstaroryzak3091

hipstaroryzak4112

And Zak started to groom Rory.

hipstaroryzak2010

It was so adorable and sweet.

hipstaroryzak5070

hipstaroryzak9592

At one point, Rory seemed to be a little over Zak grooming her.

hipstaroryzak7562

hipstaroryzak0583

But then she succumbed to the ministrations of Zak’s tongue.

hipstaroryzak4506

It really was a touching, lovely moment…

hipstaroryzak7118

…until, suddenly, it wasn’t.

Aby-a-Day – 29 April: Lorelai and Markis (Movie Monday)

Lorelai has never met an enemy. She likes dogs, people, and other cats.

rorymarkisC06889

She’s always happy to encounter our upstairs neighbour, Markis.

Markis, as you can see in this video, isn’t really interested in playing with her.

rorymarkisC06894

rorymarkisC06896

Later on, she tried again.

rorymarkisC06898

rorymarkisC06900

This time, Markis started to run away from her instead of holding his ground again.

rorymarkisC06901

rorymarkisC06902

Oh, well…

rorymarkisC06903

…At least Rory got a game of chase out of the deal.

Aby-a-Day – 22 April: Where the boys are (Hipstamatic Monday)

I needed to fix a couple of things on my bicycle, so I let Lorelai and Izaak come outside with me whilst I was working.

hipstazakoutside3012

In Sweden, however much it may seem like New England, we haven’t really got a spring. We go from winter to full-blown summer. And so it is this year. We went from freezing cold to OMG where are my shorts and sandals!? Björn says that Sweden is in the BiPolar Zone.

hipstarorykids2541

The kids who live in our apartment complex love our cats and love to play with them.

hipstazakkids0286

Usually, it’s the girls who go nuts over the kittens running around outside.

hipstarorykids6064

But today, it was the boys. One of them told me his friend had a cat with kittens, and he got to hold them when they were one week old. Later, he told me he was going to get one of those kittens.

hipstarorykids3882

We had told them that Zak will fetch his mousies and bring them back, so they wanted to see that. Of course, outside, Zak had zero interest in playing with IKEA toys.

hipstarorykids4991

hipstarorykids9565

The boys didn’t listen to us, and tried Zak’s favourite toy on Rory. It was, I think, disappointment.

hipstazakrorykids6428

But watching them play and interact with the kittens was adorable.

hipstazakrorykids0796

The boys went between romping with Rory and Zak like they would with puppies (and which Rory and Zak were totallly down with)…

hipstazakkids8482

…to the sweetest one-on-one play you have ever seen.

hipstazakkids5213

hipstazakkids4926

hipstazakkids0286

hipstazakkids8882

It really warmed my heart, watching boys running around playing with cats.

hipstarorykids9482

I hope we are fostering our next generation of cat daddies.

Aby-a-Day – 7 April: “Spring is here, A-suh-puh-ring is here! Life is skittles and life is beer” (Swedish Sunday)

Continuing from yesterday’s post…after the kittens run down the hill in front of our building, they run back up to the hill to the back of our apartment.

roryrunC06474

roryrunC06475

Lorelai hurries to cat up to Izaak…

roryzakfreddyoutsideC06477

…who is already under our balcony, with Alfred above on the ledge.

freddybalconyC06483

freddybalconyC06488

freddybalconyC06485

I know, Freddy, but you can’t be trusted off leash, and we have an actual chore to get done.

angelbalconyC06489

Oh! Look who it is! Angel’s come to join us!

freddyangelbalconyC06494

In the past few months, she’s actually been not only friendly with the younger cats, but she’s actually started to play chasing games with them!

rorysandC06495

As you may recall, the kittens really love the sandy area around the swingset.

rorysandC06498

Especially Rory.

rorysandC06499

rorysandC06512

She loves to dig holes in it, roll in it, play with it…she just loves sand.

roryzaksandC06542

Zak tries digging a hole…but he doesn’t really see the appeal in it that Rory does.

roryzaksandC06530

roryzaksandC06531

Oops! Time for a bit of chase!

roryzakrunC06547

Finally we get to our destination: the garbage bin.

roryzakrunC06548

roryzakrunC06549

roryzakrunC06551

roryzakrunC06553

Or, well…we went to the garbage bin to take out the trash…the kittens just ran around the adjacent lawn like mad things.

roryrunC06555

roryrunC06558

roryrunC06559

roryrunC06560

roryrunC06561

Rory, as always, especially. She really loves to run free outside.

Aby-a-Day – 15 October: “When life gives you Monday, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day” (Hipstamatic Monday)

Today is just a normal Monday Chez Hellqvist…Angel sleeping in her favourite brown bed…

hipsta-angel7286

Unlike Logan, Izaak doesn’t share this bed with her. Oh, he tries to get in there with her…but where Logan ignored her when she hissed at him and got in anyway, Zak walks away and naps elsewhere.

hipstajake2789

Next we have Jacoby in the manly pink kitty bed. Which looks even more pink in this shot.

hipstajake3573

This film and lens tones the pink down quite a bit…but doesn’t really help.

hipstajake2624

Next shot is just plain black and white..and, nope. Doesn’t look any more manly without the pink. Must be the fluffy, not the colour.

hipstafreddy4149

Next we have Alfred.

hipstafreddy2616

I made Golonka (Polish beer-braised pork hocks) tonight, and Freddy always loves to chew on the bones.

hipstafreddy4034

Chomp, chomp…

hipstafreddyrory6259

He’s growling at Lorelai in this photo. He doesn’t like to share…

hipstafreddy0484

…no matter how big the bone is!

hipstafreddy2521

“Okay, Rory…NOW you can have it. I’m finished with it.”

hipstarory1890

Rory, meanwhile, has moved on and is playing in our bedroom.

hipstazak4224

Never fear! Zak the SuperSinga is here!

hipstaizaak8684

Never mind that that bone is bigger than his head!

Aby-a-Day – 29 August: Wordless Wednesday (The Blazing Star)

starflowerC01357

starflowerC01359

starflowerC01364

starflowerC01365

starflowerC01369

starflowerC01372

starflowerC01371

Aby-a-Day – 5 July: Alfred and Markis (Thursday Things)

Alfred is a very protective big brother. And free whatever reason, he has decided that Markis from upstairs was a threat to Lorelai.

freddymarkisC04867

Of course, Markis was just outside minding his own business…

freddymarkisC04873

…but when he heard Freddy growling he decided to let discretion be the better part of valour.

freddymarkisC04876

He tried to hide amongst the bicycles, but Freddy followed him…

freddymarkisC04878

…growling…

freddymarkisC04880

…with his tail puffed and his hackles raised! When Jacoby and Markis meet, they just sniff each other and Markis will hiss and growl. I am not sure what Freddy sees that Jake doesn’t.

freddymarkisC04885

This toddler, though. He kept wanting to pet the kitties. The snarling, growling, hissing, clearly angry and preoccupied kitties. I tried to get him to move away, but I don’t think he understands English or Swedish yet, and his mother was right there (you can see her in the background), so I thought her maternal instincts would kick in.

freddymarkisC04888

…NOPE. So of course the kid gets too close, Markis hisses and lunges, kid sit-falls onto his bum and starts crying and only then does she intervene. He wasn’t hurt, but he could have been.

freddymarkisC04891

After that, Markis was done. He trotted off across the grass.

freddymarkisC04895

Freddy kept an eye on him for a while.

freddymarkisC04897

Finally, he decided that Markis was far enough away and relaxed.

freddymarkisC04899

A little later, however, Markis moved to the base of one of our trees.

freddymarkisC04902

Freddy did not like this at all and started stalking Makis again even as Markis moved out into the field.

freddymarkisC04904

Freddy kept walking towards Markis until he was what Freddy felt was a safe distance away.

freddymarkisC04911

Poor Markis! All he wanted was to enjoy the sun and grass and maybe catch a mouse. It’s a good thing Freddy doesn’t go outside without a human on a leash!

Aby-a-Day – 30 May: Wordless Wednesday (“Food is the ingredient that binds us together”)

onebighappyC04619

onebighappyC04622

onebighappyC04623

onebighappyC04626

onebighappyC04628

Aby-a-Day – 25 May: Angel, Rory and the Frankentree (Fashion Friday)

Before I moved to Sweden, Björn had an old, beat-up, second-hand cat tree for Pyret. It was one of the first things Angel discovered when we let her out of the carrier. When my things arrived from the States, my big floor-to-ceiling tree was among them, and it was installed in the corner where the old tree had occupied. The old tree was moved to the balcony, which was scheduled to be glassed in for the cats to enjoy.

angelbalconytreeC08603

Angel was quick to claim it out there, too. But it was a little short, and I wanted the cats to be able to sit up high on the balcony, too, so I ordered this new cat tree by Dogman, a Swedish pet supply company. But when I assembled the new tree, it seemed a little sad without the cubby section, especially since it was Angel’s favourite part, and it was still perfectly good…so I got an idea.

frankentreeC02047

I combined them! I took the non-worn parts of the old tree (which was probably also a Dogman tree) – the cubby, the platform and the ladder, and put them together with the new tree and created…the FrankenTree! It worked surprisingly well, and the colours combined well, too.

angelfrankentreeC02056

Angel loved it.

rorybalconytreeC05004

Logan and Alfred came along and loved it, too…and of course so does Lorelai.

rorybalconytreeC05005

(Despite the silly tongue…)

angelrorybalconytreeC05009

Angel didn’t really mind sharing the tree with Logan and Freddy, but what does Angel think about sharing her tree with another girl?

angelrorybalconytreeC05010

These Millennial kittens these days…no sense of boundaries.

angelrorybalconytreeC05011

Angel is not above defending her territory. Although, to be honest, I don’t think Rory even noticed that Angel took a swipe at her.

angelbalconytreeC05014

“Damn kids, get off of my tree!”

Aby-a-Day – 15 January: When we came home

Pyret was right at the door to meet us. Or, more likely, to meet Björn. Pyret was born in 1999 and was bottlefed by Björn and she is very bonded to him. To meet me on time in Stockholm, he had to stay overnight, so he hadn’t been home for nearly a day. Pyret was hungry and missed him, so she was coming to greet him.

pyretwelcomeC08232

She certainly was not expecting other cats!

pyretwelcomeC08234

Pyret has been an only cat since Björn’s other cat, Olivia, died in 2010. I really wonder what she thought when she realised that there were cats in that big box.

coco-openC08241

I opened the door…

cocojakeangelopenC08245

…and, curiously, Angel was the first one out. It’s like she knew that the airport and the train weren’t home, but she was home now.

cocojakeangelopenC08247

Jake, of course, was not far behind.

cocojakeopenC08251

They both took off in different directions to check out the new digs.

jakeexploreC08261

Angel went to check out the living room and under the sofa, and Jake went to explore everything else.

jakeexploreboxC08263

Including the litter box. Always a good idea to locate the facilities right off the bat.

jakeexploreC08265

“Okay, litter box sorted. Next!”

angelexploreC08273

Angel was in there soon enough, though.

angeltreeC08279

Angel’s big discovery was the old cat tree Björn had in his living room. It’s out on our balcony now, and she still loves to sleep in that cubby.

angeltreeC08300

angeltreeC08317

She explored the whole tree. And even today, my big tree is primarily her domain.

jakefountainC08328

jakefountainC08330

Meanwhile, Jake was checking out the new cat fountain in the kitchen.

jakepyretmeetC08334

And while he was doing that, Pyret was checking him out.

angelexploreC08381

angelexploreC08415

angelhomeC08419

After only a few hours of being home…this was Angel.

jakehomeIMG_5303

jakehomeIMG_5310

And this was Jake. Moving to Sweden was so freakishly easy for them!